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Series / Roseanne

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"I am so amazing. If I ever get off this couch, I'll be unstoppable."

A popular sitcom that ran from 1988 to 1997 and in 2018 on ABC, focusing on the trials of the working-class Conner family of Lanford, Illinois. It was beloved for its realistic portrayal of the average American family.

There was mother Roseanne (Roseanne Barr); father Dan (John Goodman in the role that made him famous); preppy daughter Becky (originally played by Lecy Goranson, and taken over — repeatedly — by Sarah Chalke, in one of the most famous instances of The Other Darrin outside of Darrin himself); sarcastic daughter Darlene (Sara Gilbert); son D.J. (Michael Fishman); and Roseanne's younger sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf).

Probably the Trope Codifier for the Dysfunctional Family on American TV, sharing the title with Married... with Children. The Conners were generally stable but were still prone to dealing with domestic arguments, problematic neighbors, daughters who seemed to like bad boys and taking in a kid whose home life was far worse than theirs. The Healy brothers, Mark (Glenn Quinn) and David (Johnny Galecki) were added to the show as long-time boyfriends to Becky and Darlene, eventually marrying them. The show was also noted for a welcome subversion to the Ugly Guy, Hot Wife rule.

Famously—or perhaps infamously—the final season of the show's original run dramatically changed things by seeing the Conners escape their wage-slave working class existence when they won the lottery. At the same time, John Goodman (Dan) had reduced availability, leading to his character awkwardly Commuting on a Bus. These drastic changes to the flavor of the show led to a sharp decline in ratings and the program's eventual cancellation, culminating in a series finale that for decades was rated one of the most shocking endings in television history.

In 2017 it was announced that most of the cast (including Goodman, returning to full-time duty) was reuniting for a revival, consisting of an eight-episode season that later increased to nine, and then ten. It premiered on ABC on March 27, 2018. This revival chose to disregard the original ninth season entirely and return to the original household structure, taking a Broad Strokes approach to previous continuity.

The ratings for the revival's premiere were so highnote  that it was renewed for a second season two days later. However, the revival was cancelled on May 29th, 2018, after Barr made racist tweets comparing Valerie Jarrett, a black Obama Administration official, to an ape, on top of multiple previous controversial remarks.

Eventually, ABC announced their intention to build an aftershow spinoff without Roseanne, titled The Conners. It was greenlit on June 21, 2018, and premiered on October 16 of that year. Roseanne's absence was accounted for by having her killed off-screen following the revival season's storyline where the Roseanne character had been struggling with knee pain, an upcoming surgery, and opiate addiction.

Provides examples of:

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     Original Series 
  • Absurdly Bright Light: One Christmas, Roseanne and co. defy their POA with a light display designed for this. (They wear sunglasses to turn it on.) We don't see the display, but we do see that it does indeed create absurdly bright light.
  • Abusive Parents: Roseanne's father was physically abusive to his daughters. Dan's mother was also (literally) insane, and his father was a traveling salesman who was rarely home. You'd have an easier time finding parents who aren't abusive on this show; even Roseanne herself has an episode where, in a fit of anger, she strikes DJ, and then panics over it because she wants very badly not to be the kind of parent her father was.
    • Mark and David's mother, especially to poor David. It's a mark of just how bad everyone's parents were that when Roseanne lets Dan know that she's agreed to let David live with them, he initially refuses... until Roseanne says "Dan, I grew up in a house like that." Dan immediately sighs and leans back on the bed, accepting that he can't let David go back to that kind of house.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • When Michael O'Keefe (Fred) left the show, he went to another show on ABC called Life's Work, where he was the husband of an assistant district attorney with two children. In one episode of Roseanne, while complaining about Fred's Christmas present to Jackie, Roseanne says that they never see him "since he moved in with that D.A. chick with them two kids."
    • It could be coincidental or Hilarious in Hindsight but "Good Girls Bad Girls" alludes to Danielle Harris' work in the Halloween franchise. She's flirting with two guys, and she asks Darlene "Which one do you want?" Darlene replies "Whichever one will kill you and stuff you in the trunk."
    • Roseanne blowing up the house to get revenge counts as an allusion to Roseanne Barr's role in She-Devil.
    • Played with in Season 5's Yet Another Christmas Carol episode, "Halloween IV." Teenage Dan (played by Abraham Benrubi) wears a caveman costume. The next year, John Goodman played Fred Flintstone in The Flintstones, and Benrubi himself would appear in George of the Jungle.
  • Actually Pretty Funny :
    • In Season 2, Becky farts in front of the student council and is mortified. After Darlene tells Dan and Roseanne, they're trying to sort out how to talk to Becky about it. Dan cracks up, hard, and Roseanne is also trying hard not to laugh, while berating Dan.
    • The second incident happens in Season 5's "Crime and Punishment." Dan has been called to DJ's school to discuss some "obscene reading material" DJ brought. It's a comic Darlene wrote. When Dan shows Roseanne, he's appalled. Roseanne laughs unexpectedly and says "That was a funny part."
    • Season 4, "The Back Story": Becky mentions that she's been moved up to the express lane in her job as a grocery checkout clerk, and Jackie's impressed, saying this must mean her bosses have confidence in her abilities.
      Becky: Yeah right. All I have to do is count to ten.
      Darlene: Don't wear mittens. It'll slow you down.
      Roseanne: [belly laugh from off camera]
      Becky: MOTHER!!!
      Roseanne: [still off camera] Well, it was funny, Becky!
    • When DJ is watching Gilligan's Island on TV and gives Gilligan the finger, Dan goes to look, barely containing his laughter. When admonished off camera by Roseanne, Dan protests "well he's the reason they're still stuck on that island".
    • Leon is horrified when he sees that Roseanne put together his wedding with "every gay stereotype known to man," while Scott comes in and thinks it's hilarious.
  • A-Cup Angst: Jackie's small breasts are a source of embarrassment to her. Doesn't help that Roseanne teases her about them, and a woman at the health spa in season 9 says they're "much too small for her body". A comment from Nana Mary implies that she may have inherited her shape from Bev.
    • Also, D-Cup Distress in the episode "Less Is More" (Season Four), in which Roseanne, after throwing her back out, decides to have a breast reduction. This episode also features a hilarious dream sequence in which Roseanne's doctor (Doogie Howser, M.D.) botches the operation and instead ENLARGES her breasts to an exaggerated extreme.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: In the season three episode "Do You Know Where Your Parents Are?", Roseanne and Dan have dinner at the Blue Swan Cafe, the place where he first asked her to be his girlfriend twenty years earlier. They later go to the attached Blue Swan motel, the same place they made love for the first time.
  • Adopting the Abused: When Roseanne found out Darlene's boyfriend (later husband) David was living with an abusive mother, she promptly adopted him. David's brother Mark, who was dating Darlene's sister Becky, also came to view the Connors as his "real" parents.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Becky. Before marrying Mark, in the first season she cheated on her boyfriend with a similar leather-clad stud named Johnny Swanko, aka "The Tongue Bandit". Roseanne and Dan's early relationship was apparently built on this as well (which is why Roseanne is so worried when Becky gets together with Mark).
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Deliberately invoked by Roseanne and Dan a couple of times.
  • Annoying Patient: In "Communicable Theater," Dan gets the flu. Roseanne and the girls quickly get tired of caring for him because he complains about everything (the blanket Roseanne brings him is too itchy, the scrambled eggs are too soft, the next scrambled eggs are too hard, his soup doesn't have enough noodles, the next bowl has too many noodles...).
    Roseanne: Stay sick, Dan, because as soon you're well, I'm going to kill you.
    • Though the business with the eggs turned out to be Dan annoying the girls for kicks despite feeling better.
  • Anyone Can Die: Dan, as revealed in the final episode, really did die from his heart attack. All episodes from that point onward were just fantasies dreamt up by Roseanne for her book. Technically every episode was a fantasy, as the whole series was written by Roseanne in the downstairs office.
    • Retconned in the first episode of the Uncancelled season, where Dan is still alive and his death was something Roseanne wrote in her book.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Roseanne discovers that Jackie's back is badly bruised, she asks, "Does Fisher know about this?" Jackie goes very quiet and begs her to drop the subject, which reveals that he was the one who hit her.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: In "It's A Boy," Darlene and David try to convince Roseanne and Dan to let David live with them. They both refuse until Roseanne sees just how much horrific abuse David suffers at the hands of his mother, and she says he needs to come with her now. Dan's naturally furious about Roseanne going behind his back and starts demanding to know why she did it; Roseanne's response is enough to get him to change his mind instantly:
    Roseanne: Dan, I grew up in a house like that...
    Dan: (Immediately going from rage to sadness): ...that bad, huh?
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: One episode features an inversion. Jackie is upset that she's done something she regrets, but won't spill the beans. To try to get her to open up and tell them, everybody else starts talking about bad things they've done. They're all very forgiving when Roseanne mentions pledging (but never donating) a huge amount of money to a telethon just to hear Jerry Lewis say her name on TV and when Bonnie reveals she and her husband once robbed a liquor store. However, when Jackie announces that she slept with Arnie, everybody else is disgusted and outraged (apparently in high school, they all took a blood oath and promised he would never be allowed to breed). In fact, when Roseanne realizes, "She will forever be known as the woman whose sister slept with Arnie," everybody ignores Jackie and starts to comfort Roseanne. Sleeping with Arnie was just that unforgivable.
    • The list of complaints lobbied against her former husband by Bev goes from jaywalking back to arson: "He was rude to my children, cheated on me, had horrible table manners and made me drive an old car with bald tires!" Subverted when one considers that bald tires are much more likely to blow out, so that last one was a legitimate danger to Bev's life.
    • In "A Stash from the Past," Jackie is horrified to discover Dan and Roseanne preparing to get high:
      Jackie: You're rolling a joint after yelling at David for bringing pot in the house?! And you're using the coffee table Mom gave you?!
  • Ascended Extra: Mark was supposed to be a one-shot date for Becky. He ended up lasting the rest of the series and marrying into the family. Pretty much the same for David, who was written as a one-shot character (with a different name) to "shake things up" with Darlene, then got more episodes, then more seasons, and eventually was around more than Darlene was.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: After Roseanne is harassed by an intimidating customer at the diner, Dan suggests keeping a gun behind the counter.
    Dan:Would you consider getting a gun for the diner?
    Roseanne: Oh, there's a great idea. A loaded gun in the same room with my mother and my sister. What if they miss each other and they kill a customer?
    Dan: Then they'll have to reload.
  • Asleep in Class:
    • In one episode, Darlene's excuse for missing her high school Spanish class is that her friend forgot to wake her up after Biology.
    • Dan says he once got suspended from school for "snoring too loud in detention."
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: In "Pretty in Black", Jackie double dares Roseanne to take off her top, run screaming out the back door of the house and flash Dan. She does so, but then she has to cover herself and run back into the house because she happens upon not only Dan, but the father of the family who just moved in next door, as well.
  • Author Avatar: Being originally based on Barr's work as a stand-up comedian, this show screams it, almost from day one. By the time she has bought into her own media hype, it all but beats you over the head with its self-indulgence. The final episode proves it's also an in-universe example, as Roseanne reveals that the entire series was the book she's been writing in her office in the basement, and the self-indulgence the show descended into is her way of escaping from and fixing the things she felt were out of place in her life, but out of her control.
  • Awkward Poetry Reading: Darlene is forced to read a poem she wrote at school in front of a crowd. Normally a brash tomboy, she delivers it mechanically due to her nerves but it doesn't matter as the poem turns out to be an intimate piece about her feelings of not fitting in, earning a heavy emotional response from Roseanne and Jackie.
  • Babies Ever After: The series finale has Darlene and David's baby daughter Harris coming home from hospital, the reveal that Becky and Mark are expecting a baby, and Leon and Scott adopting a toddler named Nadia from Romania.
  • Betty and Veronica : For Darlene, Brian and Barry (in "Vegas Interruptus"), and later David and Jimmy. For Becky, Chip and The "Tongue Bandit" (Johnny?) or Dean and Mark. Later, Jackie plays Betty to Nancy's Veronica for Dan's friend (played by Tim Curry). And in Season 9, Roseanne has to choose between Dan and Edgar Wellman.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In "The Slice of Life", the foreign man in the ER waiting room is speaking Estonian,note  and when we see him at the desk, he is saying "three, three, one, two, three, four, five, six."
  • Birthday Episode:
    • Roseanne and her friends pretend to throw a surprise sweet sixteen party for Darlene. It turns out it was all a ruse to annoy Darlene. The women turn it into their party. Roseanne flashes Dan in a game of Truth or Dare, and all hell breaks loose. As for Darlene herself, she's given Becky's fixed-up old car and sent to a pizza parlor to celebrate with her friends. She's ecstatic.
    • There were several other episodes including "Dan's Birthday Bash" (Exactly What It Says on the Tin), "Happy Birthday" (about Roseanne's 37th), and two episodes wherein Roseanne can't participate in the festivities.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Dan dies of a heart attack on Darlene's wedding day. While she's pregnant no less. Later retconned.
