On this Thanksgiving, I’ll take a hiatus from political blogging to give thanks that I am NOT Rosie O’Donnell this morning. OK- I didn’t expect Rosie’s attempt at resurrecting television variety to be that great, but neither did I expect it to be among the biggest train wrecks I have ever seen on television.
I feel sorry for all of her friends that she corralled into this egocentric mess. Liza Minnelli- poor thing. It is so sad when a star can’t give up the spotlight even when there is less than a ghost of their former selves left. I’m reminded of the embarrassment that opera legend Maria Callas became when she sung well beyond her unparalleled prime or a few years back when Diana Ross tried to resurrect her career- Bless her heart (OK – I had to get a Palin dig into this article!). Liza’s face is so stretched that she looks like a Halloween mask and she sounds like a bad imitation of her mother when she was at the height of her boozing and pill popping. And Rosie made it worse by insinuating her off key voice into the song.
Rosie got her start on “Star Search” which was a pretty cheesy show- but it was better produced than her variety show last night. When the cowboy spinning his lariat and the hula hoops were spinning to the 1980’s disco song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”, I felt like I was watching Ed Sullivan with one of his East European family of jugglers spinning plates while riding unicycles – but this was worse. I was waiting for Topo Gigio to come out and banter with Rosie about her weight.
I know that Kathy Griffin is an acquired taste and is probably detested by the 46% of the voters who cast their ballot for John McCain, but I love her. Imagine a liberal gay guy who is a Kathy Griffin fan! Are you as shocked as Captain Renault was to find gambling going on at Rick’s in Casablanca? But poor Kathy was cast in an inane skit portraying the grating and despicable Nancy Grace. I really can’t stand Nancy Grace- but poor Kathy’s comedic talent was wasted by being a Nancy Grace foil to Rosie. Some of the Republicans said of John McCain’s campaign- “Let McCain be McCain!”; well I say “Let Kathy be Kathy!” This wasn’t D-List, it was Zzzzzzzzzzz-list!
And what was up with the dancing cookies, cupcakes and slices of cake trying to dance around Gloria Estefan who came out of hiding, where she should remain, to do this show for her buddy Rosie? Again- Rosie had to throw her mediocre voice into the mix with Estefan’s declining vocals.
This show was one big ego trip for Rosie. Rosie was great on her show back in the day- when she showcased Broadway shows. She was one of Broadway’s greatest boosters- but she also stayed out of the production numbers. She showed no love or respect for Broadway last night or the stage of the Little Shubert Theatre. She turned Broadway into Rosie’s Way.
As a gay man I have been torn by Rosie O’Donnell’s advocacy on behalf of gays and lesbians. I’m not an in-your- face kind of guy; so her in-your -face style makes me cringe even if I agree with her intent. She’s brash and often comes off a pissed off bull dyke you wouldn’t want to run into in some dark ally. And as she turned into an egotistical shrew she became, in my opinion, an embarrassment who I didn’t want speaking on my behalf.
If the friends who appeared on Rosie’s version of “Titanic” owed her something, they no longer do. They have been roundly humiliated by participating in this ego-driven disaster. If Rosie was trying to reinvent herself- she needs to go back to the drawing room. If she wasn’t she needs to just make a graceful exit- but that just isn’t her style.
I found the whole mess rather sad. Sometimes I can relish in the camp of a really bad show, but this was just depressing and pathetic.
In this horrible economy and in a world that seems to be falling apart at the seams- we don’t need to be more depressed. Thank goodness I was able to wash the taste of depression out of my mouth by watching Barbara Walter’s interview of President-elect and Mrs. Obama. Now that’s hope we can believe in.
All right, I admit it- I didn’t totally stay away from politics. EEK! Neither did Rosie! PLEASE FORGIVE ME!