The View and I: The Backstory

23 Oct

For years, my favourite TV show was Survivor.

It is, after all, understandable. It has drama, suspense, excitement, plotting, strategizing, backstabbing, and a very generous helping of people voluntarily making complete asses of themselves. What’s not to like, right?

But sorry Mark Burnett, your show has been bumped, and ironically enough, by your own fault.

What’s that you say? What do I mean by your own fault? Let me explain.

You, Mark Burnett, are single-handedly, although unwillingly (I assume) responsible for creating a monster. Remember cute Elisabeth Filarsky, Survivor Australia’s America’s sweetheart?

Dead.

Don’t freak out on me now, I never said you killed her or anything, but did you really have to put that batch of masochists on what must have undoubtedly been radioactive grounds?

Oh, come on Mark, don’t shit me, no one goes through such a complete metamorphosis without minimal exposure to a few radiations. Either that, or after she lost Survivor, she got a job in a photo lab and fell head first in a basin of developer solution, because she sure has turned into a negative of her former self.

As I was saying, Survivor used to be my favourite show on TV. I was completely obsessed with the now defunct Online Survivor forum. I even played a game of online Survivor (but there was way too much drama and I ended up quitting when I was in the 6th or 7th position. But it was a long time ago, and I know you don’t give a damn, so I’ll move on. It was good fun though. I’ll have to try again sometime.)

But before I do move on, guess under what name I was posting? Yup, Elizabeth! (When I signed up for an account, I wasn’t aware that she spelled her name with a “S”, but regardless, because the girl was so popular on the show, I too became popular on the forum.) OK, NOW, I move on!

Through the forum, I eventually caught wind of a rumour that Elisabeth had gotten a job on a show I’d never heard of, called “The View”. I thought to myself: “Good for her, she got a job from her Survivor exposure.” And then I forgot all about it.

Until a couple of years later. By then, my interest in Survivor had faded a bit, and my obsession with the forum had vanished altogether.

One morning, I was at home, and I must have been looking at the TV listings on the web, because I remember noticing “The View”, and thinking: “Oh yeah, the show Elisabeth is on! I didn’t know we had this in Canada. I’ll take a look, see what the girl is up to…!”

So I did. What I saw was an all-female panel caught up in a pleasant and animated chatter. It was nice to see Elisabeth again. I also recognized the older lady, the one who had interviewed Monica Lewinsky. The redhead was funny. There was also a big black woman, and another woman who seemed to be in charge.

It turned out to be a pretty fun show, so I started watching it regularly whenever I was home. I became familiar with everyone on the panel, I had my favourites (Joy and Meredith) and everything was swell.

Then Star Jones got engaged, self-obsessed and annoying, and for months, we had to endure her endless babble about wedding invitations and cake and Payless endorsements. Girl stuff. Not my thing. But I put up with it because I liked the other women and the show could be pretty funny at times.

Then, all of sudden, all hell broke loose. First, Meredith revealed that she was leaving for “the Today Show”, which I thought totally sucked because I loved Meredith. Sucked even more when Barbara announced that Rosie O’Donnell was going to replace her. I knew who Rosie O’Donnell was, because I kept hearing about her all the time at one point, so I got curious and checked out her show. I found her loud and annoying, so I turned it off after a short while.

And SHE was gonna replace my Meredith? Gee, great… Not.

In June, Meredith left. Meanwhile, in Montreal, summer had arrived and these were two good reasons to start slacking off on my View-ing.

One morning, I casually put the show on, and… uh-ho… What’s going on here…? Why is everyone looking so gloomy? And where is Star?

Barbara explained something about Star saying things that they didn’t expect her to say the day before, and that she won’t be coming back on the program, and… WTF???

Answer: the internet. Oh, shit. I missed something big.

Actually, to be quite honest, I didn’t really make a big deal out of Star’s express departure; I wasn’t crazy about her in the first place. Plus, Meredith was gone, and the Jazz Festival had arrived.

I eventually caught up with all the juicy details, thanks to YouTube, but by then, I was finding myself starting to anticipate the new season, and again, getting curious about that loud Rosie person. Everytime I watched the View, they were going on and on about her and made such a big fuss all summer that I figured I should maybe check her out.

Then came September, and along with it, Rosie. I was on the defensive about her at the start of the season, but she won me over quickly. Oh yeah, she was loud alright, but she was also bright, funny, spontaneous, authentic, and, as I would soon discover, very, VERY outspoken.

And for me, that was the time when the View ceased to be purely recreational and the addiction began.

It was also the time when Survivor ceased to be my favourite show on TV.

Just like Survivor, the View was unlike anything I’d ever seen on TV; it had the excitement, the tension, the no holds barred conversations, and oh boy, did it have the drama. But the best thing was: it was LIVE. No editing, and basically, no filtering besides that 7 seconds delay. Awesome.

