The View Of The Few
A Closer Look At The Five Gals
Like many people who don't know what to watch at 11 AM on weekdays, I watch The View. Have you heard of it? It was a moment of insanity from the mind of Barbara Walters that has lasted eleven or so years. The co-hosts have changed (except for Joy and Barbara) a couple of times since 1997, but the vibe it gives off has remained the same. I've never watched it religiously, but if it's on, I will watch it.
Watching The View is like watching five of your aunts catch up at a family reunion. There's the matriarch (Barbara) who, despite what she says, will never be told she is wrong. There's the ultra smart one (Whoopi) who used to be something special and who has opinions that none of her sisters really understand, but respect. There's the funny one (Joy) who says things that people laugh at, but are too filthy for kids to hear. There's the sweet one (Sherri) who isn't all there and doesn't get to speak much. And then there's the aunt that everyone tries to ignore (Elisabeth) because she purposely says things to push buttons. She's the member of the family that no one can figure out how she became how she is. Yet, once seen as a fivesome, you can never imagine seeing them apart. You enjoy watching them interact with each other. You hold your breath each time Auntie Elisabeth speaks, waiting for the others to jump on her. You watch Auntie Whoopi for her reaction and hope that this won't be (or will be depending on the day) the time when she clocks Auntie E. You thank God that Auntie Barbara is there to come between them. You wait for Auntie Joy to crack a joke about it so that things won't feel so awkward. You don't expect anything from Auntie Sherri. She's the silent one after all.
When the show first premiered, I genuinely liked it. The panel consisted of Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos and, of course, Barbara Walters (Joy Behar would fill in on the days that Barbara couldn't be there). At 13, this show was big for me. The idea of three bright women (Sorry, Debbie.), discussing topics of importance without men yelling condescending things or a man being present was new to me. There was no Regis Philbin there to make a joke or a smart remark if someone in the audience thought the women were out of line. Sink or swim, they only had each other and their ideas.
I can't pinpoint when the show stopped being worth my watching it. Yes, I was in school every week day until I graduated from college in 2006 so I rarely got to see it to begin with. However, even when the summer would come, I just didn't have the urge to watch it like I did at first. True, the world has progressed so much for women since 1997. Yet, a good show is worth watching even when the topics don't apply to you.
I would like to blame it on Elisabeth, but my interest started to dwindle before she, like a dragon spewing self-righteousness and conservative pomposity, flew onto the set. I could easily blame it on Meredith's departure (She was my favorite co-host after all.).Yet, I think it has to do with the change over of co-hosts. What started off a tight knit (at least to the public) band has turned into five distinct personalities and tastes, doing their best to out shine the others. When I watch The View now, I see only Joy and Whoopi. Of all of them, they seem like the only ones who are genuinely trying to connect. It could be that they share common views and feel that it's them against the others. It could be that they both started off as comedians and know that a rough crowd is not the end of the world. It could be that, out of all of them, they feel most comfortable in their own skins. It could be that I like them as individuals and am seeing only what I want to see. I don't know what the reason is regarding Joy and Whoopi. What I do know though is that, clearly, the new View no longer bears any resemblance to my own.
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