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Original Flavor Season Talk: Dinner at Rodbell's

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When it comes to re-runs, about the only time I really make sure to catch Roseanne is around Halloween season.  Their Halloween episodes were always hilarious (I especially enjoyed Dan's costume one year when he had the head of...was it one of the Stooges...attached to his shoulder and he had constant reparte with it).

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I gotta disagree.  I never cared for the Halloween eps.  They were so way over the top and campy.  I mean, other parts of the show became campy as the years went on, too, and they were never my favorites either.  But I just can't with the Halloween eps.  So I usually skip them.  But it's just a matter of preference.  I know lots of people who do like them.

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The Halloween episodes are among my favorites, and I liked that Halloween was the show's occasion for an annual all-out holiday episode, rather than Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It's a bit odd that I enjoy watching the Conners go all out for Halloween since it's very much not my holiday; I never enjoyed trick-or-treating as a kid and I don't answer the door to trick-or-treaters now (you want some candy, go ask your parents to buy you some damn candy ... and get off my lawn), and adults dressing up in costume is rather bizarre to me.  But I enjoyed their costumes and antics, especially when Dan and Roseanne were trying to out-scare each other.     

Although they did have some funny Thanksgiving episodes as well. My favorite Thanksgiving moment is the tag with nothing but Dan's reaction shots to everything that was going on at the table.

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I liked the early Halloween episodes.  In the later years the Halloween epis were stupid.  However, I did like the one where David and Darlene convince Roseanne that David has a liking for another girl and darlene comes home and "kills" the girl.

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@Bastet:  It is odd because I don't enjoy Halloween either (Mr. P914 has to open the door for the kids now that he's no longer traveling for work...it bugs me!)  The early Halloween episodes were the best (just as, IMO, the early years of this show were the best & the re-runs I enjoy watching--back when Roseanne had short hair).

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This is wayyyy out of left field, but I sort of feel weirdly betrayed by Roseanne's more recent transphobic twitter comments (if you aren't aware of the controversy, see here: http://lgbtweekly.com/2014/04/10/roseanne-barr-and-transgender-people/). I mean, it's one of those things were you always assumed someone was sort of nutty and probably really hard to get along with, but you loved their art / comedy enough to kind of override it. I mean, a lot of the shit Roseanne got over the years was unfair and I felt like a decent person standing up for her, and for a show that is so interconnected with my childhood that I SOMETIMES HAVE FLASHES OF MEMORY where I'm like "remember when x happened?  Oh wait, that was on Roseanne sorry."  I am a Conner.

 

But current Roseanne is really harshing on my mellow, and it's not the crudeness or the meanness of the jokes (i mean, it's Roseanne)--it's the total lack of empathy. I always loved that there was this sweet core to Roseanne's sitcom--though it lost it towards the end of the series--that you, even the weirdos amongst us like me, could feel accepted at Roseanne's table. I almost wonder if she's a little brainwashed.

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Watched the tax episode today. It's a pretty funny to me. I love the bits with the music of doom every time the word 'audit' is mentioned. I also liked the closing credits with John Goodman explaining that everything Dan Conner said in the episode wasn't a reflection of him, but of his character. Not one of the better episodes, but still one that never fails to make me laugh. 

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I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this or not, but here it is:

 

Yesterday I was in Evansville, IN, and I thought I would check the Roseanne house there in person. I got the address (which was available because it was up for sakle a year ago and made the news), and drove right over, and got two pictures! (One for each angle, including the angle we saw the most during exterior shots) I ws surprised to see that it's yellow now instead of white, but it was definitely the house, complete with the lamp post in the front yard. A dream come true for this lifetime fan :) .

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How times have changed: Saw "Brain-Dead Poets Society" last night, and interesting at the end when Roseanne gets up and starts taking pictures and how much Darlene hates it. Back then, most people didn't carry cameras, so it wasn't like someone was always taking pictures. If Darlene was in that recital today, she wouldn't mind the cameras so much as she'd expect most everyone in the room would be taking photos or video!

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Yay!  Halloween episode marathon on WE right now.  "Welcome to the Tunnel of Terror.  Please, join us."

 

Ha - there's one on TVLand, too.  That one is doing the episodes in reverse order.

