You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Roseanne: An Unauthorized Biography

In its telefilm version of the life of tabloid fave Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold, Fox has chosen a bold, daring and unthinkable approach: It's taken the story seriously. Fans of such films as "Valley of the Dolls" and "Mommie Dearest" should set their VCRs: This one's a keeper.

With:
Cast: Denny Dillon, David Graf, John Walcutt, Judith Scarpone, Joycelyn O'Brien, Sara Melson, Dawn Zeek, John Karlen, Terren Baltes, Danielle Harris, Sandra Kerr, Morgan Roth, Jessica J. Smith, Jamie Renee Smith, Christopher Snyder, Jandi Swanson, Ian Patrick Williams, Alison McMillan, Beau Billingslea, Matt Landers, Christopher Holden, Karen S. Gregan, Richard Domeier, Carl Lee Magnuson, Johnny Cocktails, Michael Matthys, Karen Stone, J. Patrick McCormack, Lee Spencer, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Dan Spector, Rebecca Gilchrist, Sherri Bonnie Russavage, Steve Monroe, Ava Dupree, Elaine Summers, Rob Steinberg, Anthony Barnao, Carl Wuco.

In its telefilm version of the life of tabloid fave Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold, Fox has chosen a bold, daring and unthinkable approach: It’s taken the story seriously. Fans of such films as “Valley of the Dolls” and “Mommie Dearest” should set their VCRs: This one’s a keeper.

According to “Unauthorized Biography,” Roseanne’s life story is yet another example of A Talented Gal Whose Life Wasn’t Easy But She Had a Dream, with the tale flashing back and forth among various periods in her life.

Was Tom Arnold a stabilizing force or a leech? Did her father abuse her? Is she irrational or just under a lot of pressure? Vidpic raises all of these issues in a sentence or two, but never explores them: The fingerprints of the legal department are everywhere on this project, including the title.

Pic was rushed on the air to beat NBC’s version, which is skedded to air Halloween night — supply your own punchline here — and “An Unauthorized Biography” sometimes looks so hurried, it seems like the producers simply filmed the rehearsals.

The vidpic covers all the big events. Teen Roseanne gets hit by a car, with the hood ornament embedded in her skull. She joins a commune, but she and hubby Bill leave when they are reprimanded, “You guys are bogarting the bathtub.” After being told, “You know, you’ve got a good sense of humor, Roseanne,” she begins standup comedy.

The last third of the pic entails tabloid stuff: backstage battles on the sitcom, the reunion with a daughter she gave up for adoption, allegations of incest and the separation from Tom Arnold.

There are several comic highlights here, including a pour-her-heart-out session with her shrink, and a climactic wrestling match between Tom and Roseanne.

At one point, Denny Dillon, as Roseanne, chews gum; at another moment, David Graf, as Tom Arnold, shakes his leg. Other than that, there are no real attempts at imitating the well-known celebs.

In a role that requires her to go from rage to fun loving to anguish, Dillon displays an amazing range of brown wigs.

Show was written by Karen Harris, directed by Paul Schneider, produced by Carol Trussell and exec produced by Patrick Faulstich. Heck, they’re trying to make a living, so there’s no point in dwelling on the artistic merits of their work.

There is one hilariously brazen moment: As Roseanne and Tom watch TV, she laments, “Did you ever figure out how they get this crap on the air?” You can supply your own punchline here too.

Roseanne: An Unauthorized Biography

(Tues. (11), 8-10 p.m., Fox)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by DDF Films. Exec producer, Patrick Faulstich; producer, Carol Trussell; director, Paul Schneider; writer, Karen Harris.

Crew: Camera , Yuri Neyman; editor, Andrew Cohen; production design, Okowita; music, Scott Harper.

Cast: Cast: Denny Dillon, David Graf, John Walcutt, Judith Scarpone, Joycelyn O'Brien, Sara Melson, Dawn Zeek, John Karlen, Terren Baltes, Danielle Harris, Sandra Kerr, Morgan Roth, Jessica J. Smith, Jamie Renee Smith, Christopher Snyder, Jandi Swanson, Ian Patrick Williams, Alison McMillan, Beau Billingslea, Matt Landers, Christopher Holden, Karen S. Gregan, Richard Domeier, Carl Lee Magnuson, Johnny Cocktails, Michael Matthys, Karen Stone, J. Patrick McCormack, Lee Spencer, Sandra Ellis Lafferty, Dan Spector, Rebecca Gilchrist, Sherri Bonnie Russavage, Steve Monroe, Ava Dupree, Elaine Summers, Rob Steinberg, Anthony Barnao, Carl Wuco.

More TV

  • 'Grey's Anatomy' Renewed for Season 15

    'Grey's Anatomy' Renewed for Season 15 at ABC

    In its telefilm version of the life of tabloid fave Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold, Fox has chosen a bold, daring and unthinkable approach: It’s taken the story seriously. Fans of such films as “Valley of the Dolls” and “Mommie Dearest” should set their VCRs: This one’s a keeper. According to “Unauthorized Biography,” Roseanne’s life story […]

  • Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter Eighty-One"

    'Jane the Virgin' Boss on Season 4 Finale: 'I Knew It Would Be the Ultimate Surprise'

    In its telefilm version of the life of tabloid fave Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold, Fox has chosen a bold, daring and unthinkable approach: It’s taken the story seriously. Fans of such films as “Valley of the Dolls” and “Mommie Dearest” should set their VCRs: This one’s a keeper. According to “Unauthorized Biography,” Roseanne’s life story […]

  • WGA Writers Contract Talks

    Writers Guild Seeks to Reshape Talent Agency Business in Proposed Deal

    In its telefilm version of the life of tabloid fave Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold, Fox has chosen a bold, daring and unthinkable approach: It’s taken the story seriously. Fans of such films as “Valley of the Dolls” and “Mommie Dearest” should set their VCRs: This one’s a keeper. According to “Unauthorized Biography,” Roseanne’s life story […]

  • charlie corwin imgine entertainment

    Charlie Corwin Exits Imagine CEO Post

    In its telefilm version of the life of tabloid fave Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold, Fox has chosen a bold, daring and unthinkable approach: It’s taken the story seriously. Fans of such films as “Valley of the Dolls” and “Mommie Dearest” should set their VCRs: This one’s a keeper. According to “Unauthorized Biography,” Roseanne’s life story […]

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    TV and Film Producer Susan Reiner Dies at 69

    In its telefilm version of the life of tabloid fave Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold, Fox has chosen a bold, daring and unthinkable approach: It’s taken the story seriously. Fans of such films as “Valley of the Dolls” and “Mommie Dearest” should set their VCRs: This one’s a keeper. According to “Unauthorized Biography,” Roseanne’s life story […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    10 Works That Influenced 'Westworld'

    In its telefilm version of the life of tabloid fave Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold, Fox has chosen a bold, daring and unthinkable approach: It’s taken the story seriously. Fans of such films as “Valley of the Dolls” and “Mommie Dearest” should set their VCRs: This one’s a keeper. According to “Unauthorized Biography,” Roseanne’s life story […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content