By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a Connie Passalacqua Hayman
I watched the premiere of Good Afternoon America today with cold fear in my heart: Will this show be good enough to replace (and thus cancel) General Hospital if it really catches on this summer after this nine-week experiment?
I got the heebee jeebees right away. Hosts Josh Elliot and Lara Spencer (who also are on this show’s progenitor, Good Morning America) introduced themselves and immediately showed us photos of their kids and families. It wasn’t two minutes until the words “Fifty Shades of Grey” came out of their mouths and the first guests were a sexologist and (okay), and a comedian. The next segment was on coupon shopping.
Sure, the daytime audience is overwhelmingly female. But why does this afternoon show have to insist on treating all of us as girls? I have always really adored The View because it’s a show for women that appeals to one’s brains first and foremost. You don’t have to have all XX chromosomes to enjoy it.
GAA has one very original idea, though, and it’s a smart one: They use the medium of television to be immediate. Throughout the show, at the beginning of each relevant segment, the hosts ask guests and viewing audience questions. Then at the end of the segment, they report the results of the polling, which has been done simultaneously by Internet. But those questions! “Is it okay to pressure the one you love to propose?” “Should young marrieds wait a while to have kids?” Holy Virginia Graham! (For you young ones, she was the legendary hostess of a 60s talk show called Girl Talk.)
The show was also immediate on reporting gossip up to the second. This morning, while I was at the computer working, Tom and Katie announced a divorce settlement (but what about Suri?) and Kourtney Kardashian gave birth to a girl. Well, isn’t Harvey Levin and the TMZ.com website, my previous source of gossip, going to miss me?
On the whole, I was underwhelmed by the brainlessness of it all. But hold on. This show, most likely because of its GMA roots, has very, very strong daytime booking power. Who did they roll out in their final segment to sing “New York, New York” but Liza Minelli! Someone at this show may be thinking, after all.