The TV Land series "Hot in Cleveland" manages to capture the best of what makes sitcoms such a pleasure to watch: great one-liners, engaging characters, and, perhaps most importantly, a certain element of predictability. However, what really makes this show stand out is the presence of Betty White, who has consistently dominated the series.
Her Star Persona
Certainly, part of what makes Betty White such a dominant force in the series is the fact that Betty White has such powerful star context. Inarguably one of the most influential and long-lasting figures in television history, she has been a staple in the industry almost since its inception. Furthermore, White's resounding success on such other hit series as "The Golden Girls" ensures that contemporary audiences like turning in to see just how funny this golden lady of comedy can be.
Her Comic Timing
As a result of having been in so many well-written comedies in her history as a star, Betty White has some of the most flawless and razor sharp comic timing in the business. She knows the exact moment to deliver a cutting line that is designed to get a lot of laughter from her audience, and she clearly uses it to the maximum effect. If you aren't laughing by the time you have finished an episode with Elka at its center, then you are clearly not watching the show very closely.
Her Character Elka
Finally, there is the fact that the character she plays is so delightful. Far from the ditzy and loving Rose of "The Golden Girls," Elka is as sharp-tongued as she is sharp-minded. There's no getting anything past her, and she is quick to point out the flaws and foibles of her fellow characters. For all that she has a sharp tongue, however, she is a remarkably well-drawn character, with flaws and weaknesses just like any other, and Betty White is able to play this character to the hilt, bringing her to delightful and sparkling life.
Clearly, Betty White has a talent that is as unique as it is long-lasting and indomitable. As the TV Land series continues to be renewed, we can hope that Betty White will continue to be a presence on the show. "Hot in Cleveland" probably couldn't go on without her.