Paramount // 2011 // 484 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 15th, 2011
"You better buck up and bug down, bitch!" -- Elka in jail
One of 2010's most unlikely television hits was Hot in Cleveland, which played out like a sitcom offspring of Sex and the City crossbred with The Golden Girls. Thanks to the star power of Betty White, it launched strong and kept the audience for the whole year. The show quickly became TV Land's highest rated half hour, and they pulled out all the stops for its twenty-two episode second season.
The adventures of Melanie (Valerie Bertinelli, One Day at a Time), Joy (Jane Leeves, Frasier), Victoria (Wendie Malick, Just Shoot Me), and Elka (Betty White, The Mary Tyler Moore Show) picked up right where they left off. The three Los Angeles transplants stayed in Cleveland with their cranky caretaker who was found with an entire basement of mafia loot and stolen property. Started with Elka's trial, Season Two made a detour to Amish country, showed a struggle for Joy's citizenship, provided plenty of love problems along the way, and climaxed in The Hangover-inspired season finale.
Hot in Cleveland works best when it plays safe and sound within conventional trappings. These are women who have been on television for decades, and they all deserve to be labeled as sitcom royalty. There's a formula, a laugh track, and it all gels in a traditionally comedic way. The show gives off an instant classic vibe with every episode, complete with classic television star cameos; it's great fun waiting to see who is going to pop-up. Through it all, the core cast and their excellent chemistry keep things moving along nicely. Betty White is a national treasure, and these other three broads are funny gals who know how to deliver every line. They never miss, and that is what makes Hot in Cleveland so...well...hot.
Hot in Cleveland: Season Two offers all twenty-two episodes on three discs. The 1.78:1 anamorphic standard definition transfers are just fine with nice colors and very few digital artifacts. It's a show that looks like a classic three camera sitcom filmed on closed sets. You can choose between full Dolby 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo, although most of the action happens in the front two speakers either way. Bonus features include interviews with the cast, a long blooper where Betty White loses it, set tours, footage of the cast visiting Cleveland landmarks, and the first episode of the new series The Exes. In the mix of these episodes is one thirty minute behind-the-scenes making-of special which could also be considered an extra in and of itself.
If you like conventional sitcoms done right -- or if (like me) you simply have a huge crush on Betty White -- Hot in Cleveland is fluffy fun that's just as strong in its second year as it was in its first.
Guilty of being funny even a year older.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 484 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episode
* Official Site