Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of this 1908 holiday originally established by anti-war groups, we here at Channel Surfer are reviewing Roseanne. A show about a blue-collar mother from Illinois trying to survive in a world she never made. Back breaking jobs, low-pay, ungrateful kids—huh. I’m feeling kinda strange now. Think I’ll call my mom. Tell her how much I love her.
Original Run: 1988-1997
No. of Episodes: 222
Premise: Roseanne revolves around a working-class family in Illinois. The show primarily follows Roseanne Conner, the outspoken mother of the family. Accompanying Roseanne are her husband Dan Conner, her sister Jackie Harris, her two daughters Becky and Darlene Conner, and her son DJ. Later one, her family is joined by the brothers Mark and David Healy.
Roseanne is about a lower-income family trying to make ends meet. For eight of their nine seasons, the major theme of the show is poverty. At times, the Conner family is just barely scraping by, like so many other families in America. Roseanne may actually be the last major American sitcom to portray a lower-class lifestyle. As such, it also dealt with issues like obesity, teen sex, domestic abuse, depression, alcoholism, etc. Many time, the Conner’s didn’t resolve these problems, they just dealt with the consequences. Just like in real life.
Another thing that becomes very apparent from watching Roseanne is its staunch pro-women stance. The women of the show are very much its focus. Different relationships between women are explored, be they between sisters, friends, or mothers and daughters. These characters spoke their mind, they were independent, and they made a ton of mistakes. They were real people. Real women. There were a few times, though, where the show got a little preachy. Luckily, these moments are isolated to specific episodes.
My advice for watching Roseanne is to skip the last season. The 9th season, except for the first episode, is all kinds of weird. The last season sort of felt like the writers and producers had done everything they wanted to do, and were just fulfilling one last contractually obligated season. I mean, there’s an episode were Roseanne fights off ninjas on top of a moving train! So if your ganna watch the show, which you should, watch the first eight seasons, and pretend the first episode of the 9th season is the series finale.
In a lot of ways, Roseanne is the polar opposite of Married…With Children. Everyone in Roseanne was either overweight or average looking, it dealt with real problems, and it had a feminist overtone. Yet, it was still funny. That’s the real issue here. It’s so damn funny. It’s funny because it’s real. A family with an income of two trying to maintain a household of five? There’s nothing realer than that.