Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Roseanne by any other face is not as sweet...

Weekly Variety reports that Anchor Bay will release the first season of the '80s sitcom Roseanne later this year. Assuming sales warrant the eventual release of all nine seasons, this would provide an intriguing opportunity to watch a once superior sitcom utterly self-destruct due to the madness of its star.

The series started as an interesting and highly blue collar look at lower, lower working class families in Reagan's America. I can't say I generally agreed with the show's politics in the early days, but it presented a point of view that wasn't available elsewhere on TV and the family was refreshingly wiseass, including the kids. (Now, of course, there's a plethora of wiseass families, and the whole thing is tiresome.)

As the show became more succesful, however, Roseanne (nee Barr, then Arnold) basically went nuts. The politics went from occasionally strident to consistantly screechy, and no dissent was brooked. People with politics different from her's were just plain evil. Roseanne's real life friends and hubbies, like Tom Arnold, were cast as regulars, another sign of self-indulgance. A show originally based on telling it like it was mutated like Roseanne's constantly surgerically altered face and figure. It was like the slyest possible meta-sitcom based on The Picture of Dorian Gray.

After Roseanne's bitter divorce from Tom Arnold, it was clear that there was no one left to say 'no'. In the end, the show became so monumentally bad that it was fascinating. It was like one of those sci-fi stories where someone gets god-like powers and causes reality to reflect their own growing insanity.

There's a great book to be written there. Hopefully somebody will write it.


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