tek's rating: ½

Roseanne, on ABC
Carsey-Werner; IMDb; Mill Creek Entertainment; Retro Junk; Sitcoms Online; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikia; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; Google Play; iTunes; Vudu; YouTube

This starred comedian Roseanne Barr as Roseanne Conner. She had a husband named Dan (John Goodman). They had two daughters: Becky (played in seasons one through five, and eight, by Lecy Goranson; and in seasons six, seven, and nine by Sarah Chalke), and Darlene (Sara Gilbert), and a son named D.J. (I must say, Darlene was smart and sarcastic, and easily my favorite character on the show.) Roseanne had a sister named Jackie Harris (Laurie Metcalf). Um, Becky dated a guy named Mark Healy, whom she eventually married. Mark had a younger brother named David (Johnny Galecki), who dated Darlene. (He was my second favorite character on the show.) And we occasionally saw Roseanne and Jackie's mother, Bev, with whom they didn't have a particularly good relationship.

Anyway, the Conners were a working class family, living in the town of Lanford, Illinois. At some point, Roseanne quit her job to open a diner called the Lanford Lunch Box. Her business partners in this included her former boss, Leon Carp (Martin Mull), as well as Jackie, Bev, and a friend named Nancy Bartlett (Sandra Bernhard). Another important character was Fred Oakland, who was a friend and coworker of Dan's, as well as having a relationship with Jackie, for awhile. I'm sure there were other important characters whom I don't remember at all, and I really wish I remembered more about the show in general. It was always fairly amusing, and unconventional, and rather an important cultural phenomenon of the late 80s/early 90s. (It ran for nine seasons, from 1988-97, though I definitely missed the entire last season, and probably at least a couple of seasons before that.) If I recall correctly, it was also one of shows (maybe the show) that started the boom of stand-up comics getting sitcoms, around that time. Anyway, it'd be nice to see the show again sometime, so I could say more about it. ...But I do remember enjoying the Halloween episodes.

tek's rating: meh and a half

Season 10
A.V. Club; IMDb; Wikia; Wikipedia

In March 2018, the show was rebooted for a ten-episode tenth season (which ignores changes that were made in the ninth season). Darlene loses her job, so she and her kids (a teenage daughter named Harris, and a younger son named Mark) move in with her parents, Dan and Roseanne. Darlene is apparently separated from their father, David, though they're not divorced. And he does show up in one episode. Becky (played by Goranson) decides to become a surrogate mother to make extra money. (The woman she's going to be a surrogate for, Andrea, is played by Chalke.) But that plan eventually falls through. We see less of D.J., but his young daughter, Mary, is around more often (though she doesn't get to say or do much on the show).

Before the reboot premiered, I started hearing about how Roseanne Barr, in real life, is a Trump supporter, and made her share of terrible tweets and so forth. So I wasn't sure I even wanted to bother watching the reboot, but I did. And it was sort of okay, most of the time, but never really as good as it used to be. I think it did a fair job of showing the economic problems people like the Conners are going through. And it makes what I presume to be a sincere effort to make them appear not racist. I'm not sure how well that effort succeeds, but at the very least I can say they're nowhere near the worst Trumpites in the country. And honestly, I'm not sure who anyone other than Roseanne and Jackie voted for. For all I know, Roseanne might be the only person in her family who voted for Trump. It would have been interesting to learn who Dan or Darlene voted for, especially if it turned out not to be Trump. (Actually, I think it's safe to assume Darlene didn't vote for him. I don't recall whether she ever specifically mentioned who she did vote for, but I assume it was most likely Clinton.) But there were moments when I thought the show was seriously tone deaf (at best). The problem with the reboot is probably best explained by this article in the New Yorker. Anyway... I'm somewhat conflicted about the show. There's an episode where Roseanne learns to get past her Islamophobia. And she and Dan are accepting, if not thrilled, about Mark's gender-nonconforming fashion sense. And I'm sure they love Mary (who is half black). And while some of their money problems come from the fact that Dan's competitors for construction jobs use illegal immigrants as cheap labor, thus undercutting his bids... I think they blame the competitors more than the immigrants they hire. But all these things and more don't change the fact that some of Roseanne the character's attitudes, while not outright deplorable, are still at the very least cringe-worthy. And whether she likes it or not, voting for people like Trump causes real harm to many people (including Trump voters themselves), and those voters are culpable for that harm, no matter how socially progressive they might like to believe themselves to be. (What's really sad is that this show used to actually be progressive.) Moreover, I'm not really comfortable with my viewership tacitly supporting the continued success of the real Roseanne, whose political and social views, these days, are deplorable. So... while I didn't hate season 10, I don't plan on watching season 11.

Edit: on May 29 (a week after season ten ended), the very day I updated my review for the season, ABC announced that it was cancelling the series because of Roseanne Barr's latest racist tweets.

In October 2018, a spin-off called "The Conners," without Roseanne, began airing. But I didn't watch it.

comedy index