Rosie O’Donnell wishes to set the world of TV ablaze in her return to the talk show circuit thanks to the helping hands of Oprah Winfrey. Both Rosie and Oprah take this new venture of hers quite seriously and hope for it to be a monolith to attract new OWN viewers. While the two are no longer competing against each other, as Oprah had alluded to when explaining her decision to hire O’Donnell, Rosie has to compete with the likes of other primetime variety show hosts like Fallon, Letterman, Kimmel, DeGeneres, etc. She has now had the chance to find her bearings after three or four episodes – does she still have the chops to pull off a solid show?
If the writer inside me piped up during the premiere, I would have quickly written off the show as stale and swimming in shallow waters. She had a standup segment that felt lackadaisical, the announcer had a distinctly shrill voice, and dancing men with sculpted abs popped out of now where. Now don’t get me wrong – men showing off their ripped bodies is a sight as pleasing as the next thing…but I tuned in to watch The Rosie Show not Chippendales! Apparently I wasn’t the only critic to feel this way.
Rosie came back guns blazing in the following episode. Well to be honest, she didn’t really fire as lethal a shot as she could have, but that’s not the point. She used the opening segment to page through the reviews that had just come in. As she read portions of them aloud she literally started taking the creative input and made adjustments on the fly. It really broke the ice cold welcome the first episode had given us and got me to start laughing. If this is how Rosie is going to continue to handle the faultfinders, soreheads, and bellyachers…she’s got one viewer tuning in for quite a bit longer.
While the shows following the premiere possessed marked improvement – Rosie still has to conjure up some magic that can bedazzle better than the other talk show titans. Many of the kinks in the works aren’t even necessarily faux pas that Rosie has committed. Something’s telling me that they’re holding back the wisecracks this witty comic has in her. OWN needs to cut lose the reigns and just let Rosie…well, be Rosie. I can’t take the hot iron completely off her, she could tweak the way she conducts certain segments, like the game show portion. On Ellen’s daytime show for example, she pokes fun at the contestants but never trots them through a “walk of shame” (that’s what Rosie calls the exit the losers take off the stage). You want people laughing at how they’re playing not feel crummy for even trying. They come to The Rosie Show for a good time not mean-spirited humor.
Ah what can you do…the line between all-in-fun jesting and putting down a person is a fine one. There is no denying that Rosie certainly does show that she cares for her audience. In fact, if there is something amply good that the show has to offer is Rosie’s willingness to invite her fans to pull up a seat. Whether she is literally pulling people she met on the street (which she has), or is reaching out to viewers kicking back on their couches, her talent of being familiar and friendly is engaging. Sure she’s had her share of spats and fights with other celebrity personalities but to the fans she’s true blue. Rosie, here’s looking at you kid. Good luck on the show.
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