The Insider: ‘The View’ And View From Here

Jun 9, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Random thoughts from a mind rendered more random than usual by landing in too many time zones in too few days, and aggravated by a late-spring bug:

  • Only someone who hasn’t watched “The View” since Rosie O’Donnell beat her hasty retreat could claim that the ABC daytime show is boring without the world’s angriest comedienne and most unforgiving liberal. The sparks have continued to fly even though Ms. O’Donnell chose not to work out her last three contractual weeks with right-leaning co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the underdog who cleaned Ms. O’Donnell’s forensic clock in what turned out to be their last argument.

    On the other hand, last week did show just how fraught with unintended consequences a change of players can be.

    For one thing, Joy Behar, a founding member of “The View,” seems to be harboring some barely repressed rage that is getting closer and closer to the surface since the exit of Ms. O’Donnell. Ms. Behar recently has been the loudest and least-forgiving presence on any day that caustic comedian Kathy Griffin was not there. It might be time for Barbara Walters, who seemed inexplicably besotted with Ms. O’Donnell, to schedule some motherly “there, there” time with Ms. Behar and assure her of how essential she is to the mix … when Ms. Behar is not trying to steamroller everybody else. There was a time when Ms. Behar spoke for The Insider. No more.

    Ms. Griffin’s three days as guest co-host proved how easy it is to find a comedian who is even more of an acquired taste than Ms. O’Donnell turned out to be. Forget the fact that Ms. Griffin is louder and crasser and less funny than Ms. O’Donnell. Focus instead on the most important liability in the free-wheeling conversational context of “The View”: Ms. Griffin doesn’t play well with other children, er, women. This of course is what she has built her I’ll-do-anything-except-clean-up-my-own-act-to-stay-in-the-spotlight act on. Except the more we are subjected to Ms. Griffin, the more it seems less like an act. We’re not looking for Miss Congeniality to join the group, for pity’s sake, but conviviality is a basic requirement.

    Comic-actress and frequent guest co-host Sherri Shepherd proved last week that declaring that one doesn’t believe in evolution can cause even young Miss Elisabeth to look before she takes another step to the right. Might be a steep cliff there, ya know. On the other hand, Ms. Shepherd’s declaration proved to be productive, especially when mother hen Ms. Walters stopped just short of doing what The Insider calls an O’Donnell, telling Ms. Shepherd which personal beliefs are and aren’t, well, acceptable in a group presumed to represent diverse backgrounds and world views.

    “The Sopranos’” Lorraine Bracco, sitting in for a day, showed that she, like occasional guest host Whoopi Goldberg, knows how not to get drawn into group misbehavior against her will. The Insider likes guests who are unafraid to swim against the hormonal tide. Which raises the question, not for the first time, of why Mario Cantone couldn’t become a member of the guest co-host repertory group. He’s perfect for the role except for the matter of that one body part—and on any given day on “The View,” his would not seem like the biggest at the hot-topics table.

  • Only someone who has been held hostage for the duration of a George Foster Peabody Awards lunch could possibly understand why The Insider has only sat through two in the last couple of decades. It is so looooooooong, the Bush Defense Department might consider some variation of it as torture more effective than water-boarding.

    The University of Georgia academics behind the prestigious awards seem to think that the TV and radio professionals receiving the honors don’t hold jobs that require them to, um, work for a living, rendering them available to lunch for a living.

    Some suggestions: Cut the star-emcee role. Nobody’s there to see Bob Costas tell urbane jokes anyway. Let someone responsible for the awards hand out the awards, but limit them to only one smug explanation of how the winners are chosen. And only show one round of clips from the winning works.


    1. I would LOVE to see Mario Cantone on the show. He can be as shrill as any of those dames, but he’s way funnier.

    2. enjoy the format that the view has switched to
      whoopi and sherry have added greatly to the go
      how do you become a member to the view

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