TV Land Pimps Its Favorite Things About Cleveland and Predictions on Tonight's First Episode

Betty White... and three women who are not Betty White.
  • Betty White... and three women who are not Betty White.

Hot in Cleveland, TV Land’s first whack at an original sitcom, premieres tonight. The series centers around four women — one being Betty White, the other three not being Betty White — who discover Cleveland’s a great town for single women, particularly those attracted to out-of-work laborers.

A recent post on the TV Land blog pimps their favorite things about our fair town. LeBron made the list, as did Stadium Mustard, Great Lakes Brewing Company, the West Side Market, the Beachland Ballroom, Grog Shop, and our miles of wonderful thrift stores. Apart from not mentioning this rag, it seems they have a reasonable sense of what’s cool and going on in Cleveland.

So, things to look forward to in the first episode: Betty White gets table service at the Barley House, humps a douchey frat boy in a darkened bar on West Sixth, then takes a walk of shame back to her apartment at Bridgeview in the morning. It’s going to be fun.

Here's a review from the Chicago Tribune:

From the get-go, the jokes are almost all on the subject of age and aging body parts and, once the women arrive in the Midwest, about how great it is to be in a place where those things don't matter, or matter as much. "To think we spent all that time and effort and money trying to look 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter," says Malick, a recently unemployed soap star now being offered grandma roles, "and all we had to do was crash-land in Cleveland."

That Bertinelli, Malick and Leeves (as a high-end eyebrow specialist) are by any normal measure extraordinarily attractive and fit — Leeves would very much like you to see her impressively sculpted legs — does make it seem a case of protesting too much. But this is also part of the point: They are escaping Hollywood, where normal measures do not apply, for a land where people eat without shame and grow old gracefully. (Or, in White's case, disgracefully. Leeves: "Does anyone else smell pot?" White: "What are you, a cop?") That this series is on TV Land and not on one of those big networks where they used to work is proof of that pudding.

There is nothing particularly new under this sun, but that also is part of the point. "Hot in Cleveland" is determinedly traditional, old-fashioned even in that it finds room for stars over 50. They seem delighted to be there, can sell even the least and most obvious of Martin's lines and are called on to embarrass themselves not much more than is usual in these things. Like the women in it, the show is solid and professional and holds together well.

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Vince Grzegorek

Vince Grzegorek has been with Scene since 2007 and editor-in-chief since 2012. He previously worked at Discount Drug Mart and Texas Roadhouse.
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