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Rhondinella

Darlene: Roseanne, Jr.

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I loved Darlene. She was crass, irreverent, messy, lazy, and gave more sarcasm than generally warranted, but she was also sweet when she wanted to be and pretty unselfish, especially when compared to Becky. I liked how it was shown that her sarcasm and quick wit, while mostly her personality, was also a defense mechanism against being vulnerable in front of other people. It gave her some depth.

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I loved Darlene too. She was by far the most realistic teenager on TV at the time. All the other teenaged sitcom girls were beautiful, virginal, obsessed with shopping and boys, and learned their lesson by the end of the half-hour episode. I was exactly the same age as Darlene during the show's original run and I really appreciated seeing someone I could identify with on a prime-time sitcom. She was moody and sullen, fiercely independent and intelligent, and instead of only thinking about her clothes and hair and boys, she was interested in ideas like atheism and being a vegetarian. She wanted to be a writer, she wanted to drop out of high school, she slept with her boyfriend and smoked cigarettes and pot, and none of it was treated as some very-special-episode morality play. She was an incredibly layered and complex character for a sitcom. 

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I couldn't begin to estimate how many times I've seen that episode, and every time I watch it I swear I'm going to make it through the poem without tearing up.  It should be easy, given the fact I know it so well I recite it along with her and I'm not prone to tears, but damn if my eyes don't get moist every time.  Sara Gilbert, Roseanne and Laurie Metcalf all nail it.

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I couldn't begin to estimate how many times I've seen that episode, and every time I watch it I swear I'm going to make it through the poem without tearing up.  It should be easy, given the fact I know it so well I recite it along with her and I'm not prone to tears, but damn if my eyes don't get moist every time.  Sara Gilbert, Roseanne and Laurie Metcalf all nail it.

 

It still gets to me as well. The way it's read by Sara, a teen being made to do something that they don't want to do. Revealing herself in a way to her peers, an auditorium of parents and her own mother and aunt. I always feel for Darlene in this moment. Despite how I'll come to feel about her later on down the road, in this moment I never felt more for the character then I do. Not even the stuff with Darlene's baby really effects me. Yet, for some reasons this strikes a chord with me. 

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To Whom It Concerns - One of my favorite Darlene moments, her reading a poem that starts off with humor and ends on this very real moment.

Love that episode.  I always tear up at the end as well.  Such a great poem, that totally nails Darlene's character.

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I love the scene where Darlene is on the phone instead of doing the laundry and Dan yells at her to get off.

 

Darlene: [to person on phone] "Die Furher needs a fluff and fold.  I gotta go."

 

Hee!  One of my favorite lines.  And her delivery is dead perfect.

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A funny Darlene moment for me is when she's working the loose meat lunch booth as punishment because of the dead cow outlines in front of the Lunchbox restaurant that she and David were responsible for putting there. Her rudeness makes Molly leave the stand. David comes around and she makes him take over. When Roseanne eventually stops by to check on things she knows Darlene hasn't been working, and asks to smell Darlene's hands. She shoves her hand into the meat before lifting it up for Roseanne to smell. 

 

Another Darlene scene I like is something that the audience doesn't actually see. DJ has been peeping on Molly with his telescope. Darlene threatens him into stopping. At the end of the episode, Molly comes over to complain again about DJ. Darlene calls him down, and David follows down with him. David has a ring around his eye from the telescope. Darlene had put something on the telescope to catch her brother but ends up catching her boyfriend. The look of anger on her face cuts to a blank screen with something to the effect of 'Do to the violent nature of this scene it can't be shown'. 

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Speaking of the Lunchbox booth at Lanford Daze, I love when Darlene scoffs upon learning Molly is also a vegetarian:  "You probably just say you're a vegetarian because you heard somewhere that Shannen Doherty might be one."

