I spent my morning in a kind of anxious anticipation for first Rosie-less installment of The View to begin.
I wondered how they were going to handle Rosie's early departure or–more importantly–how they were going to deal with the reports in all the papers (read: gossip pages) this weekend that Rosie's head writer drew mustaches all over pictures of Elizabeth Hasslebeck, and THAT was why Rosie was leaving. Or, how they were going to finesse the fact that Rosie was blogging her way through the holiday weekend talking about how she hasn't spoken to Elizabeth since their on-air dust-up, and that it was unlikely she would talk to her again. Me-ow!
The answer? They didn't. Or, at least, not in any way that felt satisfying.
The show opened up with the women (minus O'Donnell and plus Whoopi Goldberg) strutting across stage and taking their seats at the table. The crowd was going crazy. Whoopi smiled gamely and tossed Barbara her softball: "What's up?"
"What?" Barbara retorted. "Have you been living under a rock?"
And so it began: Walter went on to say the program had "quite a week. And one that makes us very sad." (No split screen to Hasslebeck, natch, but I envisioned her rolling her eyes.)
She wanted to be clear that Rosie was never fired, and that she left early because she was upset about the split screen technology employed during the argument she had with Hasslebeck over the war in Iraq. Really? That's it? Hmm. "So much has been exacerbated by so much going on on-camera that normally goes on off-camera." She expressed–as she always does in a way that always feels a little false–her endless love and admiration for O'Donnell, and her hope that she will come back and guest star from time to time. "The View has been a hot show for ten years and it will continue to be a hot show for many years to come," she concluded diplomatically. Smile and head nods all around.
Hasslebeck chimed in soberly and said (contrary to Rosie's blog) that she and O'Donnell had "been in communication" over the weekend and that together they were tackling the biggest hot topic of all: The Power of Forgiveness. "It enables us to move on in a really positive way," she chirped.
"Really?" Joy Behar blurted out, incredulous. My sentiments exactly. It would have been refreshing to see them really dig into this particular hot topic, but it seems like they just wanted to move on…and fast. And, ever the Pollyannas, they went on to say how all the women who had been part of the The View had gone onto bigger and better things–and what a wonderful family (despite the dysfunction, as Behar put it) the group can be. Please. Call me crazy, but I have a funny feeling Star and Debbie aren't exactly on the holiday card list. The whole things made me realize that, despite all of Rosie's painful bluster and insecure spotlight hogging, I am definitely going to miss her honesty.