So your name is Roseanne Arnold, and you're adored by millions. You have the No. 1 TV show. Your husband and partner has a show on the same network, and you both use your considerable clout to score his show a time slot right after your show. The debut, which receives mixed reviews, is the highest-rated premiere in years.
So do you celebrate by breaking out the champagne glasses?
But you also break out the poison pen.
Continuing a tradition of clashing with the critics, Ms. Arnold last week fired off sharp-tongued, profanity-laced rebukes to three TV print reviewers who knocked husband Tom Arnold and his maiden voyage last Tuesday in "The Jackie Thomas Show," an ABC show produced by the Arnold's production company in association with Lorimar Television.
Ms. Arnold said the faxed attacks were in response to what she felt were personal diatribes aimed at her and her husband.
"I call these letters self-defense," she said Sunday after her appearance on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" -- her husband was the show's guest host.
"These people never talk about the work, but about me, my weight, my marriage," she said. "These guys aren't demigods, just people who don't like TV who are allowed to give their two-bit opinions. There's an element of professionalism that has to be there, and I'm very angry that they're allowed to do this."
She added: "Generally what emerges in these reviews is fear and loathing of women. It's very misogynistic. Something needs to be done. These people are affecting the revenues of the work Tom does and I do."
This time around, Ms. Arnold sent letters to Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times, Ray Richmond of the Los Angeles Daily News and Matt Roush of USA Today after their reviews of "The Jackie Thomas Show."
Mr. Richmond began his review, "Tom Arnold happens to be one of the least funny humans on the planet. . . . I approached viewing the premiere of his "The Jackie Thomas Show" the way some people anticipate exploratory surgery." He then went on to praise the show.
Mr. Roush wrote: "Beware media freaks who believe their own notoriety. Roseanne-and-Tom Arnold are never less funny than when cracking themselves up with each other's excesses, and rarely have they been as indulged as in 'The Jackie Thomas Show,' TV's biggest ego trip since the Ross Perot Show."
In his review, Mr. Rosenberg wrote that " . . . 'The Jackie Thomas Show' is rarely funny." He also called Mr. Arnold "one-dimensional" and said the back-to-back Arnold shows "may one too many."
"I've never seen Howard Rosenberg say anything was funny," said Ms. Arnold. "He has no sense of humor. How can he say nothing was funny in the show? Four hundred people who watched it at the studio thought it was funny."
During the last four years, Ms. Arnold said she has sent "dozens of letters" to critics.
She termed the letters "hostile and nasty, but funny. I enjoy tweaking the media, it's always been exciting to me. I really get into the theater of it."