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I loved sarcastic, teenaged Darlene as much as everyone else, but I was also very impressed with Sara Gilbert's performances in the early seasons, when Darlene was 11 or 12. The "To Whom It Concerns" moment is definitely amazing, and Sara is awesome at playing the awkward/embarrassed yet vulnerable preteen girl.  I also loved her in the episode when Becky and Dana get drunk. Her reaction to Becky's behavior (chastising her, being genuinely worried and confused by what happened, and then torturing her through her hangover the next morning) was extremely realistic, as was her instinctive reaction to try to cover up for her sister so she wouldn't get in trouble with Roseanne and Dan.  Which leads me to another favorite early Darlene moment--when Dana's mom comes over and they call Becky downstairs and demand to know who the bartender was. Darlene says "Wasn't it that girl who came over here to study with you?" with this completely impish, confidently mischievous gleam in her eye. Even when Dana's mom gives her a dirty look and she looks at the floor, you can still tell that Darlene is amused by her own cleverness. The whole thing takes a second but really demonstrates Sara's talent at such a young age.

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Darlene was a character that went through numerous changes....town boy in season 1 and 2, attempting to date and acting like a typical teen in season 3, Goth girl in season 4, a hybrid of town boy,typical teen, and Goth in season 5 and 6, and downright angry and mean spirited in season 7 though 8..and finally a glimpse of Darlene as new mom..but with a hint she wouldn't be in the same boat as her parents.

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Since we're apparently going to see Darlene in modern day, I think she'd likely be a hardcore vegan blogger who believes in free-range parenting and urban homesteading organic farming.

Rodbell 's is one of my favorite Darlene moments. Her goth image vs. becoming the Pollyanna kiddie face of Rodbell's is just hysterical. You know the kids at school were merciless about that one.

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Darlene has cried or teared up in all 5 episodes of this reboot. Not that I really blame her- her life is in a really shitty place right now. Hitting 40 and realizing that you didn't achieve what you thought you wanted to can't be easy.

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I sure don't blame her. Darlene's life has fallen apart and she has had to return to her parents. It seems she was in Chicago busting it on her own for quite some time. And now we have fucking BLUE!!!!! 

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Darlene is who I would have been as a preteen and teen if my parents hadn't been such strong believers in Biblical punishment. Now that she's back with her parents, struggling to balance empathy and discipline, and feeling like a failure, I can of identify with her even more. I went to college 10 years ago, have a master's, and have been passed over for jobs in my field because I'm competing with, and being interviewed by, people 25-30 years younger than me. Wish I had gone for an accounting or teaching degree instead.

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25 minutes ago, Rap541 said:

Yup, well aware of that, which is why I am saving them for the post apocalypse when the only law will be decided by those who survive Thunderdome!

But am I going to turn in people who do share their drugs? Probably not. And do I think the situation shown on this episode happens a lot? Yes.

For all we talk about Dan and Roseanne's bad decisions, I find it hilarious that Darlene choosing to have children she can't afford isn't discussed. Becky by dint of being a high school drop out should be the one at the bottom of the success pile but... she does have a job, she does have an apartment, she does have a car. She might be living paycheck to paycheck, she might not be able to financially assist her parents with their woes... but she's the Connor adult child who isn't currently a burden.

I would not call D.J. a burden. He served his country, and it looks like he is dealing with problems related to his military service. I do find it funny Darlene said she did not want to have children, and she thought she was hot stuff in the original series because she went to college. Now  she is a failure because she lost her job, and David dumped her for another woman. Karma came calling for her.

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I also think DJ is more of a success than Princess Darlene is because he served his country, and he is raising his daughter while his wife is serving in a dangerous country and may not come back. Becky may be fighting her own demons after Mark's death, but I think she will be fine. Darlene thought she was the big time success story, but in reality, she is not even before losing her job and David leaving her.

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22 minutes ago, TattleTeeny said:

I don't follow this--someone can be a success and then have bad shit wreck that later. It's not wrong to feel accomplished if you've accomplished something. We haven't seen her in 20 years, so I don't know that she was strutting around looking down her nose at people because she had a decent job. Also, a bad spouse doesn't make a person a failure.

It would make so much sense if Darlene had been pretty successful as a writer in print magazines or as a journalist, but then slowly got screwed over once the Recession took over and print gave way to digital. I could see her absolutely refusing to do Buzzfeed type stuff, which would have made it a lot harder for her to find writing gigs.

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16 minutes ago, TattleTeeny said:

I don't follow this--someone can be a success and then have bad shit wreck that later. It's not wrong to feel accomplished if you've accomplished something. We haven't seen her in 20 years, so I don't know that she was strutting around looking down her nose at people because she had a decent job. Also, a bad spouse doesn't make a person a failure.

