Friday, July 05, 2013

Witty gals on ‘The Talk’

(Published July 1, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Its five-woman roster meshing nicely after a few seasons together, “The Talk” has gotten livelier than ever, discussing timely topics from multiple perspectives. The nearly 3-year-old talk show’s hosts are a watchable and eclectic group, each with considerable knowledge and experience amassed through years of work in different fields of show biz.

'The Talk' hosts with Sigourney Weaver
Created by former “Roseanne” actress Sara Gilbert, “The Talk” has grown into a more cohesive show after a controversial lineup change in 2011. Gilbert currently hosts with reality show icon Sharon Osbourne, game show host Julie Chen, actress Aisha Tyler, and comedienne Sheryl Underwood.

Chen, usually the moderator, presents a chosen subject for a segment in a very clear and news magazine-esque manner. Chen has cohosted news programs and the US version of “Big Brother,” but she can be informal and open in sharing personal accounts.

Osbourne is often brutally honest but she’s also surprisingly relatable and tender when sharing thoughts on familial issues. Gilbert has a milder-mannered tone, but is nevertheless able to present insightful analyses and ideas to her cohosts.

Tyler and Underwood are valuable additions to the group, both animated and expressive when giving their two cents worth. Tyler was hilarious as E!’s “Talk Soup” host years back, and it’s gratifying to see her make her mark alongside other vocal and intelligent women. The sassy and self-deprecating Underwood, meanwhile, manages to turn more serious gab fests into hilarious discussions, often injecting her inimitable wit into conversations.

Unlike the hosts of “The View” (who’ve had resounding clashes among themselves), it’s obvious that “The Talk” hosts genuinely like each other. While not everyone has the same viewpoint, they’re all respectful enough to listen to each other’s opinion, however diverse.

They’re also supportive of each other; that’s been most apparent in recent episodes, such as when Gilbert talked about her engagement to her musician girlfriend Linda Perry. In another episode, the gal-pals “pressure” Underwood into removing her wig to reveal her gray hair. She immediately got hugs from Tyler and guest host Donny Osmond (and cheers from the others) for being a good sport.

The hour-long format allows short segments devoted to lifestyle expert guests and various beauty products, but the most interesting and empowering parts will always be the roundtable chats. The group took the bold step of appearing on the show sans makeup a couple of months ago, and dissected societal and Hollywood norms pertaining to beauty. And in a more recent episode, the hosts comically dressed up as stereotypes, which led to a spirited discourse about gender and cultural identity.

(“The Talk” airs Tuesdays to Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Solar News Channel.)

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