Rosario Was The Best Thing About 'Will and Grace'
'Will & Grace' has been one of the most popular comedies on television, but in my humble opinion, it’s not because of either of the titular characters.
The show’s laugh-out-loud moments, for me, usually came from the sensitive but endearingly self-centred Jack McFarland, and the out-of-touch, often-drunk and fabulously glamorous, Karen Walker.
But it was Karen’s austere maid, Rosario Salazar, who delivered the best one-liners Terminator-style, that would make me almost spit out my wine. Because, whilst Rosie was a maid, she was not remotely subservient.
Shelley Morrison, who played Rosie from 1999 – 2006 before retiring from acting, sadly this week died at the age of 83, after a brief illness.
It may sound like a cliché, but her epic character, who was even more badass than her boss, will live on; and we need pay tribute to that.
Karen might have been a ‘give no f*cks’ kind of gal, but Rosie was equally stubborn, tough as nails, opinionated, and never afraid to tell her boss what she thought.
The two women together made for viewing gold.
The story goes that in 1985, Rosie was a cigarette lady in a nightclub, where she met Karen, and was snapped up as a maid.
But theirs proved to be anything but a traditional employer/employee relationship.
Usually beginning her sentences with “Listen, lady”, and often wearing oversized sunglasses even indoors, Rosie repeatedly stood up to her boss’s unreasonable requests. This was especially if they’d been made drunkenly, as they usually were.
Once, when asked to make cocktails, Rosie sarcastically suggested, “Why don’t I squeeze you like a sponge? There’s enough alcohol in you to fill a hot tub.”
Ouch, but also, major LOL.
Another iconic moment came when, motivated by her own needs, Karen organised for Rosie to marry Jack to obtain a Green Card, so she could continue to live in America. When Rosie complains about the ridiculous Princess Di-like dress she’s been forced into, Karen asks her maid to have “a little appreciation”.
Rosie snaps back, “All I want is my Green card, not a party I have to clean up after.”
Many times, this is how their fights usually went: Karen demands something. Rosario won’t comply. They get up in each other’s grills, and then both screech their perspectives unintelligibly.
This compilation of the characters fighting like children will show you what I mean:
Karen of course gave as good as she got. Once when Rosie reminded her she’d been a teacher in her home country, Karen shoots back:
“Well in this country, you wash my bras.”
During scenes like that, you’d forget that Rosario and Karen’s relationship was, at its core, a love-hate one. In between their constant bickering, there were many moments of affection, and they even regularly admitted to each other, “I love you”.
This is what makes Rosie’s character even more stellar -- she always remained loyal to Karen, even when she was ‘broke’ after her marriage ended.
The feeling, secretly, was mutual. Rosie’s funeral in 2017 was evidence of that.
In an emotional episode, Rosie dies from a heart attack, and a distraught Karen can’t make it to the funeral. Instead, she visits Rosie afterwards, and tearfully tells her, “You are my everything.”
To be honest, if you’re a real fan of the show, you could even say that their friendship was one of the greatest on television.
The importance of Rosie’s character was not lost on Morrison, either.
“Rosario is one of my all-time favourite characters,” she said recently, according to the AP.
“She reminds me a lot of my own mother, who loved animals and children, but she would not suffer fools.
“It is very significant to me that we were able to show an older, Hispanic woman who is bright and smart and can hold her own.”
For being Rosie, Morrison received two American Latino Media Arts Award nominations for outstanding supporting actress in a television series in 2006 and 2002, and for outstanding actress in a television series in 2001.
Morrison is survived by her husband of 40 years, Walter Dominguez, her children and grandchildren.
Rosie is survived by her badass attitude, epic one-liners, and Karen.