  • Book Ends: Though not exact, it comes close. The very first episode has Roseanne going to Darlene's school because she was barking in class. In the finale, Roseanne brings it up in conversation. When Darlene says she can't believe that she barked in class, Roseanne replies with almost exactly what she told the teacher at the time: "Oh honey, we all barked."
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Goranson's Becky. The best example for many fans.
  • Break the Cutie: Jackie grew up with an abusive father and a distant mother and only had her bossy sister to turn to for comfort, which made her completely dependent on and subservient to said sister who often took gleeful advantage of this. She goes from failed career to failed career, is physically abused by one of her few serious boyfriends, gets pregnant out of wedlock, and ends up marrying the father only for them to get a divorce after barely a year. Is it any wonder she's such a mess by the final seasons?
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Darlene gets hit with this hard in Season 7. For years she was the ultimate deadpan snarker, constantly belittling everyone from her family members to her boyfriends. It was mostly treated for laughs, but the repercussions of her actions really hit her hard after she breaks up with David. First the guy she left him for leaves her due to her poor treatment of him, her family gets angry at her for turning down a lucrative job that would have set her up for life, and David tells her (with prompting from Becky) that he believes that they never really connected, which devastates Darlene. It all culminates in the episode where she does get back together with David, and she tearfully tells him how she feels, in probably what could be her most vulnerable moment in the entire series.
      • This was also directly addressed by Roseanne when Darlene wonders why her siblings and father are so upset by her usual snarking. When she was living in the house, her snarking came across like they were all in it together and were merely dealing with humor. However, after she left for college and had job opportunities (including one specific opportunity for a $30,000 salary job, which she turned down), and then also continued asking for financial help from her family, Roseanne pointed out that she seemed like 'one of them', with a superior attitude and her snarking came across as mean-spirited and condescending instead of affectionate.
    • Becky gets this to a point, too. Early in the series, she gets good grades and, when she's not being the Bratty Teenage Daughter, does most of the chores and takes care of her younger siblings. She believes she's on track to go to college and get out of Lanford, until the bike shop runs into trouble. Through a series of bad choices (based as much on her attitude and rebellion against her family as circumstances), she ends up living in a trailer park and working at Buns, a Hooters-style restaurant.
      • Becky gets a more immediate example of it in the season two opener, "Inherit the Wind," in which she hides out at home after accidentally breaking wind during her speech to the student council. Darlene in particular rubs salt into Becky's wounds, crowing, "I've been waiting for something like this to happen since I was two!" Becky kind of deserves it after having been such a Jerkass to Darlene at the beginning of the episode for no reason (and without provocation).
  • Breather Episode: "Roseanne-feld" features the family members who appear making fun social calls; this episode comes between Harris's high-risk birth and members of media looking to buy the rights to the Conners' rags-to-riches story.
  • Brick Joke: The lottery ticket that would make the Conner family one hundred and eight million dollars richer shows up briefly in the episode before, when Bev almost uses it as a coaster.
    • Season 4 episode 2, Roseanne is speaking to a sales guy on the phone. She puts him "on hold" by putting the receiver on top of the radio. Later, when Bev calls Jackie at the shop, she does the same thing.
      • Season 4 episode 25. A politician comes to the door and talks to Roseanne about his plan to offer tax cuts to out of state businesses, to entice them to set up in his jurisdiction. Roseanne delivers a great speech cutting through all of his sound bytes and he leaves. A few scenes later, the same politician shows up at Dan's bike shop. Roseanne comes out of the back and says "Oh, hey!" And he goes running.
    • In "Pretty in Black," When Roseanne is approached about using the money she and Dan inherited from Beverly to join Jackie and Nancy in a business venture, Roseanne and Dan discuss the prospect in bed:
    Roseanne: Shouldn't we put that money toward DJ's college or Darlene's bail?
    • Later, in "Crime and Punishment," when Darlene has to bail Dan out of jail:
    Darlene: You know, I bet when you imagined us in this situation, you always pictured yourself on the other side of those (jail) bars.
    • In "Don't Make Me Over," DJ stops turning in his math homework and makes up an excuse about Dan having died. In "Truth or Consequences," Dan responds to a request for a parent conference at DJ's school, and the bewildered principal brings up DJ's claim.
    • Season 5, Episode 13. Dan is called into DJ's principal's office after DJ is caught with a violent pornographic comic book. The principal (who previously assumed Roseanne was a widow since Dan never turned up for school conferences) casts aspersions on Dan's parenting, especially after DJ reveals that the comic's author is Darlene. In the final scene of the episode, Dan is in the back of a police car, in handcuffs, after assaulting Jackie's abusive boyfriend, when they pull up to a red light beside another car being driven by the principal. Dan offers him a cheerful if embarrassed wave.
    • It's subtle, but the orange off-the shoulder dress that Darlene tries on ("Looked better on the hanger") in the Season 3 episode "Dances with Darlene" turns up on one of the background prom attendees in Season 5's "Promises Promises."
    • Probably the most notoriously meta Brick in the series: in his initial appearance, David Healy was originally called Kevin.note  When the character was reintroduced as a regular, his name became David, a change that goes unremarked upon until two seasons later, when Roseanne shouts, "David's not even his real name! Darlene made it up!"
  • Buffy Speak: Since Joss Whedon wrote for the show at one point, it should come as no surprise there were examples of this trope:
    Jackie: You are my problem!
    Roseanne: Aw, what'd I do now?
    Jackie: Same thing as you always do, Roseanne. You sit up there on your...
    Roseanne: Pedestal.
    Jackie: Yeah! Ya act like some big high-and-mighty, self-righteous, pedestal-type person, and you pooh-pooh everything in my life.
  • Burger Fool:
    • Roseanne does a stint at a chicken joint as one of her many odd jobs over the series to keep her family afloat. It's not too bad, but her barely legal boss has a superiority complex and can't understand how her family comes before her responsibility to him. The family actually makes more fun of her when she gets a job sweeping hair at a salon.
    • Her waitress job at the restaurant in Rodbell's had some tones of this as well. The ridiculous costume for starters, and her boss Leon seemed to enjoy making them suffer; when the restaurant finally went under, he told them that management had phased out those horrible uniforms years before. Leon himself said he hated the place as well. When the diner was shut down, on their last day, they had a toast in which he said, "We're not standing in the parking lot watching the place burn, but this is nice, too."
      • Becky, though, was initially distressed not that her mother would be working as a waitress, but that she'd be working in one of her favorite hangouts.
    • The salon job was something of a subversion. Roseanne's coworkers all understood the job was crappy but they never made Roseanne feel bad about it and were pretty nice, if a little ditzy; at the end of her first day, when her boss asks her about the job, Roseanne says point-blank, "I hate it," the boss, realizing that the job sucks, says, "Of course you hate it, but are you staying?" Roseanne was not very pleased when the only ones who were making her feel bad about it were Dan and the kids.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bev is easily the most abused character on the show, though given her treatment of her daughters at times it's almost justified. Darlene also treats Molly this way, and Roseanne treats just about everyone this way except Darlene, who can match her snark for snark.
  • Cain and Abel: Mark is the Cain to David's Abel. In one later season episode, David finally calls Mark out on his selfish, Jerkass tendencies when Mark is deliberately and remorselessly hitting on a young waitress at the Lunch Box in whom David is interested (while he and Darlene were separated) just to show he could and to make David miserable. After the two get into a fight and Becky shows up, David lies to protect Mark, and then tells Mark he doesn't know why he did - and warns him that he's hurting Becky, the only other person besides David who actually likes Mark at all.
  • Call-Back: In the pilot episode Dan and Roseanne have a fight about how Dan doesn't do anything around the house, leading to this exchange.
    Dan: You want me to fix dinner? I'll fix dinner! I'm fixing dinner!
    Roseanne: Oh, but honey, you just fixed dinner three years ago!
    • In the eighth season finale, they have the same argument following Dan's heart attack after Roseanne refuses to cook the unhealthy foods Dan likes. The only difference is now Roseanne says "eleven years ago."note 
    • The season six episode "Busted" also features a scene in which Dan and Mark's roommate are watching a Spanish-dubbed version of the pilot episode, with that very scene playing.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The entire ninth season as of the revival. Most notably, Dan is shown alive and well in said season, retconning his death in the original series finale. It even gets a Discontinuity Nod when he wakes up in its first episode, where he asks Roseanne why everyone thinks he's dead.
  • Character Death: Roseanne's dad. Given their strained relationships, his death brought out mixed feelings in Roseanne and Bev (and temporarily drove a wedge between Roseanne and Jackie, as Jackie made excuses for his behavior and also objected to his mistress Joan being invited to the funeral), but in the end he was missed.
  • Character Development:
    • Mark is a particularly notable example, going from your standard bad boy rebel to a goofy dork with rough edges.
    • In the first seasons, Darlene was a sports-obsessed tomboy who always had her hair tied back into a tight braid to give a boyish appearance. But the moment she started going through puberty she let her hair down, started avoiding sports all together, and abandoned all of her friends to become a Deadpan Snarker. This was discussed and pointed out frequently, as her family members tried to understand the change in her.
  • Chew Toy: Poor Jackie had some of the worst luck of anyone on the show, and in one season later on, turned the luck around on her baby's father Fred, the next chew toy.
  • Christmas Episode: Several.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Virtually everyone who didn't live in the house completely disappeared without explanation by the end, neighbors, best friends, rather important characters. Although sometimes justified at least one neighbor moved away, and coworkers lost touch because of the main characters getting a new job.
    • Crystal, one of Jackie and Roseanne's closest childhood friends, gets married again to Dan's father Ed and vanishes from the show pretty quick. She becomes more of The Ghost up until the end of the series, where she actually has one last appearance during Roseanne's baby shower. Why neither she nor Dan's father appear at later notable events like their granddaughter/honorary niece Darlene's wedding or following the Conners' lottery win is a mystery. At one point during Darlene's wedding, Dan mentions that he hasn't spoken to his father in two years.
    • Jackie's husband/ex-husband Fred stopped appearing altogether a couple episodes after they divorced, although was occasionally referenced as taking care of their infant son in various episodes. Like other characters, his absence in the face of the Conners winning the lottery (including his best friend and boss Dan, his ex-wife Jackie and his infant son Andy) is nigh-inexplicable.
    • One neighbouring family, the Tildens, introduced a few seasons into the series got tons of episodes and development, including one daughter pursuing main character David and her overweight wallflower sister catching Roseanne's attention as somebody who needed support and guidance. The Conners even all traveled to California with them in an RV at one point. Unlike their previous sets of neighbours, who'd had proper send-offs, they eventually just stopped appearing.note 
    • Lampshaded beautifully in "Breakin' up is Hard to Do" with Dan breaking the fourth wall, pleading with the audience to bring him back, only to mouth off the an off-stage Roseanne. The "In Memoriam" tribute is a wonder to behold. Ironically, he did come back for an appearance in one episode.
    • In "It's No Place Like Home for the Holidays" (season 5, episode 12), we meet Mark and David's little sisters: Lisa Healy (played by Clara Bryant) and Nicki Healy (played by Sarah Freeman). We never see or hear of them ever again, not even when David's subsequently "adopted" by the Conners in "It's a Boy" (season 5, episode 19). Considering the reason David's taken in is because of their mother's physical and psychological abuse... Poor Lisa and Nicki's disappearance probably qualifies as What Happened to the Mouse?, but not even fans seem to remember them! They do get mentioned when David tells Darlene his parents are getting divorced; his father takes them with him. Since their scene in the holiday episode is removed in syndication, for many fans this one sentence is the only acknowledgement they even existed.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nancy and Nana Mary could definitely be this at times. D.J. was too at times.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The DVD releases of Seasons 8 and 9 suffered from this. Any use of copyrighted music was removed or dubbed over with generic music, and any credits sequences featuring music or celebrity cameos were replaced with generic credits. Most infamously, this meant the removal of a parody of the theme from The Patty Duke Show lampshading the fact that two actresses alternated between the role of Becky. This sequence can still be seen on TV airings.
    • When all the seasons were re-released, the only music that was restored was the various uses of "When You Wish Upon a Star" (both the actual song and characters singing or chanting it) in the two Disney World episodes.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Roseanne is the master at finding creative and downright twisted ways of disciplining her children. To punish D.J. for skipping school, she walked him to school wearing patched overalls and plaid shirt with a straw hat sporting a sunflower. To top it off, she kissed him goodbye with caked on bright red lipstick.
    • Dan was no slouch in this department, either. In one episode, Becky and Darlene try to get permission to go to a concert in Des Moines by buttering up Roseanne and saying that Roseanne and Dan deserve a weekend to themselves. When she realizes they were just trying to manipulate her (instead of being actually nice), it really hurts her feelings, which sends Dan into Tranquil Fury. In the end, they get their weekend to themselves... by shipping Becky and Darlene off to Bev's for the weekend. The very end of the episode lets us hear Dan suggesting vacation slides, and making Darlene sing show tunes.
    • After D.J. pulls a prank on Darlene, Roseanne asks Darlene how he should be punished. Darlene suggets that D.J. wear a suit and tie to school the next day. They actually go through with the punishment, but Roseanne says she would have made him wear a dress (it was too late for Darlene since she only got one wish).
