TV Conspiracy Theories: How Cloris Leachman Has Pulled One Over On America

For the first time since she played MRS. GARRETT’s sister Beverly Ann on THE FACTS OF LIFE, CLORIS LEACHMAN is relevant to our lives again.

Critics have said she’s dancing on “borrowed ballroom time.” DANCING WITH THE STARS staffers are allegedly concerned that Leachman is a loose canon and going to wreck the show. FLORENCE HENDERSON has said that she makes old people look bad and SUSAN LUCCI is annoyed that she might be eliminated tonight while a no-talent nutter like Leichman gets to stick around.

The weirdest part of all this senior citizen brouhaha? The fact that we actually care.

While we don’t even watch this show outside of the clips they show on THE SOUP, we can’t stop following it in the press. We find ourselves sucked in by the fact that an 82-year-old woman is causing national mischief when most people her age get stuck in a retirement home and forgotten.

Her popularity among viewers stems from the fact that people assume she’s senile, and that the things that fly out of her mouth are unintentional — like a little kid repeating a swear word. Watch this clip of her roasting BOB SAGET and tell us this isn’t a well-studied comedienne who is carefully manipulating her audience. Even JON LOVITZ looks mesmerized.

Also, let us not forget this is the same woman who played super-annoying Phyllis Lindstrom on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and won an Emmy for it. This funny lady is like sly like a fox, and where at one point in her life, she traded on her looks to land parts, now she’s using her age to that same end.

The point of our conspiracy theory: We hope that Leachman doesn’t get kicked off tonight and that Susan Lucci does. Not because we want America to be happy. Not because we feel sorry for La Lucci, because frankly she gives us the creeps.

But because in this current role of daffy grandma Leachman is playing one of her juiciest roles to date and making us much less frightened at the prospect of growing old.

And we’re not ready to stop reading about her yet.