26 November 2004 | bppihl
A true and hilarious slice of life
I must say that "Roseanne" has got to be by far one of my all-time favorite television sitcoms. I watched it for its entire run on ABC from 1988 to 1997, and still watch it in reruns on Nick at Nite. It was a welcome departure from most family sitcoms of the time (i.e. Full House, Family Matters, The Cosby Show). While interesting and diverse (I watched them sometimes), these shows often lacked the portrayal of the typically less than ideal realities of everyday life. "Roseanne" was different in that it showed, to the extent possible, people as they really are. It proved that working class people and families can make you laugh. They don't have to be rich, blond, and thin to be funny.
Roseanne Barr plays Roseanne Conner, a hard-working, sarcastic, but lovable wife and mother who is never short of "telling it like it is." John Goodman plays her husband Dan Conner, tough but lovable to mom and the kids. Oldest daughter Becky is the most rebellious and loves boys. Middle child Darlene is the tomboy, and takes after Roseanne with her sarcastic wit. Youngest child DJ takes after his father. Along for the ride is Roseanne's younger unmarried sister, Jackie, played by Laurie Metcalf. While intelligent and well-meaning like Roseanne, Jackie is much more naive and gullible. Other characters include Crystal, who later marries Dan's father Ed. Roseanne and Jackie's mother Bev, the domineering, passive-aggressive guru, is a recurring character. Among many others, we also have Becky's boyfriend and later husband Mark, Darlene's boyfriend David, friend Nancy (Sandra Bernhard), and Roseanne's boss at the restaurant, Leon (Martin Mull). Jackie later gives birth to son Andy, and Roseanne and Dan have a son Jerry.
Over the years, Roseanne and Dan face many challenges that keep them on their toes. They bounce from one job to another before landing modest steady employment. Becky challenges them the most, especially when it comes to Mark. Darlene is similar when it comes to David. DJ keeps somewhat in the background in the early years, but becomes more prominent as he gets older. Jackie has many different careers and relationships, sometimes bizarre. The Conners lose more than they win, but through it all they "get by." This is why I enjoyed the show so much. It showed that life does not always go the way we want it to, unlike a lot of other shows, and we have to deal with this. But somehow we get by too!
While I did not enjoy the last season as much (it was too far removed from it's original objective), it still ranks up there on my list of favorites. People of all races, ethnicities, ability levels, creeds, sizes, orientations, etc are just like us. This is how life is and truly should be!