DIANNE BUT­LER OUT OF THE BOX

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IHAVE no idea why we’re start­ing at the sec­ond episode of se­ries two in­stead of the first, but we got did­dled out of guest star Mary Tyler Moore. I don’t think I need to draw you a map here: Betty White played Sue Ann Nivens, star of The Happy Home­maker, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She was sen­sa­tional. It’s as if all celebrity chefs on tele­vi­sion now are ac­tu­ally mod­elled on Sue Ann Nivens. Any­way, no point cry­ing about it now. We’re in the sum­mer non-rat­ings pe­riod, any­thing can hap­pen. This episode we’re talk­ing about now, it could turn into a five-year-old episode of Big Bang The­ory by the time I get to the end of this sen­tence. Luck­ily we’ve got Wayne Knight — Rick — and the green card scam he’s got go­ing on with Joy (Jane Leeves from Frasier) to make up the guest star deficit tonight. Or if you want to go deep into US sit­com his­tory, Ed­die Van Halen’s mother from One Day At A Time plays Agnes, her mother-in-law-in-wait­ing. I’m sorry, I don’t mean Ed­die, I mean the wo­man who was mar­ried to him for so long she now looks like Ed­die. Va­lerie Bertinelli. Who plays Melanie. Vic­to­ria (Wendie Mal­ick) might also be on to some­thing solid – she’s snared some­one old and rich she met online. How old? The same ac­tor played Ben­jamin But­ton in the 1930s bit.

They’re all gag­ging for a man, even Elka, who only started to see her­self as a sex ob­ject at about 88. She had a bloke and lost him, that’s why she’s ham­mered through­out this episode. Betty White do­ing drunk – needs to be seen. What went wrong here? How did this show end up as fill over sum­mer? This time last year it was one of Nine’s big new sit­coms for 2011. Char­lie Sheen still had a job and Ash­ton Kutcher was a tiny bit of a laugh­ing stock.

No­body’s laugh­ing now. Hot in Cleve­land Chan­nel 9, 8pm

Drunk act: Betty White

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