____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Friday, May 7, 2010

Can You Tell Me How The View Got to Sesame Street?

Ok, so The View jumped the shark this morning.

Elmo?  For real?  Seriously?

I've been a long-time fan of The View, from the beginning when there was that blond girl before Lisa Ling?  Yeah, I remember that.

And I remember when Dick Clark tried to do a take-off to give the male point of view on female topics.--It bombed.

Not that I thought Dick Clark had a bad idea, just bad follow through.  I don't think he, or the producers got what made The View so exceptional.

When The View first began, it presented a formidable group of professional women to offer educated opinions in a male-dominated field.  It's not even a matter that of the feminine perspective, but the opportunity to see women give a voice to important, or even merely interesting topics.  These women weren't just pretty faces, either.  Helmed by its creator, the renowned Barbara Walters gave The View the voice of history and and authority, having done most of the major interviews of the past century.  Meredith Viera, and soon Lisa Ling, offered the insightful views of investigative television journalism.  Star Jones brought a law background.  And while all these women could certainly be entertaining in their own right, Joy Behar rounded out the ensemble with a comedienne's well-pointed sense of timing and humor.

But apparently when Dick Clark tried to bring The Other Half to television, he couldn't see past the premise of a group of women talking about current topics.  As a counterpart to this intelligent and highly educated group of women, The Other Half offered Dick Clark, Danny Bonaduce, Mario Lopez, and Dr. Jan Adams, who was soon replaced by Dorian Gregory.  In case you weren't counting, that's a DJ, an actor/DJ, an actor, a plastic surgeon, and, um, oh yeah, an actor.

Not that I don't love Dick Clark, a veteran of the entertainment industry--But I look to him when I want to find this week's Top 10 on the charts, or when I need an end-of-the-year countdown.  He's not my go-to guy for current events.  Danny Bonaduce is great, but he is most noted for going from a hit 70s show (The Partridge Family) to being a troubled child star battling addictions, to a troubled adult battling addictions.  A.C. Slater, um, I mean, Mario Lopez, now a co-host of the pop-gossip daily TV show Extra, is otherwise famous for his tenure on the show Saved By the Bell.  Granted, Dr. Jan Adams, was/is a doctor, and I in no way mean to take away from the value of what plastic surgeons do, but I resent that this show's one professional member was picked blatantly to re-enforce shallow stereotypes about women's image concerns.  Dr. Adams was rumored to have been uncomfortable with his role on the show, and left soon thereafter.  And to fill the vacancy left by the only professional presence--Dorian Gregory, best known for his character on the long-running series Charmed.

When I saw The Other Half, I didn't see men making a legitimate effort to address issues and concerns facing women, but a cast of actors and entertainers, mocking the very audience they sought to procure.

So when Lisa Ling was replaced by one of the cast-mates of Survivor, I was a little hesitant.  When Meredith Viera was replaced by Rosie O'Donnell, I was a little reluctant.  When both Star Jones and Rosie O left amidst controversy, and were replaced by Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd, an actress and an actress/comedienne, I thought the end was near.

However, Goldberg and Shepherd have become a pleasing and much welcome addition to The View.  The two seem to have finally filled the holes left in the show by previous departures, and add not only bring educated and insightful "views" to the show, but also complement the chemistry between the other hosts.  I've even come to realize that Elisabeth Hasselbeck, not always my cup of tea, brings valid opinions to the table.

The great thing about The View is that they address such a wide variety of issues, from news, government, and policies, to fashion, health, and gossip--Nothing is off-limits.

But this morning, after a personal interview with former heavy-weight boxer Mike Tyson, and a topical piece on the unending trouble women have with their undergarments, they ended the show with Elmo sitting at the table promoting 'his' new DVD, which of course everyone in the audience got a copy of.  Honestly, all of the hosts looked mortified to have to sit there and pretend that this puppet had something interesting to say.  And I've got nothing against Sesame Street (although I'm a Snuffleupagus fan and I think Elmo is overshadowing the rest of the ensemble...).  I even think that there are valid segments that The View could do with Sesame Street and its characters to show to promote its merits and causes, chiefly the value of education.  But the only thing that puppet was doing on the show this morning was hawking a DVD, mercenary advertising pure and simple, and everyone involved should be abashed for such making such a crude mockery of two very influential shows.

What would Mr. Rogers say?

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