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It's kind of weird to think back to just two years ago, when ABC was riding high on the successful revival of the classic sitcom Roseanne, which dominated in the ratings and earned its share of critical backing. Everything imploded not much later, however, when the already Twitter-controversial Roseanne Barr posted the social media message that got her fired and led to one of that year's biggest TV cancellations. Now, the flagship series' Roseanne-free spinoff The Conners continues reaping smaller-scale rewards, and it sounds like the vocal comedian is not only still angry, but may be seeking financial retribution.
Having largely avoided becoming headline fodder in recently months, Roseanne Barr returned to form as a guest on Norm Macdonald's upstart web show Quarantined with Norm Macdonald. The conversation touched upon a variety of topics, with the subject of self-quarantining coming up several times. Macdonald made the statement that people who have the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time can't make the mistake of dismissing how valuable it is, which is when Roseanne went hard on the notion that she'll soon get litigious on Hollywood. In her words:
I know. Solitude. To be able to think about how you’re going to sue everyone on the fucking…in Hollywood. I mean, I have the time now to research and come up with the perfect lawsuit. The lawsuit that I’m going to wage against Hollywood. . . . I’m devising the perfect lawsuit and I’m so blessed to have that time to sit here and be able to compile my thoughts. You know, be introspective. So I can figure out how to fuck over everybody in the fucking world over there.
The conversation shift seemed to take Norm Macdonald by surprise, as he thought she was talking about having problems with her own personal studio. But no, she confirmed in no certain terms that she was referring to getting fired from the show that shared her first name and serves as her TV legacy. Roseanne only uses the loosest terminology when talking about that situation, throwing it all into the "Hollywood" bucket.
Another good reason to generalize her wording there is to avoid bringing up names in a way that might cause legal blowback while she's still in planning mode. It's not clear if she's actually speaking with lawyers about any of this, or if she's handling the situation on her own for the moment. It will be interesting, to say the least, if she ever does take her former studio bosses to court over Roseanne's cancellation.
Roseanne Barr then brought up the time she sued the National Enquirer under the RICO act, referring to the lawsuit that she and then-husband Tom Arnold brought against the Enquirer and other tabloids for publishing the couple's pre-marriage love letters. The RICO element came in part through accusations that the Enquirer caused celebrities distress by conspiratorially using others to illegally obtain celebs' personal property. Roseanne's translation of those details to Norm Macdonald sounded just a bit more convoluted:
There exists an operative in each town that reports back to Central Intelligence false information to ruin my career. Yeah, that was my first lawsuit against libel. And I won, you know.
Norm Macdonald has released five episodes so far of the Quarantined side project, though it's not exactly on a strict schedule for future releases, so check back to see when new ones will be added. In the meantime, while waiting to see if Roseanne Barr takes down Hollywood with a perfect lawsuit, head to our Summer TV schedule and our TV finale rundown for an idea of everything that's coming and going.