I tuned into "The View" Tuesday to see Kate Gosselin as guest host, and I quickly realized she had nothing to offer in this role. But I left an hour later dazzled by what an outstanding off-the-news, pop-culture production this show has become with Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg leading the way.
What a fine hour of daytime TV -- despite Kate, who was way out of her league next to women of genuine accomplishments.
The show opened with Goldberg and Walters remembering Patrick Swayze, who died Monday of pancreatic cancer at age 57.
Goldberg, who seemed genuinely moved by his death, said she got the role in the feature film "Ghost" because of Swayze: "I got that movie because of Patrick Swayze, and because of him I have an Oscar."
And then, they showed a portion of the last intervew Swayze did. It took place in January and Walters was the interviewer. My lord, she is good when she is on her game. She asked him about "Ghost" and the line he says in the movie to the character playing his wife: "It's amazing, Molly. The love inside you -- you take it with you."
It is a brilliant, on-the-money question that brought a touching and poignant answer from a man facing his own death with his real-life loving wife sitting by his side. The studio audience was as hushed as it might have been a funeral mass.
After a break, Barbara questioned Kate Gosselin a little, asking why she wears the wedding ring and if she took fertility drugs after having twins. She also asked her about Jon saying he "despised" Kate. But, believe me, for Barbara Walters, this was pulling punches, because she didn't follow up on any of Kate's thin and tired answers about doing it all for the children and being a "high-road taker." In this company, the answers sounded weaker than ever.
The finale was a knockout: Taylor Swift explaining how she felt when Kanye West crudely took the microphone from her at the MTV awards Sunday and said Beyonce should have won the award Swift was onstage to receive.
Talk about timely. And, my oh my, did the ladies of "The View" ever give Taylor Swift the love.
Walters praised her for showing a "lot of character and a lot of poise." She also asked a brilliant question. After showing video of West on Jay Leno's show Monday night saying how sorry he was and how much he wanted to personally apologize to Swift, Walters asked if West had actually reached out to the country-pop singer via an e-mail, phone call or through representatives.
When Swift said no, you could hear gasps. Goldberg, in the voice of a petrurbed schoolmistress, wondered aloud if West might be making that call shortly after he heard about Swift's appearance on "The View." If ever West needed an intimation of how bad it could get for him with the Hollywood establishment for what he did to Swift, it was right there in Goldberg's voice. It made me shiver.
And then Swift sang -- two songs.
I hate to say it, but Tuesday's "The View" was a heckuva lot better than Jay Leno's Monday night premiere. Maybe ABC wants to open up its own 10 p.m. timeslot.