The latest entry into the world of daytime chatfests started yesterday afternoon. Just what the world needed! Actually, I'm probably more inclined to watch this show than The View, but mostly because of my undying fascination with Julie Chen. Seriously, even in seasons when Big Brother sucks, I still watch to see what she's wearing. And while I usually can't catch The Early Show, I can totally DVR The Talk and watch it while I'm fixing dinner (and by that I mean calling for take out).
The first episode got off to a bit of a sluggish start with a lot of time spent on how they all prepared for the show. I don't really care that much about the behind-the-scenes process of getting a show from pilot to air. And certainly not before I've decided if I can tolerate the program at all. And they need to do something about their studio audience. They all looked half-dead. Even Rachael Ray or Martha's audiences look more enthused. Even the desperate housewives at The Nate Berkus Show look excited to be there. I'm not saying that I expect Julie Chen to dance through the aisles with a DJ to get people to boogie (though I would perish from the awesomeness of it all if she did), but she could ply them with some cupcakes or coffee to get the energy up. Something.
Once the episode actually got going, I thought it worked overall. I liked that they didn't have the entire group sitting down with their guest. Poor Christie Brinkley would have been overwhelmed by all these personalities. And I was thrilled that Marissa Jaret Winokur was relegated to doing sort of man-on-the-street stuff and wasn't part of the initial table talk. Especially since what I did have to watch of her involved her using a whistle noise to talk about her lady bits and then had to watch her giggle every time someone used the word penis during a segment on talking to kids about sex. Yeah, a little of her goes a really, really, really long way. As for the rest of the ladies, I've broken them down individually:
She's clearly the pro and claims that the Chenbot is here to be your girlfriend. That's my secret dream. She's used to talking to idiots on Big Brother, so discussing any inane topic (even the person posing as her on Twitter) is old hat for her. She even tried to broach tough topics with Brinkley, since she's the only journalist on the panel. But the best part of her first day was watching her laugh. Especially when her husband, CBS overlord Les Moonves, sent a video greeting that says he hopes the show does well so he doesn't have to cancel her. Seriously, if this show flops, just give her a talk show of her very own. She'd be great to fill the forthcoming Oprah void.
She's got a casual vibe going on, sitting cross-legged on the couch, but I'm waiting for her claws to come out. She got a bit fired up about cyber-bullying and wasn't shy about mentioning her experiences with Botox, which was great. But often when things got to be a bit interesting, she'd say "that's a whole 'nother conversation." I get that they have time constraints, but I want to hear those conversations. Her best moment? Talking about how Ozzy was looking for the pilot on TV when it filmed -- he kept flipping channels.
I don't actually dislike her, but she does need to tone it down a bit because during the final bit when they were on the couch she completely blocked Sara Gilbert vocally and physically. She kept leaning forward, so tiny Sara couldn't be seen until they changed the angle, and Sara couldn't even get a word in edgewise. Also, she kind of dissed the fact that Sara was a vegetarian several times, and that was the first day. We get it, you like to eat meat. Oh, and also, she was playing on her iPad while other people were watching their videos from family. That seems a bit on the rude side... which may actually make this show a bit spicier once they all stop being so nice.
Holly Robinson Peete
At first I was touched by the fact that she was so overwhelmed by their debut that she teared up because she was happy to have a job. But she really needs to work on her segues. As it was, it just seemed like she was jumping in on one subject with something off-topic and about her life. Then I realized she was trying to lead into a poll. That needs some finesse, because right now it comes off as annoying.
I want to love her, but honestly, she was barely there. She came up with the idea for this mommy-centric show, but I feel like I know nothing about her after that hour aside from the fact that she's vegetarian (which I knew, and Leah pointed out repeatedly) and that she has the most adorable daughter (who we saw in a video) and that she is hoping that the fact that Roseanne debuted on the same date bodes well for this show. She needs to learn to speak her mind, and loudly, otherwise she's going to get drowned out by all these other women on a daily basis.
So, after just one episode, my verdict is: decent, but not great. Maybe in a month they'll have found their groove. If Les hasn't cancelled them by then.
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