Roseanne Barr on sexism in the entertainment biz, and "the addiction to fame"

There's a terrific first-person essay in New York Magazine this month by actress, comedian, writer, and director Roseanne Barr about sexism in the television business and the sicknesses concomitant with fame. (via Harry Allen)



  1. Small nit to pick…that’s New York Magazine and not the New Yorker. It is a great read! I don’t think she gives enough credit to some of the working class TV that came prior to her (Norman Lear’s 70’s output), but it’s pretty amazing to hear how she took charge of it and produced a show that’s pretty singular.

  2. I really enjoyed the series Roseanne and still enjoy it. It was one of the few working class shows on TV, ever. Other sitcoms still try to ape it which they think they can do just by making the male lead fat, but they can’t bring themselves to make the female lead fat or anything but a pretty, skinny actress. Their idea of making the show about the working class is to make the characters idiots.

    Roseanna is still being punished for not letting them steal her work. Which is very sad, for her and for viewers.

  3. What made that show for me, and if Roseanne wrote it, kudos to her, was John Goodman’s performance. I had watched lots of TV dads do their thing: caring, stern, nurturing, aloof, etc., but none of them seemed realistic. When Dan and Becky fought, you could see Dan’s anger, but underneath how terrified he was of what was happening to his daughter.

  4. I wish she’d kept copies of the photos of her and George Clooney smashing the giant chocolate bar with a hammer. He just earned serious Internets +1 points in my mind from that story.

    I loved Roseanne as a kid and still love that show today. Then, it was the only TV show where the people and houses looked like the people and houses I recognized. Today, it’s one of the few entertainments I loved as a kid that has turned out to be every bit as good as (if not better than) I remembered it.

  5. I’ve been reblogging the hell out of the article and response blogs to the article since I read it last night.

    Roseanne’s always been one of my heroes, crazy and all.

    What a tough, smart lady.

  6. This is a very interesting article. I find the sexism that this represents stunning.

    I also think it is interesting that she recognizes just how screwed Americans really are now with an even greater increase in wealth inequality.

    1. And if you want further confirmation of the sexism of Hollywood, you need look no further than next season’s NBC adaptation of the BBC’s “Prime Suspect”, which starred the exquisite Helen Mirren.

      I read The Dresden Files books, which feature many older characters. Then I rented The Dresden Files from Netflix. I was struck by the fact that virtually all the actors were in their 20s and 30s and particularly appalled that a character called Ancient Mai was played by a 28 year-old. The whole series was an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog with cheesy special effects.

    2. What’s the problem with Maria Bello? She’s not exactly some Hollywood ingenue. Only a few years younger than Mirren was when she started Prime Suspect, and she’s had a long, hard slog through a lot of lesser parts. The fact that she’s hung in there this long as a woman, and seems to be getting better parts with time is a testament to some talent and tenacity.

      In fact, this inspired me to look up some preview clips.

      I think I’m in love.

  7. Great article!

    When I was young and Rosanne was on the air, I didn’t like it because the characters seemed crude, petty and mean spirited. My only memories of it now are of commercials where Dan yells or Darlene asks “May I be expelled?”.

    Can any fans recommend the best episodes for get introduced to the show? Were the first 13 episodes badly tainted by Matt Williams, or did the backstage battles not impact the final episodes?

  8. I’m disappointed she didn’t mention Maude in the (very short) history of feminist sitcoms.

  9. Family TV when I was a kid consisted of Roseanne & The Wonder Years for me. I remember thinking how much Roseanne was like my own family even when I was 7. I had 2 older sisters, one of which always got in trouble for smoking & running away, and the other a straight A student. My divorced mom worked 2 full time jobs, dated a trucker and was bitter and angry all the time. I felt like hey, this is how a family should be, I am not dysfunctional. And while we may HAVE been, we certainly aren’t now. That show provided a sense of normalcy for me as a kid.

    1. Alcohol’s not a drug when that’s what you use to wash down the pills.

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