6. She’s an instigator.
Who knew Joy Behar was a cranky comedic genius? And who thought Elisabeth Hasselbeck had a spine hidden under all that pretty pink skin? Even Barbara Walters found herself revealing things she usually keeps under wraps, such as her rich-and-famous lifestyle or her left-leaning politics.
Sometimes Rosie asked pointed questions or challenged her co-hosts directly, but more often, she provoked them just by being unselfconscious. That’s the great thing about being down-to-earth: It’s contagious. The effect on the group was sometimes subtle but often palpable. Will Joy’s irascibility and irritation surface as often without Rosie there to call her the curmudgeonly aunt? And will Elisabeth ever grow a pair again?
5. She’s too sensitive.
Rosie is easily wounded. What’s more, she often takes on the world’s wounds as her own. Her soft underbelly was arguably the reason The Rosie O’Donnell Show went south. On The View, she gave up the fight for gun control and tried to censor herself when the discussion turned to the Bush administration, but she never quite managed to stop reacting.
And the corollary of sensitivity is righteousness: When Rosie felt she had a solution, she shared it in a preachy, condescending way that squelched debate and disheartened her co-hosts.
Is her conflation of the personal and the political a kind of immaturity, or just an honest, intense reaction to perceived injustice? It’s probably both. Some critics called it a very female approach — women take everything personally, you know — while the Fox crowd blamed her "bullying" on her sexual orientation.
Whatever you call it, it’s not what we’ve come to expect from coiffed, circumspect celebrities. Rosie is an embodiment (sometimes a cringe-inducing one) of those bumper stickers that say "well-behaved women rarely make history." As Nora Ephron recently noted on the Huffington Post, we’re not used to seeing women talk politics. And just when we started to appreciate it, it ended. Maybe the next time someone tries it, it won’t seem like such a minefield.
4. She’s a dyke.
You could say that this reason encompasses many of the others — Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump would certainly say so. Rosie was really, really out on The View, and at times it felt almost surreal. She proudly claimed the beer-drinking, sweatpants-wearing stereotype, and she talked about her sex life. Some call that damaging to the gay community. I just call it being out.
And the gaiety seemed to multiply: When Judy Gold guest-hosted, the panel was suddenly 50 percent gay. As the season progressed, the other co-hosts became increasingly aware of gay issues and were sometimes even comfortable talking about them, too.
But what about all those closeted years on The Rosie O’Donnell Show? Rosie has been called hypocritical and cowardly by some, but she’s more than making up for all those years of ambiguity. Judging by Rosie’s blog, she might be even gayer in the post-View era. When a commenter named Jane recently called her a "dike" (sic), Rosie’s response was forceful and radical:
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Sometimes in-your-face is the clearest way to say something. And even when Rosie was off-color, middle America continued to tune in. Whether you love her or hate her, we owe Rosie something for making the word "gay" more commonplace and therefore less threatening. Quantity is quality in this case, and it will be that much easier for the next person who wants to be out on TV.