If for some inexplicable reason you need further proof that Dolly Parton is an absolute national treasure who must be protected at all costs, I have it for you right here.
In two separate interviews, she sets Barbara Walters straight in the classiest, most graceful way possible, only after Barb straight up comes for her and implies that she looks like a joke.
The first time comes from a 1977 interview with Barbara Walters where Barb questions Dolly about her appearance (in the rudest way possible, might I add) and doesn’t let up. Of course, Dolly being the diamond that she is, has a perfect response.
Watch it for yourself:
Dolly Parton shuts down Barbara Walters in this rare 1977 interview, teaching us on the importance of self-love and how to kill with kindness. pic.twitter.com/A3iOxyyP7f
“I know they make fun of me, but actually all these years the people, you know, have thought the joke is on me but it’s actually been on the public. I know exactly what I’m doing and I can change it at any time.
I make more jokes about myself than anybody…”
She then goes on to give Barb a lesson in self-love, judgment, and confidence.
“Like I said, I am sure of myself as a person. I am sure of my talent. And I’m sure of my love for life and that sort of thing. I’m very content. I like the kind of person that I am.
So, I can afford to piddle around and do-diddle around with makeup and clothes and stuff because I am secure with myself.”
She straight up body bags Barb on national TV like the queen that she is.
First of all, Barbara opens the interview telling Dolly she “doesn’t have to look like this,” and then continues to list off things about her appearance like her blonde hair, outfit selections, and her measurements. And I’m gonna have to stop you right there Barb…
You’re gonna sit there and try to tell the Queen of country music, with one of the most beautiful, iconic and recognizable looks of ALL TIME how SHE should dress and what she should do with her hair and makeup? That’s gonna be a no from me.
And then you have the audacity to ask Dolly if she feels like a joke? That’s gonna be a HELL no from me.
And while Barb continues to be a complete bee-otch right to Dolly’s face, with her little comments about “your kind of people,” Dolly responds by telling her it’s a personal choice and she couldn’t have been any nicer about it. Not offended whatsoever… it just makes me love her even more.
And I mean, I would think that would’ve settled it once and for all, but Barb came back for more a few years later. Barbara interviewed Dolly again at her home outside of Nashville in 1982, five years after the original interview in 1977.
This particular year was a rough one for Dolly, as she had been ill and out of work for four months due to what she described as “lady problems,” along with some other stomach issues. This was the first interview she’d done since getting sick months prior.
It starts off pretty light, with Dolly telling Barbara there were rumors she was actually out getting a breast reduction. She jokes that she’d spent years getting them that big, though she thought in some ways it might be a good idea:
“In all seriousness, it would probably take a load off my chest.”
But then, pretty quickly, it takes another turn along the lines of what we saw in the first interview. Barbara asks what Dolly’s definition of a star is and whether she viewed herself in that light, and Dolly responds:
“For me, the Dolly Parton star is accomplishing every possible thing that I can. I want to mean something. I don’t want to just be some joke.
I don’t want to be the all-American joke. You know, just with the boobs and the hair and the tight belts or the whatever. I want to be a meaningful, artistic person.”
Then Barb asks her if she can “give up” the “boobs, the hair and the tight belt,” and Dolly points out the fact that they’ve addressed this before herself (in a hilariously passive aggressive manner), saying:
“Well, like I said to you, I think before, I want people to know there’s some brains beneath the wig and a heart beneath the boobs. I think people are beginning to see that.
I can get away with that now if I choose to change my look. I think I could get away with less. But I like more. Maybe I’ll go the other way.”
She then goes on to talk about where she got the idea for her perfectly iconic look, from the town tramp in her hometown in east Tennessee, and I’m sure Barbara was not a fan of that part, either.
During both interviews, Barbara is extremely condescending and trying to lecture Dolly about modesty, and Dolly tells her how she’s always wanted to look like the town tramp.
Dolly playing chess, Barb playing checkers.
Then, towards the end of the interview, Barbara asks her one last question:
“You, more than anyone I know practically, always had goals. You’re gonna do this in five years, you’re gonna do this in seven years, how do you think you’re gonna be remembered, let’s say, 100 years from now?”
If this response isn’t the most Dolly thing you’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is:
“Remembered? Well, probably what I’d like people to say about me 100 years from now is ‘Boy, she looks great for her age.’”
The girl has Barbara’s number, and I do not know why she keeps going back.