Exactly. Didn't Darlene say she "went from writing novels to textbooks to menus"? I can see her as someone who got a book deal early in her career, and maybe even had some critical success, but didn't sell enough copies so her publisher dropped her. It's hard to make a living as a novelist even if you do get published, but getting published is still a big achievement in and of itself.

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Quote

It would make so much sense if Darlene had been pretty successful as a writer in print magazines or as a journalist, but then slowly got screwed over once the Recession took over and print gave way to digital. I could see her absolutely refusing to do Buzzfeed type stuff, which would have made it a lot harder for her to find writing gigs.

I can envision that scenario (and I wouldn't blame her for the Buzzfeed thing, haha!). I wonder if we'll ever know what exactly she did (whoops--EDIT: Thanks, @chocolatine, for clearing that up above!) I don't really care one way or the other, and the lack of detail doesn't get in the way of my liking the show, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious about a ton of things!

Edited by TattleTeeny
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1 hour ago, TattleTeeny said:

It's now as evidenced by who on the show is the current POtuS.

Personally, while I am not opposed to the "do what you gotta do" thing, I think that people have every right to complain if stuff like medical care is putting them in the poorhouse. 

So have I, but the employers where Darlene is are not desperate if people in the area are fighting for jobs. And she went to the bear interview well before she knew about the server job.

I don't follow this--someone can be a success and then have bad shit wreck that later. It's not wrong to feel accomplished if you've accomplished something. We haven't seen her in 20 years, so I don't know that she was strutting around looking down her nose at people because she had a decent job. Also, a bad spouse doesn't make a person a failure.

 

She did not mind putting down her family when she went to college in the original series, or putting down Becky when she lied about the real reason why she moved back home. A lot of people can be successful without a college degree, and these types of jobs where a two year degree or even a certificate or training in fields like plumbing, aircraft or automobile mechanic work, or the medical field will get you a lot further in today's world than what Darlene went to college for.

Edited by bigskygirl

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Still not following how that (and being divorced) labels someone a failure and I didn’t comment that people without degrees aren’t successful—I don’t have a degree (and also went to college for liberal arts stuff). My point was that there was nothing wrong with Darlene feeling that she’d accomplished something by having a job she was proud of—or at least one that paid the bills. She may be getting a harsh reality check now, of course, but that doesn’t negate previous success. 

As for putting people down, that was kind of how the family operated as a whole, so I’m not seeing how that factors in. 

Edited by TattleTeeny
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9 minutes ago, TattleTeeny said:

Still not following how that (and being divorced) labels someone a failure and I didn’t comment that people without degrees aren’t successful—I don’t have a degree (and also went to college for liberal arts stuff). My point was that there was nothing wrong with Darlene feeling that she’d accomplished something by having a job she was proud of—or at least one that paid the bills.

As for putting people down, that was kind of how the family operated as a whole, so I’m not seeing how that factors in. 

Darlene acted like her whole family were failures when she went off to college and was offered her first job while she was still in college. Yes, the family was capable of putting each other down at times, but Darlene was darn right mean about it. She does not want the rest of the family to know she lost her job because she does not want them to know she so-called failed after she put them down. People can be successful without putting down others or by acting like they are so much better than family and friends. I actually like the fact Darlene got a job as a waitress because it means she got knock down a few steps after being a snot about going off to college and the big city to be a big success.

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OK, I’m gonna “agree to disagree”—I think we’re not talking about the same things and I am clearly still not seeing how being divorced and unemployed equals deserved failure. 

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30 minutes ago, TattleTeeny said:

OK, I’m gonna “agree to disagree”—I think we’re not talking about the same things and I am clearly still not seeing how being divorced and unemployed equals deserved failure. 

