January 31, 2002
6:50 PM   Subscribe

Was tonight's "Will and Grace" a coming out episode for Rosie O'Donnel? Sure, it was her character that came out---(though, so was Ellen's)---but she seemed a little choked up when she said the line: "Jack, I'm gay." PlanetOut.com discusses the matter and reports that Rosie will be coming out for real in her soon to be published Biography: "Find Me." Either way, though, whether it was just her character or Rosie speaking through the character, it was a prettty memorable TV moment.
posted by adrober (49 comments total)
Is there anyone who didn't know this?
posted by delmoi at 6:53 PM on January 31, 2002

Who cares? Rosie is annoying as hell, epitomizes the lowest common denominator, and hasn't been in the closet since she was 12 (she can't fit). I can't wait till she leaves her show and disappears from the face of the Earth (I hope that doesn't effect our orbit).
posted by wsfinkel at 6:55 PM on January 31, 2002

Wow wsfinkel...I'm not a fan...but damn!

Nice troll
posted by plemeljr at 7:04 PM on January 31, 2002

wsfinkel: lowest common denominator Are you sure? 2 fat jokes/3 sentences...that is a pretty low denominator as well..

I normally find Will & Grace amusing but Rosie is 'just awful'. Straight, bi, lesbian, transgendered, or hermaphrodidic, she just can't act (not even at a sitcom level). I could just see one of those 'out' style magazines trying to give her back to the breeding crowd!
posted by srboisvert at 7:06 PM on January 31, 2002

i'd be more surprised if she said she wasn't gay.

Incidently, I could have said the same before Ellen made her announcement.

Sometimes people can just figure things out for themselves.
posted by bunnyfire at 7:07 PM on January 31, 2002

Say it isn't so! Has the whole world gone gay? Who's next, Nathan Lane?

Seriously, it's sort of shameful that she's coming out now that her career is (seemingly) declining rather than a year or two ago when she was on top of the world, ma.
posted by emptyage at 7:17 PM on January 31, 2002

Rosie, the Paul Lynde memorial center square is ready and waiting...
posted by machaus at 7:25 PM on January 31, 2002

Oh come on... next I bet your gonna tell me that Richard Simmons is gay too...
posted by spilon at 7:39 PM on January 31, 2002

I heard machaus was a little light in his loafers... did you see who he went home with after the Christmas party? Yeah that's right.
posted by geoff. at 7:53 PM on January 31, 2002

When Ellen Degeneres made a big career move out of coming out, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine with a headline that said "Yep, I'm Gay!" I was living in DC at the time, and a popular gay bar in Dupont Circle posted the cover up in their front window with the words "Duh, No Kidding!" below it. That's pretty much my response to this. The only people who didn't know Rosie was gay either live in igloos, or are desert nomads. In either case, they should count themselves lucky never to have been insulted by the insipid shite that is "Will and Grace" or Rosie.
posted by Ty Webb at 7:55 PM on January 31, 2002

ding ding ding goes the trolley, clang clang clang goes the bell... oops, was that out loud?
posted by machaus at 7:58 PM on January 31, 2002

Wouldn't this be something like Kobe Bryant telling the world he's a basketball player?
posted by diddlegnome at 8:00 PM on January 31, 2002

If she revealed to the world that she was funny, THAT would be front-page news.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:07 PM on January 31, 2002

??t isn't so! Has the whole world gone gay? Who's next, Nathan Lane?

Little late, he's been out casually for twenty years, formally for at least a half dozen.

Anyway, isn't it kinda tacky to speculate on someone's sexual orientation when they've never said anything one way or another? When she wants to come out, she'll come out. Until then, ech, what's to talk about?
posted by Dreama at 8:15 PM on January 31, 2002

Will no one stand up for Rosie? She was so good in Beautiful Girls! Regardless of how we all obviously know her sexuality better than she does, how did an FPP about her coming out turn into a bashfest? Anyhoo, it allows me to be the first to say cheers to Ms. O'Donnell. Obviously some people have been enjoying her work, and I'll venture a surmise that the gaydar of her target audience might be just slightly less acute than that of us omniscient M*F*ers. I can be happy about an openly gay personality having a comfortable place within the realm of "family television," regardless of my personal feelings about the qualities of her work.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 8:22 PM on January 31, 2002

wow. what a vicious thread. do any of YOU have a nationally syndicated, highly-rated daytime talk show? no? oh.
and btw, rosie has never denied being a lesbian. unlike many people in this country, she didn't think her sexuality should be a factor in her public life.
posted by misscolleen at 8:30 PM on January 31, 2002

"it was a prettty memorable TV moment..."

...until five minutes later when someone of importance said something meaningful.

