The View

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"Hello, hello and welcome to the newer View" returning host Whoopi Goldberg addressed the audience as season 18 of the hit talk show kicked off on Monday, with new faces Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace joining the panel in addition to returning moderator Rosie O'Donnell (who, naturally, showed up sans shoes due to her sciatica). 

But before the ladies got into the hot topics of today, the fabulous foursome had to pay tribute to former host and TV legend Barbara Walters, starting off the show by kissing the 84-year-old's ring as she sat perched upon her throne and gave the women her blessing, telling them to "go out there and let them see why we have the best show on daytime television." 

The hosts then took a moment to introduce themselves—at which point Goldberg quipped, "like bad gas I have returned," after O'Donnell insisted that she's a fan of Wallace, a Republican (wonder if Elisabeth Hasselbeck was tuning in?!). 

Following the introductions, it was it time to take on the day's buzzworthy story as the women dove into a heated discussion with regards to the Ray Rice scandal after a shocking video recently surfaced of the former NFL star punching his wife. 

The View

ABC/Fred Lee

"This seems to have surprised a lot of people," Goldberg said. "I mean, just personally, I don't understand why they're freaked out now. Because when the incident happened, he never said he didn't do it. He said this is what happened. And yes, now four months later it's like they said, 'Oh, now that we have seen it, we're going to take away his endorsements.' Why is it worse now than it was five months ago? I don't understand." 

O'Donnell, however, found fault within the American society for supporting football as a sport. "Believe me, I don't excuse any violence towards anyone but I do understand how a guy who knocks people over and pushes them down for a living and gets cheered might do that in his private life, even though it's wrong." 

The View, Rosie Perez

ABC/Lou Rocco

"Not necessarily," Perez countered. "Because Nelson Mandela was a boxer. He was the most peaceful man on this planet. So that's not necessarily true. It may be true for a lot but not true for all." 

O'Donnell added that the root of the domestic violence needs to be addressed, noting that it is often a learned behavior. "I think Chris Brown is a gifted entertainer of our generation and grew up in a violent childhood and has some issues with his violence and beat up Rihanna, as we all know, right?" she said. 

After that, it was time for a few special segments, including a game of "Ro or Ro?" during which audience members were quizzed over their knowledge of the panel's two Rosies, as well as a touching tribute to the late Joan Rivers. The ladies also discussed the tragic death of Robin Williams and O'Donnell confessed that she's "still not over" his death while noting that we need to "destigmatize mental illness." 

While Wallace seemed to be the least chatty of the group, she had her shining moment when the ladies asked George W. Bush's former communications chief to share the biggest struggle she experienced while working in the White House (spoiler: it has to do with former Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous shooting accident). 

"So every Sunday morning I used to talk to one of my colleagues about how is the week going to go. Things weren't going great in the second Bush term, as you all know. I'm sure you missed the comedy that we provided," Wallace began with a smile. "So I got a call on a Sunday…He said Cheney shot somebody. He was hunting in Texas and shot somebody."

The View, Rosie Perez, Rosie O'Donnell

ABC/Fred Lee

"I said 'Is he alive?'" she continued. "They said, 'No Cheney is fine.' I said, ‘No, the guy he shot, is he alive?' They said, ‘Well, he's in the hospital'…I said ‘Oh, my god we have to tell somebody.' Yeah, well, the Cheneys don't want to tell anybody. Because they were worried about their friend. This actually wasn't about keeping secrets, I mean, it was about keeping secrets, but it was out of concern. I said, 'Well, he's the vice president. He shot somebody. We have tell'…Finally we went to the president and we said, ‘You have to convince the vice president to do an interview with Fox News' and he did." 

ROSIE PEREZ, ROSIE O'DONNELL, WHOOPI GOLDBERG, NICOLLE WALLACE, The View Cast

ABC/Lou Rocco

After some additional humorous political commentary, Rosie, Whoopi and Kristin Chenoweth took a moment to honor the late comic legend Joan Rivers, whose funeral they attended last weekend before the 46-year-old Tony winner sang a beautiful rendition of "Borrowed Angels." 

Following the performance, a tearful Rosie and Whoopi introduced a montage of Joan's best jokes. 

And then it was time to congratulate the cast and crew on a successful first show! 

What did you think of the new View's first episode? Tell us in the comments!

PHOTOS: Ranking The View hosts

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