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Rosie O'Donnell's 'Rosie Live': What was she thinking?

Rosie Two words: Dancing food. “Rosie Live” ended with dancing food. There’s nothing else to say, really except perhaps, Liza Minnelli. “Rosie Live” opened with a little song and dance from Liza Minnelli, who rose to the stage, as if from the grave, to sing a duet with O’Donnell, in a luminous white suit, complete with fetching Broadway hat. Liza, we love you, we will always love you, but there is no shame in retirement.

In between we were treated to Harry Connick Jr. in a Santa hat, Conan O’Brien taking a pie in the face, and Jane Krakowski singing about all the free stuff audience members would get. Some of the items were pretty swell, but I’m here to tell you it wasn’t enough. Rosie made jokes about Spanx, Alec Baldwin appeared in a jacket two sizes too small with weird Einstein hair -- neither of which were part of a gag. Clay Aiken strolled over from “Spamalot” to participate in the world’s most painfully long gay joke ("What was the other thing we have in common," Rosie mused, "oh yeah, we're both Gaaa ... briel Byrne fans.") and Alanis Morissette sang a song referencing the 12 Steps in front of, I kid you not, an endless loop of geese flying through a sunset.

Flying geese! There are not enough free video cameras or White Castle burgers in the world to make up for that. And what about the viewers at home? Where are our new cellphones and white strips products?
Rosie, Rosie, what on earth were you thinking? Were you thinking camp? Were you thinking this will be big and brassy and so-over-the-top even the dancing cupcakes will be irresistible? For those of us who are, and remain, Rosie fans, who think “The View” will never quite recover from her departure, who think her desire to resurrect the variety show was, and is, a great idea, disappointment does not even begin to describe it. For weeks now NBC has seduced and tantalized with the promise of a cross between Carol Burnett and “Sonny and Cher.” And this is what we get? Rosie in a glitter top having Baldwin speak into her cleavage and making jokes about her weight? Someone get a hold of Tim Conaway, stat.

To be fair, not everything on the show fell as flat as a turkey at a Sarah Palin picnic, or whatever the line was—yes, there was a Sarah Palin joke but Rosie was in a policeman’s costume at this point and I had my fingers in my ears. The Argentinian Lombard Twins were very good, and never have I been so glad to hear “You Spin Me Round” as when Anti-gravity took the stage with their giant tea cups and their hula hoops. But then we had to endure Kathy Griffin as Nancy Grace and Gloria Estefan making a joke about the turkey being the only one not hungry on Thanksgiving (because, you know, he’s stuffed). Estefan was the final act, but whatever collective relief that fact provided was immediately wiped away by a song  about eating and then, of course, the dancing food. Men and women dressed as slices of cake and giant cookies topped off by Rachael Ray making an appearance with a giant rubber turkey.

“Rosie Live” may enter the realm of unsolved mysteries, along with the fate of Amelia Earhart and the design team of the pyramids. O’Donnell was clearly attempting to recapture the uplifting unapologetic wonder of the big Broadway musical and the television variety show. But having a bunch of talented guests does not a terrific show make—you have to actually give them something interesting to do. Otherwise you're left with, well, a rubber turkey.

-- Mary McNamara

Photo: NBC

Comments () | Archives (298)

Rosie Live was the worst tv show I've ever seen. I had to turn it off (but not until I saw Clay Aiken's appearance, bad joke and all). I couldn't take any more. Hopefully, her guests can forget about this disaster and move on.

The show was horrible...I flipped back every once in a while and it just sucked...she died on TV last night.

I'm actually a Roise fan, but wow, this show was horrible. I understand the purpose was to revive the old variety show of the '60s and '70s, but that's the problem. The only people this show might have appealed to are people in their 80s. I didn't laugh once and quite frankly I was wondering not only was Rosie thinking but what the heck were here guest stars thinking? They must be scratching their own heads this morning wondering how they got roped into making an appearance on that show. If Rosie expected to get a long-term contract for additional shows on NBC, I'm certain she must have woke up this morning knowing that ain't gonna happen. One of the worst network TV shows I've seen in years.

Ro could never do anything less than stunning!!!!!!!!!!

I'm still in the shower getting this show off of me.

Mary McNamara I feel your pain! and my condolences for the evening you lost to such a tragedy! Perhaps Hazardous duty pay will apply?
What a waste of time that was!
My Wife was disappointed by the production as well and she actually likes that pig
I wish I had a virtual Barf bag

Perhaps the WORST show I have ever seen. I give this mess one more week, tops. Absolutely horrid and embarrassing.

Perhaps the WORST show I have ever seen. I give this mess one more week, tops. Absolutely horrid and embarrassing.

Bang on with your critque. Ms O'Donnell has long grown past people believing she's a nice jovial 'host'. She can't go back to tossing soft balls out into a crowd and gushing over guests. I watched previews and unfortunately, her tirades against everything and everybody kept on getting in the way of the jovial dancing Rosie. She wants to be taken seriously as a person standing up for her causes -- so be it, take that route. No one who remembers her recent past is going to taker her seriously as the 'nice, safe, gentle' Rosie of long ago.

Rosie Live was a big failure. Rosie's no Carol Burnett or Sonny and Cher. Rosie, please don't sing for us anymore. Also, the pace of the show was off -- we went from Liza Minelli, dancing cupcakes, Ne-Yo and some very very unfunny sketch comedy. Rosie, you're no triple threat -- you need singing, dancing, AND acting to carry your own variety show. Two out of three won't work. Reformat the show, tighten it up, less broadway glitz and flash, more studio set-ups. Take a look at some old Carol Burnett Shows, Donny and Marie or Sonny and Cher shows. Also, Alec Baldwin talking into your breast was just plain tacky. What did NBC do, pressure all their working talent to make an appearance on Rosie's show for fear of being fired. Poor Rachel Ray --- running around with a rubber turkey. Has it really come to that?

More like NBC has a big loser, George. The show was atrocious, mirroring the shrill and hate-filled person that Rosie has become.

"NBC has a big winner with this one!"

Huh?!? This was such a flop, and it's all because Rosie is a flop herself. Egotistical, maniacal, and out of touch with reality....as is most of her fans (which aren't many!). Rosie appeals to a very small group of people, and NBC was foolish to think she has the star power to have her own show again. Rosie blew it when she decided to shove her sexuality down everyone's throat, shove her mean spirited politics, and her rude, over the top opinions in everyone's face. Sure, it's America, and she has the right to behave how she chooses, however, America has the right to not watch her on tv anymore. She just needs to go away now.

I agree with the comment above.
This show was energetic and funny.
Hopefully NBC will make it a regular series.
Congrats, Rosie!! Don't listen to the haters.

Dear JEZZUZ PLEASE make her go away!!!! I'm praying this will be the swan song, shark jump, whatever - Just PLEASE make her go away for good.

This Rosie deal was a real turkey no wonder it was offered during Thanksgiving. Rosie and Liza are two washed up old hags and Griffin is so narcissistic it hurts. If this is all NBC can do let the whole network go under and no bail outs please.

George M. maybe you didn't see the program or read the article you commented on

What a bomb! Nothing like creating a show all about someone that has pissed off at least 49% of the viewing audience BEFORE the show even aired....

Rosie O'Donnell deals in political potty humor. NBC insults intelligent people by continuing to encourage Rosie. She is a perversion of the human spirit. Please, NBC, no more. I'm embarrassed for you.

Would somebody please take the time to hold this drool-cup wearing moron down and pound a wooden stake through her chest?

It goes without saying that those in this thread who LOVED this turkey are ..... Gaaa ... briel Byrne fans.

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