SAY it ain’t so, Ro! Leaving “The View?” Again?! You could knock me over with a Koosh ball!
Of course I’m joking.
It was a foregone conclusion that she’ d be leaving as soon as it was announced she was re-joining “The View.” And, Christamighty, it’s “The View!” It’s Rosie O’Donnell! Who the hell cares?!
And yet, I admit I’ve been oddly fascinated with Rosie, her career and her unique personality for the last twenty years or so.
Like you, I was only vaguely aware of Rosie O’Donnell in the early 1990s when — based seemingly solely on a vocal gimmick — she was cast as Betty in “The Flintstones” movie. And to her credit, yes, she really nailed that Betty Rubble giggle.
And also in the 1990s (among other things of course), she appeared on two “Jeopardy!” celebrity tournaments. A little internet digging reveals she appeared on a 1992 episode — fresh off her success from “A League of Her Own” (apparently she was in that, too – never saw it!) — and she wins the game!
In the 1992 episode – VERY low-quality video of it can be found here – she does some grandstanding, a little over-the-top waving to the cameras – but the first thing host Alex Trebek does after introducing the contestants — Robert Guillaume, Ed Begley Jr. and Rosie — is make this little speech:
“Before we get into the game, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to in all honesty alert you to the possibility of a problem in this half-hour and I say this not because I am a big fan of Rosie O’Donnell, not because of the fact that she happens to come from the same part of Long Island as my beautiful wife Jean but she talked to me a few moments ago and she was worried about the fact that we may be skewing the material towards the gentlemen contestants and she warned me that if there are any clues that come up about Phantom of the Opera in which Robert Guillaume stars or about solar cars which are advocated by Ed Begley Jr. she will lodge a protest.”
Meanwhile, Rosie, with hair done up and lips pursed to evoke Betty Boop, nods in mock seriousness as Alex announces this.
It’s mildly cute, vaguely amusing (if a tiny bit cringe-inducing and embarrassing) but it’s noteworthy because by arranging to have Alex make that speech, she gives (pursed) lip service to her opponents, but the focus is on her.
It’s definitely a harbinger of things to come – especially if you happened to see her 1999 appearance, facing opponents Noah Wyle and Carol Burnett. In that episode, a whopping seventeen answers remained unrevealed, and it was mostly due to Rosie running out the clock of the two timed rounds by cracking little asides and jokes after most clues were answered, whether she was the one to ring in or not.
Unfortunately, video of that appearance does not seem to exist online but as I recall, even Alex Trebek seemed to tire of the way Rosie was disrupting the flow of the game and hijacking the entire program. No surprise that she hasn’t been back as a celebrity contestant on “Jeopardy!” since then.
It was that appearance where I started to see her as someone who seems to suffer from a near-pathological need to constantly be the center of attention.
The 1990s also brought us “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” that enjoyed a 6-year run and for a time, at least, inexplicably christened her with the mantle “The Queen of Nice” — something I never understood because hosts of other similar daytime talkers [industry term] never seem to be particularly abrasive by comparison.
The always underrated “Mad-TV” lampooned Rosie a bunch of times in various sketches, but none was funnier than a March 2002 spoof of her show, where Rosie, played by Alex Borstein, welcomes a cast member (Debra Wilson) from the then hit Broadway play “The Lion King” and all but ignores her guest to make funny comments about how her hair resembles Cheez-Doodles. Borstein and the “Mad-TV” writers mocked Rosie and her show perfectly.
2002 was the end of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” — Rosie famously ended the show “to spend more time with her children.”
Her kids presumably grew up very quickly, or she grew tired of spending time with ’em: By 2003, Rosie was back in the spotlight with a role in an episode of “Judging Amy;” in 2005, she starred in a TV Movie “Riding the Bus with My Sister” and appeared on three episodes of “Queer as Folk;” and followed that up with four appearances on “Nip/Tuck” over the next three years.
Certainly, I’m not implying the grind of a daily show is the same as the occasional role, but still: If you’re going to make a point of leaving to spend time with your kids, maybe – I don’t know – disappear for a couple years. Do the stay-at-home Mom thing for at least a little while.
