BY CHARLEY MEMMINGER – I’m embarrassed that a major Hollywood star was able to slip into Hawaii, shoot and air 16 episodes of a reality show and have the show canceled all before I even knew it had been in existence. As a sometimes screenwriter myself, I pride myself on keeping up with any TV shows shot in the Islands – like the one that’s being produced here now … Hawaii Five Something Or Other.
But I completely missed that Rosanne Barr, the brash comedienne the size of Molokai had shot an entire season of top-flight entertainment on the Big Island. The show was called “Roseanne’s Nuts,” which has several meanings, some adult rated. (Remember when she sang the National Anthem before a baseball game?) The title of the show apparently is mainly to tell the show’s three regular viewers that the program was about Roseanne living on a macadamia nut farm on the Big Island and also confirm that she’s insane. I knew 50 percent of that all ready.
I do remember surfing the TV channels one day and coming across Roseanne in some tropical setting yelling at her boyfriend and thought, “That kind of looks like Hawaii.” But then I thought, “Why would Rosesanne be yelling at her boyfriend in Hawaii?” and, more importantly, “Who freakin’ cares?” So I moved on to Al Gore’s TV Channel to laugh at polar bears stranded on ever-shrinking ice floes. (I love the outtakes, where someone chases the polar bears onto the ice floes with a flame thrower because the bears are too smart to get on the floes themselves.)
It turns out that Roseanne had moved to the Big Island and fashioned a TV show around her life on a macadamia nut farm. Basically, a cameraman and a sound guy just followed her around filming while she yelled at neighbors, family, plants, rocks, geckos and macadamia nuts. In the old days, we didn’t call this kind of an enterprise reality TV, we called it “home movies.”
According to news accounts, Roseanne sued her neighbor for allegedly killing some of her goats but I suspect the goats were those “fainting” kind that fall over and pass out when startled. If I were a goat and I suddenly saw Roseanne Barr tearing around the property on a four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle armed with a shotgun I’d pass out, too. Then again, there’s a chance the goats simply committed suicide unable to cope with all the yelling.
Roseanne quickly embraced the Hawaiian concept of “aloha” by getting a restraining order against one of her neighbors after they turned her in to the country government for allegedly illegally grading her property.
She was cited by the country for the illegal grading, but I’m not sure what that means. Was she going around giving various parts of her property grades, like, “That spot by the house gets an ‘A’ and that patch of weeds over there get’s a D-minus …?” Or was she actually running a back hoe and digging up the place while singing the classic Island tune “Nothin’ Could Be Fine-ah, Then Digging Up The Aina In The Morrrrrrnnnniiiinnnng!”
According to the TMZ website that tracks celebrity nonsense, Roseanne claimed that she had been harassed by her neighbors from the first moment she stepped on her petite 72-acre spread. (That’s a big lot for a small island state that sells land by the square inch.) She said that they declared they did not want any “Kaballah studying people here on the Big Island.” She claimed that was a slur against people of the Jewish persuasion but I’m pretty sure just about everyone on the Big Island thinks “kaballah” is some kind of Middle Eastern side dish made with garbanzo beans.
It was clear that things were getting out of control at the Roseanne Rancho Hale Estates when Oprah, who owns all of Hana, called from Maui and asked Roseanne to “keep it down.” And after hearing that Roseanne had settled on the Big Island, Koko, the famous “Signing Gorilla” apparently canceled his plan to move to a rain forest retreat in the islands signing out the words “Hawaii’s not big enough for both of us.”
Anyway, “Roseanne’s Nuts” is in the trash bin of Hawaii film history now. An optimist would say that the demise of Roseanne’s Big Island Adventure proves that reality television has fallen as far as it can possibly go. When goats kill themselves on camera you don’t need professional TV critics to tell you things are not good. That’s what an optimist would say.
Sadly, there are few optimists at large anymore. So there’s a good chance that Roseanne has simply set the stage for other realities shows to come to Hawaii.
Are you ready for the “Real Housewives of Puna”, “The Amazing Race To Matsamoto’s Shave Ice”, “So You Think You Can Hula”, “Keeping Up With The Carvallos” and “Seesta Wifes: Kauai Kine”?
Tell me. Are you ready for that?