Sensing her guests’ discomfort, The View‘s resident liberal, Joy Behar, quickly switched gears by asking Cybill and Jennifer what they thought of the New Hampshire primary results. Irrelevant, yes, but it served the purpose of taking us, momentarily, out of Stupidland.
In response, Cybill gushed over Hillary Clinton, then yielded time to the forever classy Beals, who offered the first intelligent statement of the segment:
What I like about Obama is that I feel a sense of urgency to get things done right away. I’ve heard him speak a couple of times and he is incredibly inspiring. And I think the first impetus towards change is to have the inspiration and to have the hope. He’s obviously very smart and I think he can be a great leader. But having said that, I’m really excited that there’s a race, because I think it keeps both people really honest, and it allows different issues to come out and be fleshed out.
True. But the clock is ticking. Will someone please inject some L Word substance into the conversation?
Cybill Shepherd and Jennifer Beals on The View
After those refreshing few moments, viewers were again treated to the failings of The View‘s research department. After referring to her note card because, as she confessed, "I can’t remember nothing," Whoopi Goldberg turned to Beals and said, "My friend Marlee Matlin just joined [the cast]."
All together now: Yeah … no!
The mention of Matlin, who like Shepherd joined The L Word last year, provided the perfect segue for someone to ask Beals about her character’s (Bette Porter) on-screen relationship with Matlin’s character (Jodi Lerner), but unfortunately Whoopi chose to begin a discussion about sign language.
"I know, Jennifer, you’re signing," Whoopi said. "And your daughter is signing also? How old is she?"
Old enough to sign, "My mommy has a blow torch and knows how to use it!" I thought.
Beals didn’t clarify that Whoopi was asking about her real daughter, not her character’s daughter. Why bother? The audience was never told that she has an on-screen daughter. And that made sense, since no was talking about The L Word, anyway.
So Beals simply told a funny story about her 2-year-old — a cute anecdote that prompted Joy to comment about the little girl, "Wow, she’s smart!"
Yeah, smart — it’s what was missing in the room.
Sherri, who will never be accused of being smart, couldn’t have appeared more disinterested in a discussion about intelligence, and she refocused on Cybill. "Cybill, your character — you have just come out."
Again: Yeah … no! That happened last season, too.
Shepherd went on, "You left your husband … so now you’re into the lifestyle of being a lesbian."
Let’s pause now to review the word "lifestyle." Clueless people and those with a political agenda misuse it frequently to describe the lives of LGBT people. To be clear, a person’s sexual orientation is part of that person’s broader lifestyle, but being queer is not a lifestyle in itself. In other words, there is no gay lifestyle; there is no straight lifestyle.
There are, however, bad co-hosts with no style. And no one was more aware of that than Cybill, whose frustration at that point was so evident that I’m willing to bet that if she’d been handed a globe, she would have clocked Sherri upside her head with it.
"And what I thought was so funny," Sherri blathered on, "was you were writing down all of the lingo of, you know, that you didn’t know. Now in the show, will you two maybe, possibly get together or [pause] you know?"
No, Sherri, they don’t know. You know? Nobody knows what you’re talking about. Ever. How the — you know — hell did you get your job, anyway?
Cybill answered the question tongue in cheek. "Well, I’m hoping so," she said, "eventually." Beals found that funny too, threw her head back, and laughed.
Sherri, who correctly assumed that she was being laughed at, rather than with, felt the need to then explain her question by referencing the scene in the Season 5 premiere of The L Word where Cybill’s character learns the term "U-Hauling" (for the uninitiated: it’s a verb synonymous with moving in together after the first date). Unduly proud of the fact that she’d watched one episode, Sherri then boasted, "I know more about this show than y’all!"
One last time: Yeah … no!
She did, though, know more than Whoopi, who asked if U-Hauling is like text messaging. And I don’t even know what to do with that.