  • Cool Old Lady: Nana Mary, who constantly tells tales of her wild, globetrotting youth (at one point, she apparently slept with Pablo Picasso), and who is portrayed as hipper, wiser, and more accepting than even Roseanne. In contrast with their treatment of Bev, Roseanne, Jackie, and Dan have a yearly holiday ritual of begging Nana Mary to come live with them, even though she always refuses.
  • Continuity Nod : In Season one, Roseanne describes her method of bill-paying, which includes not signing the check and putting the wrong check in the wrong envelope and telling the utility company the bill never came. In Season 4, she forgets to sign the check for the mortgage payment (and claims to have a flat tire on the way to the bank), and makes a similar excuse to the electric company in Season 5.
    • In Season 4's "Why Jackie Becomes a Trucker" episode, Roseanne goes out with Jackie and her other girlfriends. They suggest making girls' night out a weekly thing. Someone says "We could go bowling, or go to bingo." In Episodes 1 and 14 of Season 4, the girls do these two things.
    • Around the middle of S4, Arnie says he was visited by aliens. At the end of Season 4 he's abducted by aliens (although no one believes it). And then much later, he returns to try and take Nancy on the space ship.
    • One of DJ's excuses for not doing his homework is he's got extra responsibility since Dan "died." Later, when Dan is called to talk to DJ's principal, they're surprised to see him because they all think he died. See Harsher in Hindsight for the later implications.
  • The Couch: A particularly iconic one.
  • Cousin Oliver: Andy Harris (Jackie's son) and Jerry Conner were late additions to the show, though Andy at least came about because the actress's pregnancy became impossible to ignore and had to be written in, setting off a number of storylines and eventually producing a child. Andy himself rarely did anything but be carried around and wasn't given a lot of "aww, cute" focus like toddlers in some sitcoms, and Jerry was even more out of focus. Had the show continued longer one or both might have aged into more cutesy characters.
  • Creepy Child: D.J. "Barbie Killer" Conner.
  • Deadpan Snarker: After puberty, Darlene goes from a tomboy to this. Pretty much everyone in the family cracks wise, though.
    • D.J. slips into this toward the end of the series.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Crystal was kicked out of her parents' house at 16, moved in with a crazy aunt, and her past love life is messy and traumatic enough to rival Jackie's. Plus, she lost the only man she ever did love in a strange and bizarre accident and was left to raise her young son all by herself! Thankfully, her life seems to turn around some after she marries Ed.
  • Diet Episode: Played for Drama when Dan is put on a diet following his heart attack. It eventually leads to the largest fight Dan and Roseanne ever had on the show.
    • A more comedic example was the second-season episode "I'm Hungry."
  • Discontinuity Nod: David had his name changed after his first appearance (where he was called Kevin). In a later episode, Roseanne remarks facetiously that "David" is just a name Darlene gave him and not his real one.
    • The name change is especially odd because although rarely used, "David Jacob" was already DJ's full name. In one episode one of his sisters actually just called him "David!" while yelling at him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: One of the Halloween episodes featured everyone pulling an elaborate prank on Roseanne during the credits. Roseanne and Jackie began to suspect their mother is secretly bald, after finding a wig that looks exactly like Bev's hair. Bev reveals that she is indeed bald, followed by everyone else revealing to a shocked Roseanne that they're bald too. Roseanne wonders how she could manage to top this prank. She then pulls out an old-fashioned detonator and blows up the house.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Roseanne worked a combination of this and I Have Boobs, You Must Obey! in the final season. When Dan calls from California he says he's most looking forward to coming back home to all the familiar things he's missed. Roseanne is horrified because after winning the lottery, she redecorated the whole house, threw all the old stuff out, and it wasn't the same familiar "home" Dan was looking forward to. She then changes into an eye-popping negligee, under the theory that "Men prefer boobs to end tables any day." Jackie rather abruptly says, "Well, it's working. I'm your sister and even I can't take my eyes off your rack."
  • Domestic Abuse: A serious episode centered on Jackie's boyfriend beating her. Roseanne's father was revealed/retconned to have been unrepentantly abusive to his family in the second season-ish.
    • Also the two episodes in which David's horrible mother appeared.
  • Do Wrong, Right:
    • Bev of all people when Jackie and Roseanne are putting Christmas decorations on a sleeping Nana Mary, who had been criticizing her all day:
      Bev: Girls! Stop that! You're being stupid and childish! Everyone knows you string lights from the top!
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male : One running gag is Roseanne hitting Dan in the back of the head with a frying pan. Darlene's frequent bullying (while offscreen) of DJ is sometimes physical. And at the end of "Looking for Loans in All the Wrong Places," Darlene (again offscreen) hurts David for peeping at Molly.
    • Discussed in "Crime and Punishment." Although Dan retaliates against Fisher for beating up Jackie, DJ hasn't learned of this yet, and brings it up without provocation.
    • It's later deconstructed in another episode when D.J. gets his first girlfriend, who proves to be a mean-spirited bully who pushes him around all the time. When Dan and Roseanne find out, he innocently explains that the way the girl treats him is what he's seen all his life, so he thinks it's natural, prompting some soul-searching.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: Sisters Becky and Darlene Conner to brothers Mark and David Healey.
    • This is Lampshaded right after Becky and Mark get married. David says to Mark, "Thanks to you, I'm now related to my girlfriend."
  • Dramatic Irony: First, Dan got killed off at the end of the original series run. This was undone because it wasn't something fans liked and it prevented the proper return of the show. Then, Roseanne had to be killed off to continue the franchise. Both Conner parents have now been killed off for reasons that mirror each other.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: Exaggerated for comic effect in one episode. Roseanne tells Dan she's pregnant, and Dan proceeds to sit in one spot staring into space for over a year.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: While he wasn't a dumbass, D.J. was strange bordering on creepy (and not the brightest bulb in the box). When getting the diner off the ground, the adults are agonizing over the name. D.J. mentions feeling left out since everybody else was getting to do things. Roseanne says it's his diner, too, and he'll get to help. He automatically shouts out that he wants to name it. Everybody panics slightly (again, D.J. was weird,) but when he says "The Lunchbox," everybody agrees that it's absolutely perfect.
  • The Dutiful Son:
    • Charlotte is the Tildens' dutiful daughter: she's easygoing to the point of being a doormat and does all the cooking and housework while Molly runs around being a wild child.
    • For all her Bratty Teenage Daughter - ness, Becky does the lion's share of the chores, including dishes, laundry, and driving her siblings around. This makes her a subversion, because she resents the hell out of it.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Roseanne's father, Al Harris, played by John Randolph, appeared in a couple of episodes in the first two seasons, and seemed to be just a jovial old man with whom Roseanne and Jackie had a fairly warm relationship, especially in comparison to their neurotic mother. It was later revealed in season four that Al Harris was physically abusive toward his daughters and cheated on his wife for 20 years. Once this revelation dropped he never appeared in the show again and died off-screen in the fifth season. Every subsequent mention of him depicts him as a terrible father.
    • David was called "Kevin" during his first appearance in season four. Lampshaded in season six when Roseanne says that "David's not even his real name, Darlene made it up".
    • In the first Thanksgiving episode in season 2, Dan's mother Audrey appears, played by Ann Wedgeworth, and is shown to be a relatively "normal" person with her and Dan's father Ed being more or less amicably divorced. Later seasons would have her played by Debbie Reynolds and completely change her character and her relationship with her son and ex-husband, turning her into a mentally unstable woman who was constantly in and out of mental hospitals. Dan's father did what he could to shield his son from his mother's problems but was often gone for long periods of time for his job as a salesman and this put a strain on his relationship with his son. Dan would eventually put his mother up on a pedestal and blame his father for every problem he and his mother had when he was a child.
    • The earliest appearances of Arnie (Tom Arnold's character) portrayed him as just another one of Dan's friends, with Roseanne and Jackie not really knowing much about him. Later episodes would portray him as someone they went to high school with and thought was incredibly stupid, to the point they made a vow to never sleep with him, so he wouldn't procreate.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The most-quoted line from the pilot firmly establishes the series' more cynical take on family sitcoms. Roseanne is confronting Darlene over barking like a dog in history class when Becky starts complaining that the book bag Roseanne bought to replace her broken one is the wrong colour. The two sisters promptly start shouting over each other until Roseanne tells them to knock it off and makes it clear Becky doesn't have a choice regarding her book bag colour. The sniping between the sisters begins anew, and Roseanne's reaction sets the tone for the ensuing nine seasons:
    Roseanne: [as Darlene puts her feet on the kitchen table] You're gonna use that bag until you're thirty!
    Becky: [stomping across the kitchen] Oh, great! I'm just gonna look like a freak, that's all!
    Darlene: What else is new?
    Becky: [gives Darlene a Death Glare] SHUT UP! [stomps into the living room]
    Roseanne: [watching Becky leave] This is why some animals eat their young.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Conners wore their title of "white trash" with pride, and delighted in doing uncouth and rude things while mocking everyone and everything that came into their lives. However, there were certain topics that were never the subject of jokes, and lines that even Roseanne wouldn't cross.
    • Jackie's abuse at the hands of her boyfriend Fisher drove Roseanne into a genuinely fearful panic, and set the typically calm Dan on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that ended with him in jail.
    • When DJ refuses to kiss a girl a school play because she's Black, Roseanne tells him in no uncertain terms that she won't tolerate him being racist, and furthermore says that anyone who disrespects Black people is an embarrassment to "respectable" white trash like them.
    • Played for Laughs with one episode where Roseanne and Bonnie confess dark secrets like falsely promising a donation to a telethon and robbing a liquor store. Jackie then reveals something so horrible that even the hardest of the group thinks it's hideous—she slept with Arnie.
      Roseanne: Oh my God. I'm gonna be known as "The Woman Whose Sister Slept With Arnie!"
      (Everyon sans Jackie immediately rushes forward to console Roseanne and convince her she did nothing wrong)
  • Everytown, America: Lanford is your typical blue-collar and middle class populated small town in the Midwest.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: As the family is sitting down to dinner, Dan asks to hear about a short-story Darlene has written at college. Darlene starts to explain but stops when David walks in. Not wanting David to feel bad since she got into college while he had to stay in high school, Darlene says that she’ll explain later. Dan keeps pressing her only for Roseanne to tell him to drop it too. Dan doesn’t understand the issue saying that no one else is doing anything with their lives so they might as well hear about Darlene.
    Dan: I mean she didn’t do anything in high school: all she did was hang out with -
    David: (Buries his face in his hands)
    Roseanne: (Sarcastically) Boy, you sure are a quick one, Pa.
  • Extreme Doormat: Charlotte, see above. There was one time when she was locked out of her house and was planning to stand outside in the rain for hours instead of being able to muster up the courage to ask Roseanne if she could come inside.
    • Crystal also fell into this trope. She had a hard time standing up for herself and often let Roseanne push her around, with only token resistance.
  • Fake Guest Star: Roseanne in its nine years never added actors to the main billing whose characters were newly introduced. The only character who was dropped from actor billing was Crystal after she stopped appearing, but numerous other characters were introduced who became indispensable to the show's plot, particularly Bev, David, Jerry, Leon, Mark, Nancy, and Scott. However, none of their actors ever got more than an 'Also Starring' in the end credits, as the main billing became strictly limited to the fictional immediate family (minus Jerry, who was born later) and Jackie.
  • Family of Choice: By the show's end it becomes apparent that Nancy, Leon, Scott, and the Healy brothers have forged such a strong bond with the Conners that not even blood could make them closer.
  • Fear Is Normal: Subverted in "Nightmare On Oak Street," when Darlene is apparently stricken with night terrors. Roseanne and Dan try consoling her and saying that fearing bad dreams is perfectly normal, which manages to make her even more upset. It turns out she didn't have nightmares, she had her first period and the cramps were giving her insomnia.
  • File Photo Gag: Discussed when Dan gets arrested for beating up Jackie's abusive boyfriend. Darlene says that the news called for a picture of Dan to run with the story, and snarks "Should I send the one of you dressed as Baby New Year or do you want them to just use your mugshot?"
  • Five-Temperament Ensemble: Darlene (choleric), Dan (melancholic), Becky (phlegmatic), Aunt Jackie (sanguine), and Roseanne and D.J. (leukine).
    • Other characters: Mark (choleric), Nancy (melancholic), David (phlegmatic), Ziggy (sanguine), Bev and Arnie (choleric/sanguine), Fred (phlegmatic/melancholic), Crystal and Nana Mary (phlegmatic/sanguine), and Leon and Scott (leukine).
  • Flanderization: A few examples, particularly toward the end of the show.
    • Roseanne slowly got more bossy and controlling toward her family and Jackie became more neurotic and quirky.
    • More troubling, after he met Scott, Leon went from Straight Gay to encompassing a few gay stereotypes and his sexuality became the subject of many more jokes.
    • Bev, Roseanne and Jackie's mom, who starts out as a slightly annoying, overly-critical conservative woman, but later in the series becomes an insane, ultra-fundamentalist closeted lesbian who nags everyone around her in a shrill, high-pitched shriek of a voice.
      • A one-time gag at the end of a later episode had her only faking that personality; her "real self" in the gag was a Ladette with a deeper voice who drank beer with Fred. When asked why she didn't act this way all the time, she said, "Well that wouldn't be much fun now, would it?"
