Much like you can measure the age of a tree by its rings, you can track the spread of the coronavirus in America by watching The View. On March 11, which was exactly one week and also somehow six years ago, The View was one of the first shows we saw air without an in-studio audience, a fact that was pointed out by Whoopi Goldberg enthusiastically greeting rows and rows of empty chairs. Then, on March 13, The View aired a pretaped episode where Joy Behar announced that she was leaving the show to quarantine against the virus, because she’s in “a higher-risk group.”
Now Whoopi’s working from home, and like so many first-time remote workers under social distancing, she doesn’t seem to know that there’s a mute feature on Zoom. On a March 18 episode, as Abby Huntsman was describing the measures she’s taking, “buying gift cards to every cafe in my neighborhood” to support small businesses during the pandemic, a cell phone started to ring — something that would be part of the average cacophony of daytime TV if it weren’t for Meghan McCain shooting a confused, upset reaction across the room (to the empty audience, we must remind you). Things dissolve even further when Whoopi actually, apparently, picks up the call, answering, “Hello?” as though if she whispered quietly enough or covered her mouth a bit, we wouldn’t all be able to hear her on live TV.
In another clip from the episode, The View’s usual “everyone talking over each other” is shown to be a tad less effective when one person’s on speakerphone. During an argument over trade with China, Meghan McCain said, “I can’t tell who’s yelling at me right now, first,” even as Sunny Hostin ceded the floor to Whoopi, who from her quarantine feed shot back with panache, “No, no, no one’s yelling. I’m just trying to make sure you can hear me.”
Even when she’s out of the studio entirely, Whoopi will have the floor, forever and always.
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