"Golden Girls" was wonderful and we thanked Betty White for being a "friend" in the '80's, years of being a foul-mouthed AARP member culminated in "Betty White's Off Their Rockers", a series that basically had a troupe of seniors pulling tricks on unsuspecting citizens - it's not about being funny as much as it is screaming about how wacky it is that seniors say the darndest things. While White does get a few laughs in a supporting role in this series, bring back the old Betty White.
Airing on TV Land (which is starting to get a little bit of momentum with "The Jim Gaffigan Show", which is the best sitcom on television, which I fear not enough people are watching because it's on TV Land), the series was produced by Suzanne Marin ("Frasier") and Sean Hayes, taken from an original idea by famed producer Lynda Obst. The series, which feels very Lifetime, is the definition of comfortable. It's as comfortable as an old, familiar sweater or your favorite pair of Converse. That doesn't mean that it's remarkable in any way, it's familiar and not challenging and gets occasional laughs but doesn't really stick very well. I don't dislike the series - and it's hard to hate a series that wants so badly to be likable - but I can't love it, either.
The original idea from Obst is a little vanilla, but it must have been an easy sell: it follows three friends who are (by Hollywood standards) "over-the-hill" and decide after their plane makes an emergency stop in Cleveland that they'd like to continue to living there. The three are Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli), a writer; Joy (Jane Leeves), a cosmetics specialist who has gotten to the point where she feels like she could use a touch-up and finally, Victoria (Wendy Malick), a soap opera actress who's past her prime.
When they arrive in Cleveland, they rent a place from Elka (Betty White), a caretaker who, well, acts like she's a quarter of her age. While the above would suggest otherwise, I don't have anything against Betty White.
The sixth season of the series was to be its last and while I have nothing against the series (which so desperately wanted to be likeable throughout its run), it is a little amazing to me that the fairly thin concept was able to be stretched out this far in a manner that was reasonably successful. While ratings were a fraction of what they were in the first season by the sixth, the series still managed to cross the oh-so-desirable 100 episode mark for syndication.
Still, while the series is simple, carb-y comfort food that doesn't reinvent the wheel, the cast gets credit for certainly offering fine performances that have elevated the material. The cast has always seemed as if they're having a ball and perhaps that is part of the reason why the series has attracted some substantial guest stars over the seasons, including Carol Burnett and Bob Newhart. The last season isn't anything new for the series and it was the right time for the series to exit, but in a way it's too bad that a lot of people had tuned out by this point as the final season is a nice send-off for the show.
Some of the highlights of this final season include: "Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles" (the women head out to LA to meet with the creator of Victoria's new TV show), "Family Affair" (the women take a DNA test to learn about their ancestries), "Duct Soup" (the women help Joy's son plan the rehearsal dinner for his wedding) and the finale.
"105. 6-1 05 Nov 14 Comfort and Joy
106. 6-2 12 Nov 14 Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles
107. 6-3 19 Nov 14 Bossy Cups
108. 6-4 26 Nov 14 Naked and Afraid
109. 6-5 03 Dec 14 Tazed and Confused
110. 6-6 10 Dec 14 Out of Our Minds
111. 6-7 17 Dec 14 Cold in Cleveland: The Christmas Episode
112. 6-8 07 Jan 15 The Young and the Restless
113. 6-9 14 Jan 15 Bad Boys
114. 6-10 21 Jan 15 We Could Be Royals
115. 6-11 28 Jan 15 About a Joy
116. 6-12 04 Feb 15 One Wedding and One Funeral
117. 6-13 18 Mar 15 Scandalous
118. 6-14 25 Mar 15 Family Affair
119. 6-15 01 Apr 15 All Dolled Up
120. 6-16 08 Apr 15 Bad Girlfriends
121. 6-17 15 Apr 15 Duct Soup
122. 6-18 22 Apr 15 Cleveland Calendar Girls
123. 6-19 29 Apr 15 Kitchen Nightmare
124. 6-20 06 May 15 All About Elka
125. 6-21 20 May 15 Say Yes to the Mess
126. 6-22 27 May 15 Hot Damn!
127. 6-23 03 Jun 15 Vegas Baby/I Hate Goodbyes"
Video: "Hot In Cleveland" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The show looks a tad soft, but generally remained pleasant enough with no considerable flaws. Colors looked warm and inviting, with no smearing or other faults. The presentation is quite similar to prior season sets, and remains perfectly satisfactory.
Audio: Crisp, clean stereo.
Final Thoughts: By this point in the series, audiences had already started to really head elsewhere. In a way that's understandable given that the series didn't exactly reinvent the wheel and the premise had grown a little tired at this point. Still, the series has a nice little finale with this sixth season, as the performances from the core cast - who continue to seem as if they're having a ball on the series - kick it up a notch. Audio/video remain perfectly fine. Rent it.