    • A particularly bad example happened with Mark. Originally a leather-jacket-clad greaser bad boy who wasn't booksmart, but always seemed sharp and was shown to be even better than Dan at fixing motorcycles. After marrying Becky and returning to the show he became an idiotic dope/manchild who routinely shocked the rest of the characters with his lack of sense. Only when teaching David how to tie a bowtie before the latter's wedding at the end of Season 8 did Mark's original stoic, streetsmart bad-boy persona get one last moment in the spotlight.

      There was one other moment, though, which showed some Hidden Depths as well. Becky becomes frustrated at living in a trailer and begins to look at going back to school. Mark is against it since they were planning to start a family and tells Roseanne to butt out. However, as the episode wears on, Mark tells Roseanne about how Becky is making all these decisions without him and he's afraid she's going to outgrow him, ending the episode by asking Roseanne how many doctors are married to mechanics, and sarcastically congratulating her on getting a doctor in the family and getting rid of him at the same time. It shows him as a vulnerable man scared he's losing the woman he loves instead of the chauvinistic pig he'd been before.
    • And David. He went from a mildly sensitive artist from the wrong side of the tracks to an uber-sensitive, in-touch-with-his-fem-side, snobbish doormat.
    • Jackie is one of the worst sufferers of this. In the earliest seasons, she's a confident, clever woman with bad luck in love. She's slightly neurotic, but it just added to her charm. Later on, the neuroticism completely engulfed her character to the point where any little thing would reduce her to a babbling twitching mess. It was amazing to think that she wasn't in a mental hospital with her kid taken away. Possibly justified when one considers it really started around the time she was involved with Fisher, who later turned out to be abusive.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The episode "Ladies Choice" becomes funnier after Bev comes out in the final season. Granted, it was all part of Roseanne's book, but still.
    • Outside of Roseanne's stories, Jackie did come out as a lesbian, and looking back, there are quite a few (probably unintentional) references. Aside from picking traditionally masculine jobs as a police officer and trucker (and remembering that Roseanne did make use of gay stereotypes quite frequently), there were frequent jokes about it. When Nancy came out to Roseanne and Jackie, they mentioned that she didn't act it, since she wasn't a flannel-wearing trucker (Jackie was wearing flannel at the time, and had been a trucker), and during her wedding Jackie said to Dan that if she didn't know there were nice guys like Dan in the world, she'd have given up on men a long time ago.
    • In a couple of episodes before the Reveal that Fisher is abusing Jackie, he gives off some minor hints of his behavior by telling Jackie that she should stop seeing her therapist and she should spend less time with her family: commonplace signs of what is really going on in their relationship.
    • Also, in one episode of the final season, Roseanne is talking to Jerry as she's feeding him. She talks about the more bizarre things happening, and then says, "It's almost like some crazy lady made it all up."
    • In season 2's "House of Grown Ups" episode, Roseanne says "Darlene's practically dating, and at this rate, Becky's gonna be married." The always boy-crazy Becky was barely 17 when she got married.
    • Seasons one and two are full of subtle nods to Dan and his health, particularly his heart, and most of them are casual throwaway jokes. After a discussion of Crystal's late husband Roseanne jokingly wonders aloud what would have happened if Dan had lived, Bev nags him about not sleeping on his side because it's bad for his heart, and so on. Of course it's not out of place, Dan's a big guy and he and his wife are both overweight. And then we find out that Dan didn't actually survive his heart attack.
    • "Brain Dead Poet's Society" has Roseanne talking about how Darlene could be a really good writer, and Darlene's supposed "joke" of a poem being really moving and well-written. Flash forward to her high school years, where Darlene would write many short stories as well as co-create a comic with David. She even tested out of high school to go to college early on a writing scholarship.
    • In the Disney World two-parter, Roseanne jokingly suggests that she and Dan cash out his life insurance policy to go on a cruise. Dan smiles and says "I don't think that's such a good idea." It turns out he's right...
    • In the series finale, Becky snatches a pizza away from DJ and starts wolfing it down. At everyone's astonished look, she defensively mutters that she's hungry. A few scenes later, we learn she's pregnant.
    • When Roseanne and Jackie visits Darlene while she was dating Jimmy, Roseanne takes every opportunity to insult him. In the end, he has enough of it and demands some respect, to which Darlene and her mother simply laugh. It's not surprising that he would eventually dump Darlene for being a jerk to him.
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill : Roseanne had a "system" in place to juggle the bills, a familiar scenario to any working-class family. The Season 5 episode "The Dark Ages" dealt directly with the Conners having their power shut off due to non-payment.
    Dan: I thought you paid that.
    Roseanne: Well, it was a choice between that and the water bill, and you can only live three days without water.
    Dan: You mean I can take a bath, but I can't throw the toaster in?
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The episode "The Fifties Show", which transports the characters into a parody of 1950s Dom Coms.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Roseanne and Jackie are implied to have quite a few issues with men due to their father's abuse — mainly Jackie's promiscuity, but a case could certainly be made for Roseanne's control issues (the show also mentioned it might be the reason behind Roseanne's overeating).
      • "Let Them Eat Junk" also revealed that Roseanne's tendency to eat when she's depressed comes from Bev's using ice cream and other sweets to calm her down as a child, instead of trying to figure out why she was upset.
    • Nana Mary theorizes that Bev's behavior in being ultra-conservative and submissive to her husband was a result of rebellion against Mary's promiscuousness and wild streak she had as a mother.
    • Mark and David also reveals a few of these later on due to their Abusive Parents, Mark being super jealous of his wife ever trying to have a friendship with other men (even his own brother) due to the fact his mother would cheat on her husband constantly, and in David's case, his super submissive-streak towards Darlene as he put up with her abuse early in their relationship is in direct correlation to how he was treated by his mother.
    • Becky and Darlene seem to have this too. Becky's is more lighthearted—her love of bad boys seems to be her taking after her mother. Darlene's was initially Played for Laughs—she had verbally abusive streak towards men which lasted quite awhile—but then David broke up with her, and her follow-up boyfriend did the same left her specifically because she treated him like crap. Fortunately, Darlene gets better after she realizes what she's doing and that she really did love David and wanted to make it work between them (she's still snarky thereafter, but also tries to be more compassionate).
    • Another episode indicates that D.J. is beginning to develop this, as he has a girlfriend who bosses him around non-stop. This may be one of the few cases of an audience getting to see a Freudian Excuse developing—D.J.'s surrounded by women who dominate the men in their lives, and he hasn't yet learned that there's a difference between spousal teasing and genuine abuse. (However, this is slightly played for laughs, as the ending reveals that D.J. was playing up the Freudian Excuse angle to distract his parents from the real reason he enjoyed the girl's company: she slipped him the tongue.)
  • Friendly Enemies: Leon and Roseanne are this in spades. They were polar opposites (Roseanne the heterosexual, blue-collar, working-class liberal feminist and Leon the homosexual, moderately wealthy, CEO conservative), swapped insults constantly, and delighted in making each other's lives a living hell. However, they were also willing to help one another out when the situation arose—Roseanne made Dan invite Leon to his weekly poker game and even stood up for him when she thought he was going to be fired for being gay, while Leon turned to her for advice when he was fearful of his upcoming marriage (a wedding Roseanne herself planned).
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: An early episode saw Darlene having to come to terms with getting her period for the first time. Roseanne tries to help her see the silver lining but Darlene isn’t buying it and demands that Roseanne name a single good thing to come from this. Roseanne starts tickling Darlene while playfully naming three things: Becky, DJ, and Darlene herself.
    • A few episodes would have Dan briefly tickling DJ, usually in the background.
    • After Roseanne has a concerning encounter with an unstable customer one night at the Lunchbox, Dan takes it upon himself to sit at the restaurant until closing. Roseanne tells him that he’s being ridiculous and to scram. Dan refuses and Roseanne, Jackie, and Nancy all try to move him, while failing terribly. Roseanne finally gets him to jump from his seat with some tickling.
      Dan: Dammit, Roseanne! You’re not going to know some maniac’s special tickle spot!
      Roseanne: Obviously I do.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Mark had shades of this. David once pointed out that the only people who liked having him around were himself and Becky, which doesn't count for much since David is his brother and Becky is his wife. DJ at least liked him as the cool older brother he never had, or at least liked him a lot more than he liked David, who he absolutely despised for a while.
  • Gainax Ending: "Skeleton in the Closet" ends with Roseanne blowing up the house in retaliation for being pranked, presumably killing everyone inside. This is naturally ignored in the next episode.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Darlene names her and David's daughter Harris Conner-Healy.
  • Gift Shake: A quick gag has the Conner kids test their presents this way "for the good stuff", so Dan and Roseanne start wrapping the toys in cloths.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry:
    • Becky and Darlene. Roseanne and Jackie have shades of this too.
    • Mark and David serve as a male example of this trope, Mark being the womanizing bad boy and David being the sensitive artist.
  • Graceful Loser: In "Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home", Roseanne and Jackie's father Al dies, and his second wife — who was originally his mistress — comes to the funeral parlor. When she runs Bev, the older woman wastes no time in releasing a nasty "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her...but also offers to sell her the cemetery plot she's had reserved beside Al's for decades, respecting the other woman's status as Al's new wife. "You love him so much, you spend eternity next to him!"
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: Can still sometimes lean towards White-and-Grey Morality considering that the family is still a family and there are plenty of good and well-meaning people in the world.
  • Greasy Spoon: Loose meat sandwich, anyone?
    Roseanne: Rodbell's Luncheonette, home of the quick serve.
  • Grounded Forever: The episode "Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore":
    Roseanne: That is not funny! You're grounded until menopause!
    Darlene: Yours or mine?
    Roseanne: Your father's!

  • Hair-Trigger Sound Effect: During the audit episode, each mention of the audit was met with a musical sting.
  • Halloween Episode: Halloween probably meant more to the Conners than any other holiday on the calendar. The lengths they'd go to were pretty epic and adorable. Roseanne was even depressed the year Becky couldn't come over (having married Mark and moved to Minnesota), resulting in a Halloween Carol.
  • Hated Item Makeover: "December Bride" has Roseanne decorating the wedding of her boss Leon in an elaborate but stereotypical gay wedding featuring Liza Minnelli impersonators, shirtless musclemen as ushers and pictures of Barbra Streisand on display. He's so disgusted, that he tries to run off like he had on previous occasions.
  • Henpecked Husband: Dan and Mark at times, David all the time.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Roseanne once her novel series goes off the rails — i.e., in the final season.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Played dead straight with Becky, largely averted with Darlene.
    • Darlene became quite moody after puberty, going from a tomboy-athlete to a goth navel-gazer.
      Darlene: I don't take drugs, it dulls my hatred.
  • Housewife: Roseanne (when she isn't out working more consistently than her nominal "breadwinner" husband, that is).
  • Hypocrite: Multiple times during the show Roseanne claims she has no problem with homosexuality, and even says outright if any of her children were gay she would still love and accept them without question ... fast-forward to the final episode where Roseanne reveals her sister, Jackie, is gay and admits she's never been able to truly accept it, preferring to think Jackie would be happier with a man.
    • In the episode "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", Roseanne agrees to go to a gay bar with Nancy and Nancy's new girlfriend Marla. Roseanne drags Jackie along too and mocks Jackie for her unease at being at the bar, and not wanting anyone to hit on her. Later on, Marla hits on and kisses Roseanne. It becomes immediately apparent that, despite her attitude earlier, Roseanne is uncomfortable with this (she wipes her mouth on her sleeve the second she is out of Marla's view) and lashes out at Jackie - particularly shrieking "I am not gay!" - after the latter teases Roseanne. This discussion is overheard by Nancy, who calls Roseanne out for wanting to look cool by going to the gay bar but not being ok with something as innocuous as a kiss from a woman who made no further advances on Roseanne.
    • Not that her supposed acceptance stopped her from making jokes about Leon and Nancy's sexual orientations.
    • In the revival, Roseanne gets called out on her viewpoint that "a woman's body is her own and she can do with it whatever she wants" when she protests to Becky allowing her uterus and eggs to be sold to a married couple who cannot have children herself. It becomes obvious what Roseanne actually meant is a man shouldn't force a woman to do something she does not want to ... but otherwise, Roseanne's viewpoints are still the most valid and she should be able to control her 40 year old daughter's body and personal choices.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Tons. One example; in "Santa Claus", the fourth season Christmas episode, Becky comes home and gushes that Mark just gave her an early Christmas present - an engagement ring. Turns out, of course, she was just playing a joke on Dan (she got it out of a Cracker Jack box), and he's furious, until he hears Roseanne come home, and tells Becky, "Do it to her!"
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: While helping Jackie move out of Fisher's, Roseanne tells Fisher, who physically abused Jackie (and was in return beaten black and blue by Dan):
    You ever come near her again, and you're gonna have to deal with me. And believe me, I'm way more dangerous than Dan. I have a loose-meat restaurant. I know what to do with the body.
  • The Illegible : Arnie's handwriting is terrible, as we find out in his "Dear John" letter to Nancy.
    Dan: Who are the Allens and why are they out of spice?
