Review: ‘Betty White’s Off Their Rockers’ off its mark
The reality show, which aired its second episode last Wednesday, April 4 (the pilot aired in January), follows a group of elderly actors (many of whom look familiar, but it’s hard to connect faces to actual older movies) who prank young, unsuspecting strangers. Vignettes of pranking moments run throughout the entire episode, while Betty White hosts the show with her own small skits.
The best moments of the show are when the senior actors are out on the street actually pranking younger individuals: One of the elderly men walks down the street followed by his powered wheelchair, one of the female actors talks loudly on her cell phone about needing the morning-after pill, another of the female actors asks a teenager to text her soon-to-be daughter-in-law that she’s a tramp, and yet another talks to a younger woman about her eventful trip to Las Vegas before putting on a nun’s veil and walking off. Humorous moments like these run throughout the show, but they often fall a bit flat.
White’s part in the show seems obviously integral due to her star power. Even though she recently turned 90, White is still going strong. Yet her hosting scenes in the show are forced and play down the hilarity of many other reality moments with the rest of the senior cast. In the pilot she opens with her funniest line: “Hugh Hefner may propose to 25-year-olds, but here we prank them!” At the end of the second episode, White needlepoints a pillow that says: “George Clooney Slept Here,” which sounds like it could be funny but ultimately fails to impress.
The show claims in its opening: “Warning: The following contains senior citizens pranking real unsuspecting young people. If you find this offensive … too bad.” Although it tries hard to be offensive in order to overturn stereotypes of senior citizens, it comes up short. Some moments are really funny, but unless they step up their game, I’m not so sure about the success of the show. Right now, it seems to be a trying a little bit too hard. Its saving grace is the general popularity of Betty White. Even though her scenes are forced, her continuing fame and incredible staying power will likely help the show to at least finish its first season. “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” airs on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on NBC.