The fun estrogen-fuelled coffee-klatch became must-see TV.

I started to develop a potentially unhealthy obsession with the View, one symptom of which was that I turned, once again, to message boards. It took me a while to find a good one, but I eventually did. I now l spend a valuable chunk of my time on the IMDb’s View board, arguing with Republicans under the name of Salomey5, just like I do here, but with the difference that over there, I have way more readers, who leave me way more replies. 😉 Come and say hi sometime!

That said, there was also a positive aspect to my newly found obsession: I learnt stuff.

I am not kidding, I really did. The fights occurring almost daily between Rosie and Elisabeth represented in a small-scale the current political climate in America. Not only was the show strangely riveting, it was also relevant.

I mean, I knew about the Democrats and the Republicans, and that Bush was a Repub, as well as a complete moron, and I knew that his administration was an absolute disaster of a catastrophe, but what I didn’t know was that there was such an extreme division between the left and the right in the US.

And that became even clearer when I started posting on IMDb, where supporters of either parties routinely fling insults such as “liberal”, “conservative” and “(insert party name here) Kool-Aid drinker” at one another.

So if nothing else, I am both way more knowledgeable and interested in politics than I was before, thanks to the View.

But I’ll admit, I didn’t watch this show for its educational values, that just happened accidentally. Simply put, I LOVED the drama. You never knew what was going to happen, or who would say what. Well, actually, you did, but they were all saying it so LOUD that it was truly over the top and that made it totally awesome!

Until things very abruptly came to an end.

I don’t think I need to tell you about Nuclear Wednesday, or the numerous blow-ups that led up to it; it has been more than well documented all over the media, be it on entertainment blogs, or the proper news outlets. Hell, it even was on our local news!

But, in case you lived under a rock and only moved into an apartment recently, here’s the infamous clip; note the split-screen, and remember, should you ever become a talk-show producer, that it’s a BIG no-no.

And also, take a sec’ to go grab your earplugs, or at least some toilet paper or tissues, because folks, this is gonna get REALLY LOUD. Other than that, enjoy!

I betcha Mark Burnett now wishes he had come up with the idea for THAT show rather than Survivor…

So, do you understand my overboard enthusiasm for this show now?

I’d like to add that if you want to do some more catching-up on these fascinating nine months of estrogen gone bonkers, I suggest you Google the following suggestions:

“Rosie O’Donnell Kelly Ripa”

“Rosie O’Donnell Donald Trump”

And if you have a lot of time on your hands, try:

“Rosie O’Donnell Elisabeth Hasselbeck”. There are a lot more videos like the one above on YT, although none reaches Nuclear Wednesday’s extreme level of uncomfortable tension, nor ever deserved the split screen treatment. But still, the month or two that led up to that day were rich in animosity, decibels and dirty looks. And a lot of bullshit too, but who cares about that, it’s daytime TV. Regardless, there are other good clips worth watching. They’re easy to find, they’re all labeled “fight”, “freakout”, “crazy” and stuff like that. And as I said, go for the later ones, when things were really starting to heat up on set, and the fights became more frequent.

After Nuclear Wednesday, Rosie would never been seen again. Well, on the View, that is. But you could find her online easily, on her blog, posting her weird haikus, or whatever they’re called; I don’t do poetry.

Rumour had it that Rosie had trashed her dressing-room before making her final exit from the ABC studios, but it turned out that rumour was full of it. Rumour also had it that Rosie’s producer had defaced one of Hasselbeck’s pictures that was hanging there, by drawing a mustache on her smug mug, and that time, rumour was right.

And that glorious and ever so mature exit marked the end of an era, leaving many rubbing their hands together and going: “Mwahaha!” while grinning like maniacs.

But it also left many others missing her a great deal, and I sure was one of them; I sometimes still miss her, although not so much now that the show has become good again. But love her or hate her, Rosie is exciting, a bit crazy, spontaneous, outspoken, hilarious, and so much more. She’s an open book, she’s completely authentic; you don’t get many people like her on television.

After Rosie left even more precipitately than Star Jones, the View became a right fucking snooze-fest, moderated by an infuriatingly non-confrontational Barbara Walters, and featuring an endless line-up of, for the most part, insignificant, boring, forgettable, downright stupid, or all of the above guest co-hosts.

That lasted for what seemed like ages. Eventually, it was announced that the new moderator would be Whoopi Goldberg. I wasn’t over-enthusiastic about it, but I do like Whoopi, and I guess they could have done worse.

Shortly afterwards, it was announced that Sherri Shepherd would inherit Star’s long-vacated seat. That happened about three weeks after everyone in the world and their cousin found out through the media that Sherri Shepherd would be the View’s new co-host.