  • I'm a Humanitarian: When Roseanne discovers Fisher's beating her sister Jackie he tells him not to be worried about Dan "I own a loose meat restuarant, I know what to do with the body."
  • Implausible Deniability: Even when confronted about Fisher's abusive behavior, Jackie defends him, so happy to be in a relationship she is. note  Jackie leaves Fisher, but only after a great deal of prodding from Roseanne.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Also in "Santa Claus", Roseanne discovers Karen (Lee Garlington), the "friend" Darlene said she had made, is actually a woman her age. Not only that, but when Roseanne visits Karen's bookshop, she discovers Darlene acts completely different from the emo teen she's been around the house. Naturally, when Darlene shows up at the bookshop, she's less than thrilled, and she and Roseanne start to argue. Karen excuses herself by saying, "You know, it would probably be a lot easier to pretend I'm not here if I'm not here."
  • Informed Flaw: Dan despises his dad and repeatedly explains that he is a horrible person. Every time he's shown, though, he is wonderful and kind to the entire cast, and never once, not even to his new wife, does he seem bad. This was on purpose, and not played for laughs.
    • His onscreen behavior was the biggest part of Dan's loathing. His complaint was that his father was always gone and put his work before his family. His doting father "routine" when he was around was, in Dan's mind, one big cover for the fact that he didn't give a crap about his family and would buy them off with gifts in the minimal time he spent with them.
      • Then again, a lot of the behavior that Dan interpreted as neglectful turned out to be a result of his father's attempts to shield his family from his wife's chronic mental illness.
  • Innocuously Important Episode:
    • The season 2 finale “Happy Birthday”, in which Dan creates a workspace in the basement for Roseanne for when she wants to write. That episode played a huge part in the original finale, as everything that happened after season 2 was just Roseanne’s fantasy for her book.
    • Also, the original finale (where Roseanne reveals that everything was just written for her book) plays a role in the revival too, as the ending was retconned and the original ending WAS the ending of Roseanne’s book.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: A bluesy number that featured a slightly different arrangement each season, until Season 9, when lyrics were added. See Thematic Theme Tune. The classic instrumental (a reuse of the season 1 arrangement, in fact) returned for season 10. Roseanne must have written the lyrics for her book.
  • Jail Bake: The morning after Dan beats up Fisher and spends the night in jail, Crystal comes over and gives him a cupcake with a nail file baked inside it.
  • Jerkass: Roseanne; Darlene and Becky (to a less extent when compared to their mother).
    • Heel Realization: Darlene went through this over the course of a few episodes after her break-up with David. She realized she felt closer to David than anyone and how much she hurt him by dumping him, as well as how badly she treated him. It didn't help that her new boyfriend dumped her for treating him the way she treated David.
    • Mark to David through their childhood and into adulthood, culminating in a fight after Mark goes out of his way to block David from going on a date a waitress at the diner by offering to look at her car on the same night. When Becky arrives and suggests a night out, David covers for Mark after the latter struggles to come up with an excuse. Mark is still unrepentant until David points out how close he was to destroying his marriage to the only person around who actually cares about him, prompting Mark to tell the waitress to go out with David instead.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Kathy Bowman, Roseanne's snooty and condescending next-door neighbor was for the most part totally in the right when she chastised Roseanne for buying her possessions off of two burglars who were posing as good samaritans cleaning out her house. While she certainly didn't hold back on calling Roseanne an idiot for failing to realize this, which only made Roseanne even more defensive anybody else would've probably reacted the same way upon finding out their own neighbors failed to say anything of what they saw.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mark in the later seasons, especially during Darlene and David's wedding episode where he not only shows compassion towards the brother he bullied his entire life, but also his own pain over their crappy home life. When David complains that their parents aren't there for his wedding, Mark looks him dead in the eye and tells him the Conners were better parents to the two of them than their birth parents ever were. They are their real parents as far as he's concerned.
  • Joke and Receive: How Darlene and David telling Roseanne about Darlene's baby went down. When they're naturally trying to muster up to nerve to actually tell her, Roseanne quips about Darlene being pregnant, only to bellow "That was my joke guess!" after Darlene and David respond to it with silence.
  • Large Ham: Jackie in later seasons.
    * walks on camera to odd one-knee pose* "I helped pick the numbers!"
    • A high proportion of episodes from Season 9 consist solely of Jackie and Roseanne hamming it up - going to a day spa, hanging out with the girls from Absolutely Fabulous, and so on.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: Darlene's daughter is born prematurely and begins life fighting for survival in the NICU. Because the situation is tentative, the baby is not immediately named. Inspired by the supportive presence of women from three generations of her family, Darlene names the baby Harris Conner - Healy.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: It was a show about a lower class blue collar family trying to make ends meet. Then in the final season they win a huge lottery and the basic premise for the show was never heard from again. The Grand Finale also reveals that the events of the entire series turned out to all be a book that Roseanne was writing, making the last season fall under Mental Story as well.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Many times, particularly when it came to the two Beckys.
  • Lethal Chef : Notably when Darlene tried to cook dinner, a concoction of spaghetti with Thousand Island Dressing.
    Darlene: Hey, DJ loved it!
    Becky: DJ eats hair!
    • Mark also isn't much better, and the family had to force their way through his meals when he tried to improve his skill.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The fallout of Jackie's relationship with Fisher is mostly centered on her and Roseanne (and, to a lesser extent, Darlene) as they discover the bruises and have to deal with both the domestic abuse and the idiosyncrasies of their own sisterhood. Roseanne convinces Jackie to see a doctor and tells Dan they're going to the hospital. They go, and Dan is left to his own devices. And then he silently gets his coat and leaves through the back door. It may well be the most intense and subtle pre-asskicking declaration in sitcom history.
    • Followed by some of the funniest dialogue in the series. Darlene has to bail Dan out of jail, their friends all show up ("What is this, Mayberry?"), and Jackie confronts Dan.
  • Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: Roseanne and Dan, respectively. They're not only protective of their own children, but also of Jackie, Roseanne's sister (as Fisher found out the hard way), and David, Darlene's boyfriend (as his real mother found out the hard way). Messing with anyone the Conners consider family is generally a bad idea.
    • Also Becky's boss, who fired her using abusive language. Dan was mean to him, but Mark actually hit him. Although Dan likely was about to beat him senseless himself until he found out Mark had beaten him to it.
      Dan: *whining* Well, maybe I wanted to hit him.
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: There was an entire episode dealing with the fact that DJ was going through puberty and had locked himself inside their bathroom to masturbate for hours on end, which leads Darlene to surmise that he's either really really good at it or really, really bad at it. In another later episode, after his girlfriend leaves, he looks down at his dad's photo of Julie Newmar in his hand, then gives the cameras a naughty look and rushes to his room.
  • Matchmaker Failure: Roseanne sets up Jackie with Fred. The whole relationship ends badly. But not before it ended with pregnancy, marriage, cheating and divorce.
  • Meat Versus Veggies: Darlene and David are both vegetarians. Roseanne acts like a real bitch toward them because of it.
    • Darlene is quite the bitch about it, too. Her interfering with the operation of Roseanne's diner—the chief source of income for the family—doesn't help her case at all.
  • Mental Story: The last season turns out to be a book that Roseanne is writing.
  • Metaphorical Marriage: Scott and Leon are getting married (symbolically) and Roseanne volunteers to plan their wedding. Leon is shocked by Roseanne's taste as there are drag queens, male strippers and pink decor everywhere. He attempts to run away (he already left Scott at the altar once 5 years ago) and even claims he isn't really gay as he hates shopping, he's insensitive, he hates Barbra Streisand and he votes for Republicans. He tries to kiss Roseanne but that only confirms that he's gay and goes through with the wedding. With the tacky decor toned down, Leon and Scott exchange their vows.
  • Mood Whiplash: Aside from its famous final season and ending, later seasons stray into new territory with slightly Anvilicious episodes about racism and abortion.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Roseanne herself invokes this trope while helping Jackie leave her abusive ex, Fisher.
    Roseanne: You come near her again and you'll have to deal with me, and I'm way more dangerous than Dan. I own a loose-meat restaurant. I know what to do do with the body.
  • Mr. Alt Disney: Edelweiss Gardens, in an episode that aired immediately after the two-parter where they visited Disney World. And with a pretty hefty dose of Those Wacky Nazis, complete with the other "Hans the Hare" mascots dressed as Hitler Youth.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Young George Clooney.
  • Musical Episode: "Sweet Dreams", a protracted fantasy set in the master bathroom.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Edelweiss Gardens (although it certainly fits other creepy brainwashing cult tropes). German, employs a vast a majority of blonds fitting the Aryan phenotype, one of the employees even makes a one-handed salute that, apart from a closed fist, is disturbingly reminiscent of the Nazi salute? Yeah. Roseanne even says, 'Today, it's "Hi, I'm Hans the Hare", tomorrow it's "I was only following orders".'
  • Nested Story Reveal: In the season 2 finale, Dan builds Roseanne an office in which she can realize her dream of becoming a writer. In the final episode, it's revealed that the entire series has been based on a semi-autobiographical story she's been writing in the office. In the story, she's changed a number of details about her life that she didn't like, while in reality, Dan actually died from his heart attack during Darlene's wedding; Darlene actually married Mark, while Becky married David; her sister, rather than her mother, was a lesbian; and Roseanne didn't win the lottery. This is seen by some fans as brilliant, but by others as a desperate attempt at a Retcon to justify some of the series' poorly-received plot lines (particularly in latter seasons). So it's not entirely played straight, but Not a Subversion either.
  • Nice Guy: Ed, David, and Dan.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Everyone Comes To Jackie's", Dan tells Fred in the heat of the moment (due to being mad over the current situation with David and Darlene) that if he were Fred, he'd sue Jackie for custody over their baby. Guess what the plot of the next episode, "Don't Make Room For Daddy", is about.
  • Nobody Poops: Completely averted. Roseanne probably had one of the most visible bathrooms on television. Characters were shown in the tub, dyeing their hair, getting high, brushing teeth, and even taking a pregnancy test. An entire episode focused around D.J.'s new-found love of the bathroom.
    • In fact, the show had three bathrooms. Becky and Darlene's bathroom upstairs, where Darlene dyed her hair and Becky had her first hangover, D.J.'s bathroom, where Darlene saw Jackie with her bruises after Fisher beat her, and the downstairs bathroom, where most of the show's insanity occured (it was used frequently as a safe haven to gossip and hide from everyone else, such as when Roseanne and Jackie were gossiping about their parents.) These people were supposed to be poor, right?
      • And yet, it took about six seasons before Roseanne finally got the dishwasher she'd been asking him to install since the beginning of the series.
      • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Roseanne frequently asked Dan to build or install various things for her (the dishwasher, built-in shelves, an ironing board in the wall, etc.) He constantly put them off; however, when he was renovating the house he hoped to flip for profit, he added them all in. Roseanne said it felt like he was cheating on their house with another one.
  • Noodle Incident: Roseanne once got a phone call from Darlene and Becky while she was at work about something D.J. did. Roseanne could barely hear anything over Becky's scream, but all we know about what D.J. did is that Roseanne promised she would bury it in the backyard when she got home.
    • There was also an incident with some hair in the drain that didn't belong to anyone in the family.
    • A later episode mentioned that after DJ got a friend, the squirrel population in the neighbourhood doubled.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Aside from episodes centered on Roseanne's comically insane mood-swings, Darlene's first period, and a pregnancy scare, periods are pretty much the domain of cheap jokes.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Repeatedly lampshaded with David and Darlene, after the Conners took him in.
    Roseanne: (to Dan) Oh, look honey, our kids are necking.
  • Not So Above It All: After Walter from the TV department at Rodbells goes on a long, breathless rant, Roseanne offers him some espresso, which Leon had just added to the menu.
    Leon: No espresso for Walter. He might explode.
    Roseanne: Oh, come on, Leon. It'll be fun.
    Leon: All right, but take away his silverware.
  • Nouveau Riche: The ninth-season has the Conners becoming this after winning the lottery ticket. Or so Roseanne would have us believe.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The end of a later season episode revealed that Bev is actually faking her spazziness as a way to mess with her family.
  • Obliviously Evil: Meg Wellman, spoiled, self-absborbed, condescending to the point of consistently misnaming people, and literally leaving destruction in her wake, has no idea what a godawful human being she is and casually buys off her victims because she's just that accustomed to exploiting the working class. Crystal describes her as being too rich to know any better.
  • Oddly Specific Greeting Card: When Becky... well, cuts the cheese in front of her high school's student council after a speech, Crystal comes by to offer her condolences. And brought Becky a card.
    Roseanne: Well, they said they make a card for everything. Who knew?
    Dan: (reads) ...I'll be damned.
  • Oh, Crap!: Dan goes into shock after Fred tells him in "Don't Make Room For Daddy" that he took his advice and is suing Jackie for custody of their baby, something Dan suggested in the previous episode in the heat of the moment (he was mad about other matters at the time).
    Fred: You were telling me how a man's got to stand up for himself!
    Dan: Well, that was different, I was sleeping on the couch, I had nothing to lose!
  • Old People are Nonsexual: Bev gets kicked out of the retirement home because she was having too much sex, much to the disgust of her daughters Roseanne and Jackie.
