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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)

Haters stop hating. I like Rosie I think her show was delightful. she always make me laugh I feel you only give what you get. what goes around comes around they are always attacking her so when she give it back a little what is the problem get my point or view

Ms. O'Donnell is a uneducated and grievously ignorant individual. Unsure of her sexual identity, she projects her wretched unhappiness in a generalized venomous rant against everything she isn't: adults who have found a worthy place in the world and who make their way through life successfully. If she vanished tomorrow and was never heard from or about again, no one would care. With luck, she will at least disappear from the broadcast media and trouble us no more.

The thing is that when you're as poor of a person as Rosie is in every facet of her life, why would anyone expect her show to be anything but symbolism of her life? Her big fat mouth is only exceeded in size by the rest of her. It was good to see the show be as much of a flop as she is. Hopefully this will be the last anyone has to endure her on tv.

I'm sick of Rosie blathering on about her "gayness". Who cares?!
What an ego.

Snacks for the show $8.00
TV $400.00
Show sucked.
Watching Rosie go down in flames, again... Priceless.

There has to be better things to do with the money we waste on fat cows nobody cares about.....Rosie needs a tv special like George bush does.....both should walk off into the sunset and fade away forever.....

I am so sorry I missed this train wreck but Public TV had an unmissable show on toilet paper recycleing. Good luck to Rosie who has shown so much love and tolerance to extreme right wing maniacs like me and our Founding Fathers. Oops that damn sarcasm slipped out again.

She is just one more has-been, self-absorbed, hate-filled Hollywood nut case who is best relegated to the dust bin of entertainment history. Like many of her ilk she has spent most of her time alienating half or more of public by her insane political rants and just can't understand why her ratings get lower and lower. Bye, bye Rosie, most people won't miss you or even remember your name in a few years.

Oh, I get it now. It was a gay, fat, has been thing. The reason it was a flop with most Americans is, WE'RE NOT GAY!

She is just one more has-been, self-absorbed, hate-filled Hollywood nut case who is best relegated to the dust bin of entertainment history. Like many of her ilk she has spent most of her time alienating half or more of public by her insane political rants and just can't understand why her ratings get lower and lower. Bye, bye Rosie, most people won't miss you or even remember your name in a few years.

She insulted President Bush and other Conservatives for so long, it was great to see her fall right on her face! The once great NBC strikes again.

Stupid IS as stupid DOES. "Rosie" is so OVER. An angry, talntentless hack. There is no amount of money anyone could ever pay me to watch any show with Rosie O'Dunderhead or support any network dumb enough to give her air time to further embarass herself. I hate to understate my opinion, but I am trying to be kind.

PWJ said:

"Someone in my age bracket, middle-age, might have been drawn to a comedian like Dave Chappelle or Margaret Cho."

With all due respect, are you out of your bloomin' mind? Maggie Cho has got to be the worst talent out there, and you think she would draw viewers? She's horrible. You certainly don't represent my age bracket, that's for sure.

I grew up with variety shows. I loved them all. No big talent today can pull it off, because most of the 'big talents' have no talent, especially not in front of a LIVE audience.

Why Rosie is allowed so many chances in showbiz is beyond me. She's annoying, offensive, crude, classless and talentless. Oh, wait, that's perfect for American television today! Give her another try! And another...

I will give her credit, though, that she is at least interested in having a variety show back on the airwaves. People love variety shows, contrary to station executives' beliefs. American Idol, for all its flaws, proved that America and the world, crave that kind of semi-clunky not perfect, LIVE performance show.

Andy Williams, Sonny and Cher, Flip Wilson, Hudson Brothers, Carol Burnett, Bob Hope, Osmonds, Jacksons, Bill Cosby et al were great. I'm not sure we can get that kind of sincere benevolent entertainment back with the jaded, cynical, sophmoric mentality that has become alll too prevalent in American popular culture. Too many people want violence, sex, say rather soft porn, rudeness and in your face so-called comedy and of course political bashing, which is now routine in any comedy show. Think back for a moment. Can you recall any political bashing on Sonny and Cher? Carol Burnett? Flip? Red Foxx? And don't kid yourself that there was no political debate going on back then in society. We had it everywhere. But thank goodness, not on our variety shows.

As the old saying goes, 'never discuss politics or religion at a cocktail party"

It's as true, or truer today than it ever was. It's not that folks don't have opinions, but rather that they do.

You wouldn't blast hip hop in church, though you make like to experience both at times. So, don't shove politics down our throats when we just want to laugh and have fun.

If Rosie is to get a successful show, she needs to learn that. I wish her luck in her endeavor to get a variety show back. She's pretty good at ignoring TV executives, so let's hope she continues that and doesn't pander to the crude crowd.

WHAT A FLOP!! .....and I am being kind!! She flat blew this opportunity!! She just needs to do something outside of the public eye. She has too many issues (hate being at the top) to even attempt to attract and keep viewers. Pretty pathetic!