At some point around there, she found time away from the kids and away from the camera to write her first memoir, “Find Me,” and this being Rosie, one can’t help but imagine a scenario between her and an editor trying to talk her down from a slightly different title: “Look At Me!!!”
Shortly before Drew Carey debuted as the new host of “The Price Is Right,” I had a chance to ask a producer on the show whether the rumors of Rosie wanting to host the show were true. He confirmed they were: Not only did she want to host, but according to him, she wanted to move “TPIR” to New York and cut down the number of pricing games played so she could turn it into more of a talk show. Had that happened, I imagine within a few short months, she’d have done away with all the pesky “game” elements completely and somehow transformed it back into the program she had left five years before – after all, is this really someone who’d want to have to share the stage with unknown contestants each day?
In 2007, Ms. O’Donnell followed up her best-seller (!) “Find Me” with “Celebrity Detox: The Fame Game.” Like you, I’ve never read it, either, but the book is described on Amazon.com as “Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, and always brutally honest, this is Rosie O’Donnell’s surprising account of the pain, regret, and euphoria involved in withdrawing from celebrity life—and the terrifying dangers of relapsing into the spotlight…CELEBRITY DETOX is Rosie’s story of the years after she walked away from her top-rated TV show in 2002, and her reasons for going back on the air in 2006.”
Mm. “Withdrawing from celebrity life.” What specific date was that briefly accomplished?
What’s so fascinating about Rosie is not the obvious narcissism, not the addiction to fame, but rather the way it manifests itself. Johnny Carson left “The Tonight Show” after 29 years with arguably less fanfare than Rosie left her show after hosting it for roughly one-fifth of that time.
When she re-joined “The View” last fall, I told a pal, with characteristic accuracy of course!, that the clock was already ticking down to her next departure. There’s not room at that televised cackle-fest of overlapping dialogue and constant passive-aggressive interruption for more than one head chicken and Whoopi already rules the roost.
By now it had become clear, at least to me, that Rosie only joins these shows for the sole purpose of leaving. She seems to love the publicity surrounding her exits. And what better way to tighten the spotlight on an ensemble panel until it’s laser-focused on one person — her!
Remember her first petulant exit from “The View,” following an on-air argument with Elisabeth Hasselbeck? Rosie is the little brat at the party who is so jealous of the birthday girl and any attention showered on others that she throws a temper tantrum and demands to leave so everyone will dote on her until a parent comes to pick her up.
Rosie O’Donnell is leaving “The View” this time because, according to a spokesperson, “Rosie has teens and an infant at home that need her attention,” and, in another statement, “She’s focused on her kids now. This is the right thing for her to do.”
But…oops! She’s used that one before.
Time to switch things up! By today, Monday, the reasoning behind her impending exit had been elaborated on a bit and so now, this time, it’s all about heart health!
So, today, using a new method, the Elephant-In-the-Room Technique, Rosie’s leaving wasn’t discussed on “The View” whatsoever. This makes for a bigger buildup when it is discussed on the show at some point before she tapes her last episode on Thursday.
“Why didn’t we talk about my leaving the View on the View today? I want you to know that everybody wanted me to talk about it. I didn’t want to talk about it,” she explains in a video posted today on YouTube, where she, uh, talks about it. But know one thing: the fact that “everybody wanted [her] to talk about it” means the world to this woman.
Anyway, the new angle is that she’s leaving because she “had a heart attack.”
Two years ago.
“…And stress is very bad….for heart attack …survivors,” she continues. “You should minimize your stress. Maximize your exercise and control your diet. That’s what you need to do for a healthy heart. So that’s what I’m doing.”
Thank God! Thank God she’s on top of this with such lightning-fast immediacy — now, a mere two years later, instead of maybe a decade from now!
“I’m minimizing my stress by leaving ‘The View.'”
And, as usual, maximizing focus, spotlight, fanfare, attention, sympathy.
So long, Ro!
Good luck and good health to you, enjoy the time raising your kids, and make the most of that well-deserved rest you’ll be taking until whenever it is we see you again.