Edited by Bastet
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The Halloween episodes were always the best. The costumes were made of win, and like you said, bunnywithanaxe, they didn't need to be sexualized costumes. They were awesome ones.

 

I loved Becky's zombie/plane crash stewardess and Darlene all covered in blood with a axe in her chest. Hilarious!

 

Favourite episode is when Dan's "boss" or soon to be boss drops by the house on Halloween - which has been converted into a haunted house. Roseanne deliberately freaks out the boss, Dan is freaking out over what's happening to his boss, and we find out the boss was in on the gag. Best ever. I wish TV would rerun marathon Roseanne Halloween's every Oct 31st.

 

Oh and sad commentary on 2014. No parent ever would allow their kid to enter a strangers home to get candy/go through a haunted house. Sad.

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Does anyone have any favorite seasons? I always thought mine was Five, but my roommate and I just finished Six going into Seven and I think I might like Six better. The show gets more and more adult (and it's surprising with what they were able to get away with), but it never seems crass for the sake of being cheap.

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I think just in terms of having the most episodes I never miss no matter how many times I've seen them, it would have to be season 2. "BARRY...WATNICK", the wrestling match between Roseanne and Jackie when Jackie announces she's going to be a cop, the one where Arnie kisses Roseanne, Brain Dead Poet's Society, Becky and Dana getting drunk...so many classics.

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Season two is when the show really started firing on all cylinders for me.  I really enjoy season one, but it's a more traditional sitcom at that point in time.  Season two is when I realized this was really going to be something special. 

 

And, yes -- highly rewatchable episodes.  The one about their tax return, with the music every time someone says audit, Fathers and Daughters, where Dan goes shopping with Becky and Roseanne watches basketball with Darlene, Bratty Becky's war of silence, Jackie filling in for Roseanne, Becky and Dana getting drunk, Jackie becoming a cop, the Gary arc, Roseanne's numerous post-Wellman attempts at employment (telemarketing, being managed by The Little Maggot at the fast-food restaurant, the beauty shop, having an office job for about 30 seconds before her lack of computer skills puts the kibosh on that, etc.), Ziggy coming to town, Brain-Dead Poet's Society with the poem that will make me cry every single time, a great Thanksgiving episode in addition to the usual Halloween brilliance, and Becky.cut.the.cheese. 

 

The only two I don't watch over and over are the fantasy sequence episode and the one with the annoying architect who keeps worming his way into time with the Conners.  I freakin' love the tag to that one, though!

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For me, I go between seasons four and five. If I had to choose between the two of them, though, I would pick season four. So many perfect episodes in a row, including my favorite Christmas episode of the series (that said, my favorite Thanksgiving episode is still the one from season two. They had some good ones after that, but never quite like that one.).

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So happy about this. Spent most of today wrapping gifts and watching Roseanne.

The set up is odd. I wonder why Netflix set it this way. Oh well I watch and enjoy.

Edited by imjagain

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I was always kind of meh on this show, but I was pretty young so I am giving it a shot on Netflix since so many people rave about the series and consider it a favorite. So far I've only watched the first two episodes but I'm not warming up to it very quickly. Roseanne's line delivery is very annoying to me as is her constant negativity. I'm hoping she gets better.

I never realized there was a different DJ in the first episode.

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Masonlamps, welcome!  And I totally hear you. First seasons, and particularly pilot episodes, are rarely a good representation of what the show turns out to be. In Roseanne's case, I think the first two episodes give hints as to what the series would eventually become, but definitely is not anywhere near the "peak". One thing you'll notice if you stick with it is the huge, huge difference in Roseanne's acting abilities between seasons 1 and 2. It really seems like she spent the hiatus getting some very intensive coaching or something, because it's a night and day difference. So the nasally, exaggerated delivery DOES actually get better!  Be sure you come back and let us fanatics know what you thought after a few more episodes! 

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Her acting does get a lot better, but, she becomes an insufferable bitch. She neuters Dan. Mark and Jackie should be in water wings and  helmets. oBecky and Darlene  play the teenage thing well. New Becky is not even close to the same person. David is a pussy, but he always was. Seasons 3, 4, and 5 were the best IMO. What she turned the characters into pissed me off more than the last season. Kathy Bowman moving back to Chicago was my least favorite. I really think they would have become best friends. That would have been fun to see progress. 

