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YMMV / Roseanne

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     The original series 
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Dan's father; he presents himself as something of a martyr to his son, explaining that he spent so much time away from his family and allowed his son to think he was an asshole to shift the attention away from the fact his wife was going insane, as he didn't want Dan to remember her as a bad mother. Conversely, Dan's father was just a coward who couldn't deal with his wife losing her mind, and when an out came in the form of his work, he took it and happily abandoned his family because it was easier on himself, making up the excuse later to appease his guilt. The latter interpretation is very heavily hinted as to what Dan actually thinks about his father.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Disney World episode is full of them, mostly involving members of the extended Conner family having trouble realizing that various Disney characters aren't actually real. Granted, the episode was only shot because of Executive Meddling, so there was probably a certain amount of Snark Bait deliberately included.
    • The whole "Sweet Dreams" episode in Season 2.
    • The season nine Halloween Episode "Satan, Darling" has a newly-rich Roseanne and Jackie at a society Halloween party. While there, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is just standing in the middle of the party like a statue, saying nothing, which causes both sisters to do a double take on more than one occasion. Their reactions to her were similar to the audience's. note 
    • The entire ninth season may possibly count as this now, with the majority of its events, most notably the revelation that Dan died of his heart attack in the finale, having been retconned in the revival.
  • Designated Villain: The woman Roseanne and Jackie's father was seeing for over two decades, though this is more in the episode where he died. When Roseanne meets her at a bar to try and talk about the last years of his life, Roseanne learns that her dad told her that his kids never appreciated the sacrifices he made for them and storms off in anger. Though, this is mostly because the woman only had Al's side of the story.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • A lot of people have this reaction to the show's final season, and the final episode in particular. Luckily for fans, with the Revival it has been effectively written out of the show's continuity.
    • On a much lesser degree, some fans only acknowledge that the Conners have three children, completely ignoring baby Jerry, which may have become Canon Discontinuity since the revival series has yet to include him.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • When Bev joins AA she accuses Dan of being an alcoholic because he has a keg at his Super Bowl party. These are Played for Laughs. This episode comes across as jarring after John Goodman admitted he was an alcoholic for thirty years.
    • In an early episode DJ bites his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun and goes "Bang, bang." Flash forward to 2013 when a child DJ's age was suspended from school for doing the same thing under modern zero-tolerance policies.
    • An early episode has Crystal lamenting her dead husband, Sonny, and wondering what her life would have been like if he'd lived. Once she leaves the room, Roseanne hugs Dan tenderly, and jokingly ponders what her life would have been like if Dan had lived. May also be a Foreshadowing/Hilarious in Hindsight.
    • In one episode, Dan goes to DJ's school for the first time. The principal is stunned to meet him, as DJ had told everyone his dad was dead. Cue that finale and...
      • Then he turns out to be alive in the reboot, making this conversation even weirder.
    • Dan saying he was having an affair in "Roseanne in the Hood", which was Played for Laughs if you watch the episode's plot becomes less so when he has an affair in the season finale with one of his mother's nurses...but that becomes even more difficult to watch when it's revealed it was just something Roseanne made up in her book after Dan died, stating that his death felt like he was with another woman.
    • In one episode, Roseanne scolds DJ very harshly for refusing to kiss a girl in a school play because she is black, explaining that she didn't raise "a little bigot" and further that "black people are just like us." What ultimately got the revival cancelled? Barr herself tweeting messages that included a racial slur against African-Americans.
    • The Rodbell commercial episode (which aired in 1992) featured the Conners film the commercial without Roseanne. Fast forward to 2018, where The Conners spin off is happening, without Roseanne.
    • After Dan's mother is hospitalized in "Lies My Father Told Me," Roseanne and Darlene are cracking jokes while they tell DJ about Dan's mother being crazy. Roseanne says "This is just our way of coping." Dan gets very angry when he overhears them, and tells Roseanne that his mother was great, and "She didn't teach her kids to make jokes about things that aren't funny." In The Conners first episode, Darlene and Becky are making jokes, and Becky asks "Should we be laughing?" In a subtle Call-Back , Darlene replies "Inappropriate laughter is what she taught us."
