08/18/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT
ABC (Wednesdays, 9 p.m. ET)
"I'm an exhibitionist," Roseanne Barr acknowledges on this curious new reality series. "I have a huge ego. I need attention." Well, that pretty much sums up The Real Roseanne Show. Good night, folks.
All right, it's not quite so simple. We need to explain what reality means in Roseanne's world. This show follows the comedian and her entourage—including son Jake, son-in-law Jeff, boyfriend Johnny and first husband Bill—as they labor to launch Domestic Goddess, a cooking and lifestyle series starring Roseanne that's slated to debut next month on the ABC Family cable network. Consider this an extended, improvisational promo for that show (which sounds vaguely promising). Or look at it as The Osbournes with fewer bleeps.
The theme is spelled out at the start: Can the former sitcom queen and daytime talk show host make a TV comeback without reconfirming her reputation as a temperamental tyrant? Roseanne's lips insist she wants to be calmer and more considerate this time around, while her eyes say she may start firing the flunkies and smashing the china any minute. Neither side of Roseanne seems real because she always appears to be playing, rather than being, herself. Worse, the character isn't very funny. About the only chuckles in the first two episodes came from watching Jake and Jeff goof off. I can picture them as sitcom slackers, dodging an explosive boss.
BOTTOM LINE: Real waste of time