BETTY WHITE “JUMPS THE SHARK.” To avoid stereotyping Betty White and her new show, “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers,” let’s say it is inappropriate for viewers of all ages. Not because of language, sex or violence, but because it is awful. Its “shocking” vignettes (an older woman in an airport lounge propositioning a younger passenger to join the mile-high club with her; an older man asking for his photo to be taken as he runs around naked) are so contrived that they are uncomfortable to watch. And while the cast of “sassy seniors” and the show’s producers so deliberately attempt to break down stereotypes about older adults, they actually reinforce them: that you can be excused for being dimwitted or “irreverent” because you are old. Reality, not “reality TV,” is what is needed to help reverse stereotyping of the aging process and older adults.
About Stuart Greenbaum
Stuart Greenbaum is lead writer for the Humble Sky culture blog and editor of the books Longevity Rules and Media Takes: On Aging. He directs the Wise Up On Aging Initiative and serves as a Governor’s appointee to the California Commission on Aging.
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