And I do not see how not going to college and not getting great job offers were considered a failure in Darlene's eyes in the original series. She acted like she was the best of the family because she went off to college, and everyone else were losers. The whole thing reminds me of David when he was putting down Mark, and Dan told him at least Mark was working hard to provide for him and Becky instead of putting others down like Darlene and David were doing. I am not saying being divorced and unemployment is a being a big failure. I am saying how interesting it was for Darlene to act like she was so much better than everyone else in the past, but now she is pretending to be living at home with her parents because they need taken care of instead of admitting she lost her job and *gasp* has to take a waitress job (the one job she put down Becky for having) in order to have benefits for her kids. She is eating the same crow she was dishing out years ago when she was putting down her own family.

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15 hours ago, bigskygirl said:

She acted like she was the best of the family because she went off to college, and everyone else were losers.

 

15 hours ago, bigskygirl said:

Darlene acted like her whole family were failures when she went off to college and was offered her first job while she was still in college. Yes, the family was capable of putting each other down at times, but Darlene was darn right mean about it.

When was this? When was Darlene mean about it? I have watched this show in reruns for years and cannot recall this happening. As you mentioned, there is the episode where she turned down a $30,000 job because she could probably get an even better one after college. And then the whole family became weird because Darlene was now "one of Them" but Roseanne pointed out they would have to change too--but one of their kids just might make it. Just getting good offers does not make it that she was putting down others. She made some sort of joke about Connors making bad financial decisions which may be what you're referring to (is that when DJ buys the tuba with his inheritance money?)? It was only taken badly by Dan because of Darlene being one of "Them" as I previously mentioned and now the joke came off weird (but probably would have been OK coming from Becky or Roseanne). And when Roseanne talked with her she "got it" and that's when Roseanne told Dan they'd have to change their thinking too. In another episode, Becky is lamenting not going to school and Darlene tells her she could still go to college ("just not my college"). She was supportive of others furthering their education as well. But I honestly cannot recall these many times when Darlene put down her family because she was in college. As far as I can tell it was literally just that one episode and it was a "both sides are wrong" type of thing.

Edited by BookThief · Reason: I'll never tell.
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Yeah, it was that episode and it was the only episode that I didn't like Darlene. She not only made fun of their finances (which she was living off of) but their choice in movies, the house, the food that Roseanne serves ("so what type of helper are we having for dinner tonight?'') and everything that anyone said was "stupid". I get that she was going through some shit of her own but she was really out of line that time.

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Does anyone remember when young Darlene used to be a tomboy and somewhat of a jock? She used to love watching games with Dan and was horribly disappointed when she did not make the high school basketball team. It feels like they have totally forgotten about that aspect of her personality.

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I remember it and she wasn't disappointed not to make the team. She was over basketball and she was sick of people defining her by it. That was when she faded to black and became depressed. She felt like she didn't fit in anywhere any more. It wasn't until she met David and discovered her love of writing that she felt herself again. And she became an adult with adult feelings about her sexuality and need for love. I was tomboy as a child and now I hate sports. People grow up.

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I loved season 1 through 3 Darlene... the smart aleck with a good heart underneath.  Even though Darlene went through her dark period in season 4, she still kind of had the sarcasm.. but it wasn't in good jest like it was before (though seeing her in the Dorothy from Wizard of Oz get up for the Rodbell commercial never fails to get old LOL

I figured Darlene probably did some ghost writing after her novel didn't pan out.. but because she felt like it was 'cheating'.. she went to textbooks (figuring it was good to do educational books).. then went the next step down till there was nothing but blogging and buzzfeed articles to write.  As we've always seen, sometimes Darlene had/has trouble balancing her artistic pursuits with going with the crowd (i.e. when Becky was advising Darlene in season 4 to write the paper like the history book instead of the honest truth like Darlene wanted to).

I hope that we see Darlene doing a single mom blog (which would get a lot of followers.. and sometimes can lead to paid blog free lance work).  That could be a way to make some extra money while waitressing at the Casino (btw, I'm surprised Roseanne or Dan didn't think to work in the Casino as card dealers, etc).

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On 5/21/2018 at 8:27 PM, chocolatine said:

Exactly. Didn't Darlene say she "went from writing novels to textbooks to menus"? I can see her as someone who got a book deal early in her career, and maybe even had some critical success, but didn't sell enough copies so her publisher dropped her. It's hard to make a living as a novelist even if you do get published, but getting published is still a big achievement in and of itself.

As someone who lived that arc to some extent, I find it a lot more painful getting caught out at third than striking out.

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