The show’s episodes pack a lot of good laughs via not-so-subtle one-liners and a slew of guest stars. In “The Sex That Got Away” with Victoria pursuing an ex-rock star flame (Huey Lewis) while Melanie meets her female rock idol in a most unexpected way. Guest stars abound—Jon Lovitz as an opera-singing homeless man, Mary Tyler Moore as a boozer sharing a jail cell with Elka, Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice guy, as one of Melanie’s dates, and Susan Lucci and Melanie Griffith as themselves.
The camaraderie among the Cleveland co-stars, so evident on the show, is equally at play on the panel. Valerie and Jane are wearing short black dresses, and when the moderator mentions the moderator mentions the cast members’ leggy appearance. Betty gets in on the act by rolling up her pants legs an inch and showing a bit of ankle. When her co-stars chimed in about how anxious they were to get their scripts, Betty deadpanned, “They give you guys scripts?”
The cast discussed the warm reception to the show. Its debut episode attracted 4.75 million viewers while the season 2 premiere attracted 2.95 million viewers, proving that people will watch comedy fronted by women in their 40s and beyond. “There are so many of us out there over 40, 50, 60, 89,” (Betty White’s age)," says Malick, "and there’s no expiration date on being fabulous.”
Other tidbits: We learn that Leeves was a dancer and appeared in the Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life and as a “Hill’s Angel” on The Benny Hill Show before her sitcom fame in Fraiser, and that White received a letter from Robert Redford with a poem he penned for her.
All the cast members extolled the virtues of taping the show in front of a live audience.
“I cannot say enough (about it), White said. “It’s cliché. You’ve heard it a million times, but what that audience brings into that theater and what it does for us as far as giving us timing and energy and approval—those things that we’re after. We’re hams, and we need that approval.” Leeves adds, “It’s also the closest thing to live theater as an actress, to get that immediate response.”
Hot in Cleveland airs on TV Land Wednesdays at 10pm/9 Central,