"do any of YOU have a nationally syndicated, highly-rated daytime talk show?"

sorry, my SATs were too high.

posted by jcterminal at 8:33 PM on January 31, 2002

Leave it to a world where your sexuality is valued (career-wise) more then your abilities.....
posted by Katy Action at 8:34 PM on January 31, 2002

Who is Rosie O'Donnell? (Sorry, I don't exist in TV Land very often ... is she a big name?). More importantly (and sorry to get all libertarian) ... why the hell should anyone care what her sexual preferences - or anyone else's for that matter - are?
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:49 PM on January 31, 2002

Well, just to defend my FPP a bit, what struck me had very little to do with the Rosie we all love/hate, but more to do with her coming out (if that's what she did) the way she did.
And I think the emotion in her voice spoke to the intense psychological difficulty of coming out...I mean someone as popular and successful as she is still has a hard time with it, saying those words "I'm gay"...imagine how hard it is for pimply high schoolers, etc etc. I just think it was a charged, telling moment, worth discussing.

Oh, but as far as "denying being a lesbian," I'd say an infatuation with Tom Cruise sort of fits that category. Though if he's gay, then maybe it was all part of her plan...
posted by adrober at 8:53 PM on January 31, 2002

Dude, I'm only 10 minutes into the episode out here (west coast). Way to spoil a moment.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:15 PM on January 31, 2002

MidasMulligan -- Rosie O'Donnell was a stand-up comedian during the 80's, then got relatively famous in movies like Sleepless in Seattle, and has been hosting a talk-show for the last .. well, 4 years anyway. It was popular for a while, but sort of took a ratings dive around the time that she went ballistic on Tom Selleck for being in the NRA.

She's pretty annoying, likes to sing off key a lot, seems to have waaaay too many friends who are either puppets or cartoons, but she has also done as much for charities (her own and others) as any ten other celebrities. To me, that's reason enough not to make fat jokes about her and talk out of my ass about her sexuality. None of my business. Hint hint.
posted by Hildago at 9:43 PM on January 31, 2002

I do gotta say that the exchange following her self-outing made me laugh out loud:

The dude Rosie's talking to: "Well then say something lesbionic."
Rosie, rolling eyes: "Home Depot"
Dude, gasping: "You ARE gay!"

Well OK, maybe it was funnier on TV than in my replay...
posted by spilon at 11:06 PM on January 31, 2002

Amen, Hildago. While I may think Oprah the font of all evil, Rosie O'Donnell gets no jeers from me. I can see that she can grate on people, but jeez, the one thing that put me off on The Man Show more than the endemic gay bashing was the way they went after Rosie. (Now if only they could have spun off The Man Show Boy--that I'd watch--If I still had free cable. And thank god, I don't...) And I'm not down with the fat jokes about Oprah: She's the font of all evil, yes, but enough with the fat jokes, already.
posted by y2karl at 1:02 AM on February 1, 2002

props to Hildago and y2karl. could we possibly stop to consider for a moment that coming out might be a difficult thing for someone, anyone, to do? regardless of your personal opinion of the woman, her personal trials and her personal risks are not ours to criticize. i mean, how many of you came out on national tv? and then went home to watch scores of people dissect your life and your choices, just like is happening here right now? oh yeah, and fat jokes are well below the lowest common denominator. come on.
posted by prosaic at 1:48 AM on February 1, 2002

I tend to think if she's famous of her own doing, everything is fair game. Nobody held a gun to her head.
posted by owillis at 2:59 AM on February 1, 2002

[Regardless of how we all obviously know her sexuality better than she does....]

It has happened? A friend came out of the closet 3 or 4 years ago and just about everyone I know thought he was gay 15 years ago. He's said on occasion that we figured it out a year or two ahead of him. Of course, he thinks he could have been in denial as well.

Oh yeah, almost forgot - I don't care if Rosie is gay, straight, bi, or into gerbils. She's the one making an issue of it so don't be surprised if we talk about it.
posted by revbrian at 3:12 AM on February 1, 2002

Enough about Rosie...let's talk about the crap-fest that is "Will & Grace." Far be it from me to shy away from sexuality or sex-themed humor, but this show is nothing BUT sex-based humor. There is no episode, scene, or character that is not based on anything but sex. They need to seriously lighten up and work on some other storylines once in a while...sex is good, and talking about sex can be humorous, but 100% sex does not a sitcom make. Two cents. Take it or leave it.
posted by davidmsc at 4:08 AM on February 1, 2002

Of course you might say something similar about Matt Damon talking about his "longterm relationship with his boyfriend, Ben" in next week's episode (from the preview).

