Rosie O’Donnell’s stint on The View was amusing, frustrating and, above all, surprising. When the 2006–07 season first began, no one could have predicted that Rosie would find herself in a shoving match with Donald Trump or a finger-pointing contest with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. No one could have foreseen that The View‘s ratings would soar, that its audience members would go ballistic for free trips on gay-friendly cruises, or that its formerly tame hot topics would actually catch fire.
And no one could have guessed that Barbara Walters’ hand-picked new hire would jump ship so early and so dramatically, leaving the others to reach for bailing buckets marked “I’m just as interesting as she is.”
What makes Rosie so fascinating and unpredictable? Even her harshest critics have to admit that she’s rarely boring: Something about her fuels headlines and sparks dialogue. In an attempt to make sense of her mojo, here are seven reasons Rosie was never going to last on The View. They’re also seven reasons I’m grateful she survived as long as she did.
(And let me give credit where credit is due: This list owes a lot to the wealth of thought-provoking comments on the AfterEllen.com blog. The discussion has been dazzling — you all seriously rock.)
7. She’s a crackpot.
Rosie herself admits that she gravitates toward the cultish and is quick to embrace conspiracy theories. Off-the-cuff is one thing, but Rosie was often just ’round the bend.
I won’t soon forget her hanging-upside-down cure for depression, her weirdly elated demonstration of a sleep apnea mask, or the parade of cockamamie crafts she passed around the table. The whacked-out 9/11 cover-up stuff isn’t funny, and neither is any kind of mental illness. But by veering into the ridiculous even when the subject was deadly serious, Rosie made everyone do a double-take and think twice. That’s the best kind of humor: the kind that makes you reconsider.