'View' Stew: Hobbits, Rockettes, racist toothpaste and Sheryl Crow

view-stew-whoopi-12-1.jpgWhen David Hasselhoff is the first guest and he's the least odd thing that happens on "The View," you know you've had one pretty weird hour of daytime TV.

Three things we learned while watching "The View" on Wednesday (Dec. 1):

Hobbits = Rockettes?

During the Hot Topics segment, the hosts brought up the recent controversy over the producers of "The Hobbit" firing a casting agent who was seeking extras with only "light skin tones." Sherri Shepherd says that when she read the books as a girl, she had pictured a veritable rainbow of hobbits in the Shire. "Somebody told this casting director they wanted light-skinned hobbits," she asserted.

Whoopi Goldberg wasn't so sure. "Maybe she just said, There's a lot of hobbits and fairies and all kinds of stuff here" -- so we're guessing Whoopi's not a Tolkien fan -- "let me see if I can darken it up a little bit." So, based on that, Whoopi was taking the charitable view that "light skin tones" means not just Caucasians, but people of other ethnicities who also have lighter skin. (How that's any better, we're not sure.)

Oh, but then came this dizzying leap: Whoopi Goldberg comparing hobbits to the Rockettes: "The Rockettes used to be all white ... and then suddenly it was like, Rockette, Rockette, Rockette -- Gee! -- Rockette, Rockette, Rockette, Rockette. It was a slow integration."

So, um, yeah. If you can follow that logic, well done.

'Black man toothpaste'

From hobbits and Rockettes, Hot Topics segued into discussion of a brand of toothpaste sold in Asia whose Chinese name translates to "Black man toothpaste." The problem there is the English name used to be "Darkie" -- and its logo was a really horrible, minstrel-show picture of a grinning black man in a top hat.

The company that manufactures the toothpaste has been owned by Colgate-Palmolive for the past 25 years, and in that time the English name has been changed to "Darlie" and the logo is now a more graphic representation of a top-hatted man (whose face is mostly white). Why this is a hot topic today escapes us -- there was a fleeting mention of American tourists in China seeing the packaging and being shocked -- but hearing Whoopi try to take a stand against the packaging while not offending a sponsor was something to behold.

Sheryl Crow, cougar

Crow performed "The Long Road Home" from her album "100 Miles from Memphis" on the show, and she also got some couch time -- where she explained how Justin Timberlake came to sing backup on her cover of Terence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name," which is on "100 Miles."

"We were dating at the time ..." she said with a laugh. In truth, it was because he happened to be working in the same studio, and he liked the way the track sounded. But:

"It's funny," Crow says. "In my business ... you have like an arrested state of maturity. So I'm standing there with him, and I'm thinking, He is darling. We would get along great. And then I went, Well, I'm old enough to be his mother. You just forget -- I'm 48, and he's 26 or something." Timberlake turns 30 in January, actually, but we get what she's saying.

Here's Crow's performance of "The Long Road Home":


Photo/Video credit: ABC