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My favorite seasons are from about 1991-1996.  Her voice is gets way less harpy a little later on.  I still like the first seasons, but it was at its best a little later on, IMO.  Until the last season, then it just got too far out there for me.

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I've been binge watching the series on DVD lately (I've just finished first disc of season four), and watching so many episodes in order and in a row has really driven home a few things:

 

- Man, I can only take Crystal in small doses.  She is just too much!  She means well, but she's exhaustingly needy and annoying.  Even the way she moves irritates me.  Back when I was watching her for a few minutes once a week, it was just about right.  But watching multiple episodes in a row, I just want to strangle her.

 

- There was something quite icky about the way Ed went after her.  And she's an idiot for marrying him.  Yes, people can change, so the fact he was a lousy husband to Audrey and an absentee father to Dan doesn't automatically mean he'd be the same way now, but it does mean he has to do something to show he's learned his lesson, not just say things will be different.  He didn't.  They were still celebrating Christmas in January, not because he had to work over the holidays, but because he chose to, and Dan told her exactly how things were going to play out -- she'd be more alone than ever, and now stuck because she's married.  So what does she do?  Subject herself and her son to that, plus bring two more kids into the picture.  All because to Crystal, just about any man is better than no man.  I want to feel sorry for her, but I just don't.  She bugs.

 

- As brilliant as the Fisher arc is, with one able to go back and notice all sorts of warning signs once it's revealed that he is abusive, the Gary arc also, in hindsight, does a terrific job of establishing that Jackie is vulnerable to such a thing.  That relationship moves really fast, she thinks he's such a great catch she stifles her own personality and interests in an effort to make herself "good enough" for him to want to be with, they spend more and more time with his friends and less and less with her friends and family, etc.  There are some of the same warning signs, but Gary is a good guy.  He wants her to be herself, tell him when she wants to do something different, spend time with her family, etc. 

 

- The "Darlene Fades to Black" story arc is so well done for its nuance.  She can't help that she's depressed, but she also milks it.  Dan and Roseanne know she's dealing with something bigger than her and needs patience, but that doesn't stop them being frustrated by her behavior.  Becky cares and wants to help, but she's tired of being expected to serve as the third adult in that house (watching so many in a row really drives home how much she has to do) so having a sister who won't even do her normal teenage share is maddening.

 

- There's a nice balance, over the course of episodes and within episodes themselves, of who is right and who is wrong.  And when the characters are in the wrong, we understand why they're doing what they're doing because they're well-developed characters who are acting consistent with the good and the bad aspects of their personalities and circumstances.  They can all be quite unlikable at times (they are like people that way), but it's wonderful because it makes sense. 

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I finished season four last night, and the way they let Lanford's economic collapse play out over the course of it is just masterful.  Economic conditions when Dan buys the bike shop are so different than what they become, and it's interesting how things slowly change, almost in the background, creating the perfect storm. 

 

I could not love more in the season finale when that state representative comes to the Conner house and says he's going door to door to get to know his constituents, and Roseanne tells him he should just go down to the unemployment office and see everyone at once (by this point, Wellman has imposed a series of layoffs and is pretty much history, and Rodbell's has shut down the restaurant in order to replace it with a bargain bin section, reflecting the reality of people's altered spending habits).  He starts in about how he's going to fix that by offering tax incentives for businesses from other states to relocate to Lanford, and Roseanne says what he really means is the union jobs will be replaced by those paying scab wages, and on top of that the workers will have to pick up the slack for the taxes those businesses aren't paying.

 

"Is your husband home?"

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Agreed, Bastet.  I picked up the complete series for cheap, and have just finished the complete run-through.  And certain things do absolutely stand-out.

 

They totally pulled a Peter Griffin on Mark.  He went from being an outside/bad-ass guy you kinda want to root for, to a laughing-stock in really short-order. (And it makes me miss Glenn Quinn that much more, knowing what happened to him.)
 

Even though Bev goes into AA, her family still lets her drink consistently without saying anything about it, even to the point of encouraging it?! Really?
I realized that I kinda like Sarah Chalke in the role of Becky.   I mean, yes, she’s a bit less nuanced than Lecey, but she did admirably stepping into the role late in the series.
 

