As it has been for nearly the past 30 years, last night's Oscars were preceded by Barbara Walters's Oscar Special. Except this year would be Barbara's final Oscar-night reverie, and she wasn't going to let us forget it.
So how did Barbara send herself off? Self-indulgently, of course. I had (naively) hoped that Babs would go out with a softly lit, tearful-celebrity-revelation bang — and she didn't totally abandon that strategy, but this was not going to be a star-packed night. Barbara's tired. Particularly of the stairs.
Barbara's first (and penultimate, actually) interview was with soon-to-be Oscar winner Mo'Nique, for which Barbara gravely warned viewers that some of the forthcoming material may be considered "inappropriate." Okay, now you've got our attention, lady. Mo'Nique movingly spoke about being sexually abused by her brother as a child; Barbara also pushed the actress to clear up the speculation around whether or not she's in an open marriage (she is). Let me say, it is terribly uncomfortable to hear your grandmother, clad in a silver knit twinset, talk about the sexual intricacies of one's marriage.
And then they got to the issue of Mo'Niques hairy legs, which Barbara looked at as if they were covered in festering lesions:
Barbara's next interview — actually, no. We didn't get to that next (and final) interview for another forty-odd minutes, because the majority of this farewell episode was nothing more than a clip reel of highlights from past specials. But the unending cavalcade of nostalgia was pretty fun: Barbara drums with Ringo. Barbara goes to Eddie Murphy's house in 1983 (was this the site of the Charlie Murphy/Rick James showdown?). Barbara makes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cry. Barbara awkwardly gets stripper-dance lessons from Demi Moore. Barbara looks mortified while Hugh Jackman gives her a lap dance. Barbara keeps a straight face while Kim Basinger says, "Dreams really do come true." And all of this in front of a Vaseline-smeared camera lens. Oh, how Barbara and company must long for those halcyon days before HD!
After trotting out every last piece of vintage footage ABC could scrounge up, we finally snapped back to 2010, giving us the second (and last) piece of actual new material — a cute but banal sit-down with Sandra Bullock. This was when Barbara — whose mic, we should add, was turned up so loud that we could hear her mouth-spittle (very unfortunate) — asked the most ridiculously dumb question in regards to Bullock's marriage to Jesse James. Apparently Barbara just couldn't wrap her head around it: "He's the man's man, you're the all-American girl — what [is] the attraction?" Oh, Barbara. You just answered your own question. Maybe it's time to wrap it up and call it a night.
And so she did, but not before reminding us that she'll still be appearing on the slew of other ABC programs she always does. There, there, Bawa — we know.