“Hot in Cleveland” is a hoot

Hotincleveland2

TV Land’s first attempt at an original sitcom gets a thumbs up from this viewer.

“Hot in Cleveland,” which bows June 16, is good fun. About halfway through the pilot I realized it’s a contempo “Golden Girls,” with the golden years aged down about 15-20 years. And of course, the great Betty White lends class and laughs to any project she graces.

The premise is pretty sturdy. Three femme friends of a certain age from L.A. are forced by plane trouble to layover in Cleveland while on their way to Paris. Once their feet are on the firm Midwestern ground, they realize that they’re hot stuff by local standards, and that people actually still eat in Cleveland without feeling guilty. They impetuously decide to lease a house that comes with Betty as the caretaker.

Valerie Bertinelli and Jane Leeves are well-cast, but it’s Wendie Malick (playing a fading soap star) who really makes the most of her material.

“Hot in Cleveland” hails from “Fraiser” alum Suzanne Martin and Sean Hayes’ Hazy Mills banner.

— Cynthia Littleton

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