But the fact is, Rosie has herself said she has never denied or admitted it, and that it really, to her, much of a to do.

Agreed, though, one of the best sitcom lines I've heard in a long time. "Say something lesbionic." "Home Depot."
posted by benjh at 5:15 AM on February 1, 2002

Rosie O'Donnell on her popularity: "I think I'm very relatable. When I did stand-up in little clubs in Oklahoma or Arizona, people would come up and say, 'Rosie you're just like my friend, Eileen Murphy' or 'Dorrie McShane'--always the Irish name. Everybody had a sister or best friend like me, and that same non-threatening feeling goes into the show because a lot of women are competitive, and our show is more of a celebration."
posted by Carol Anne at 5:26 AM on February 1, 2002

Her standup was OK, back in the day. This was a publicity stunt. "Is she or isn't she...?" Pfui.

Do we really care if she's a lesbian? I mean, on a ceratain level there's a sense of loss when someone really attractive goes over to the other team :) but it's been a long time since bedroom antics have been a baseline for judgement. Stonewall was a LONG time ago. I mean, there are some holdouts - 'necks in a sexual panic, for the most part - but I think our culture is overall blind to orientation. It doesn't make any sense to get woogie about who other people are sleeping with.

posted by UncleFes at 6:59 AM on February 1, 2002

I mean, there are some holdouts - 'necks in a sexual panic, for the most part - but I think our culture is overall blind to orientation.

Um, Defense of Marriage Act?
posted by y2karl at 7:11 AM on February 1, 2002

It has happened? A friend came out of the closet 3 or 4 years ago and just about everyone I know thought he was gay 15 years ago.

It's definitely happened. It's probably pretty frequent that people suspect someone before he or she officially comes out. And of course, these rumors have been circulating ever since Rosie became important enough to circulate rumors about. But it doesn't make the act any less commendable (or any less difficult, necessarily).

Oh yeah, almost forgot - I don't care if Rosie is gay, straight, bi, or into gerbils. She's the one making an issue of it so don't be surprised if we talk about it.

It's not the talking about it that surprises me, that is, after all, ostensibly what this FPP is for. Or maybe not, considering that adrober said he wanted to talk about this moment on Will & Grace. What surprises me is the thread instantly went "How does this stupid, annoying, talentless woman have the audacity to state what is obvious to me?" There was not even a moment of congratulation for what is still a brave action, and possibly notable because Rosie plays to a market that exoticizes homosexuality to the extent it recognizes it at all (to find daytime tv lesbians, watch either All My Children or Jenny Jones).

Unless I'm mistaken, Rosie is a personal chum to none of us. Speculation is fine, but it's a bit obnoxious to be so seemingly indignant about the announcement that the thread degenerates immediately into "Hell, I already knew this, and she sucks anyway, and that stupid show sucks too!"
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:13 AM on February 1, 2002

Now I am starting to wonder what the little Tommy thing was all about...

I used to like her back when she was acting, she was great in Beautiful Girls. I liked her when she used to be on VH1... But once she had the national tv talk show, it was too much.
posted by jerseygirl at 7:16 AM on February 1, 2002

Um, Defense of Marriage Act?

Well, yeah, sure, but that's screwball politics - sound and fury, signifying nothing. I meant culturally and individually.
posted by UncleFes at 7:26 AM on February 1, 2002

Clarifying: I don't believe that Congress effectively represents American culture. There are far too many barriers to enter Congress to have that be true.
posted by UncleFes at 7:27 AM on February 1, 2002

Wot? Government opposition to gay marriage doesn't reflect the culture? Not to thread hijack, not to sway the tide of discussion from Rosie's coming-out to a discussion of gay marriage, but I would argue that it's naive to suggest that a sizeable majority of Americans are fine with gay marriage. I mean, a January 2002 Gallup poll found that a slim majority of respondents believed homosexuality should be less widely accepted in America. Dude.

Back to Rosie, maybe (probably, for all intents and purposes) this whole matter is insignificant. It will likely prompt a number of people to say "See how those homosexuals are insinuating their way into our mainstream culture!" It will, with any luck, also prompt some sweet little housewife whose only contact with gay people has been this one flamboyant flight attendant on a nonstop airplane trip to Miami to say, "Wait a second, I love Rosie! And she's gay? Maybe gay people aren't the spawn of Satan, like my pastor says! I love my dead gay son!" OK, now I stop.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 7:54 AM on February 1, 2002

OK, you're all right, everyone knew along time ago -- if they were paying attention or they wanted to. But I can tell you that there are millions of women, primarily middle aged, perhaps some of our mothers (mine included) who will see Rosie come out, and it may well change their minds about gay people, for the better. Yes, she's middlebrow and has a somewhat grating, urban folksy quality that obvious turns a lot of people off, but I would argue that Rosie O'Donnell's coming out is much bigger than Ellen's in terms of ripple effect through Middle America. And that, no matter what you think of her, is a good thing.

