Roseanne is Comfort Food/Insulation
I’m in no respect a television commenter thought I follow along with more shows than I should in maintaining a healthy diet. During the winter months in Ohio, the tv glow can be just as warming as the furnace vents – looking out the window into icy desolation, hearing a live sports broadcast or thirty minutes of local news seems to keep me connected to the outside world. Lately, the same blanket of comfort has come from hearing Roseanne Barr’s laugh at the end of the sax-crazed intro to her self-titled sitcom. Thank goodness TV Land has re-indoctrinated me into this blue-collar masterpiece. With an average four re-runs a night, I can fall asleep to the bickering of middle America, circa ’92, and doze off with a feeling I’m living my youth all over again. There’s a reason Roseanne is so ingrained into my psyche. In the last season, one I can honestly say I was too grown to notice back in 1998, Roseanne is approached to do a show about her life because “people want to see themselves on prime time” (the role of the television producer was played by Super Dave Osbourne/Funkhauser). And that’s likely the reason my family tuned in week in and week out. We may not have been as working-class and hill jack as the Connors, but there was certainly a coupon-clipping/pizza-ordering/cramped-quarters culture to the Elliott’s while living on Walnut St. in Troy, OH. All those early seasons were filled with situations that involved working overtime at the plant, fixing broken shit around the house, and parent-teacher conferences because of Darlene’s proto-alternative behavior – it was real life, it was a reflection of our life, and many times you wondered if the Connor’s actually lived next door. In a strange coincidence, Roseanne and Dan even invested in a loose-meat sandwich luncheonette modeled after Greenville’s Maid-Rite parlor. It’s even rumored she flied there during the week to stock up on boxes full of the things.
But along the way, something happened to the funny, something happened to that reality. I was lucky/unfortunate enough to catch TV Land’s re-run cycle during the final season of the show – but the Connor’s world had changed dramatically. Things started getting a bit too real on the show. Dan has a heart attack, the family wins the lottery, Dan cheats and leaves, Roseanne’s mother becomes a lesbian (albeit befriending the only hilarity of this season – the gay coupling of Martin Mull and Fred Willard), Jackie discovers it’s her fate to die a lonely, single, mom, Darlene and David have a nearly-dead premature baby that only faith can revive…and meanwhile the only interesting plotline is DJ discovering indie film and sex with Weiner Dog (but he was terrible child actor to say the least). Pure bummer, all of it. To top things off, the last episode reveals the entire season was one big story written by Roseanne after Dan dies from his heart attack. What? Are you kidding me? How did I not know this? Here are those final moments to choke on. You’d think maybe a reunion is in order to see exactly how the Connors have survived these hard economic times or who would play Becky this time out or if they could pull off the comic genius that was (at least) the first four seasons of the show. I think Roseanne Barr owes that to the world.
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