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Watching Roseanne and Dan yell at Becky for underage drinking is kind of hard to watch after John Goodman admitted he struggled with alcoholism.
    • The episode "White Men Can't Kiss", where D.J. refuses to kiss a black girl named Geena for a school play, in light of the racist tweet Roseanne Barr made about Obama advisor, Valerie Jarett.
    • This dialogue in "What a Day for a Daydream".
    Jackie: Oh, has anybody seen Leon lately? Ever since we won the lottery, he looks like Hell!
    Darlene: I know! I saw him the other day and he looked like such a slob I thought he was straight!
    Jackie: When's he gonna get over it?
    Roseanne: Never. Not as long as I'm alive.
    • Considering The Conners sees Darlene and David breaking up again, this dialogue in "The Wedding" is very sad.
    Darlene: Well, it's my last morning as a single woman.
    Roseanne: Not necessarily. *Looks in Jackie's direction* Right, Jackie?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Roseanne has lost a winning lottery ticket with a connection to the number one-hundred and eight.
    • In one episode, Roseanne is posing for a sexy photograph for Dan for their anniversary. As she's having second thoughts, she says, "What if the negatives get out, I'll never be President." Roseanne Barr actually did run for President in 2012.
    • In some early episodes, DJ is a Creepy Child who destroys his sisters' Barbie dolls. Laurie Metcalf, who plays Aunt Jackie, would go to be the voice of Andy's mom in Toy Story, which features a character who tortures toys.
    • In Season 4's "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", Becky says to Darlene "Why don't you just run away?" Could also be Foreshadowing, as Becky does that exact thing a few episodes later.
    • In season five, after Dan gets into a fight and the rumor mill gets going, a friend says to him, "We heard you beat up three guys at a bowling alley!"
    • In season seven, a young child confesses that he doesn't think DJ likes him, to which Roseanne replies, "That's because you're very boring." She's saying this to a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, now widely recognized as one of the best actors of his generation.
    • In "Kansas City, Here We Come," a subplot involved Becky having a horrible boss who calls her a bad name. Trying to avoid saying it in front of DJ, we get this exchange.
      DJ: The "B" word?
      Darlene: Worse.
      DJ: The "F" word?
      Dan: Deej!
      DJ: The "L" word?
      Darlene: What's the "L" word?
      DJ: I don't know, what's the "F" word?
      • Not only did a popular show called The L Word debut years later, but DJ's asking this question to Darlene, whose actress, Sara Gilbert, actually came out as "the L word" later in her life.
    • In "Dances with Darlene," Darlene backs out of going to a school dance after her family starts treating her differently when she dresses up for it. Roseanne tells her that there are better ways of getting back at her than that, giving the example that "Becky's boyfriend might have a little brother!" Sure enough, not long after, Darlene begins dating and eventually marries Mark's little brother, David.
    • Johnny Galecki starred with a Parsons (Estelle) on this show, and would later star with another Parsons (Jim) on The Big Bang Theory.
    • "The Last Thursday in November" and its relentless mocking of white people offended by "political correctness" is downright ironic in light of the circumstances behind the revival's cancellation.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In "December Bride", Roseanne comments that she was unable to locate a cake topper with two grooms for the wedding of Leon and his partner, Scott.note  These days, not only are there a variety of readily available toppers for gays and lesbians, but biracial LGBTQ couples as well.
  • Narm: Watching the beginning of the tornado episode with them treating a tornado watch with gallows humor and panic can be rather ludicrous to viewers from Tornado Alley. (For the record, a tornado watch, basically means "Conditions are right for a tornado; stay tuned, one might form. A tornado warning means "A tornado has been spotted, You Can Panic Now.") They are vindicated soon after though...
  • Never Live It Down: The series finale, which revealed that the entire series was a book written by Roseanne and that she had changed numerous details about her life. The revelation that Dan actually did die of his heart attack left many surprised fans completely blindsided. In fact, the entire ninth season may count owning to its jarring Genre Shift, which many saw as too far removed from the blue collar tales upon which the whole series had been built.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Rewatch Bonus: There are possibly some subtle hints throughout the final season that everything is a fantasy of Roseanne's—note that the bedrooms and garage aren't redecorated like the main rooms, an odd omission for someone refurbishing their house.