  • One-Neighbor Neighborhood: The neighborhood's geometry is extremely vague, and the Conners deal with arriving, recurring, and departing neighbors, but never more than one family at a time. On screen, at least. A few neighbours do get mentioned in first-season episodes, especially the garage sale and tornado episodes. Considering Roseanne's attitude towards the human race in general, it's not hard to believe that the other neighbours just broke off contact.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. DJ's full name is David Jacob, although he's rarely referred to as such. Oddly enough, David was originally called Kevin.
  • Only Child Syndrome: DJ spends increasing amounts of time with his cousin Andy, much to Fred and Jackie's increasing annoyance, until he explains why. Just about everyone else in the cast had a brother or sister to grow up with, so DJ acts like a brother to Andy so he can know what it's like instead of being alone.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When the Prince starts to drink, a Texan accent starts to show up.
    • In the series finale, Glenn Quinn's normal Irish accent slips out slightly.
  • Out of Focus: An in-universe example. While not an Unfavorite, DJ was often forgotten about by both his parents and the writers because he kept to himself while his sisters caused endless grief and drama. One episode had him totally silent for almost the entire thing, but then ended with him telling his horrified parents he'd gone two days without speaking and they hadn't even noticed.
    Roseanne: He needs to learn to bitch and moan like his sisters, or he ain't gonna make it in this family!
  • Over-the-Top Christmas Decorations: After receiving notice from the neighborhood association about not putting up tacky Christmas decorations on their property ("a string of white lights" only), the Conners decide to have a "white trash" Christmas and Roseanne and Dan compete to find the tackiest Christmas stuff.
  • Padding the Paper: Dan helps Darlene write a history report on Betsy Ross. When they finish she brags about doing five full pages, and Dan quips, "Should be, you wrote big enough."
  • Parental Favoritism: Played straight and inverted. One episode directly dealt with the fact that each parent had a "favorite" daughter. Roseanne favored the more girly Becky while Dan favored athletic, sporty Darlene. Deliberate attempts to reverse this ended badly.
    • Roseanne, though, mentions in season four's "The Back Story" that her favorite child is D.J.
    • On the other side of this, Roseanne and Jackie each developed a favorite parent. While in their parents' first appearance, the girls seem equally irritated by both of them, later on, Roseanne began to favor their mother slightly since their father was physically abusive and unfaithful; whereas Jackie defended their father, saying he was doing the best he could in a bad situation, while absolutely despising their shrill, controlling, judgmental mother, one time genuinely hoping that dropping the news she was unmarried and pregnant would kill her, and telling Fred that he could only refer to her either as "Bev" or "Sea Hag."
    • Bev seems to favor Roseanne over Jackie, but one episode deals with this in depth. When she saw the way the two acted as children, she saw much more potential in Jackie, and believed she would be a highly successful professional instead of floating from one mediocre job to another. However, she always saw Roseanne as being a wife and mother, and is happy for her for achieving that. She had high hopes for Jackie and sees her as a disappointment, but is proud of Roseanne for exceeding her (lower) expectations. When this is revealed, both Roseanne and Jackie feel like they got a raw deal out of it (especially Roseanne).
    • David Healy actually became this to Roseanne even though he isn't her son. She actually admits she might actually like him more then Darlene.
  • Parental Savings Splurge: One episode has Becky trying to apply for financial aid for college, and she needs Dan and Roseanne to provide necessary information. As it turns out, they make too much for her to qualify for the aid she anticipated... and her college fund has been spent. In this case, the money was not spent on frivolities but rather on things like the mortgage, while Dan struggled to keep his business afloat. Becky, however, is not sympathetic.
  • Parents as People: Roseanne is likely one of the greatest examples of this trope in television history, or at the very least a Trope Codifier. The show pulled no punches about the difficulties and drudgery of parenthood, with Dan and Roseanne openly expressing their frustrations about raising three children on an extremely limited income. The writers also made it clear that while the two did love their kids, their parenting style left a lot to be desired and caused a good deal of problems, too. Even Jackie got to explore this trope after she had a child of her own—in one episode, she discovers that Fred (the baby's father) is doing all kinds of exciting things, and she remarks that she feels trapped: she wants to live her life, too, but she also feels obligated to spend all of her time with the baby.
    • Dan and Roseanne's own parents were also shown as flawed individuals. Roseanne and Jackie's father Al was physically and emotionally abusive, while their mother Bev was an Extreme Doormat who never stood up for them and later became a meddlesome, shrill nuisance (although it was shown that she did genuinely love them). Dan's own father, Ed, was a traveling salesman who was never there for him—something Dan resents well into his adult years—but we later learn there was a reason for that: Audrey, Dan's mother and Ed's wife, was severely mentally ill, and Ed had to do his best to keep the family afloat while keeping her condition a secret from his son.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Played with brilliantly in two episodes:
    • In "Like a Virgin", from Season 3, Roseanne and Jackie come home from the movies (with Dan and Jackie's then-boyfriend) and hear noises coming from the living room, which is dark. Roseanne figures she'll get to turn on the lights and surprise Becky and her boyfriend...except it's Darlene (who no one knew was even interested in sex) making out with Brian, a friend of hers.
    • At the end of "Playing with Matches", from Season 5, Roseanne and Dan think they're walking in on Darlene and David...except it's Beverly, who's with one of the guys from her nursing home.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: In "Isn't It Romantic?", Dan attempts to woo Roseanne with a porn parody entitled Romancing the Bone. She is not impressed. (In a Dream Sequence later on, Roseanne's fantasy Soap Opera lover tries the same thing.)
  • Perpetual Poverty: One of the more realistic examples. Roseanne and Dan always manage to keep the family fed and the mortgage paid, but often at the expense of keeping the lights on, the car running, or saving for the future.
  • Playing Sick:
    • In "Communicable Theater," the family is at Jackie's play, bored out of their minds. Dan says he has to go home because he's sick. He really is coming down with the flu, but this inspires Becky and Darlene to start fake-coughing and saying that they need to leave too.
    • Dan tells Roseanne he can't help with the dishes because he has a nasty hangnail and "it's gonna smart like hell on that dish soap."
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: In one episode, Roseanne is in New York and meets the women of Absolutely Fabulous. It didn't really seem to be a pilot, until you realize that Roseanne was attempting to produce an American version of the show. It then seems like she brought over the Ab Fab ladies to see if their British style of comedy would fly in America. (It didn't.)
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": Used with Darlene primarily.
    Roseanne: [after Dan gets bailed out of prison] Well, people have been saying it for years, but now with Dan going to jail and all, we are now officially... poor white trash!
    [Everyone claps and cheers as Dan plays "Oh! Susanna" on his harmonica]
    Roseanne: Now all we need is some little half-wit sittin' in the front yard eating dirt.
    D.J.: [entering the house] Hi!
    Roseanne: [as Darlene is opening her mouth to speak] Shut up, Darlene.
  • Pregnancy Scare: Part of a story arc between Dan and Roseanne, it wraps up with Roseanne not pregnant but the two deciding they do want to try for a fourth child (although they don't start trying for a few more seasons).
  • Progressively Prettier: Roseanne was never straight-up ugly, but she was very overweight and as a hard-working blue collar Midwestern woman, personal appearance was fairly low on her list of priorities. However, as the seasons wore on, Roseanne the actress began to wear much more flattering hair and makeup, lost a bunch of weight, and combined with her real life surgeries, her looks definitely improved.
  • Put on a Bus: When Roseanne's real-life marriage to Tom Arnold fell apart, his character was written out of the show. He left his wife a letter claiming to have been kidnapped by aliens. The episode's tag showed it was true.
    • This was also due to Arnold getting his own short-lived series.
    • The Bus Came Back: Arnold's character returned in one episode to try to patch things up with Nancy, claiming his alien story was him panicking at being married. The end, however, reveals he was abducted by aliens and was trying to get Nancy to go back with him.
  • Playing Cyrano : In season 3's "Communicable Theatre" episode, Roseanne has an unusual example. Jackie is the understudy for the lead in Cyrano de Bergerac and is unprepared. Roseanne shows up to feed her the lines. When Jackie comments that they can't do that, Roseanne points out that's what Cyrano is doing.
  • Rags to Riches: In the ninth and final season, the Conners win a multimillion-dollar lottery jackpot. Only to be retconned at the last episode where it's revealed Roseanne's just writing all of the season as a way to deal with the loss of Dan.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • In a symbolic sense, the final season. Since the show was a reflection of Roseanne's real life, they needed to create a rags to riches plot to reflect Roseanne achieving success as a stand-up comic. That's where winning the lottery came from.
    • "Real life wrote the gag" in "The Test," the opening episode of Season 3 (1990-91), with this line that referenced Roseanne Barr's controversial U.S. National Anthem performance at a baseball game in July 1990:
      Roseanne: Boy, it's such a beautiful day today, it just makes me wanna SING!
    • Later lampshaded in "Home Ec" when Darlene and her classmates point out a woman who's on the cover of all the gossip magazines.
      Roseanne: She's a damn good singer, though.
    • Season 4's breast reduction episode, after Roseanne had her breasts reduced.
    • Originally Laurie Metcalf was scheduled to give birth to her real-life child between seasons. However, her baby bump became impossible to disguise (despite some truly heroic efforts to do so), so Jackie's "surprise" pregnancy had to be hastily written into the plot.
  • Really Gets Around: Jackie and Molly.
    • The similarity between the two was Lampshaded by Darlene, who also compared Molly's sister Charlotte to Roseanne.
      Darlene: You two are so screwed up.
      Molly: We are not!
      Darlene: Oh please. Why do you think she eats so much and you'll sleep with any guy who'll give you a little attention?
      Molly: Oh shove it, Darlene. Where the hell do you get so much insight?
      Darlene: *looks over at Roseanne and Jackie* Trust me. I know.
    • In one episode, Jackie has a discussion with her boyfriend Fred.
      Fred: How many men did you date before we met?
      Jackie: Well, do you mean dated at all, or dated seriously?
      Fred: Well, oh, I mean seriously.
      Jackie: Okay, I have to say... just a few.
      Fred: Good. It's not that I mind if you slept with lots of guys...
      Jackie: [chuckles] Oh, well slept with! Well... *stops laughing* That's not what you asked me.
      Fred: No I guess it wasn't.
      Jackie: Well, Fred, don't worry... it's not that many. I'd - I'd saaay - three a year.
      Fred: Since you were, what, eighteen?
      Jackie: Okay.
      Fred: Oh, oh wow.
      Jackie: Well, Fred! It's not *that* many! Three a year for 20 years is, 60 - wow.
      Fred: I don't even *know* 60 people.
    • Roseanne and Dan themselves before they got together. Although their numbers (5-7 for Dan and 5 for Roseanne) aren't that high, it's still a fair amount of dating and sex for a couple of chubby high schoolers (Roseanne was 16 and Dan 17 or 18 when they started dating). There's probably little else to do in Lanford.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Roseanne's husband at the time, Tom Arnold, joined the cast as recurring character Arnie Thomas, who was a good friend of Dan's and everyone acted like he was there all along.
    • There are also details dropped about him (such as him driving a lime green monster) in his first appearances that were previously associated with a character named Dwight. Dwight was meant to be a close friend of Dan's who had sent a lot of contracting work his way, but he never appeared on the show again after Arnie came and took his place.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack:
    • When Roseanne was first released on DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment, the final two season sets suffered from this. Any use of copyrighted music was removed or dubbed over with generic music, and any credits sequences featuring music or celebrity cameos were replaced with generic white-on-black credits.
    • Most infamously, this included replacing the credits of the Season 8 premiere, which was a parody of the opening from The Patty Duke Show lampshading the fact that two actresses alternated between the role of Becky. This sequence can still be seen in syndicated airings.
    • Another memorable credits sequence that was replaced included a black-and-white scene of Roseanne's mother Beverly covering Billie Holiday's "Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)" from the Season 9 episode "Someday My Prince Will Come".
    • In the two-part Disney World episode, the various uses of "When You Wish Upon a Star" were all replaced. When David sadly sings it to himself when he thinks he's not invited on the trip, he is dubbed over with a canned audience "aww". When Roseanne leads the family in a military cadence-style chant of the lyrics on their way to the park, they're dubbed over with the show's typical scene change music. The various uses of the original song played over the family enjoying the park were replaced with the 1812 Overture. When all seasons were re-released by Mill Creek Entertainment, this episode was the only one to have its original music restored; the rest of the replacements from the Anchor Bay release carried over to the Mill Creek sets.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Mark starts off as a rebel, but is accepted by and marries into the Conner family.
  • Runaway Train: Played straight in the infamous episode "Roseambo," but is a deliberate runaway set up by women-hating terrorists.
  • "Say My Name" Trailer: A commercial for the revival shows a series of clips of Roseanne hollering for Becky from the original run, then shows her doing it again in the revival. The commercial has captions saying "Times change. (Roseanne) doesn't."
  • Service Sector Stereotypes: When working with the public, Roseanne is every bit as surly as with her own family.
  • Sequel Series: The Conners is this after the 2018 revival (and then subsequent cancellation) of Roseanne, debuting in 2019.