They handled the Fisher arc pretty well, and everyone remained in-character throughout, which was nice.  Everything in that arc was foreshadowed and handled nicely.  (Unlike the Fred story-arc.)
 

Season 9 was an utter train-wreck; it’s hard to pick a “worst” ep for that season; the terrorist ep is up there, though..  But that finale totally gets me every time.

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Agreed, Bastet. I picked up the complete series for cheap, and have just finished the complete run-through. And certain things do absolutely stand-out.

They totally pulled a Peter Griffin on Mark. He went from being an outside/bad-ass guy you kinda want to root for, to a laughing-stock in really short-order. (And it makes me miss Glenn Quinn that much more, knowing what happened to him.)

Even though Bev goes into AA, her family still lets her drink consistently without saying anything about it, even to the point of encouraging it?! Really?

I realized that I kinda like Sarah Chalke in the role of Becky. I mean, yes, she’s a bit less nuanced than Lecey, but she did admirably stepping into the role late in the series.

They handled the Fisher arc pretty well, and everyone remained in-character throughout, which was nice. Everything in that arc was foreshadowed and handled nicely. (Unlike the Fred story-arc.)

Season 9 was an utter train-wreck; it’s hard to pick a “worst” ep for that season; the terrorist ep is up there, though.. But that finale totally gets me every time.

Very sad.

Does anyone remember the whole cast being on Larry King or some show a few years ago? I was kind of shocked that Roseanne didn't know Glenn Quinn was dead. It made me feel so bad for his family. I know it had been years, but I just felt terrible and hoped his family didn't watch the interview.

Edited by imjagain
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Very sad.

Does anyone remember the whole cast being on Larry King or some show a few years ago? I was kind of shocked that Roseanne didn't know Glenn Quinn was dead. It made me feel so bad for his family. I know it had been years, but I just felt terrible and hoped his family didn't watch the interview.

 

I'm pretty sure she did. They had a call-in and the caller asked where was Jackie and where was Mark? Everyone looked pretty awkward and Roseanne said something like uhh well I don't know where Jackie is and Mark unfortunately, he died. If something was talked about before that where Roseanne didn't know, I don't remember. I haven't seen it since it aired. Have been looking for it.

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I'm pretty sure she did. They had a call-in and the caller asked where was Jackie and where was Mark? Everyone looked pretty awkward and Roseanne said something like uhh well I don't know where Jackie is and Mark unfortunately, he died. If something was talked about before that where Roseanne didn't know, I don't remember. I haven't seen it since it aired. Have been looking for it.

Oh OK. I remembered it wrong then. I'll take your word, as that makes me feel better... I have a terrible memory:), but that sounds better. I'm not sure why I remembered it that way.

Again thanks.

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I haven't yet continued with my re-watch, but I just caught the last half of Darlene and David's wedding on TV.  It took years for me to ponder this, but ever since I can't watch it without thinking of what it means for the Conners if Dan's fatal heart attack happened then:

 

It happened at Darlene and David's wedding.  (Or, actually, Darlene and Mark's wedding, I guess, but I just can't deal with the husband switch.)  There are no good circumstances under which to lose your husband/father, but a wedding?  For the rest of their marriage, their wedding anniversary is also the anniversary of her dad's death.  Similarly, Roseanne can't remember the day she watched her daughter get married without remembering the day she watched her husband die.

 

Darlene and Dan had been at odds over her decision to get married and have a baby, and had, right before they walked down the aisle, just had their first good talk since she announced her plans.  A couple of hours later, that's it.  She never got the chance to fully reconcile with him.

 

DJ did CPR until paramedics arrived.  So he tried to save his dad and couldn't.  He's a kid; he probably wonders if he'd been able to successfully revive Dan if he'd been bigger and stronger.

 

It just really gets me.  On a lighter note, though, John Goodman does such a great job (in hindsight) of looking and acting like a man who is getting ready to have a heart attack. 

Edited by Bastet
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I've recently completed season five in my re-watch, and while I still very much enjoy the show that season, I also very much miss the original family dynamic; David is no substitute for Becky. 

