When my sister told me that she had tickets for us to be in the audience of the TV show, The View, I was surprised how excited I became. I don’t watch alot of TV but the thought of being right in the middle of the live filming of such a program captured my imagination. I couldn’t help but visualize how many millions of people around the globe share that moment with you.
We labored over the choice of what to wear. There were some very specific instructions to follow and we were asked to look our best. Bright colors, we were told photograph best. I wore baby blue; my sister wore marine blue.
My sister insisted that we arrive extra early. A line had already formed outside the studio which is practically in the Hudson River. A cool wind blew off the river, chilling all of us. The line of women came from all backgrounds and ages and there were even a few brave men, beside their wives. The air was charged with excitment and gaiety. A young woman stood over us whose job seemed to be to keep us in line. A complimentary coffee and doughnut truck was parked by the curb. I ordered a hot cider but it was overly sweet and I tossed it in the trash.
We stood outside the studio in the cold for two hours until they finally let us into the building in small groups. Once inside we were given numbers and had to stand in another line before our bags were searched and we passed into yet another line. A woman came out and said that she was the producer of the show and asked us to talk about any product that we couldn’t live without. She would film us talking about it and maybe the manufacturer would provide a future audience with these items. One woman spoke about retractable Sharpie pens and another raved about ziplock bags. This helped to take our minds and feet off of the hours that we’d been standing in line. And finally it happened. The line started to move toward the elevators.
We were numbers 22 and 23. That sounded good to me. But apparently there were VIPs who had highlighted tickets who went before us. Our excitment grew as we got closer to the studio. And finally we could see the sign that read, The View. And we were in!
I could see that we weren’t going to be in the front. The studio wasn’t big so I wasn’t very disappointed but when I realized that I was seated right behind the main camera, which is gigantic I bolted like a true New Yorker who knows how to get a seat on the subway and got a better seat. There was a huge crew scrurrying around doing all kinds of things. On the set, which was smaller than I had imagined, was that notorious table with the red mugs strategically placed. The table too, was smaller than I thought.
Once the audience was seated, and that took quite some time, a young man came out and started talking to us, informing us what was expected. His job seemed to be to rally the audience. He was very funny and kept cracking jokes. With alot of pent up energy from having stood in line for hours, we roared and clapped at his will. Juice and cookies were provided too. All the women complained that they were going off their diets.
The cameramen took their places behind the cameras, the lights dimmed, and the women of The View stepped out onto the set. The audience was in awe like a god-fearing congregation of Babptists. I was immediately struck by how much thinner all the women looked in person, especially Barbara Walters and Joy Behar. Whoopi started off with comments that seemed rehearsed about Roman Polanski. The women relaxed and an engaging conversation followed.
For me in the audience, the most interesting aspect of the show was what went on during the breaks. Every one relaxed, as if for those brief moments they were allowed to be themselves. Barbars Walters seemed the most serious. She reviewed her notes, though at one point she did address the audience. She aplogized for those who couldn’t see and would end up with a stiff neck. Whoopi Goldberg chatted with the crew and cohosts. Joy Behar left the stage. Sherri Shepherd spoke happily with the audience. I don’t know if she was asked to do so, but she was very friendly and open. She spoke about her food addiction.
The special feature of that show was the appearance of Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon. The crew changed the set to a circular sofa and the guests were welcomed and seated. They chatted about the present and the past, focusing on the question: was Yoko responsible for breaking up the Beatles? She claimed that she had little to do with it. Then they spoke of a new CD that she and Sean have recently released. They performed a number from that new CD. Sean played the piano and Yoko “sang,” if you can call it that. It was a touching and sad song about, who else, John. She is a still a tragic figure though she challenges one’s sympathy, wearing tiny sunglasses balanced precariously on the bridge of her nose.
Through it all, we were lead by the comic. I shouted and cheered and clapped so hard that my hands stung. For one hour we forgot all our troubles. Nothing else existed but the stage and the people on it. We were privy to a view of another world, one we could only briefly fantasize about entering, though the $100 gift certificate from Macy’s that every one in the audience received helped to keep the fantasy alive.