  • Shout-Out: During the surreal, multi-episode odyssey of the Conners mingling with the upper-crust in Season 9, they meet an Indian doctor named Hrundi V. Bakshi
    • "Pretty In Black" is a Shout-Out to teen themed films, including Sixteen Candles and, of course, Pretty in Pink. One funny moment includes Crystal commenting that Darlene has bosoms.
    • One episode featured a parody of the basketball-game scene in the 1979 film The Great Santini. The game was between Dan and Fred - who was played by Michael O'Keefe, who played the protagonist Ben in "Santini."
    • The beginning of "PMS, I Love You" is a parody of the beginning of ''Apocalypse Now’' and the title is a Shout-Out to ‘PS, I Love You’ by The Beatles.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In one episode, Bev goes to an Alcoholics' Anonymous meeting and realizes that she does have a problem with drinking. At first, the family is happy that she's going to get help, but Bev soon turns the situation into an excuse to guilt trip everyone into feeling bad and forcing them to change their plans to accommodate her (for instance, Roseanne guilting Dan into not having any beer at their annual Super Bowl party). When Roseanne finally gets frustrated, Bev tries to launch into a speech about her alcoholism, but Roseanne interrupts by pointing out that all this means is that Bev drinks, just as she's always done, and that nothing is different about her.
  • Silence of Sadness: At the beginning of Season 5, Dan has to deal with a Trauma Conga Line of his motorcycle shop closing, Roseanne losing her job as well, and his daughter Becky suddenly eloping with her boyfriend. He spends most of his time in the garage, and when he comes in he never speaks to anyone more than he has to. When Becky returns to try to explain, the only thing he says to her is, "Don't do me any favors."
  • Slobs Versus Snobs:
    • Deadpan Snarker Roseanne vs. Stepford Smiler Kathy Bowman. It is glorious.
    • This was also an underlying theme in many of the last season episodes, when the rough-around-the-edges blue collar Conners would deal with prissy health spa employees, snooty New York socialites, and the blue-blood Wentworth Family of Martha's Vineyard.
    • Roseanne vs. Meg Wellman (who even insisted on calling her "Roxanne") in season two.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Compared to your standard cheesy family sitcom, quite cynical, but Roseanne still remains a feel-good show with a lot of heart portraying a realistic take on a family who still love and care for each other deeply.
  • The Snark Knight: Darlene could own this trope outright.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Averted with baby Jerry and Jackie's son Andy. Jerry is born in the 8th season but is still a baby at the end of the series.
  • Spartan Sibling: Played straight between Darlene and Becky; subverted between Mark and David. David assumed that all of the abuse his brother slung at him was malicious — when finally called on it, Mark reveals that he always thought it was just friendly teasing, and doesn't understand why David is so upset about it.
  • Spin-Off Babies: "Little Rosey". Look it up. Considering the mentally and physically abusive childhood she and Jackie had from their horrid parents, making an animated kids show about it seems... not smart.
  • Standardized Sitcom Housing: Interestingly, if you factor out the tilted wall in the kitchen, their house actually works.
  • Stop Copying Me: In one episode, D.J. does this to Darlene, much to her irritation. Eventually:
    Rosanne: What's going on in here?
    Dan: Darlene is repeating everything D.J. says a second before he says it.
    Roseanne: (to Darlene) Oh that's so mature!
    • Darlene gets her revenge by putting D.J. in the clothes hamper, sitting on top of it, and mockingly copying his cries for help. The episode's closing tag is Dan dreaming of doing the same to Mark (this was Mark's debut episode).
  • Straight Gay: Both Leon and Nancy, and almost anyone each of them was paired with. Roseanne played this trope straight regularly before many other shows did.
    • In later seasons, however, Leon and his husband were incredibly flamboyant. Partly justified in the finale, in which Roseanne reveals a lot of it was a fictionalized account of her life and she changed some things around to suit her own tastes.
  • Surreal Humor: The show dabbled in quite a bit, mostly in the tags; examples include DJ being stuck in a time loop where Becky and Mark keep walking past him, the customers at the diner doing a sudden coordinated dance around Roseanne, and Roseanne blowing up the house as a Halloween prank. The final season cranked the surrealism up to eleven, with Roseanne fighting terrorists and an upscale party becoming a spoof of Rosemary's Baby. YMMV on the "humor" part.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In "Crime and Punishment," When Roseanne is upset that Jackie spends all her free time with Fisher and doesn't make time to be with her and Dan, Jackie goes out of her way to defend her relationship with Fisher.
  • Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss: Roseanne making out with bisexual Nancy's girlfriend. Moral Guardians were furious!
  • Take Five: When Roseanne becomes suspicious of what's happening between Jackie and Fisher, she kicks Darlene out of the house so she and Jackie can further discuss things in private.
  • Take That!: When Disney purchased ABC all their shows were forced to do a Disney World episode, Roseanne obviously didn't enjoy having to make a two-episode Disney World commercial, so in the very next episode they turned around and created an elaborate slam against Disney for being forced to do so (including mocking their treatment of employees), and made its mascot a rabbit as a way to cover their butts if they get called out on it.
    Becky (Chalke): I always wanted to go to Disney World!
    Roseanne: Aren't you glad you were here this week?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Roseanne delivers one to a snotty, arrogant IRS agent in "April Fool's Day" (Season 2).
    Roseanne: People like us, the poor people, and the people like us regular people are paying more taxes than the rich people because they got all these lawyers who find loopholes, I want loopholes. I mean, we're paying you guys our money anyway, and then you mishandle it worse than any of us ever could. And the government is like 3 trillion dollars in debt, I think I heard that on Donahue. Can you imagine 3 trillion dollars in debt? That's like you make what $15,000 a year and then charge up your Master Chargenote  $50,000, and then you pay $5,000 monthly interest. It's insane! The whole thing is insane! You know, people like us, we should get smart and audit THEM!
    • Roseanne shreds a state representative who makes the mistake of knocking on her door to drum up support.
    • Bev lets her late husband's mistress, Joan, have it in "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home" (Season 5).
    Bev: I think you should be SHOT. I long for the days when we could brand someone like you with a scarlet letter, leaving you a lonely, miserable outcast, and if you ever contract an incurable and very painful disease, I will not be able to STOP myself from dancing a JIG of GLEE!
    • Becky lays into Darlene after the latter guilted her into writing a history paper for her, then turned her in after being showered with praise for a good grade - all while dodging chores that were inevitably dumped on Becky.
    Becky: You're just a whiny little basket case who's milking this depression thing for all it's worth. So here it is, four in the afternoon and you get to do exactly what you want, well, way to go. Now excuse me, but I got a zillion chores to do or Mom and Dad are gonna kick my butt.
    • Don gives Becky one after she and her boyfriend take his motorcycle for a spin without permission even after everything he'd done for her, concluding he won't bother punishing her for it because in the end, she'll just do whatever she wants anyway no matter who gets hurt.
  • The Talk: Subverted. Roseanne and Dan are preparing themselves to give this to Becky, when they discover that Darlene actually needs it more.
    • Another version of Type 1 occurs with DJ, when he was beginning to get erections in class. Roseanne, who doesn't trust Dan to do this right, decides to try and tell DJ that awkward moments happen to everybody, and tells the story of her first period. This sends DJ screaming from the room. When Dan stops him and tells him that he shouldn't run from the room, DJ says it's about her period, and Dan simply says "As you were."
  • Thanksgiving Episode : Every year after Season 2. Almost every Thanksgiving was an example of Dinner and a Show. In the 8th season, however, the drama revolved around DJ's school play depicting the pilgrims murdering the Indians, offending some other parents. The actual Thanksgiving dinner in the episode was drama-free and included drumming and dancing with Native American guests.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: The theme tune is given lyrics in season 9, performed by John Popper of Blues Traveler.
    If what doesn't kill us is making us stronger
    We're gonna last longer
    Than the greatest Wall of China
    Or that rabbit with the drum
    But if there's one thing that I've learned
    While waitin' for my turn
    Is that in each life some rain falls
    But you also get some sun
    And we'll make out better than ok
    Hear what I say?
    Yeah any day
  • Token Houseguest: Following his parents' divorce, Darlene's boyfriend David moves into the Conners' basement and stays there for the rest of the series (including a period where he and Darlene break up).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Sort of, while it was by no means a "favorite," it seems like for the first few seasons, the Conner family lived on Roseanne's notorious meatloaf. Or pizza.
    • Additionally, if any cereal is being eaten in a scene, it will typically be "Fruit Rings."
    • Dan in Season One had a great affinity for creamed corn. This was a Running Gag in the series: every episode featured corn in some way.
  • Tranquil Fury: If Dan's hollering and yelling, he's just blowing off steam. But when he gets quiet, run.
  • Trashy Trailer Home: The show has a field day with this trope when Mark and Becky move into a trailer park. Jokes include a white trash neighbor, Becky having to bring a stick for safety when getting water from a pump (and don't forget the water purification tablets), and Jackie noting that they can't all gather in one room or the trailer will tip over.
  • True Love Is Boring: Zig-zagged in a way. Since we later learn that the series proper was a story-within-a-story told by Roseanne, and she changed the details about her own life she didn't like, it would seem she thought it certainly wasn't boring. However, played straight with the actual series finale itself, where we learn that her husband died a year ago.
  • Two Words : Probably several times, but in "Mommy Nearest," this exchange happens.
    Jackie: I got two words for you, Roseanne. Loose meat.
    Roseanne: Well, I got two words for you.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Roseanne and the other producers consciously subverted this, but Roseanne's real-life plastic surgeries over the years diluted it somewhat.
    • At least one of those surgeries was explicitly worked into the show's plot, namely her breast reduction. Others, such as Roseanne Barr's weight-loss surgeries were also addressed (specificially in a throwaway line where Roseanne said she has lost quite a bit of weight working in the diner and being around food so much, it now makes her queasy.)
      • Like pregnancy, it was convenient to do so, being a necessary surgery in real life as well as on the show. The others weren't.
    • Slightly reversed and played with in-series with Dan, who's Gentle Giant Nice Guy nature draws in a lot of women, including Jackie and Crystal. Being played by John Goodman certainly helps as well.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: One of the clip shows had frame stories first set in the past and then in the future. In the past, Michael Fishman plays a young Roseanne. In the future, John Goodman plays an adult DJ.
    • Commented on when Roseanne starts working at the salon; everyone (Roseanne included) says "It's the hair."
  • Unexpected Kindness:
    • In "Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home," Roseanne and Jackie's father Al dies, and the family prepares for the funeral. Part of the preparations involve Al's wife Bev meeting Joan, his mistress of twenty years, for the first time. After delivering a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Bev surprisingly offers to sell Joan the burial plot that she purchased next to Al's years ago: "You love him so much, you spend eternity next to him." There's no trickery on Bev's part, either—she's genuinely offering Joan the plot as a kindness.
    • The trope is deconstructed with Dan's father Ed. He brings the family expensive presents whenever he visits and is generally a warm, caring man. Dan, though, thinks his "nice guy" act is a facade, saying that Ed was constantly away from home when he was a child and that his gift-giving is just an attempt to buy his family's affections to make up for his absences. It's ultimately revealed that Dan is in the wrong, and that Ed's kindnesses are genuine, but Dan refuses to see things that way, creating tension between the two that is never truly resolved. Furthermore, many of Ed's long stints away from home were attempts to cover up his wife's severe mental illnesses, which Dan never knew about.
  • The Unfair Sex:
    • Roseanne is often verbally and emotionally abusive to Dan. She belittles him and often denies him the chance to father the kids (which those kids need). Not that Dan is much better, given the chance; their whole family is situated at Dysfunction Junction, after all.
    • In the first season episode "Radio Days", George Clooney's character is ogled and wolf-whistled by a factory full of women when he bends over and shortly thereafter has his ass slapped by Jackie. Needless to say, if it were a room full of men doing that to a woman, it would've been decried as sexual harassment.
    • Unlike most sitcoms, there was an episode that dealt with this. When D.J. started dating, the first girl he went out with bossed him around and treated him like dirt, and he did nothing to stop it. Roseanne saw it and was forced to accept that it was because he thought this was perfectly acceptable, since he grew up watching Roseanne and Darlene step all over Dan and David respectively. After the girl basically bosses D.J. into going to Chicago with her without permission, Dan and Roseanne actually sit him down and explain that it is not okay for him to let someone control his life like that, and he needs to break it off with a girl if she tries it. Naturally, after the talk is over, Roseanne refuses to practice what she preaches and keeps treating Dan the same way she always does.
      • However, David later reveals the real reason D.J. is dating her is because she slips him the tongue. Of course, he's not gonna tell his parents that.
    • Another episode talked about this. Jackie went on a date (although nothing sexual happened) with another man while she was married to Fred. When they separated for a few days, Roseanne made it her priority to get Fred to move back into the house and pull Jackie out of her depression (by telling her it wasn't her fault). When Dan saw how hurt Fred was at this betrayal of trust, he confronted Roseanne for blaming everyone except Jackie for what she did.
    • Darlene is also no slouch in this department. Ironically, it's often Roseanne who ends up reminding her to tell David she does really love him every now and then.
  • Unishment: The suit-and-tie example in Cool and Unusual Punishment was used because grounding DJ would have been pointless, as "he never goes anywhere."