 

Becky's absence is an interesting backdrop for the whole season, though.  Dan's increasing discomfort with his sporadic employment is even sharper for his regret that had he not lost the bike shop, Becky would still be unmarried, at home, and in school.  Darlene's shifting role within the house (having to take on some of the duties Becky used to shoulder, although she never seems to be treated as the third adult the way Becky was) and her developing relationship with David are greatly affected by the fact Dan and Roseanne are still reeling from Becky's decision; for a while, everything they do is greeted with suspicion. 

 

And certainly Dan and Roseanne's reaction to Darlene wanting to quit high school and move away in order to enter the writing program is heavily informed by Becky having run off with Mark.  Their resistance, and then their change of heart as well -- they're not ready for another kid to leave the nest early, they're afraid her decisions are being made based on David, etc., so they say no, and then Dan fears yet another Conner woman is going to feel he messed up her life and held her back, so he relents.

 

Season five also brings us the revelation Fisher has abused Jackie, and that arc strikes me anew with its brilliance no matter how many times I see it, for two reasons.  One, it's just masterful how it plays out in hindsight; once you know he's abusive, you can look back and see the red flags.  Two, it may be best example - in a series teeming with them - of how to combine humor and a serious subject matter. 

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Revisiting season six now (I'm about halfway through), I'm struck by how my perception differs from frequent fan reaction to two things:

 

First, Becky is widely - and deservedly - described as a brat.  But, wow, is Darlene also a ridiculous, self-centered, conniving little snot once she moves to Chicago.  First, her parents let her boyfriend move in with them.  Not so she can have her boyfriend around, because his parents are shitty people, but still.  Then, they let her quit high school and move out of town.  She has a scholarship and a job at the bookstore, but they are also sending her a regular allowance.  They continue to take care of David.

 

So what does she do?  Every time she comes home to visit, she spends all her time with David -- then fights with David, and stomps back off to Chicago.  Then she and David concoct this scheme where he'll say he's going to live with his mom, but he's really shacking up with her in Chicago.  They carry on this charade for months, and Darlene even skips Thanksgiving in order to stay with David.  Then when they get caught and Dan kicks David out, she comes home with the attitude she shouldn't be in any trouble because learning the lesson that she and David weren't ready to live together is enough, no real apology, and even after Dan says they can put it behind them and move on, she sneaks David into the house.

 

She acts like she's an emancipated minor instead of a teenager who happens to be living away from home.  I love Darlene, and her attitude and actions reflect her age, but she's almost out-Beckied Becky here.

 

(I know Darlene's limited time at home is a direct result of Sara's limited availability to film, but I'm just going by what we see on screen.)

 

Second, Roseanne and Jackie take a lot of flak for the way they treat Bev, but the true meanness doesn't start until Bev moves to Lanford and buys into the Lunch Box, forcing them to deal with her hypercritical and passive aggressive commentary full time.  Until then, Roseanne runs a lot of interference between Bev and Jackie trying to keep visits relatively civil.  Jackie's relationship with Bev is more strained, but it's more nuanced when Bev is just visiting.  There are nice little moments of affection in the midst of all the frustration; Roseanne tends to touch Bev a lot. 

 

I think the shift to a more relentlessly nasty disposition towards Bev is less about the characters becoming less three-dimensional as the series wears on that about the fact Bev is now always there - and always has something to say.  And in this case, it takes three to tango.  Bev is no bullied victim here; her first reaction to everything her daughters do is negative. 

Edited by Bastet
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I'm now halfway through season seven and, wow, do I miss Original Recipe Becky.  For numerous reasons, but perhaps the strongest of which is what the characterization shift did to the relationship between Darlene and Becky.  I love the way they are the ones to call each other on their shit, and get through to each other when no one else does -- Darlene to Becky when Becky runs away to Jackie's, Becky to Darlene when Darlene milks her depression to get out of having any responsibilities to the family, Darlene to Becky when Becky is asking Mark to turn down the job in Minneapolis, etc. 

 

And I love their antagonism, too, and it works because the things they use to insult each other are things that are true (the See ya, Bubblebutt/Later, Morticia scene is perfect) and because it's just the kind of thing that generally springs from being sisters; they do love each other and look out for and stick up for each other as well. 

