Whoopi. Barbara. Ladies of “The View”. This morning, your half-caf estro chat is getting a new co-host. Replacing Joy Behar will be raunch duchess Jenny McCarthy, the Playboy Bunny turned activist mom. She’s got lots of talk show experience, most recently hosting her own VH1 show, so we’re sure she’ll do fine. However, in order to ease Jenny’s transition to ABC’s morning table, we’ve prepared a few discussion topics for you to scrawl down on your giant cue cards.
Jenny: When your hiring on The View was announced, naysayers in outlets from the New Yorker to Time fretted that you would become the most dangerous woman on television if your outspoken view that autism is caused by vaccines — refuted by scientists — was given a public platform. Discuss.
Jenny: You and former New Kid on the Block Donnie Walberg only recently confirmed your romantic relationship, but rumors about a dalliance had swirled ever since he was a guest on your VH1 show and you asked him, “Do you talk dirty while you’re having sex?” As a reality television celebrity, how much do you think about how to maintain a private life while still cultivating your signature dirty-Bunny-next-door image? Discuss.
Jenny: Staff members of a certain age were talking amongst ourselves before the show, and realized that many of us share an identical memory related to “Singled Out,” the MTV show that launched your career in 1995. This is the memory: We are sitting in the finished basement belonging to one of our friend’s parents. You are on television, elbowing your way through a sea of college-age men. You are grunting and smelling your armpits. Everyone is laughing. We are laughing too, and we simultaneously realize that this is a formative experience of our generation as well as the end of civilization, and we mourn the loss of our childhood and the melancholy yet to come. Discuss.
Jenny: Speaking of “Singled Out,” In recent years, some critics have remarked on the rise of the female grossout comedy. We have seen Maya Rudolph publicly felled by explosive diarrhea in a wedding dress. We have seen Aubrey Plaza embark on an epic sexual checklist and Melissa McCarthy rummage through Sandra Bullock’s nose for a peanut. Off screen, we have read this phenomenon described by Gillian Flynn in “Gone Girl” (Have you read it?) as the “cool girl” problem. Which is to say: it is no longer enough for women to be attractive, smart and groomed, they must also be relentlessly down with snot and football and week-old pizza, thereby setting impossible standards that can be attained by almost no human woman, and which will ultimately lead to the dissolution of stable relationships everywhere. What we want to know, Jenny, is that considering you have been alluding to the fact that you are “built like a bunny, but talk like a dude” for years, do you feel responsible for this? Do you?
Jenny: Speaking of Melissa McCarthy: the two of you are first cousins. Discuss.
Jenny: Once and for all, can you please clear up the incident involving the photo of you and your ex-boyfriend Jim Carey wearing the black strip of fabric wedged in places we don’t want to think about – we believe he was using it as a “swim suit” – and tell us, was he joking, or what?
Jenny: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Jenny: Do you consider yourself a nihilist?
Jenny: Back to these vaccines. Is your first order of business going to be to destroy all of the vaccines in the world with your own hands, or will you dispense an army of rejected 1990s “Singled Out” rejects (Birkenstocks with socks, Backstreet Boys haircuts) to do it for you?
Jenny: Is the concept that a Hollywood celebrity without a medical degree would have an outsize influence on vaccination discourse slightly ludicrous? Does it imply a general level of stupidity among the American public, as if they are unable to differentiate between 40-year-old mother whose most recent book was called “Bad Habits” and the Surgeon General of the United States? And if so, do you fear that lowering our standards for American intelligence results in a self-fulfilling prophecy, wherein Americans only respond to lower standards, and we, the media and entertainment industry should really be thinking about our roles and goals? Discuss, after commercial.