The Nut from the Nut Farm
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Remember Roseanne Barr-Pentland-Arnold-Thomas? She was the star of the hit series “Roseanne” (1988-1997) and maybe one of the most crass, rude, lewd, people you could find on television (back then). And that’s no insult to her – she was damn proud of being called such things. After all, what other words came to mind when she’d fill up that half hour in the iconic low-income yellow house with costars John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf?

I don't have anything against the comedic styles of the great Roseanne, I really don't. I was a fan of the series and still will occasionally sit through a rerun of an episode when it runs at two in the morning on TV Land (and I have nothing more productive to accomplish). She was a great contrast to the other big hit television shows of the decade -- Tim Allen's "Home Improvement", Fran Drescher's "The Nanny", and who could ever forget "Friends"?

While The Nanny and Home Improvement were all about subliminally communicating family values and good morals to their viewers through beautiful, loving, television families; Roseanne (both the character and the show) was all about the opposite. Swearing in front of little kids? Check. Underage drinking? Check. Teen pregnancy? Check. Drug use and getting high on the drugs that you've just confiscated from your children in the bathroom with your husband and sister? Check, check, check, check, check -- and the list goes on. But you get the idea. In reality, she was just ahead of her time. Back in the nineties that was looked down upon and seen as inappropriate dinner conversation. Today, well, with the Kardashians and all those other mindless reality shows she'd fit right in!

And yes, I was a fan of it. Disgusting, I know, but still it was like a relief sometimes to kick back, pop open a soda and a bag of chips and let your brain melt to Roseanne.

That was back then – this is now.

I recently watched the pilot for her new show "Roseanne's Nuts" (it's a new show on the Lifetime network that premiered on July 13) and let me tell you something. Five minutes into the show and I was staring at the screen and wondering,"What the hell is this?"

There's no doubt it's Roseanne. The million or so F-bombs and the blurred guest appearance of her privates confirm it. And then there's that voice.

So it turns out, Roseanne bought a nut farm on the Big Island of Hawaii. Now, what the heck a rich, famous (or infamous) celebrity like she, accustomed to the luxuries of life would want with a macadamia nut farm in the middle of nowhere is beyond me. Perhaps she wanted to be among her own kind and see how they grow.

Okay, that insult was uncalled for, but in my defense, she admitted that the pigs that terrorize her farm (who she claims she is at war with, more on that later) are smarter than her.

The pilot opens and we’re greeted by none other than Roseanne. She’s let her hair go semi-grey and the effects of her (many) cosmetic procedures aren’t as obvious as they were ten years ago. She’s living on the nut farm out on the Big Island’s Hamakua Coast (macadamia country) with her new boyfriend (she claims they’ve been a couple for eight years). Their son Jake makes an appearance, having flown in from his life (she claims he doesn’t have one) in Los Angeles.

Roseanne sits down in front of the camera and gives us a brief and cheeky explanation on her decision to leave the glamour of Hollywood and move to Hawaii to live in relative seclusion. Barr says she realized that she was probably headed to hell, deciding that she needed to turn her life around. This, it would seem, is how she chose to do it. Buy a nut farm in the middle of nowhere and live off of what the land can give (that doesn’t exactly jive with the satellite dishes on the roof and the shiny MacBook Pro laptop in the kitchen – not to mention the eight camera men around them).

We’re no more than three minutes into the show and she’s out hunting for the pigs that plague her farm. For those unfamiliar with the wildlife on the Big Island, wild pigs (actually they’re more like boars) are very prevalent in and around wooded areas. Relatives of mine that live just outside of Hilo that have caught pigs in their yard on many occasions. They’re not the cute little pink Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. These pigs are big, strong, and will incite violence if provoked. Not unlike Roseanne.

We follow her out into the woods as she hunts for the pigs that have eaten some of her nuts. She carries a loaded rifle on her shoulder and steadies herself to take a shot as two such pigs come into view. She loses her balance as she pulls the trigger, however, and it appears that her shot has gone off into the distance.

Although she’s threatened to shoot and kill them, she deserves some points as later in the show she declares that no pigs will die on her farm. That gives her one up over fellow failed-reality series star Sarah Palin who’s a little less merciful.

You really only need to watch the first six minutes of the show. The rest of the episode is Roseanne fighting it out with the pigs, trying to cook a meal (using an orange popsicle in lieu of orange juice), and then sitting down to eat it – until her bowl slides off the table and lands on the grass below.

I enjoyed Roseanne – the show – and I was really disappointed that this new attempt at a comeback was so awful. Lifetime, according to the Hollywood Reporter, has signed her for sixteen episodes. In most series’, the pilot episode is like the first chapter of a book. It’s the one shot that the show, its cast, and its crew have at getting people interested and hooked to come back for subsequent episodes. If the pilot of Roseanne’s Nuts was any indication of the rest of the season, well, let’s just say I won’t be writing any more reviews of it because I won’t be watching any more of it. I don’t recommend you do either.

Every star begins to fade sometime – if Lucille Ball, heralded by many as one of the greatest stars in history, can fade into the end titles, anyone can. There are some that will bow out with elegance and grace, their heads held up high. Then there’s Roseanne, who stumbled out and is now struggling to make a comeback with everything hanging down low.

If you’re looking for something to do, I’d suggest getting a colonoscopy. It’s more interesting and it’ll be a lot less painful.

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