It's obvious that ABC is extremely interested in keeping Roseanne (Barr) Arnold happy.
That's the only possible explanation for the network turning two hours of its prime time schedule over to a movie starring Roseanne and her real-life husband, Tom Arnold -- a pair that has absolutely no acting ability whatsoever."Backfield in Motion" (8 p.m., Ch. 4) may not be the worst movie of the season, because the season still has about six months to go. But the folks in Hollywood will have to work pretty darn hard to come up with a movie that's more poorly executed that this one.
Not that the plot is a whole lot sillier than many made-for-TV movies. Nancy Seavers (Roseanne), a recent widow, moves to a high school football-crazy town with her teenage son (Johnny Galecki).
Nancy discovers that the big event in town is the annual father-son football game. But in an attempt to draw closer to her son, she proposes a mother-son game, meeting with lots of disapproval.
Helping Nancy along the way -- and falling in love with her -- is the high school boys' vice principal (Tom Arnold).
The problem here is that neither Roseanne nor Tom can act a whit. Roseanne in particular is a zombie without the slightest idea of how to convey emotion.
The secret to the success of "Roseanne" the sitcom has always been...well, it's always been John Goodman.
But the secret to Roseanne's success on "Roseanne" is that she plays herself, more or less. The sitcom Roseanne is rather toned down from the actual Roseanne, but she's behaving, she's not acting.
Unfortunately, she's never learned how.
And the best thing that can be said about Tom Arnold's performance is that it's less pathetic than that of his wife.
At one point in "Backfield," Roseanne tries to mix her alleged acting with her real life, resulting in a remarkably lame joke about the National Anthem.
Even the best actors would have had trouble overcoming "Backfield's" weak script. It's silly and cartoonish -- some scenes are actually sped up into fast-forward motion while cartoon sound effects assaults the viewers' ears.
But without any acting talent to speak of, Roseanne and Tom just manage to embarass themselves -- and ABC.
Roseanne has been quoted as saying that she set out to make a movie for the whole family. A novel concept -- one that seems to be becoming less and less of a consideration when it comes to "Roseanne" the sitcom these days.
But while there's nothing blatantly offensive or immoral in "Backfield," hopefully most families will have something better to do than watch this bit of TV tripe.
SAY IT AIN'T SO: During an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last week, the Arnolds announced that among their future projects is a remake of the 1954 movie "The Long, Long Trailer," which starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Ooooh, this is a stomach-churning prospect.
Roseanne and Tom stepping in for Lucy and Desi is as close to sacrilege as it's possible to come in television.
Maybe we'll get lucky and this time the trailer will tumble off one of a cliff on that mountainous route Ball and Arnaz navigated in the original.
SAY IT AIN'T SO (PART 2): Speaking of people with no discernible talent, "The Adventures of Mark & Brian" is going to disappear from the NBC schedule after Sunday.
For all of you who have been intelligent enough not to watch this dreadful program, thge title characters are a couple of Los Angeles DJs who live out strange reallife "fantasies" like swimming with sharks and arranging weddings. And yes, it is as dumb as it sounds.
"Mark & Brian" is going on hiatus, but NBC is foolishly keeping the show in production and plans to bring it back in a different time slot later.
Do us all a favor, NBC. If ever a show deserved to be euthanized, this is it.