 

But with New Coke Becky, there's nothing but disdain, and Darlene repeatedly insinuating that Becky is too dumb to live.  It's so out of place. 

 

I had forgotten how awful David and Darlene are for each other as they get older.  They were a good match for each other at 15-16, and came into each others' lives at a time when they really needed each other, and then drifted apart as their lives moved in different directions.  That's a good thing.  With David being part of the family, they'll always have even more connection than being each others' first loves, and developing a new friendship would have been an interesting thing to watch.  But that's all it should have been, because they are just not suited to each other anymore by this point in the series.  I'm curious to see how things progress, because I don't remember the specifics of how we got from where things are now to the wedding.

 

Interestingly (to me, anyway), I like David more now than I did during the original run, and I like Darlene less.  She's kind of insufferable at this point in the series.  I think maybe the first time around I was distracted by how awful Sarah Chalke's portrayal of Becky was that I didn't take note of Darlene, but she's just kind of a shitty person right now.

 

I like the Fred and Jackie arc as much as I ever did, though.  It plays out a nice pace, with the end result inevitable but no less compelling for its predictability.  They cared about each other, and wanted to make a nice little family, but they just weren't compatible enough to make that work.  I'm just at the point where Fred leaves because Jackie had been spending time with another man, and I can't wait to see the final break-up again -- that scene of them sitting there at the table, realizing they have nothing left to say to each other is really well done.  I like break-ups on TV that aren't the result of one, dramatic thing. 

 

The recurring theme of Jackie being torn between Roseanne and Fred is a good one, especially when Jackie realizes that it's not just force of habit that leads her to put Roseanne first, it's genuinely the way she's most comfortable.  It's understandable - Roseanne has been her sounding board, protector, source of honest advice and unconditional love for a very long time, and will always be her sister, come what may - as is the guilt that makes her feel.

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THIS THIS THIS THIS. ALL OF THIS. That is EXACTLY what bothers me the most about New Coke Becky also. The writing just took a nose dive with her arrival, so unfortunately the two things coinciding like that probably makes Sarah Chalke look suckier than she actually was (although all of her stomping around and hair swinging did bother me.) The way the relationship between Becky and Darlene suffers is the most unfortunate, though.  One thing that I think is so genius about the show when it was at its best was all the subtle reflections; Becky and Darlene reflected Roseanne and Jackie, Becky and Mark reflected Dan and Roseanne, Becky/Roseanne and Darlene/Dan reflected Jackie/Al and Roseanne/Bev, and on and on. It was just so clever and real. And it all went in the toilet when Sarah Chalke arrived. Darlene's nastiness during that period was another symptom of lazy writing, I think. Up until that point she was depicted as an extremely intelligent and sensitive teenager who masked her raging insecurity with being a smartass. In the later seasons she just came off as a sociopath.

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I think the writing is still generally on point in season seven.  (I think season eight is where I just kind of throw up my hands and say, "Some of this is still good, but hang it up, please.")  Roseanne and Dan's relationship and storylines still feel organic to me, as do those of Roseanne and Jackie, Jackie and Fred, Bev and the family, David becoming more and more a part of the family, DJ at an awkward age (well, all ages are awkward for DJ, but you see my point), etc. 

 

Even with Becky and Mark or Becky and her parents, I can sometimes see what they were going for and how it might have worked with Lecy.  But the new Becky and Darlene dynamic is just out of some other world, and one I don't care to visit.  There's a scene where Becky scoffs, "Nice hair" at Darlene (although it's during a period of great hair for Darlene) and Darlene comes back with "Nice life."  If that was the undercurrent of all of this - that Darlene was angry, sad, disappointed, frustrated, etc. by Becky's chosen path - that would make sense.  But it would have to be rooted in the fact Darlene loves Becky and knows she deserves and is capable of better and that the longer she's in stasis the greater the chance she's going to wind up stuck.  There is none of that - or any - subtext, to Darlene, though; it's just all dismissive contempt.  They don't feel like sisters at all.

 

And Darlene changing after getting out of Lanford to live on her own in Chicago, especially at a younger age than normal, and having already tallied up two serious relationships (she was contemplating moving in with Jimmy, which I found oddly glossed over), is certainly to be expected.  But not for her to just change into an unrepentant asshole. 

