Alston, Joshua, Newsweek
Byline: Joshua Alston
In age-obsessed Hollywood, Betty White, at 88, is having the last laugh.
At 88, Betty White is an unlikely candidate for Hollywood's buzziest actress, and yet here she is in the thick of an irony-free resurgence. Hot on the heels of her ballyhooed Super Bowl commercial for Snickers, she's enjoying the type of career the starlets who populate "Who Wore It Best?" would love to have: numerous film and television appearances are lined up, including a hosting gig next month on Saturday Night Live (spawned by a Facebook campaign that chalked up half a million fans) and a starring role in a new sitcom, Hot in Cleveland. Based on recent interviews, White seems to be taking it all in stride, but her sudden cachet is pleasantly surprising. Her success subverts everything we think about the job prospects (not to mention life prospects) of aging women. It's a shame her new sitcom doesn't.
White's castmates in Hot in Cleveland are Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, and Wendie Malick, veteran sitcom actresses who have each celebrated at least a dozen 29th birthdays. They are talented, elegant, and beautiful women, but the show treats them like horses with broken legs. The title comes from a scene where, during a flight to Paris, mechanical troubles strand the trio in the Buckeye State. The men in Los Angeles ignore them, but in Cleveland, where the standards are lower, their dateability factor skyrockets. Bertinelli's character, Melanie, a wounded divorcee, decides to stay in Ohio after she falls for a bartender who, she comes to find out, is still married. …