Sexuality will cease to be an issue for people when people believe that everyone has the right to love, to partner, to own property without interference from the state. And right now, that's simply not the case. Jill Matrix's blog mentions that in order to adopt children in Florida, one has to sign a statement that you are not a homosexual. It's entirely possible that Rosie could have her children taken away from her if they were adopted in Florida (where she has a residence). Is that fair?

(stepping off soapbox.)
posted by ltracey at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2002

Screwball politics? Sound and fury? I hate to break it to you, UncleFes, but the glbt community still doesn't have anything close to equal rights in the US. Witness this case from just last week. If I'm not mistaken, Rosie O'Donnell has several adopted children, no? The day when sexual orientation issues in the matter of child custody have been settled completely is the day when stories like this are no longer worthy of a FPP.
posted by bcwinters at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2002

...let's talk about the crap-fest that is "Will & Grace."...this show is nothing BUT sex-based humor. There is no episode, scene, or character that is not based on anything but sex... 100% sex does not a sitcom make.

Can we say "Three's Company"?

Not that that show was a wonderful gift to humanity or anything; I just wanted to point out that this criticism isn't new.

Anyway, sitcoms are all about humor (er, attempts at humor), so why does it matter if the humor is sex-based or politics-based or family-based or whatever-based?
posted by Tin Man at 8:58 AM on February 1, 2002

Maybe Rosie hasn't come out yet because the lesbians have asked her not to. They probably don't wanna be associated with anyone that lame.
posted by jonmc at 9:06 AM on February 1, 2002

Witness this case from just last week

Ok, that's a good point. I guess what I was trying to say (albeit rather ineptly) is that despite current screwball politics (I'm sticking with the term, because it is), the overall trend is toward acceptance and full participation in the rights package. Realistically, (a) there is no legal reason for glbt's to be denied their rights as citizens, including child custody and marriage, and any intense scrutiny will bring that out, (b) I belive the greater culture is more accepting of homosexuality than you purport, and that anti-gay-marriage laws (as well as other restrictions) are primarily driven my a vocal, organized minority (much like a LOT of political thought/deed), and (c) the trend both short- and long-term is acceptance and assimilation.
posted by UncleFes at 9:16 AM on February 1, 2002

Tin Man: Agreed -- much of 3s Company was sex-based comedy, but the character of Jack Tripper was so brilliantly played as a NICE GUY who, in fact, wasn't as much of a "lady-killer" as he pretended to be. W&G is nothing but pure sex -- there's not a joke, gag, or pun that doesn't revolve around it. Not a condemnation on my part, simply a declaration that I don't care for the show.
posted by davidmsc at 10:20 AM on February 1, 2002

I dunno, I always thought will & grace was about pretentious elitism. But, I havn't watched in a while...
posted by delmoi at 12:06 PM on February 1, 2002

well, i'm home with flu today and admit i watched the second half of rosie this morning. i don't know if she said anything "lesbianic" before i tuned in. (her guests included dr. phil, of oprah fame, and an animal wrangler named julie something who let loose a raccoon, a flock of camera mugging parrots who zoomed all over the studio, and a very cute monkey.)

what's everyone's problem? it's daytime television. anybody who has half a life or is even marginally employed or can get up off the couch or out of bed is NOT watching this programming. (however, there are no comparable excuses for you will & grace viewers ;-) but rosie ain't so bad. you want to really gag in your granola flakes, watch barbara walters' show, "the view," which aired right after rosie. now there's a spectacle that'll make one wish heterosexuals would keep their thoughts and proclivities to themselves or at least have mercy and stay the heck off televison.
posted by jellybuzz at 12:10 PM on February 1, 2002

I'd just like to point out that I don't care if she's a lesbian, I just don't think she's funny.

And I don't care that she's fat. I like fat chicks.

Now that I'm on the record, I feel much better.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:08 PM on February 1, 2002

My main problem with Will & Grace is that "Will" and "Grace" are so damn boring compared to the supporting cast members. Of course, all sitcoms wilt in the light of Seinfeld.
posted by owillis at 3:23 PM on February 1, 2002

owillis, you are one of an au rebours kind.
posted by y2karl at 3:50 PM on February 1, 2002

I thought it was a more memorable TV moment this week when a gay hairdresser won Fear Factor. At one point he even claimed he would win because he was gay and as a result had endured hardship and brutality, and it had made him stronger.
posted by tetsuo at 4:12 PM on February 1, 2002

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