…Which I’m guessing will probably be in about a week and a half, when she’ll no doubt be making the rounds on other talk shows where she’ll talk at length about leaving “The View,” while an agent works frantically behind the scenes to get her a brand new gig from which — with an appropriate number of trumpets blaring, maidens throwing rose petals before her, and standard bearers marching with flags held high — she can make her next triumphant exit.
SO I WAS WATCHING this…this…this “Galavant” of yours. You know, ABC’s fairytale musical comedy, made up of equal parts “Spamalot,” “When Things Were Rotten,” “Shrek,” “The Princess Bride,” “Fractured Fairy Tales” and pretty much every other take on the fairytale comedy genre, musical or not.
Despite all those that have come before it, it’s often, eh, kinda funny though a bit uneven. Unfortunately, at least for the first few episodes, ABC insisted on using its theme song (with rewritten lyrics) to promote every one of their other shows during the commercial breaks. Sometimes overkill is funny. Not here, brother. Nahhhhht here.
But let’s get down to business: In the show’s second episode “Joust Friends,” John Stamos plays a pompous knight named Sir Jean Hamm.
See, it’s a play on “Jon Hamm” – the name of a successful actor that, eh, isn’t John Stamos.
If there’s another comedic angle to this, it’s lost on me. Like: Is the name based on some actual historic figure with a similar name? I don’t know, but I’m guessing not. But here’s how a knight named “Jean Hamm” would have been funny:
Have Jon Hamm play the role.
It makes me, and now you, wonder: Did the writers hope to get Jon Hamm for this part? Don’t get me wrong – Stamos was very funny and did a fine job. But I’m curious if Hamm was supposed to play the character, and then things fell through for whatever reason, and Stamos stepped in.
Regardless, with Stamos playing the part, the name “Jean Hamm” doesn’t work.
So then you know what you do if you can’t get Jon Hamm and you’ve got John Stamos instead? You change the character’s name…to Jean St. Amos.
Bam! Problem solved! I know not everyone is as brilliant as me, but this seems like a pretty obvious joke – how did they miss it?
Watching that episode – hearing this inexplicable name – I was transported back in time to a dark time in our collective history. No, not to the Middle Ages when the show is set, but much further back – to the Stone Age – that is, 1994 – when “The Flintstones” movie was released.
Back when that great big steaming pile of brontosaurus manure came out, I read that Sharon Stone was offered a role in the film, but turned it down because “she was doing other work.” (I’m guessing she read a page or two of the script.)
When the writers hoped that they could get Sharon Stone, they decided to call her character…“Sharon Stone” – presumably on account of it’s “The Flintstones,” and this was the kind of cheap “rock” joke the film’s army of writers thought the audience would expect.
And it would have been slightly amusing, sure, but also confusing: Was the real Sharon Stone to play her own prehistoric ancestor? Would she have been playing herself – who had somehow been sent back in time? Or, most likely, were audiences merely supposed to chuckle and think to themselves, “Heh, the character’s name is Sharon Stone, and look, it’s Sharon Stone playing her. This is the cheap kind of ‘rock’ joke we expect”…?
With Sharon Stone offering her polite “oh, dear God, no thanks,” they cast Halle Berry in the role instead…but kept the character’s name as Sharon Stone.
According to an article in Entertainment Weekly at the time, one of the many writers on the film – perhaps the only intelligent one – suggested the name “Rosetta Stone” which actually is a clever, ancient history-type “rock” gag (especially since this was before that name was widely known as a brand of language-learning software).
However, director Brian Levant nixed it because he figured it was a joke that “maybe six archaeologists might laugh at.”
But naming a character after a famous actress being played by a different famous actress who looks nothing like her – people would get that joke.
It’s 21 years later. I still don’t get it.
Maybe I missed my calling and should have been an archaeologist.
Next time: Our lecture series about current network television shows and 1990s live-action movie adaptations of 1960s cartoons continues as I draw thought-provoking parallels between “The Good Wife” and “George of the Jungle.” Be here!
