Roseanne Barr joined Oprah Winfrey for a one-hour conversation on Monday that was more like a therapy session than a TV talk show.
In that respect, it was vintage Oprah as she got Roseanne talking about the incest allegations Roseanne first leveled at her parents in 1991 -– a story that appeared on the cover of People magazine. On “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Roseanne admitted she regretted airing the accusations in public because she’s unsure even now if the “incest” she believed had happened had ever taken place.
In addition, the allegations led to rifts with members of her family, including her father, who died 10 years ago without ever forgiving her; and her sister, Geraldine, who told the “Oprah” audience that she and her sister didn’t speak for 12 years. “I wish I had done what I did in a different way,” Roseanne told Oprah. “It was the worst thing I ever did -– calling it ‘incest’.”
Oprah tried to get Roseanne to better define what she meant, although it remained unclear whether Roseanne believes she was sexually abused or now believes she was abused, only not in a sexual way. Roseanne did note, however, that she goes over the entire subject in depth in her new book -– “Roseannarchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm” –- for which she had come to the “Oprah” show to promote.
And it’s true: Roseanne, 58 –- a grandmother with five grandchildren -– now lives on a 50-acre farm in Hawaii with 5,000 macadamia nut trees. Keeping her company there: Her “life partner,” Johnny Argent, a mellow cat with shoulder-length gray hair who looks kind of like Sam Elliott. He was in Oprah’s audience too.
One thing neither Roseanne nor Oprah mentioned: Roseanne’s getting a new show –- a reality series announced late on Monday by Lifetime Television that will premiere later this year. The unscripted show appears to have no title yet, but Lifetime has ordered 16 half-hours. And yes, it will take place on Roseanne’s nut farm (You have to admit: There is something funny about reading the words “nut farm” in a story about Roseanne).
It was Roseanne’s 10th appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Among the highlights: Roseanne took viewers on a tour of the aforementioned nut farm; and viewers heard from all of her “Roseanne” co-stars, one of whom -– John Goodman –- appeared live via satellite from New York (where he’s starting work this week on “Damages” with Glenn Close). The rest of them all gave updates on their lives and careers in pre-taped segments.
Here’s what the former members of the Conner family of “Roseanne” each had to say:
Goodman (“Dan Conner”), 58: Like every other “Roseanne” castmate, he praised Roseanne’s genius, citing “the way she could take a script and cut all the baloney out of it.”
Laurie Metcalf (“Jackie,” Roseanne’s sister), 55: An accomplished actor in her own right (now seen as Jim Parsons’ mother in “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS), she said her favorite memory of “Roseanne” “truly has to be every scene I did with Roseanne. She taught me so much about acting.”
Sara Gilbert (“Darlene”), 36: She said Roseanne’s career after her sitcom, as the host of her own daytime talk show (“The Roseanne Show“), inspired her to take part in the CBS daytime talk show, “The Talk.”
Lecy Goranson (the first “Becky”), 36: She thinks of herself as “OB” -– Original Becky -– and explained that she left the series to get her education. She’s now acting in theatrical productions and indie films.
Michael Fishman (“D.J.”), 29: He said Roseanne was, and still is, like a second mom for him. As for his career, he said he’s “writing and producing” (though the details were sketchy).