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Spot inspection: 'The View'

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View_lWhen I decided to tune in to The View this morning, I certainly wasn’t expecting a high-octane harpy-fest — not with Elisabeth Hasselbeck on maternity leave, and Rosie O’Donnell now a shadow of a memory in the moderator’s chair — but I also didn’t expect it to be the TV equivalent of Lunesta. Maybe this isn’t news to the rest of you, but when did these ladies — namely Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Barbara Walters (pictured) — forget how to have an interesting conversation?

“Hot Topics” kicked off with a clunky discussion about a book by (in Joy’s words) the “Dr. Phil of Saudi Arabia,” which included advice for men on when and how to hit their wives (!), but the ladies talked over each other so much, any potentially salient points were swallowed in the cacophony. And when the subject turned to President Pervez Musharraf declaring a state of emergency in Pakistan, Barbara insisted the show needed to focus on “nice, light subjects.” Alrigthy then! Onto the nice light topic of sexual abuse allegations at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa! Here, Whoopi started rambling that “one of the things you are risking if you open a school where you are not” is the risk of possible scandals taking place. And her point was what? That Oprah shouldn’t have founded and funded the school unless she was planning to quit her day job and take over as dean?

Finally, the panel came to the conclusion that Heather Mills is a bad person because she once demanded room-temperature water from one of Barbara Walters’ ABC minions. And then Joy tried to make a case for banning smoking in apartment buildings, which sent Whoopi into a huff (déjà vu, or have I seen this tantrum before?), and ended with Joy yelling, “I can smell the brisket!”

The episode’s only interview guest was Jerry Seinfeld, who I’m guessing stopped by The View since he’s already been on every other TV talk show ever broadcast to promote Bee Movie.Would it be enough to say that Babs used “yadda yadda yadda” in herintroduction? Or that the famed newswoman’s first question was askingthe comedian if he wanted to describe (once more) the most overhyped,over-described film of the season?

That said, the sit-down yielded one brilliant moment: theincredulouos look on Whoopi’s face when Seinfeld mentioned doingstandup for corportate gigs, and Babs asked — without a hint of irony —”You don’t do those for money, do you?” Um, is it too late to bringback that morning show with Kimora Lee Simmons, Jules Asner, andCynthia Garrett? Or did I just catch a particularly jank View episode and need to give the show one more chance?