Some of you may already know this, but I used to write for Roseanne. It was a very interesting experience. She tends to have a bad rap because, well, she’s insane. But at the time at least, she was an awesome person to know.
I think when you get to be very powerful and famous, you become the nucleus of your own world. Everyone around you is on your payroll, and to stay in your good graces, they just reinforce all of your terrible ideas. That’s why so many awful movies get made; famous people ask their trusted advisers if something bad is a good idea, and those people say “yes”. And then we get Monster in Law.
I never said yes unless I meant it, and Roseanne liked that. So when Debbie Reynolds joined the cast as Dan’s mom, Roseanne asked me to go with her to Carrie Fisher’s house, and work out some of her dialogue.
I was not prepared. It was jarring enough for me to be on that set every morning, in the Conner house. It was a very peculiar sensation to physically be in such an iconic place, and even weirder to just walk past John Goodman, drinking beer at 7:00 in the morning on the family couch. I wasn’t sure if I could handle shooting the shit with Carrie Fisher.
But I pulled it together. And as Roseanne drove us up Carrie’s driveway in her Mercedes, I put on my game face.
Carrie’s house was perched on top of a steep, ivy covered hill. It was an old Hollywood showpiece; a Spanish jewel box that used to belong to Edith Head. As soon as we set foot inside, Carrie asked if I had any Vicodin. I didn’t, but that was probably a good thing. The whole afternoon was so surreal that drugs would have been redundant.
I went inside and sat in the living room with Roseanne, Carrie and Debbie, and attempted to put some ideas together for an upcoming episode. Mainly I took notes, because I was just too overwhelmed to participate. We worked for a few hours, or rather, they gossiped about Tom Arnold and drank while I tried not to sweat through my clothes. Eventually it was decided that Roseanne and Debbie would have a fight scene in the episode; a big, hair-pulling brawl.
With that settled, it was time to go. As we all walked out to the car, Roseanne and Debbie began arguing about how the fight should be staged.
“No, no, no,” Debbie said. “You don’t push someone, you don’t do it like that. You do it like this.”
And she kicked Rosanne’s legs out from under her, causing her to fall to the ground.
I was shocked. Before I could react, Debbie leapt on top of her, and started pulling her hair. Roseanne was screaming, and the two of them started to fall, in slow motion, tumbling all the way down the ivy covered hill.
I stood there, watching two legends of television beat the living crap out of each other and wondering what to do. I looked over at Carrie, who was regarding the events with her arms folded.
“Does this happen a lot?” I asked.
“You have no idea,” she said.
Of course that does nothing to explain a portrait of Roseanne made out of rice, but I’m only one woman.