Roseanne Barr wants to get a cooking show on the air. That process has become “The Real Roseanne Show,” ABC’s twist on the HBO-“Project Greenlight” formula that, in this case, is one long infomercial. It may well send viewers to ABC Family down the road, but meanwhile this show offers some tried-and-true reality bytes: Barr is as foulmouthed as all the Osbournes combined, and she’s playing with a cast of characters that are already rich, famous and replete with oh-so-L.A. quirks.
Conveniently, the deal for her cooking show, “The Domestic Goddess Hour,” is signed, sealed and ready to be delivered to sib cabler ABC Family for the fall. None of the facts about the show, however, is revealed during the first two episodes — it’s episode four that shows the winning pitch to ABC Family execs.
In the first seg, “Roseanne Unbarred,” thesp proves herself to be quite funny — something that’s been pretty much forgotten amid the copious reports of her outre behavior. She uses her reputation as material: Note the gleam in her eye when she talks about trying to stab an executive producer.
Barr’s posse of relatives, friends and hangers-on is introduced with “white trash” flair. Her handyman is her ex-husband. The ex-husband’s second wife is Barr’s assistant. Barr’s son’s best friend is married to her daughter. Barr met her current boyfriend on the Internet. All mug convincingly for the camera.
The second half hour, “Kinder, Gentler, Hungrier,” gets to the meat of picking an exec producer for the cooking show. Barr watches tapes of the candidates with two rabbis who specialize in determining a person’s character from their facial features.
Jiggly cinema-verite camerawork is intercut with more formal and posed docu-style interviews. But there’s an air of phoniness to the whole process. Barr is overly anxious, repeatedly telling the camera this is the last chance she’ll get to make a splash on TV. She already has a camera crew in tow, which normally bodes well for a televised future.