  • Seasonal Rot: The ninth season. The show had been in decline for some years before then, and opinions vary on when it started, but the last season is generally seen as being by far the worst (the drastic Genre Shift did not help matters). The controversial and shocking revelation that the whole show was Roseanne's book, and the last season represented Roseanne's decline as an author after the death of her husband rescued it for some people, though for others, it was just the icing on the cake. It's rather telling the revival made it into Canon Discontinuity.
  • Strawman Has a Point: In "Troubles with the Rubbles," Roseanne's neighbor becomes angry with her after her son runs off to a construction site with DJ while staying at Roseanne's house and badly cuts his arm, while Rosanne never knew where they were. While the neighbor had been condescending and snotty to Rosanne throughout the episode and the show seems to want us to sympathize with Rosanne when she tells her off for being overprotective and judgmental, the point that two eight year olds should not be allowed to wander around town unsupervised when the adult in charge has no idea where they are is definitely not without merit.
    • In another episode, the mother of one of Becky's friends shows up at the house to blast Dan and Roseanne after her daughter came home drunk (Becky and her friend helped themselves to alcohol from the liquor cabinet). The woman is made out to be a bitch for her completely justified anger at Dan and Roseanne for failing to supervise the kids and for not wanting her daughter to be friends with Becky anymore.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Even being the bratty teenage daughters throughout much of the series (until both became Older and Wiser), Becky and Darlene get hit with this. The former is so obsessed with her love of Mark, she feels nothing for either her father losing his job and the family more or less being broke but super-pissy because Mark now has no job and has to move away. Also, even as Roseanne being a know-it-all jerk sometimes (although at the time, she was much nicer and relatable), her attitude in "No Talking" towards her was rather snotty and to everyone in the family, not just her mother. The latter, even as a Goth who hated "everything" also had her nasty moments and came off as being difficult just to be difficult, mainly when she cheated on David for no reason, who basically worshipped the ground she walked on, yet in "Snoop Davey Dave" when he reveals that she did drugs in the past, we're supposed to sympathize with her as David has no right to be angry/bitter about their breakup.
  • Values Dissonance: In one episode, Dan describes Roseanne as a person who can only deal with pain by spreading it; while ostensibly to humanize her, it sounds uncomfortably like how one would rationalize/justify the behavior of an emotionally abusive spouse and parent.
  • Values Resonance: The realistic focus on the usual challenges and struggles of a working-class American family still remain relevant 20+ years later. Roseanne Barr even said during an interview sometime after the 2008 recession that they're even more relevant than they were back then.
  • Vindicated by History: As bad as the ninth season is, it's redeemed slightly by the revelation that it was all a fantasy Roseanne escaped into following Dan's death.
  • What an Idiot!: Dan and Roseanne for opening up a bike shop (that was previously failing) in a small town like Lanford, where the bike demographic would be very small, and having no education in business or economics.
  • The Woobie: David, especially once we meet his mother.

     The Revival 
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Non-fatal example. While Harris is pretty much no one's favorite character, even her staunchest haters were horrified to see her physically abused by Roseanne shoving her head into the sink and spraying her with water, especially since the original series had established Roseanne as vehemently opposed to using corporal punishment to discipline her kids.
  • Anvilicious: The reboot comes out of the gate with Barr's pro-Trump views in the writing, and delivers them with all the subtlety of his spray-tan. However, it is balanced out by Jackie's Democratic Clinton-support, and both sides aren't portrayed as necessarily better or worse than the other, and the episode is about the two estranged sisters ultimately looking for a common ground and reconciling.
    • On the other hand, Dan and Roseanne's tolerant attitude toward their cross-dressing grandson reflects Barr's progressive tendencies, which had also been on display in the original.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The controversial Sudden Downer Ending of the original series finale is RetConned in the first episode of the revival as just part of Roseanne's book, the implication being that all of Season 9, finale included, is officially Canon Discontinuity.
