The View from the bottom

Have you noticed that almost every new daytime TV show wants to be a version of “The View”? You can almost hear the pitch sessions down at Television Central – “It’s totally different: It’s ‘The View’ with doctors.” “It’s ‘The View’ with interior decorators.” “It’s ‘The View’ with politicians.” “It’s ‘The View’ meets ‘SportsCenter.’” “It’s ‘The View,’ but on the Home Shopping Network.” “It’s ‘The View’ with comedians.” “It’s ‘The View’ with celebrity chefs.” “It’s ‘The View’ with pawn shop owners.” “It’s ‘The View’ for hoarders.” “It’s ‘The View’ hosted by the Kardashians.” “It’s ‘The View’ meets ‘Dancing with the Stars.’” “It’s ‘The View’ with people who’ve been kicked off ‘Survivor.’” “It’s ‘The View’ with people talking about ‘The View’ that they watched this morning.” “It’s ‘The View’ with interesting women talking about the topics of the day.” Oh, no, wait, that IS “The View.”

Now, I like “The View” as much as the next person. As much as the next person who watches daytime TV out of the corner of his eye while doing household chores – chores like dusting the TV, fluffing the sofa in front of the TV, oiling the recliner in front of the TV and washing my, I mean ‘his,’ collection of Snuggies. Is “The View” really that good? Or could it be that I watch because I’ve already seen all the half-hour-long infomercials they run that time of day on most of the other channels? If there’s a slicer/dicer, miracle cleaner, closet organizer, under-the-bed storage bag, juicer, food dryer, egg cooker, herb chopper, grill, boiler, printer ink cartridge refiller, push-up tool, pull-up bar, exercise ball, bell, belt or video I don’t have, it’s only because the item must not be up to my high shopping-by-phone standards. And sometimes I can’t meet the “call within the next 10 minutes” deadline because I’m on the phone buying something else.

Do I tune into “The View” because I know I can watch it every day and rarely, if ever, hear the words “glue gun,” “quinoa” or “the reveal”? Somehow I can’t picture Joy Behar scrapbooking or Barbara Walters worrying about the best way to grill hamburgers in her backyard. She has important things to worry about, like who is the most fascinating person of the year. This year Steve Jobs won, beating out the Kardashians. Tough choice. Like picking between Charlie Sheen and Gandhi, it’s kind of a toss-up.

No, I watch so I can enjoy the pleasure of a coffee klatch without having to let anyone into my not-so-spotless kitchen. It turns out that the big problem with all those miracle cleaners I buy that promise to remove all my most disgusting grease and grime is that they don’t come with a cleaning person. Apparently I am supposed to do all the spraying and scrubbing myself. Now where would I find the time to watch all those miracle cleaner infomercials and order them if I did my own cleaning? So, I can see “The View,” but they can’t see me.

Besides, “The View” has much better friends than I do. Because of the “The View” I don’t have to invite my deadbeat neighbors into my kitchen, neighbors who would probably want me to make them some kind of fancy flavored coffee, like hazelnut or vanilla or something and serve them freshly baked coffee cake. But I don’t do modern coffee. I only know how to make coffee-flavored coffee. In a coffee pot I’ve been meaning to clean.

I don’t have to comb my hair to watch “The View;” I don’t have to get out of my bathrobe. I don’t have to clean up after anyone when the show’s over. But now that every show wants to be “The View” I have to ask, how many coffee klatches can one person watch in a day? My limit would be about five, maybe six. I need some time to refill my ink cartridges, juice my eggs and organize my closet.

Jim Mullen’s new book, “Now in Paperback,” is now in paperback. You can reach him at

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