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A trip to the couch with 'The View'

So, I'm watching "The View" the other day and it seemed as though the pop culture world had melted together like a Dali clock.

Whoopi was teary-eyed at the loss of her "Ghost" co-star Patrick Swayze, which allowed Barbara to remind everyone that she had the final interview with the actor and (surprise!) it would be repeated the next night as an ABC special.

Barbara then segued from Swayze's pancreatic cancer to something more painful — introducing guest co-host Kate Gosselein, who is famous for ... for ... for ... okay, I'm stumped.

Next, Taylor Swift came out and sat on the couch with the ladies — who all seemed to sit a bit too far away from the young country singer. Sherri asked Taylor about being dissed at the Video Music Awards by Kanye West, while I sat there realizing I had never heard a song by either Swift or West and had no clue whatsoever who Sherri was (although I found out later she has a new sitcom on the Lifetime Network).

Taylor said that Kanye hadn't called to apologize, whereupon Whoopi cleared the tears from her eyes long enough to wink that he probably would later (he did), while Barbara looked down at her notecards to remind herself who the young, blonde country singer was (since, you know, they all look alike) and Kate asked Taylor what it was like to be publicly humiliated on television ... as if she didn't know.

Joy sat strangely apart from all this, as if she'd wandered into an episode of the wrong show. it wasn't until later that I realized why: CNN wrote a story for its Web site about what had happened on "The View" that day, which not only could have saved me a lot of time, but seemed strange — until I remembered that Joy has signed on for her own show on CNN (which won't be a sitcom like "Sherri," since CNN already has Andreson Cooper, but will be a topical gabfest, like "The View" ... or "Larry King Live," which always seems like a contradiction in terms).

Lily Tomlin, who comes to the Craterian on Nov. 8,. once said that she wanted to be cynical, but it was too hard to keep up. She needs to watch "The View."

Friday, Sept. 18

There are two great miniseries. One is "Roots." The other can be seen starting at 8 p.m. on AMC. "Lonesome Dove" tells the story of a cattle drive joined by a pair of former Texas Rangers (Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones) and how their lives — and the West — are forever changed. Two bits of essential trivia: Author Larry McMurtry wrote the Pulitzer Prize novel with John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda in mind; and, unlike "Roots," "Lonesome Dove" did not win the Emmy for best miniseries.

Saturday, Sept. 19

Joan Allen is one of the great, underrated American actresses. She is able to convey mystery, passion and intelligence and she might have found the perfect role in Lifetime's biography "Georgia O'Keefe," which premieres at 9 p.m. and attempts to tell the story of an American original. Oscar winner Jeremy Irons plays the love of her life, famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz, in a movie that promises to explore the link between the artist and the art.

Sunday, Sept. 20

Okay, it was "War and Remembrance" which beat out "Lonesome Dove" for the Emmy. Will similar surprises be in store this year (8 p.m., CBS)? Doubtful. Emmy voting has become a predictable bore, with either the "It Show" of the moment (think "Mad Men") or the "It Show" of the previous moment ("30 Rock") destined to pick up the ugliest award in the pantheon of awards. Neil Patrick Harris hosts, however, and that should help ... even if you could easily pick out the winners in the 836 categories beforehand.

Monday, Sept. 21

A pair of season premieres for shows facing critical seasons go head-to-head from 8-10 tonight. The last time we saw "House," the good doctor checked himself into a psychiatric hospital. Which some might say comes a few seasons too late. Meanwhile, "Heroes" (which used to be an "It Show") still has its devotees but now features storylines that are even more difficult to follow, or care about. This year's opener is called "Orientation: Jump, Push, Fall" which, for a show on the ratings ledge, isn't exactly a good omen.

Tuesday, Sept. 22

First there was the documentary, then the home movies, followed by the YouTube sensation and now, an Animal Planet special (9 p.m.) that ties together the phenomenon of "A Lion Called Christian." Two men raised the lion as a pet, then set it into the wilds in Africa. A year later, there was a reunion which went viral on the Net as Christian approached the men and either a) mauled them to shreds; or b) hugged and kissed them, and introduced them to his family. If you don't know which, remember ... it's on Animal Planet.

Wednesday, Sept. 23

What do Penn Jillette, Monica Seles and Belinda Carlisle have in common? Well, first, you haven't heard their names in a while. And, more importantly, they were the first stars eliminated in recent seasons of "Dancing With The Stars." The three-night season opener concludes with an 8 p.m. elimination episode on ABC — which, if it had any sense of taste, would eliminate sqawky co-host Samantha Harris. Taste? ... "Dancing With The Stars"? Time to warm up the mute button for Samantha's interviews.

Thursday, Sept. 24

The TV landscape is littered with formulaic crime-solving shows, people by mismatched (but secretly in love) partners and quirky, secondary team members. It takes really good writing and really welcome acting to make such shows work, and one of the best is the Fox drama "Bones" (8 p.m.) which pairs Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz in the leads and adds whimsy and witty banter to the mundane procedural necessities.

Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin writes about television for Tempo. He can be reached at rgalvin@mailtribune.com