  • Vacation Episode: Dan and Roseanne went to Las Vegas for one episode.
    • In "Lose a Job, Winnabego" they invite themselves along on the neighbours' trip to California (another invention of Roseanne's; they were originally going to Branson, Missouri).
    • And two episodes in Disney World.
  • Wham Episode : Several. One of the biggest was "Terms of Estrangement," where Dan's bike shop went out of business and Becky married Mark and moved to Minneapolis.
  • Wham Line : In a few cases. One of the biggest is during "Terms of Estrangement."
    Dan: What do you mean you got MARRIED?
    • "I lost Dan after his heart attack."
    • From "This Old House": "The belt. Dad's belt." For context: Roseanne and Jackie went to visit their childhood home, with Jackie admitting that she remembers what used to hang on the wall by the front door. This was the episode that revealed the depth of Al's abuse toward his daughters.
    • In the last scene of "Home for the Holidays," Dan is on the phone with someone, talking about how much he misses them and how hard it is to spend Christmas without them. Jackie, who's in the kitchen, naturally thinks that Dan is talking to his mother, who he just got back from visiting. Then comes the bombshell: "Listen, I just wanted to thank you for being so great with my mom."
  • Wham Shot: Dan's empty chair after Roseanne admits that he died from his heart attack.
    • Roseanne coming out of her writing room into the same old kitchen/living room after a season's worth of redecorating.
  • What Happened to the Mouse? : Becky keeps guinea pigs in the garage in Season 1. They're only mentioned a couple of times, then no mention is made of them again. Perhaps that's the aforementioned Noodle Incident.
  • What Might Have Been : Rosy and Dan got married when she was 18 but didn't have Becky until '75. What happened during the first few years of their marriage between the two? It rarely gets more than a second's worth of offhanded reference. (qualifies as Noodle Incident as well)
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Roseanne gives one of these to Jackie after she finds out that the latter has been physically abused by her boyfriend Fisher. Jackie tries to make excuses—Fisher apologized, he said he would never do it again, she provoked him—and Roseanne points out that Jackie herself was a cop who heard abused spouses tell her the exact same things. It's enough to push Jackie over the edge and break down.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Dan had this relationship with his dad, who was a traveling salesman who rarely ever saw his family. As an adult, they're still tense with each other at best.
  • The Whitest Black Guy: At one point Leon, Roseanne's gay boss, starts to doubt his homosexuality because he doesn't like musical theater, fashion, and other stereotypically gay interests. Roseanne's response is "Do you like having sex with other men?...GAY!"
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The 9th Season's Halloween episode (Absolutely Fabulous crossover) was one elaborate Rosemary's Baby shout-out.
    • And a Halloween Carol, warning against apathy and grumpiness rather than greed.
  • Wild Teen Party : The girls intend to throw one in "Vegas, Interruptus." Subverted when Jackie shows up to chaperone, and Dan makes the rules "No alcohol, no sex below the rap music" and imposes a curfew. The soundtrack is the Traveling Wilburys (!), but a fight does break out.
    • Played for Laughs in the episode where Darlene is turning sixteen. Dan and Roseanne have a lot of fun planning a traditional "Sweet Sixteen" birthday for her and tormenting her with the details...only to reveal that they actually arranged for her to spend the night with her fellow goth friends at the movies and a pizza parlor. Roseanne then decides not to let a good time go to waste, and she and her fellow middle-aged female friends proceed to have a Wild Teen Party of their own.
  • World-Weary Waitress: The titular character starts out as a surly, sarcastic, world weary mother of three children, married to her electrician husband, Dan, and working the local diner, where she's often flippant and rude, even (especially) to her boss.
  • Wrongfully Attributed: Jackie trying to convince DJ to go out and play.
    Jackie: When your mom and I were your age, kids used to ride their bikes all over, build tree forts, dress up dogs in funny clothes.
    Roseanne (after DJ leaves): Dress up dogs?
    Jackie: Yeah, little white dog with a black eye.
    Roseanne: That wasn't us, that was The Little Rascals!
    • In another episode, Jackie and Roseanne are discussing female pop stars they grew up with, and Roseanne mentions there weren't really any female artists a self-respecting, liberated women could look up to until "Janis."
    Jackie: That's true. You know, I too learned the truth at seventeen.
    Roseanne: Not Janis Ian, you idiot!
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol : In this case, a Hallowe'en episode in Season 5. When Roseanne doesn't want to celebrate Hallowe'en, she is visited by three ghosts, who show her her past love of Halloween (she played her first prank on Bev on the holiday while not a year old yet), a party she is missing in the present, and, finally, the Bad Future which reveals that if she doesn't change her ways, she'll end up just like her mother!
  • Your Costume Needs Work: When Dan and Roseanne visit Vegas, the one thing she wants to do more than anything is see Wayne Newton. They can't get tickets to see Wayne, but do get tickets to see a concert of Vegas impersonators. While there, the real Wayne Newton shows up while Roseanne's in the bathroom, and when she gets back, she begins to ruthlessly heckle him.

     2018 Revival 
  • Actor Allusion:
    • The second actress to play Becky (Sarah Chalke) shows up as the intended mother of a surrogate child.
    • In the second episode of the revival, Roseanne and Dan declare that Darlene is gay, though she denies it. Sara Gilbert is a lesbian in real life.
    • Casting Sarah Chalke, the second Becky, as Andrea, with them both commenting on how similar they look.
  • Age Lift: Harris; see "Broad Strokes" below.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Roseanne delicately (especially by her standards) asks Mark if he feels like a boy or a girl, and Mark, without hesitation, replies that he feels like a boy. He just simply likes "colors that pop".
  • Ambiguously Gay: Darlene's son Mark. His clothes and mannerisms are very flamboyant, but it's mentioned that he's too young to know what his sexual orientation is yet, and as it stands, his choice of attire simply is what it is. It becomes a little clearer in the first episode of The Conners, when Mark asks his grandpa Dan for help in picking one of two boys to be his seatmate on the school bus; it's all but stated that Mark has a crush on the two boys.
  • Back from the Dead: Dan's death is retconned to him being alive. Word of God is that pretty much everything after the first few episodes of season 6 through the end of season 9 is now non-canon.
  • Basement-Dweller: Darlene tells people she returned home to take care of her parents to cover up the fact she can't afford to live on her own with two kids due to losing her job.
  • Birthday Episode: "Darlene v. David" revolves around Harris' birthday.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: This exchange in "Roseanne Gets the Chair."
    Dan: What time is it? How long was I asleep?
    Roseanne: It's 11:00. You slept from Wheel note  until ''Kimmel".
    Dan: We missed all the shows with Blacks and Asians.
    Roseanne: They're just like us. (changes the channel) There! Now you're all caught up!
  • Broad Strokes: The show is supposed to be canon up until season eight, but Harris' name carries over from season 9. She also confuses things a bit because she's only a teenager; Darlene was pregnant at the end of season 8, so logically she should already be in her early 20s.
  • Cain and Abel: A humorous relationship has emerged between Roseanne and Jackie over voting for Trump or Hillary though Jackie later admits that a large part of it on her end is because Roseanne convinced her not to vote Hillary, and instead she voted for Jill Stein.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Jackie's son, Andy, is never seen or mentioned. Ominously, when Harris refered to Jackie as just "Jackie" she insists on being called Aunt Jackie, because it's the only title she has. But "Mom" is a title too, isn't it? Prior to the show's cancellation, Roseanne said that Andy would be addressed at a later time. Later, though, the producers of The Conners clarified that pretty much everything after the first few episodes of season 6 of Roseanne through the end of season 9 — including Andy's existence — is now non-canon.
  • Cool Old Guy: Dan certainly qualifies now.
  • Cool Old Lady: Roseanne and Jackie both serve as this as well.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Darlene and David's son Mark, named for his now-deceased uncle from the old seasons.
    • Possibly DJ's daughter Mary as well; Roseanne's grandmother in the older seasons was Nana Mary, and her actress, Shelley Winters, has also passed away.
  • Dented Iron: Both Roseanne and Dan are suffering from chronic ailments in their later years.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Beverly. So much so that she gets thrown out of her nursing home for engaging in an orgy and giving the men gonorrhea.
  • Distant Finale: What the revival essentially serves as. It's since been expanded from an eight episode finale to a full fledged series.
  • Feeling Their Age: Both Dan and Roseanne are this but are surprisingly spry for their age, particularly on television. See also Truth in Television.
  • Freudian Excuse: Dan is especially hard on David after the latter divorced Darlene and effectively cut ties with his ex-wife and his own children for a few years. When David tries to come back and make amends, Dan refuses to allow David to even see his children until he's actually moved back into Lanford. This is very likely due to David's behavior striking a major nerve with Dan, as Dan's father also estranged himself from his wife and son, and then proceeded to show up sporadically, pretend he was a great dad for a few days, before leaving again. As a result, Dan refuses to allow David to even try pulling the same stunt, even unintentionally.
  • Going Commando: Dan comments about his grandson Mark not wearing underwear (which he knows because he can see up Mark's skirt while they're playing basketball) in the second episode.
  • I Have No Son!:
    • At the start of season 10, it's revealed that Roseanne and Jackie have become estranged due to their opposing stances over the 2016 presidential election, and Roseanne has started keeping a picture of Jackie on a shelf like one might for a loved one who's passed away if they're lucky.
    • After David and Darlene divorced and David abandoned his ex-wife and children for a couple years, Dan had effectively lost all respect for his former son-in-law. Even when David tries to join his kids' lives again, Dan refuses to allow David to even see his children until he's actually moved back into town, and even then, he makes it obvious he's not happy even allowing that.
  • Improbable Age: Becky wants to be a surrogate mother - at the age of over 40. Darlene comments on this: "At your age, your uterus should be designated a historic landmark." The fertility specialist points out the same thing - she's too old to be considered a suitable surrogate.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Becky and Andrea (the latter played by Sarah Chalke, the second Becky) first meet, they comment on how they look so alike, they could be the same person.
  • Maiden Aunt: After dealing with Fisher and Fred, Jackie's divorced. Although Fred has probably been retconned out of existence.
  • Multigenerational Household: With Roseanne and Dan, their daughter Darlene, and their grandkids Harris and Mark all living under the same roof.
  • Network Sideswipe: In "Roseanne Gets the Chair," Roseanne and Dan sleep through ABC lineup. When Dan complains that they missed all the shows about black and Asian families, Roseanne counters "They're just like us. There, now you're all caught up." This joke generated controversy because it was deemed an unnecessary, racist attack on shows about minority families.
  • Posthumous Character: Mark Healy, if you take the revival as separate from the older seasons. His absence is felt in how Becky has allowed her life to stagnate without him.
  • Put on a Bus: Jerry is off on a fishing boat and is only occasionally mentioned by Roseanne.
  • Really 17 Years Old: Becky tries to pass herself off as 33 instead of 43 in order to have Andrea's baby. After visiting the doctor, she finds out that her eggs are too old to be from a 33-year-old, and she is not a suitable surrogate.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Roseanne gives one to the supermarket cashier in "Go Cubs" after she insulted Roseanne's neighbor for being Muslim.
  • Retcon: Of the Rewrite variety. The ninth season (in which the Conners win the lottery) was unsurprisingly retconned, but so was Roseanne's "explanation" in the series finale: Dan is still alive, Jackie is not a lesbian, Becky still married Mark and Darlene still married David. It's implied in the first episode that she wrote a story about Dan dying, though. One thing that was apparently not retconned from the original finale, however, was Roseanne's mother Bev actually being straight rather then a lesbian: in one episode, she introduces Roseanne and Jackie to her boyfriend Lou (played by Christopher Lloyd). Eventually, everything from early season 6 on was basically declared non-canon.
  • Revival: The fact that the original show ended on a definitive (if controversial) note and the lengthy intervening period (two decades) suggests a revival, but the way the show is being promoted is more akin to Un-Canceled. ABC is using the tagline "Same cast. New episodes." and the new season is being billed as the tenth season as opposed to the first season of a new series. As yet it's unclear what repercussions this has for syndication. (For example, The Other Wiki regards the new Roseanne as a continuation, but IMDb treats the two incarnations as separate entities.)
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Averted as Roseanne hasn't changed in twenty years.
  • Shout-Out: In the first episode, Roseanne says her book manuscript would have been better if it had "more bondage and a wizard school".
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Inverted by Harris. Despite the character being born over twenty years ago during the show's original run, she is only 14 or 15 at the beginning of Season 10. (Although as everything from early season 6 on has now been declared non-canon, this doesn't really apply anymore.)
  • Studio Audience: Roseanne has always been filmed before a live studio audience, but with the revival the decision was made to have voice-overs of cast members announcing this fact play at the beginning of each episode, Cheers-style.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: In "Go Cubs", after Roseanne wakes her neighbors at 2:00 in the morning for a favor, the husband wakes Roseanne up at the same time to repay her some money.
  • Title Drop: "Go Cubs" ends up being the WiFi password for Roseanne's new Muslim neighbors.
  • You Say Tomato: Jackie pronounces Fabergé as "Fa-BURGE", and Andrea corrects her, in "Eggs Over, Not Easy".