That season, the View’s 11th, was dead boring. For me, the only good thing about it was Joy. I found Whoopi too laid-back, Barbara too safe, self-obsessed and generally insufferable, Sherri too Goddamn ignorant, about… everything, and by then, I had accumulated enough profound dislike for Elisabeth to adopt, in unison with many of her detractors, the nickname of “Bitsy”. Which eventually got shortened to “EH”, and if you don’t mind, I’ll be using that from now on.

Although I recently came up with my personal pet name for her: Screech. You’ll soon get what I mean if you haven’t already.

The snooze-fest that was season 11 was like detox for me. I went back to my semi-regular View-ing, and mostly lurked on the message board.

On the show, there was the odd heated debate on the race for the presidential nominations, but for the most part, the whole panel was disappointingly well-behaved and civil.

Once again, summer came and I found myself not giving much of a damn about the View, although I did harbour secret hopes that Sherri Shepherd would be handed her walking papers before the start of the new season, because I found her completely useless.

However, with Obama and McCain winning the presidential nominations, the month of July did bring us a couple of alas too rare trainwreck moments. But images speak louder than words. And when you add words to these images, that’s even louder. Especially with these gals. So put your earplugs on (or just turn down the volume), and enjoy the following clips.

July 17th:

First (as far as I can recall) memorable (read: fun) headbutting session between EH and Whoopi. The argument’s about the “N” word, and bizzarely enough, the one who gets the most upset about it is the white chick.


July 31st:

Clash over McCain campaign ad #1:

Let’s admit it, this panel does have potential for a disaster of epic proportions, dontcha think?

August arrived. Long boring August, during which I hardly paid attention to the View. I think they aired mostly reruns during that time, and if they didn’t, too bad. Bottom line is, if they ain’t gonna fight, I ain’t gonna watch. Plus the sun decided to (finally) shine over Montreal, the Francofolies (Francophone music festival) was full on and I had better things to do with my life than watching a bunch of women getting along on TV.

August ended, September came, and along with it, the new season, which began with, darn it, the exact same cast: egomaniac Barbara – aka Babs, awesome Joy, cool Whoopi, verbal diarrhea victim EH, and Sherri’s boobs.

Then McCain announced his pick for VP, and all of a sudden, EH went completely bonkers and just like that, the View was awesome again.

So, after a rather dull season 11, boy, am I glad to announce that season 12 started off with a bang! The gun did get wet though, and things briefly calmed down, but thankfully, this return to civility didn’t last.

And folks, it isn’t too late for you to hop on the bandwagon and join in to point and laugh at this insane circus of a show. In fact, we’re right in the middle of it now, so come on in, we still have room.

The season 12 View provides a daily shouting match, complete with cross-talk, furiously flapping hands, fingers wagging dangerously close to faces, lots and lots of eye rolling, and plenty of inane commentary, freshly picked and served almost word for word from Fox News’ ever-so-wise Sean Hannity, courtesy of Macbot Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

Please take note that each weekday, ABC airs essentially the same show: someone brings up the presidential race, and everyone else completely loses their shit within 30 seconds. But it’s such awesome shit, how could one get tired of it!!?

But seriously, who would have thunk that EH would almost single-handedly restore this show’s past glory?…

Not me, I’ll assure you of that…!

However, she did, and the others panelists are following along nicely, minus the insanity and the blatant brainwashing of my favourite villain in lipstick.

And this is when I come into play.

Over the last couple of weeks, I figured that if the View was going to once again provide us almost daily with these wonderful live moments of awkwardness, then I want to be a part of it; I want to document them for posterity, before it’s too late. Because the way things are at the moment, the View has once again reached levels of awesomeness that I never thought were attainable without Rosie.

So awesome that it likely won’t last. In truth, Hasselbeck has overdone herself over the course of the last three weeks, to the point where I fear for her. At any moment now, she could get fired, fire herself, set fire to the studio and run, or simply explode on set and self-combust. That is if she doesn’t get assassinated beforehand by her ever-growing number of enemies, the worst of whom might well be her lively collegues.

That is why the month of September deserves its own entry; although not as vibrant and psychotically exciting as October would turn out to be, September has offered us enough strong moments and given us a sufficient number of glimpses of the wonderful trainwreck that it was once again about to become. This was just the set-up. Now get those earplugs, and join me to take a little time to enjoy the View!

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2 Responses to “The View and I: The Backstory”

  1. lilkunta January 7, 2009 at 9:23 pm #

    Excellent post sal5!

    Like

    • salomey5 January 8, 2009 at 1:13 am #

      Hey, hello, LilK!!!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, glad you enjoyed my post! 🙂

      Like

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