Hey, I don’t know what you’ve been up to today, but if it’s feeling good about America in general, well, probably time to stop. Jenny McCarthy is joining The View.
Before I get into this, a quick disclaimer: I haven’t ever actually watched The View, although I did read Wikipedia’s article “The View (U.S. TV Series)” from which I learned that the show features “mostly five women.” (Said article has a helpful if byzantine chart detailing which woman had which seat and for what time period. It’s cool, I guess, if that’s what you’re into.) I also should let you know that my knowledge of McCarthy’s oeuvre is pretty much gained entirely through YouTube. But listen: That was enough.
Before delving into all that, though, we should take a moment to consider just what we’re talking about. So far this season, each episode of The View is watched by, on average, 3.3 million people, at least according to The Hollywood Reporter. That’s about the population of Iowa. Obviously there are bigger numbers than 3.3 million, but still, it’s pretty big. And now they all get to hear from Jenny McCarthy.
Next, a quick history: As you may well be aware, McCarthy will soon make her View debut because Elisabeth Hasselbeck (no relation to David Hasselhoff, as I thought for a long time, heh) is leaving for Fox & Friends. They may have selected McCarthy as Hasselbeck’s replacement because both have experience in exotically located game shows: Hasselbeck’s star first rose because of her time on Survivor: The Australian Outback, and McCarthy once hosted a season of an NBC reality show called Love in the Wild which, per its website, featured “single men and women, all looking for love,” who “journey to a tropical paradise to see if they can find that special someone for whom they’ve been looking.” Unfortunately, not that many special someones were found since this show’s run was halted after just one season with McCarthy in charge.
Anyway, another thing Hasselbeck and McCarthy have in common is that they were both raised Catholic. McCarthy wrote a book about her Papist upbringing called Bad Habits (wordplay! If you missed it, she’s dressed as a nun on the cover), which she plugged on The View in 2012, dispensing such logical and coherent spiritual insights as “Worship an elephant, if it puts you in a state of grace.” Then again, I guess it would be too much to ask for her to know what a complicated term like “state of grace” means, given that McCarthy — who says she once wanted to be a nun — seemed to think the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Jesus, not Mary.
But if you’re still not convinced that McCarthy is qualified for one of the storied chairs at The View, let your doubts be quelled: Not only has she hosted Love in the Wild, she’s also helmed Singled Out, Jenny, The Jenny McCarthy Show, and The Bad Girl’s Guide (cancelled after six episodes — all sorts of condolences if you’re a guide-less bad girl whose last chance at finding love was an exotic reality-TV show). And we haven’t even started on her illustrious filmography, which includes Scream 3, Witless Protection, and Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe. Plus there’s a YouTube video that shows up when you search her name called “Jenny McCarthy: Rock Has A Small Pecker.” I didn’t have time to watch it before deadline (and also, I imagine it’s pretty self-explanatory), but feel free to check it out if you’re into McCarthyology or whatever.
One of those shows, Singled Out, let one person eliminate groups of contestants based on one of six categories. In one episode, for instance, the categories for men were Weight, Package, Face Fuzz, Ambition, Brains, and Date Style. In another episode, the categories for women were Height, Chest, Butt, Hair Color, Underwear, and Make-Up. At one point, McCarthy’s co-host, Chris Hardwick, asked one of the contestants, “Do you find it fair that we live in a society where you’re eliminated based on your underwear?” I’m sure one can expect McCarthy to take the same level of incisive social commentary to The View.
But if these cultural contributions don’t seem like enough to have earned her 6.6 million ears, McCarthy is also a public-health hero for fighting the pox on our society that is vaccination. Just kidding. Vaccines save lives but Jenny McCarthy thinks they give you autism, which is nuts. She’s pretty vocal about that, though, and it’s within the realm of possibility that her anti-vaccination advocacy has directly resulted in people’s deaths, as one pro-vaccine activist implied in a letter to Barbara Walters and the show’s producer, Bill Geddie (recommended reading: www.jennymccarthybodycount.com).
But listen, I’m no expert on The View. Maybe the whole point of the show is for ladies to sit around misusing theological terms and advocating medical choices that kill people. Regardless, hooray for America. Hopefully they’ll have Alex Jones on again.
— Betsy Woodruff is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.