Rosie O' Donnell Show Ends In High Gear

After an amazing six year run Rosie said finally said good-bye on May 22nd 2002 to all the fans of the hugely popular Rosie O'Donnell Show.

Rosie had occupied the moral high ground in the long-running daytime talk-show wars with her favorite topics: Broadway, children, extended families and charitable works, people and organizations. Even Tom Selleck would have shed a tear to see this last great bastion of decency go the way of Seinfeld and Michael Jordan - Leaving at the top of its game.

The last "Rosie O'Donnell Show" opened and closed with prerecorded tributes, although everything else was Live. The opener had Broadway stars and companies singing a salute to their biggest media benefactor; the closer had Tom Cruise, O'Donnell's "favorite human," mowing her lawn and offering her a glass of lemonade.

In between were guests Nathan Lane and Christine Ebersole, a lengthy film montage that mixed show highlights with personal and backstage footage to the tune of "Both Sides Now" and salutes to the host's everyday heroes, without whom, she said, her show "just would have been celebrity chat." - which is something that she never wanted it to be.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Lane, joking with O'Donnell about her recently revealed but poorly kept lifestyle secret, told her, "First of all, I didn't know you were gay. I would have looked for you at the meetings."

It was a day to give and receive gifts. O'Donnell gave precipitously;
Donna her dresser and Joey her warm-up guy came up on stage and received the Emmys she recently won.
Then she gave Joey a fishing boat, Then Donna a PT Cruiser and rounded it off by giving everyone in the audience a good-bye bags that contained - yes - Tivo 2's - the world's greatest invention.(Or so they say)

Rosie has done for Broadway what Oprah Winfrey did for books, so it was just fitting that John Lithgow, star of "Sweet Smell of Success," gave her a present on behalf of every show and theater on Broadway. To the tune of "Hello, Dolly," he handed O'Donnell an oversize placard and sang, "Here's a lifetime pass, Rosie/For your Broadway-loving a-Rosie!"

But it wasn't until Nathan Lane came on that I really cried - but this time it was from laughing. "I'm sorry I'm not Tom Cruise," he said right off. "In fact, I'm sorry I'm not Penelope Cruz! This is the biggest gay celebration since Liza's wedding!"

It was her enthusiasm as a fan of Broadway, TV, movies and pop-culture personalities in general that set O'Donnell apart from the pack her very first day on the air six years ago. From start to finish, she let everyone know what excited and irritated her. Her fervor for both Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand eventually got both to appear on her show.

Nathan then brought out "Shane," a guy who looked like he'd escaped from Chippendale's. "Shane is my personal valet and aromatherapist," he cracked. Then, "Drop and give me twenty, Shane! No! Wait! Drop and I'll give you twenty!" Hell, I'd give him fifty! Daytime talk usually isn't so edgy but today Rosie could have picked up a KMart .22 and blasted some poor soul in the audience without anyone giving it so much as a passing mention.

Even though she's famous, Rosie is one of us - unlike Oprah or Martha. While they are perfectly perfect females who are so computer corrected on the covers of their magazines that they look like they have plastic skin, Rosie looks real. Extremely real - its a real shame that her Rosie magazine has taken a huge dive in sales after she announced her lesbianism, which seems to me like the viewers she courted were conservative right that rejected her after she showed them her true self.

Rosie will be missed - But we are am sure that she will return and, perhaps, reinventing herself all over again - until that day we can console ourselves with Springer clips and Emeril's latest dish. Now where's the remote control?

 

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