YOU’RE FAMILIAR with Margaret Keane’s work, of course – the kitschy paintings (and prints, and posters and postcards and so on) from the 1960s of the sad waif-like kids with the big eyes. Why, you yourself probably collected them as whatever forerunner to today’s hipster you didn’t consider yourself, but actually were, 20 years ago, when they’d still occasionally pop up in thrift stores. Did all that make sense?
And you must have heard about the movie “Big Eyes,” but if not: Why, it’s a marvelous little film that tells the story behind those peepers and finally gives artist Margaret Keane her due. A Tim Burton film it is, believe it or not – despite neither Johnny Depp nor Helena Bonham Carter being anywhere in sight, and with a soundtrack by, yes, Danny Elfman that somehow doesn’t go dunt-dunt dunt-dunt dunt-dunt, BOOM BOOM! BOOM BOOM!, dunt-dunt dunt-dunt dunt-dunt, BOOM BOOM! BOOM BOOM! And so on.
I won’t waste your time commenting on the film itself other than to note I liked it nearly as much as I hated “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which is to say, “quite a lot.”
What I will point out though is that the look of this film (set mostly in the late 1950s and early 1960s) is pretty much flawless. If you’re an annoying hipster of today (or whatever the rest of us all were 20 years ago), one thing’s for sure – you’re just going to go on and on and on about all the “mid-century” set design and decoration, because if there’s anything hipsters of today (and of the last 20 years) love more than “mid-century” furnishings and architecture (and “Eames Era”-anything), brother, I don’t know what it is. Well, other than just saying the phrase “mid-century.” Or using it to describe their eBay offerings.
But where does your old pal Ted and his unassuming little blog come in?
At one point in the film – spoiler alert! – Margaret is worn down from painting her Big Eyes non-stop and, at a supermarket, hallucinates seeing people in the store with similarly enormous orbs. At the beginning of the scene, Keane (Amy Adams) walks by an endcap (industry term) of Southgate products. Oh, they’re out of focus, sure, but make no mistake – they’re Southgate, all right!
“Wait,” you say, “Southgate – that sounds familiar…” Well, for God’s sake, it should – their products were featured twice under my brilliant Delightfully Anachronistic Package Design posts. It was even on the mid-term!
Anyway, a moment later, another shopper turns to look at her, and…
…well, if you’re like me – and you are – you’re dumbstruck to see an aisle largely comprised of Delightfully Anachronistic Package Design Hall-of-Famers: Jiffy brand products. Also, apparently the image of the shopper herself is slightly off-putting as well. I guess.
And so I say to you: Clearly someone on the production team for this film did a Google search on “anachronistic package design” to look for contemporary items they could use in this scene, happened upon my blog, realized “By Godfrey, this Ted fellow has done all our work for us!” and ordered a few dozen cases of Southgate and Jiffy products for that period look they were going for.
Clearly this is what happened.
I imagine everyone involved in the production of the film will deny it (of course!) but I’ll be nice and keep my mouth shut for a while and not tell anyone (aside from you, my – what? – six readers). But the day will come when I’ll refuse to keep living a lie, come clean and the truth will be out. Also, I imagine there’ll be some kind of lawsuit with a dramatic courtroom scene.
Eventually, however, I’ll be recognized for the genius I am (and you guys are ahead of the rest of society on this one, already aware of this as you are) and perhaps, a movie will be made about my whole ordeal.
I just hope at that point Amy Adams will still be young enough to play me.
DOES there exist anyone less politically aware yet who enjoys election season more than me?
Well, of course – why, we’re a nation of uninformed voters! – but I do enjoy the flyers I get. At least when they’re not clogging my p.o. box to the extent that the good stuff – i.e., postcards, letters and provocative photos in various states of undress from (and of) you, my readers – ends up getting mangled and folded and bent.
Why, here’s one now:
[–A flyer, that is, not a nude photograph of one of you folks you’ve graciously submitted by US Mail, hang the decency laws! No, those go on my other site – TedParsnipsAfterDark ]
Anyway: Why, here’s one now:
For those equally politically clueless, and/or not living in Southern California, Sheila Kuehl is a politician who spent fourteen years in the California State Legislature – eight years in the senate and six years in the assembly – before being termed out. She’s currently running for LA County Supervisor.
