Is ‘Hot In Cleveland’ Worth Watching?

by Debbie Stoller

Let’s face it: summer network TV programming sucks. 

This is usually the time of year when cable and the premium channels thrive and having a Netflix subscription becomes dire. 

Fortunately, it appeared that Betty White’s new TV Land sitcom, Hot In Cleveland might be a promising new option.  

The show’s debut last Wednesday pulled in a TV Land record of 4.75 million viewers, thus making it the most-watched telecast in the network’s history, according to Entertainment Weekly.  

It also debuted to overwhelming positive reviews.  But after watching the pilot last night online, I got the sense that the TV critics may have let their Betty White boners cloud their judgement a bit.  

I think we may need to just accept that not all Betty White shows are created equal. 

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli), Joy (Jane Leeves) and Victoria (Wendie Malick) are three best friends from L.A who are on a plane heading for a girls’ getaway in Paris but wind up having to make an emergency landing in Cleveland, OH.

To kill time, they go into a local bar/restaurant where they muster up the courage to order non-light beer and cheese fries (gasp!). They are also feeling extra liberated by three middle-class, average Joe locals who have taken an interest in them despite their age (apparently they’re nothing more than three hideous, fat hags to L.A men). 

Anyway, Melanie–who had just run into her ex-husband and his new twenty-something fiance on the plane–sleeps with one of these guys, decides he’s the man of her dreams and spends her Paris money putting a down payment on a house (with a short-term lease).   

The catch: the house comes with a cranky caretaker who’s been there for 50 years. 

And so Betty enters, calls them “whores” a couple of times, and dishes out a few good old-lady one-liners. Her response when one of the ladies inquire about the stench of weed they smell may  have been the funniest part. 

I do appreciate the show’s girl-power/best-friends-forever message as well as the whole “we’re old, not dead” thing. However, it’s ultimately just a Golden Girls rip-off, slightly altered for 2010. 

Plus, I really can’t stand fake “live studio audience” laughs after every trite joke. It makes me cringe. 


Final Verdict: will I tune in tomorrow night at 10 p.m? No way. Would I tune in again if TV Land continued to offer free episodes online? Maybe. 

(Note: they’ve already removed the pilot so I’m guessing that’s the end of the free viewing)  


Did anyone else watch the pilot? 



You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.