Hopefully this taks Rosie once and for all. I saw the first post from the Libtard in Kansas City who said he like it. This only goes to show that Rosie fans and Rosie herself are not worthy of being allowed to live on this planet. You idiots waste good air! May they die all horribly slow death, forced to watch this stupid fat pigs show a million times. The death of NBC is equally enjoyable...after assisiting the Cult Of Personality win the election they are as equally irrelevant as Rosie " I am a a stupid lesbian fat waste of life" O'Donnel.

If by "variety" you mean a variety of things that sucked, then yes - this was a variety show.

Painful. I was saying to myself "please no politics, please no politics" then there it was.

She's so over - we know it and it's time she knows it. No one wants to listen to her endless vile, anti-everything but GAY agenda. She's nasty looking and foul mouthed. Who, in their right mind, would choose to watch. Just go away Rosie.!

Do you know what? After reading about 2/3 of the comments here, I've come to one overwhelming conclusion.

Most people here have more talent than the writers of most of the garbage on TV, including Rosie's show.

Seriously, there is more clever, funny commenting going on here, than in most whole seasons of any 'comedy' show, take your pick.

So, I say, networks, if you're reading this, hire these people! There's talent here all over the place. It's just not on TV.

Fix it. Or lose it.

when a sixty plus year old woman who's had double hip replacement shows everybody up you know you have problems--i mean liza just shone like the pro she is and frankly she looked slim and like she'd had a freshening up from the botox/face lift fairy that just WORKED for her!

1- conan left b/c he was embarrassed-stupid bit and not very funny

2- her stand up was fizzled and a little lame--she's rusty not like back when she was on every day in her element--but once again--a few laughs --just kinda meek ones-- i gave her the benefit of the doubt cause it's been a while

3- i kinda wondered if they were intentionally trying to make it lame and not very funny--like sending up old variety shows--but if so bad idea and PLUS_-some of the old variety shows were fantastic! remember the babara streisand and dean martin ones? those were kick ass! i've even seen bob hope specials better than this!

4- alec baldwin was the fat misogynist he always is--and i love him on 30 rock and read his predominantly well-written huffington blogs-but come on--yikes! once again, when the unplanned "motorboating" of a plump (though beautiful--i've always thought rosie is lovely--she has snow white's colouring) lesbian celebrity is a highlight-YIKES!

5- jane k and her pancake butt, super-skinny legs, and stiff dancing were a little sad but she has a dynamite voice and seems like a sweet girl

6- i LOVE clay's long crazy spamalot wig hair--but once more--he's so talented--they could have used him to better effect

7- harry had a cold or something weird was happening--he seemed unsure of his voice and didn't sound his best or very confident--which was weird! maybe he felt like he was on a sinking ship and was embarrassed too and i love him to pieces-- repetitive cheese that he does sometimes and all

8--good god WHERE did they dig up gloria estefan from? she has a dynamite voice too but really? SHAKE YOUR BODY DO THE CONGA? and note to self--3/4 length sleeves if you're petite give you midget arms--will remember this

9-how freakin' horrible was that "spin" # done to bad nineties techno? EWWWWWWWWWWWwwwwwww----am i at my county fair? YUCK! she should have gotten break skate or the other almost winner from that america's nest best dance crew if she needed some dancing weirdness hip street thing

10) leave the tap dancing to the other brothers--or at least don't shoot the whole piece in silhouette so we can't see what's going on! did love the gorgeous solo violin in this though

11) why do something at all if you aren't gonna knock it out of the park? i wonder who directed and produced this? perhaps they are more to blame? or maybe rosie just has her hands full with four kids and a wife and is used to kickin' it in miami--& a little--errrr--out of touch with the peeps

12) i will be so happy when the obligatory snooze-o-rama "r & b jamz" finally leave us alone--i love most real -soul but this crap? and again, sad. in the fact that that is was well- art directed & choreographed and one of the better scenes, even sadder.

13) alanis morisette--i do think she's a hugely gifted writer and performer but her stuff gets SOOOO repetitive and she needs glenn ballard to "punch it up"-- did love her super-sensitive i'm a girl songwriter backdrop--very lovely even if it was flying geese--i think this was a trying hard to be kitsch moment---but overall--she was an odd choice here--hmm--still making up my mind about this one, in general pretty ok with it though she is a little 5 years ago too--i'm not saying you can't have a classic performer--but they need to do something classic--maybe a pas de deaux/ dance duet in addition here woulda been nice. p.s. BANGS are the new black! first chelsea now alanis!

14) do you think they just ran out of money? this really should have been better! but i still love you Ro! just get out there more! you'll be back on top--she wasn't that bad-this needed better writing and stage production and much "hipper" feel or it totally sending up the formulaic genre and OTT camp-it can't ride the fence---when you have to "explain" a gag--*sigh* ugh. but again, SO HAPPY to see rosie o' d back on tv

(reposted from broadway world)

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