    • After the show's extremely polarizing take on Trump-era politics, it was announced shortly after the show was renewed that the second season would be staying away from political material this time. Unfortunately for them, a hostile Twitter post by Barr herself was enough for ABC to cancel the show before the second season ever started production.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The episode "Go Cubs", where Roseanne meets her Muslim neighbor and defends her from an Islamophobic cashier, as the racist tweet about Valerie Jarett that got the revival canned was Islamphobic itself.
    • Dan's abrupt offscreen death in the finale of the original show in light of John Goodman's confirmation that Roseanne would be killed off in The Conners.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: After the show got cancelled, one suggestion was that the show should be retooled without Roseanne Barr, called "Dan" (having John Goodman hang out with Jeff Bridges) and gradually transition into a The Big Lebowski TV series. The former is pretty much what The Conners is.
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The revival's very existence, due to Roseanne's controversial behavior since the original run ended. Blackish producer Kenya Barris went on record saying, after Roseanne was fired for her racist tweet, that ABC should've never have hired her in the first place, since her misbehavior was well documented and they should've expected something like this.
    • The crack at Dan and Roseanne missing "all those shows about Black and Asian families" drew the ire of many viewers for what many felt was a spiteful (and unwarranted) jab at Blackish and Fresh Off the Boat, both fellow ABC sitcoms. The most frequent criticism of the joke is that the shows are written off as solely being about pushing the idea that black and Asian families aren't that different from white ones, rather than the comedies they ultimately are.
    • In the original series, Roseanne was vehemently against corporal punishment since she was physically abused by her father, even crying when she impulsively spanked DJ. Now Roseanne forces her granddaughter's head into a sink full of water. Fans objected strenuously to this, pointing out that even if Harris was acting like an entitled brat, it was way out of character for Roseanne.
    • Many fans were outraged that David turned into a deadbeat dad as way to cope with his brother's death and the insistence that he and Darlene just weren't good for each other, which many fans felt insulting to the characters. Even if Galecki has other commitments, there should've been a better way to explain his absence without assassinating his character.
    • The final straw was Barr making a racist post on Twitter about a former Obama staff member. Producer Wanda Sykes immediately stated that she would not be returning to the show, Sara Gilbert condemned the post, as did showrunner Bruce Helford, and ABC shot the program dead in the water shortly thereafter.
    • After the series was cancelled a lot of streaming sites like Amazon Prime pulled the season from their line-up, leading a lot of 1-star reviews from people who had purchased the season and wouldn't get a refund.
  • Never Live It Down: Suffice to say, the show's "Republican voters are people, too!" message will probably have the stigma of being associated with Roseanne Barr, who was leading that message, being racist. On that note, those remarks have likely tanked her career as well. Happily, The Conners seems to doing a decent job of escaping from the shadow of its former star's odious behavior.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The revival's success was overshadowed by the title star's outspoken support of Donald Trump. A racist tweet aimed at a former Obama advisor was enough for ABC to end the show. Before the day was out, even the original series had been dropped from its reruns on TV Land, Paramount Network, CMT, and Hulu due to how toxic her name had become (they've come back to all but Hulu as of January 2019).
  • The Scrappy: It's hard to find anyone who has a positive thing to say about Harris, owing to her consistent bitchiness and lack of charming sarcastic wit her mother had at her age. She seems to have been written solely as critique of modern youth culture and lax parenting methods.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: We're obviously supposed to see her as a whiny brat, but many people find Harris's reaction to her situation pretty understandable. This increased after Roseanne's solution was to shove her head under cold water.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Due to the fact that the show hadn't been on the air in twenty years and was mirroring Roseanne's real-life support of Donald Trump, the belief was that the reboot would not succeed. However, ratings for the first episode exceeded expectations, and the show brought in 18.2 million total viewers, which was 10% higher than the ratings for the original finale in 1997. Even more impressive was that this happened in both a television and a political landscape that are way more fractured than they were when the show went off the air. Then subverted when it started badly hemorrhaging viewers after the first few episodes, who apparently had their curiosity sated and didn't feel the need to keep watching. Rather embarrassingly, the show had already been renewed for another season on the strength of those opening ratings. Barr posting a racist tweet comparing a former Obama advisor to an ape was the last straw for ABC and led to them cancelling the show.


Example of: