Roseanne Barr

updated 12/26/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/26/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Sitcoms have always loved the good mother, from the picture-perfect models guiding little Cleavers and Cosbys to Kate Jackson's sexy single on Baby Boom. But never has a TV mama been as instantly—or just plain—big as Roseanne Barr. With ABC's Roseanne, comedian Barr, 35, has sprung on an unwary nation a revolutionary domestic goddess who is to Donna Reed as a roaring open-pit fire is to a toaster. Roseanne is basic. A curmudgeon with a caramel center, she bowls, considers anything frozen on an aluminum tray a home-cooked meal and has more one-liners than her couch has crumbs. Content with her (circa) 200 lbs., she's playfully sexy and talks, not sotto voce either, about "doin' it" with her man.

Barr has been wed for 15 years to Bill Pentland (her show's executive consultant) and has three children. It's hard to tell where the real Roseanne stops and the comedian and TV star begin; these various Roseannes, like their outsize shirts, simply hang loose. That deceptively easy style has made Roseanne the funniest and most popular new show of the season.

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