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Season five also brings us the revelation Fisher has abused Jackie, and that arc strikes me anew with its brilliance no matter how many times I see it, for two reasons.  One, it's just masterful how it plays out in hindsight; once you know he's abusive, you can look back and see the red flags.  Two, it may be best example - in a series teeming with them - of how to combine humor and a serious subject matter. 

 

I'm almost through season 5 in my own re-watch right now and I completely agree with everything in your post, but especially this. First, this show manages to be lighthearted and funny and also serious and real all at the same time, and I honestly can't think of another show that has managed to pull it off so well.

 

Also, it really is amazing how the red flags were waving with Fisher early on. The ground work is laid slowly and subtly, but it was definitely there. It also struck me how they managed to have these little seemingly throw away lines about the relationship not feeling quite right, but it always kind of comes off as Jackie just being Jackie: complaining about things that aren't a big deal or not understanding how a relationship is supposed to work or something. But they manage to slip in that he smothers her with affection....she complains to Roseanne that he calls her all the time and it's always "I love you, I love you, I love you!" Seeing it for the first time, I feel like you don't really get the meaning of it, but for Jackie of all people to complain about being smothered with attention is significant. Then they work in that he convinced her to stop seeing her therapist: "Fisher says I don't need it anymore" and something about her being a grown adult capable of making her own decisions. Then they have so much alone time as a couple that she keeps flaking on Roseanne and they discuss how they hardly see each other....so he slowly pulls Jackie away from her closest family member. Watching it all unfold again, I'm amazed at how well they pulled it off. Then of course, Fisher loses his temper at the poker game and it all goes from there, but one moment that really struck me was when Jackie came back to the house to apologize to Roseanne after flipping out on her. She just looks so depressed and worn out and beaten down (so unlike Jackie) and it's like her voice is emotionless and she says something like "I'm a selfish, rotten person and I'm sorry" and it sounds (to me, anyway) like she's been told (by Fisher when they argue) that she's a selfish rotten person so many times that she believes it and it just hurts to hear her say that. This is one of those scenes that remind me just how amazing of an actress Laurie Metcalf really is.

 

...and I love when Roseanne hugs her and her coat flips up. I don't know why, but that little detail always made it feel real and raw for me.

 

On a semi-related note, season 5 always makes my heart hurt for Dan the whole way through, what with him losing the bike shop and feeling like Becky leaving was his fault, and then the house-flipping ending up a scam. Poor guy.

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I don't remember if you were on the Roseanne forum on TWoP, but once or twice we laid out each and every tidbit from the Jackie/Fisher arc that signified the potential for abuse.  It is really one of the most masterful things I've seen play out on television.  I don't see the show get much media attention for that, then or now.  I've done a good bit of domestic violence policy work - and done direct representation for a time, running the legal clinic of a DV shelter - and we talk about it a lot amongst ourselves.  But even in the "everyone has a blog, so -- grassroots journalism" era, I don't think it ever got the attention it deserved.  Maybe it was too subtle?  But I think it was brilliant.

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No, I wasn't on the Roseanne TWoP forum....kinda wishing I was though because that sounds like a great discussion! I think maybe the whole buildup of the whole Jackie/Fisher abuse thing was too subtle for a lot of people...I think a lot of people like their TV shows to hit them over the head with what's going on. Either that or maybe people used to mostly just watch episodes of shows here and there and not follow them as closely as people do now, so maybe most people weren't paying attention to how the arc was building. Just a thought. I agree though, it was definitely brilliant.

 

One more thought on season 5...during the last few episodes of the season I felt like Sara Gilbert's acting was just bad. There were two scenes in particular, the one where Darlene's asking Jackie to go to bat for her with Roseanne about the art school thing and the other where Darlene and Roseanne are in Darlene's room on her bed and Roseanne says she loves her and that's why she wants her to get out of Lanford and go to the school......I feel like SG is just not giving the other actors anything to work with. It's like she's just spitting out lines. I've always liked Darlene, but wow. I don't know, maybe it was just me.

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Does anyone feel that Jackie did a 180 as a character between season 6 and 7? It was like she went from a semi normal character into a high strung caricature. I guess on twop she was termed ad a female Barney eom the Andy Griffith show.

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