However, like me, you remember her as Zelda Gilroy from the, ahem, classic series “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis” which you saw when it aired on Nick at Nite between 1990 and 1993 – and despite really hoping to appreciate the show, never being able to get into it.
…We all tried liking it – didn’t we? The fact that some aspect of the show always comes up in trivia games – the Thinker statue, pre-Gilligan Bob Denver as beatnik Maynard G. Krebs, the kids on “Scooby-Doo” being modeled on the cast – means there really was something magical there at CBS, from 1959 to 1963, right? Well, maybe not so much.
Anyway, that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here because of this:
Maybe we need some closeups. Yes, I’m thinking a few closeups – that’ll do, right?
Whether you’re busy authoring yet another law producing innovations in education or just out for a midday stroll, you’ll look smart n’ stylish in this navy blue number with mandarin collar and deep breast pockets for tucking in sunscreen or a notebook where you’ll jot down ideas about safeguarding our drinking water. Buttons that go on for days let you customize your look from serious to sassy.
Button, button, who’s got the button? You do, with plenty to spare in this fabulous yellow top, equally apropos for tirelessly working to reduce congestion in the 101 corridor, legislating to prohibit gender and disability based job discrimination, or heading out for a fun & fancy-free night on the town. You’ll turn heads with deep, pleated breast pockets – both fun & functional! – offset by a daring mandarin collar.
This dream in light blue is just the thing for a casual jaunt to the seashore, or even a day at the office looking up important briefs as managing attorney of the California Women’s Law Center. Mandarin collar celebrates exotic fashions from afar while playful breast pockets evoke a youthful whimsy. And oh those buttons!
Oh, settle down, Kuehl supporters – judging by the number of flyers she’s been sending out (two different ones came today – and there’ve been about half a dozen others before that), she’s already won her election.
And she’s certainly got my vote – I respect the fact that she’s extremely practical and doesn’t have a lot of time to waste shopping for different outfits. Sheila Kuehl finds something she likes, and orders the same thing in multiple colors.
It’s like me and those thongs I keep buying. I just wish they actually came in my size.
The headline and lede from a news story posted at 2 pm on Sunday:
Now, I’m hopeful that these four dozen people are all healthy and Ebola-free, and will continue to be so tomorrow, but if the “three-week watch period” ends on Monday, shouldn’t this article start with “Four dozen people who had contact with the original Ebola patient in Dallas will complete a three-week watch period on Monday presuming they continue to show no signs of having contracted the virus”…?
Or maybe just wait until tomorrow when they’re all given clean bills of health to file the story?
But perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe the NBC News Department now employ seers & fortune tellers – and the ubiquitous little reporters’ notepads, digital recorders and little press cards stuck in the hat bands of fedoras have been replaced with crystal balls, ouija boards and gypsy head scarves.
Yes, yes, I know it’s nit-picky, but frankly, if it’s not bad journalism it’s at least solppy writign.
IT’S been far too long since I’ve debuted a new “regular” feature that I’ve subsequently given up on after one or two entries here at Ted Parsnips Dot Com. What’s been so frustrating is that some of them actually had merit and could have potentially become a thing here on the ol’ blog, but I haven’t the time! You don’t know what I’m up against!
It’s with that thought in mind, I hereby debut a new one, and it’s the worst one ever!
Establishing shot: Exterior of Walmart, or some sort of funny “take” on Walmart’s name, and it’s drawn all stylized an’ stuff; you know, like in the old UPA cartoons. (Not those 1970s DePatie-Freleng monstrosities, right guys?)
And then we cut to a shot of this:
Magoo: By George, Hogan’s Heroes on Blu-Ray! Ah, memories. ‘I zee nothing!’ Ha ha! That bumbling Sergeant Schultz, bless his soul. [turning angry] What?! Seasons 1, 2 and 3? Why, the show didn’t even hit its stride until the fourth season! Imagine, putting out a box set of only the first three seasons! It’s ‘entire series’ or nothing! They won’t be getting any of my hard-earned money! Not one red cent! [wheeling cart – wait, wait: wheeling squeaky cart – into DVD section] Now, Cholly, let’s find something for dinner.
