By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 4, 2007 4:18 PM
Shut up, Babs! Knock it off, Joy! Put a sock in it, Elisabeth!
Whoopi Goldberg, the Oscar-winning comedy queen, tried to debut on the syndicated talker "The View" this morning, but she barely got a word in edgeways, what with evil stepsisters Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Elisabeth "LookatmeI'mpreggersagain" Hasselbeck hogging the microphone and mugging for the camera.
Whoopi is the show's new moderator, taking over where Meredith Vieira left off when she abdicated to take over for Katie Couric on NBC's "Today" show. In between Vieira's exit and Whoopi's debut was The Dark Year, when Rosie O'Donnell sat in the moderator chair, behind the show's new, slick plexiglass desk, haranguing the show's token conservative, Elisabeth, and turning the fluffy chitchat show into her bully pulpit to rail against Donald Trump, Kelly Ripa and whatever had her knickers knotted at the time.
But after just one season, Rosie and the plexiglass desk were tossed. Whoopi's in, the comfy pine drop-leaf table is back and the studio is bathed in warm yellow hues.
Only something goes wrong right away today. Whoopi keeps getting shouted down by the others. Joy, the alleged in-house comic, starts yakking about how she was sick for a couple of weeks and, to pass the time, she imagined that her on-air colleagues were sick, as well. Elisabeth shouts down Joy declaring she'd never do anything so insensitive; Joy snaps back, well, she wishes she, Joy, could get pregnant like Elisabeth, so can it. Elisabeth says she's got two more months to go -- crediting e-mails she's received with that information because, she explains, this is her second child and one can't help but be more blas? about it the second time around. Then she begins to discuss her new "bangs-and-boobs" look. Babs interrupts to trump them both, announcing she has very important friends.
"I have a message to give to you from, just so happens, from the mayor of this city of New York," Barbara simpered. "I would like to read it to you," She told Whoopi, adding quickly: "It's really to me. But it's about you."
When Rosie left, I thought we had an understanding that I was next in line, but the phone never rang. Goldberg -- Bloomberg -- you must have gotten confused and we look so alike.
"He's a good egg. I like him," Whoopi said, at an apparent loss for words.
Joy and Elisabeth began to battle for control of the big screen behind them -- the former torturing us with photos of her soon-to-be-married daughter and fiance, the latter with pics of her very young daughter on a pony. Elisabeth assures us that her daughter "thought she could bring the thing home. We live in New York City. . . . It will never happen . . . but she had fun."
Well, that's a relief.
Whoopi tells Joy that if she really wants to try to get pregnant, she -- Whoopi -- has one good egg left, which she keeps "very safe in the fridge. And, man -- "
"I have this book that I'm committed to," Babs interrupted in one of the worst segues ever on daytime TV.
"When I left '20/20,' I thought I would have nothing to do. I thought I would learn Spanish and go to museums and things I haven't done," Walters continued, mistaking us for people who care.
"I committed to writing an autobiography. It will be either so good or so awful. It comes out in May," Babs said, adding that the thing that bothers her is that she never kept a diary.
We think she's fibbing. Over the next few minutes, the only two sentences Whoopi manages to get in, as the three harpies from daytime hell chew over the whole "diary" thing, are:
I don't know if that's a good idea.
Finally, Joy -- the only one who seems to realize they're maybe being a tad rude to their new cast member -- asked Whoopi, 'What did you do all summer, by the way?"
Whoopi, a trouper, turns it back to "The View," saying she spent the summer fending off calls from people wanting information about her joining the show, and wondering how much tickets cost.
"Tickets are free," Joy said.
"That's what I tell people," Whoopi replied.
Done with Whoopi, Joy returns to the whole "diary" thing, talking about Paula Zahn and how the former CNN anchor allegedly wrote juicy bits about her allegedly torrid affair with some guy, which her husband found, according to news reports.
"When you write something down, you've got to know maybe the potential of somebody finding it is a little risky, exciting," opined Ms. Bangsandboobs.
Babs begins to whine about BlackBerries and YouTube and how nothing is sacred or private any more. This from the woman who made her career prying the most private information from various celebs for primetime specials.
"There is nothing that you can do that is not on YouTube, MyFace," Babs said, which is perhaps the funniest line of the whole show.
"I saw somebody in this audience doing something that they were going to [post] on YouTube. I thought, when we have station breaks and whisper and talk to you in the audience -- no more! No secrets!" Babs complained to her studio audience, sounding about 150 years old. ABC, for whom she works as a journalist when she's not being a daytime celebrity, is definitely going to give her notes on that comment.
An interminable period of time later, after they'd finished with Zahn, they tackled resigned Republican Idaho Sen. Larry E. Craig's problems -- he apparently should have told his wife about the whole arrest for allegedly trying to pick up a guy in an airport loo, they say, and he is also a victim of all this new technological thinggummies.
"There was a time, before cellphones with cameras, there was a time before all of those little things, when you could be private" in a public loo, Whoopi reminisced. Babs ripped the cops a new one for spending their time trying to catch unsuspecting, non-YouTube generation senators in a sting in a public bathroom.
"Who are they protecting?" Babs sniffed.
"Children or young boys," Joy said, stating the obvious -- to everyone except the part-time journalist on the show.
"A public restroom is not a place for people to have sex," added Whoopi, for Babs' benefit.
A hideous amount of time later, after having discussed Leona Helmsley leaving $12 million to her dog in her will, which included many jokes using the word for female dog in reference to them both, and a discussion about how quarterback Michael Vick didn't know any better than, according to the charges, to torture and kill dogs because that's how things are done in the South -- no mention of his gambling on the dog fights, which he knew would get him suspended from the NFL -- they returned to YouTube, this time to discuss the Miss Teen USA meltdown.
You know, the video that burned up the Web, in which one of the competitors was asked why one-fifth of Americans can't locate the United States on a world map and the chick responded:
U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and . . . our education like such in South Africa and Iraq and such, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa, and should help the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future.
Of course, during The Dark Rosie days, "The View" would not have dared to show that clip, because Donald Trump is an owner of the Miss Teen USA franchise, and Rosie would have launched into a tirade against Trump, and Trump would have called her a fat pig and told reporters -- again -- that Babs can't stand Rosie, and then they'd have that whole public-relations mess on their hands . . . again.
Whoopi, on the other hand, had this to say:
Now, you know, this could have been one of two things. She could have just had a bad day. Or this is, in fact, who she is. But no one would have known about this . . . [only now] people are going to walk up and go 'You're the idiot, really.' Because YouTube put it on there.
And then, finally -- Danny DeVito. DeVito and Whoopi are old pals; DeVito is appearing on the show for Whoopi's first day. DeVito, you'll recall, famously went on "The View" last November and appeared to be completely fractured, which he said at the time was the result of partying late into the night before with George Clooney and drinking too many limoncellos.
During the course of DeVito's interview with the harpies of the "The View," here is all that Whoopi managed to squeeze in over the cackling of her colleagues:
Didn't you do this on 'The View'?
I just wanted to know: What is [limoncello]?
It smells like a lemon.