Saturday, November 29, 2008

The gaying of Thanksgiving

A few days ago, I was hyperventilatingly anticipating the debut of Rosie O'Donnell's variety show. I ended up not being able to watch it live, but caught up with the finest moments the following day—it was part of our post-feast Thanksgiving TV entertainment, along with last year's Radio City Christmas Spectacular (the year the most excellent Linda Haberman started reshaping the Rockettes in particular and the show in general) and Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special from 1988. (Needless to say, this was a rather gay Thanksgiving. Thanks Brett and David!)

Anyway, Rosie's special was quite the cheesefest. How can she mean so well and do so wrong? It's all fixable though: She basically needs to refrain from putting herself in almost every number. I realize this is hard to fathom for someone like Rosie, endowed with both a prodigious ego and an unfettered enthusiasm for all things Broadway that, while endearing, gives her the misguided desire to be onstage with her idols. I do have to admit that "City Lights," the number I was gushing about before seeing the show, delivered because Rosie did it with Liza herself, and the sight of them desperately selling razzmatazz was chilling. At one point Liza did a bizarre high kick, which we replayed over and over, split between disbelief, hilarity and a certain joy at Liza's manic need to entertain. Still, if this is what we can expect from her upcoming show at the Palace, I'm a little scared.

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite American holiday because it's just an opportunity to have good food and good times with friends. There's no god, no presents, no pressure. Not having family here, the Sheila and I usually end up with similar strays, who tend to be from foreign lands or gay or both. For us, it's a great time to enjoy our new life in our adoptive country.

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