Picks and Pans Review: Roseanne

updated 10/17/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/17/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ABC (Tues., Oct. 18, 8:30 p.m. ET)

A

Watching a good TV show is a little like good sex. It leaves you with a warm grin and a sigh. Roseanne Barr is not exactly a siren for the '90s; she's no Jessica Rabbit. Still, a half hour with her is a pleasing experience. Roseanne is a sitcom custom-built for its comedienne's considerable talents. She plays a mom in a demographically undesirable household with three kids and one husband—the huge and hugely likable John (Punchline) Goodman. He works in construction, now and then; she works in a plastics factory. And they all work at delivering punch lines. This is hardly a revolutionary format for a sitcom. Donna Reed did it. So did Danny Thomas, Lucille Ball and Dick Van Dyke. But Barr is special. She has a delivery all her own. She has the greatest adenoids in show business. Yes, on second thought, she is a siren. With a wail that would give Ethel Merman a headache, Barr delivers no end of great lines. Kid: "Mo-om, where's my English book?" Roseanne: "I sold it." Kid: "Mo-om, I got a knot in my shoe." Roseanne: "Wear loafers." Roseanne imitating her teen daughter on the phone: "Oh, hi! I looked in the mirror and I'm gettin' boobs!" Roseanne on motherhood: "This is why some animals eat their young." But she says these things with a well-lighted smile, with affection, with charm. Roseanne delivers all the warmth but none of the goo of Cosby while showing us all the wryness but none of the meanness of Married with Children. It's a tricky mix. But it's the perfect mix. So far, Roseanne is the best new show of the season.

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