Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iRoseannes Nuts/i
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If the winky title doesn't give it away, Roseanne Barr's most recent return to TV is focused on two basic facts about the star: her current life in Hawaii running a macadamia nut farm and a willingness to poke fun at herself. Even with her impressive credits —  a hit primetime TV show that ran for nine seasons, a stand-up career, and various forays into talk shows and books—Barr has always been a polarizing figure in the public eye. She's let her salty personality show more and more as she's aged, forsaking lovability for sass.  In fact, it only takes a quick peek on her RoseanneWorld.com blog to find a treasure trove of posts offering her vehement take on everything from Obama's policies to the Britney Spears's parenting failures. And on Roseanne's Nuts she opts for the warts-and-all approach while letting those close to her point out the many glaring contradictions in her personality.

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The premise is simple enough: Viewers get to watch the former TV star on her sprawling Hawaiian property as she roots around in the dirt, frets over wild pigs stealing her nuts, and trash talks L.A., her former home. A lot of that has to do with the fact that her eldest son Jake has flown in from Tinseltown with his brother-in-law Jeff to help his famous mom with the nut farm, giving her ample reason to open the floodgates of criticism on the town that's clearly burned her enough times to leave a mark.

Rounding out the gang is Barr's current flame, Johnny, who has a low-key, jokey attitude that works as a perfect foil to his girlfriend's pokes and jabs. The two appear as peas in a pod, having been together eight years after he sought her out via her website. While it proves people can contact celebrities through the internet and make good on their far-fetched crushes, it also provides Barr with a patient partner who's willing to tag along while she attempts to outsmart the wild pigs nibbling her precious nuts. That dilemma makes up much of the first episode, in fact, as Barr manages to capture one of the culprits more than once. A fear of killing the little oinkster — particularly after Jake and Jeff raise the stakes by promising to cook him up luau style — has her so on edge that she finally panics and announces that she might call her psychiatrist to sort out what to do.

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Gorgeous, tropical greenery and crashing waves fill frame after frame as Roseanne and her family ride golf carts through her farm and give their testimonials to the camera from a grassy bench. It's a welcome change from the dreary reality staple of filming people inside charmless houses or on the streets of crowded cities. That open, airy feeling pervades the show, a fitting backdrop to Barr's big personality, her cranky moments and her goofy, good-natured ones. Jake and Johnny excel at bringing out her endearing side, like when Jake pokes fun at her for plopping an orange popsicle in a skillet in an attempt to make homemade candied nuts.

It's also Jake who nabs the award for the best exchange of the episode when he joins his mom and Johnny for a bite and some wine out on the sprawling lawn. Roseanne wraps up another diatribe comparing her new home to Hollywood, saying "I sure like it 'cause it's not L.A." to which Jake quickly adds, "You've got eight camera crew guys here." To the show's credit, the camera immediately pans to show the three of them utterly surrounded by a phalanx of cameramen standing on the grass while Roseanne laughs a big, brassy laugh.

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Stray observations
- Anyone catch that subtle pixilation required on Barr's nether regions during her phone call in the purple dress?
- In the intro music there sounded like an awfully familiar snippet of harmonica much like the one in her famous sitcom's intro, no?
- Barr communicating with the goats via her goat voice is something that should definitely return in future episodes
- Kudos to Barr for stealing Brett Michaels’s killer bandana-under-cowboy-hat look!

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