Without a doubt “Roseanne” was one of the best tv shows of the ’80s. Although it debuted in 1988 and ran for nine seasons, it is one of those shows which ended prematurely. It portrayed life at it’s barest and there are still many untold stories. It could still be a hit today.
Starring Roseanne Conner as the overweight, brusque, no-punches-pulled wife of Dan Conner (John Goodman), and mother of three, Roseanne was not afraid to tell it like it is, no matter who she offended. And she offended often.
Dan put up with a lot from Roseanne. She wore the pants and every time Dan tried to assert himself she put him in his place. They talked over family problems but ultimately it was Roseanne’s solution which was the correct one. Living with Roseanne all those years was probably the reason for his heart attack in a later episode.
Darlene, played by Sara Gilbert, was the eldest daughter in the family and never quite sure which way to turn. She was grounded, left off grounding, given permission to date boys, then permission was revoked. She was the one who bore the brunt of Roseanne learning how to raise a daughter. Darlene was outspoken, determined to have her way, and cold-hearted when she needed to be, much like Roseanne. Watching them spar with each other was fun, never quite knowing who was going to win the battle.
When dealing with Becky, the middle child, Roseanne had an even greater challenge. Becky was played by Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke. Imagine having your child leaving your life in the middle and being replaced by another child, similar, but not the same. Roseanne dealt with it as only Roseanne could. She ignored the change in child star and kept on producing the show, season after season.
D.J. (David Jacob, not Dan Jr.), played by Michael Fishman, was the baby and only boy in the family. He not only took guff from his sisters but also from Roseanne. Being shoved aside much of the time because of his size and age, he showed the stress of living in the Conner family by being a bed wetter. He asked many questions which were never really answered with any truth, leaving him to figure out much of life by himself.
Roseanne learned her parenting skills from her tv mom Beverly, played by Estelle Parsons. One look at her and you understood why Roseanne and her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) were the confused adults they were. They knew their mom was a nut case and vowed not to be like her. They were both surprisingly successful at it and raised their own kids without the violence or hatred they had grown up with.
Roseanne had strong morals (most of the time) and it was apparent when she wanted to give David (Johnny Galecki) a better life. She allowed him to move into her home even though he was Darlene’s boyfriend and he was treated like a son.
David’s brother Mark (Glenn Quinn) never gave David a break, treating him like he was mentally challenged. Roseanne and Dan were just what David needed. They may have been misfits in their neighborhood but they had a strong sense of right and wrong.
Watching re-runs of Roseanne today, we can see why it was such a popular show in the ’80s and well into the ’90s.