Cholly: Okay, Missah Magloo!
[Note: I realize Cholly didn’t come along until the TV show, but in an effort to be ethnic-inclusive for modern audiences, I felt it important to include him.]
Thelma Ritter comes back from the salon with a surprise!
This being “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” he of course ends up murdering her and, in the requisite twist, running away with the sexy interior designer who suggested new window treatments for their apartment so the carpet matched the drapes.
It’s no surprise that “Entertainment Weekly” would put a thoughtful image of Robin Williams on their cover for their August 22/29 double issue to honor him following his death on August 11.
No surprise, either, that inside there’s a six-page tribute to him celebrating his TV and movie career.
But the bold editorial choice comes on the last page, on EW’s frivolous weekly feature of sarcasm and touchy-feeliness, “The Bullseye.” Depending on the subjects’ locations, they’re handled one of two ways: with either a bitchy bit of snark or a HuffPo-quality cutesy group-hug cuddle-puddle kiss-ass blurb.
“Here’s a look at the pop culture news that was right on target this week – and the events that missed the mark,” reads the Bullseye’s subheading.
Well, I’m sure that wherever Robin Williams is, he’s pleased to know that his suicide from severe depression didn’t “miss the mark” and is being celebrated as being “right on target.”
HERE’S an odd one that I perhaps thought better of posting ages ago when I first came up with it, but now – it being the silly season (as it’s known during the slow news period of the summer, at least in England, where I’ve never been) – it’s time to burn off any old, leftover material that’s just taking up space on the ol’ hard drive and actually put it to good use as frivolous, idiotic content – well, more frivolous, idiotic-er content – that you, what?, six readers may or may not enjoy, so maybe I can get out to the beach at some point secure in the knowledge that I’ve vomited something up on the site here relatively recently.
As you know, Hollywood long ago ran out of new ideas and everything anywhere for the last dozen years or so has been a reboot of a previous better something.
Well, one thing they haven’t screwed with yet is “All in the Family.” So far. But what I’m about to show you will change all that.
A while back, I was obliged to watch the HBO series “Girls” for a piece I was working on. And the one and only thing I came away from watching it, aside from a healthy contempt of Lena Dunham of course, is that Zosia Mamet, who plays Shoshanna Shapiro, should obviously be playing a character made famous by the late Jean Stapleton in the 1970s, but an earlier, whaddaycall, intarnation dere of said character.
Yes, I propose a prequel to “All in the Family.” A prequel starring the delightful Zosia Mamet as Edith!
I’m telling you, Mamet’s practically playing Young Edith Bunker as it is on “Girls,” at least ditzy, scatterbrained-wise. Why not go the whole hog and just make it official? Sure, Zosia’s going to have to Edith-up the voice a bit and dye her hair or wear a wig, but I know you’ll agree: Young Edith is the role this Girl was born to play!
So I think we’ll call it “Archie & Edith: The Early Years” or better yet, “Some in the Family” and it will focus on the Bunkers right after the War – and shortly before their little goil, Gloria, dere, is borned.
And there just might be a cameo appearance or two…
I haven’t cast Young Archie yet. But not to worry. If I don’t come up with no one good, we’ll just set it during Dubbaya Dubbaya Two so that way Archie don’t even gotta be in it, him being stationed dere in Italy. In which case we’ll call it “One in the Family.”
Norman Lear, if you’re one of my, what?, six readers, call me!
Well, it’s official!
With this stellar piece, there is absolutely no difference anymore between actual “Huffington Post” headlines and parodies of “Huffington Post” headlines!
Arianna must be thrilled, dahling!
Or, in the words of a Huffington Post headline writer, “Amazing Transition To Completely Inane Non-News Source Will Make You Ugly-Cry Tears Of Joy In The Best Possible Way.”
And speaking of parodies, pal of this blog and hideous monster Scott Maiko himself worked on a parody of “The Huffington Post” that appeared in Mad a few months back. You really should be buying the magazine, but you can see part of the parody on Jim Romensko’s blog here.