How Well Do You Remember ‘Roseanne?’

Neither the Conners nor their children ever apologized to us when we first met them, and they continue to do so.

Roseanne broke new boundaries in terms of what a network comedy could represent for nine seasons. In 1988, its portrayal of a working-class family trying to make ends meet, as well as its in-your-face comedy, felt groundbreaking.

Thirty years later, ABC’s resurrection (which airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, one of four episodes per week) isn’t innovative. As a matter of fact, the series has the appearance of being stuck in time. The cast is the same as before. The interior of the home has not changed. The jokes about being overweight are the same. The battle is the same as always. The only thing that has changed is their ages.

Of course, the world has changed significantly since Roseanne left the show in 1997. ABC is promoting the resurrection as a nostalgic excursion, a return to simpler times and ideals, according to its marketing materials. Can Roseanne, on the other hand, bring us back to the past without making us feel like we’re truly there?

More:How television is bringing back more oldies with fresh interpretations

Both no and yes. The new episodes, which mostly ignore the much-maligned Season 9 (save for a passing reference to the novel Roseanne penned), establish the Conners’ new reality, which is a wise move.

Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and her two children have returned to their hometown, ostensibly so that she may assist in the care of her aging parents, but actually because she is trying to make ends meet as a single mother. In the show, Becky is a widowed waitress who is also adrift. She is played by original actress Lecy Goranson, while “Second Becky” Sarah Chalke also returns as a new character in the show. Son D.J. (Michael Fishman) has returned after a tour of duty in the Army, while his wife is still on active duty in the country of origin. And Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman) remain just as in love and just as cynical as they were in the series conclusion, despite the fact that Dan is no longer alive, in a reversal of the series finale.

Roseanne premieres with an episode that attempts to bring the old-school comedy and elderly actors into the current day, similar to the comeback of Will & Grace on NBC. Both sitcoms do this by focusing on the 2016 presidential election.

It is revealed in the premiere that Jackie and Roseanne have been engaged in a political fight for more than a year, which has resulted in excruciating confrontations laced with awkward jargon. Several people have expressed dissatisfaction with the decision to declare Roseanne a supporter of President Trump, which was pushed by Attorney General Barr. Although you may disagree with their political views, you have to believe that it is possible for them to have integrated the topic without making the sisters’ interaction sound so out of place. We like them because they are real individuals, rather than just talking heads.

There are a few instances throughout the premiere where it appears as though the adult cast is faking it. It takes a few episodes for Goodman, in particular, to get back into the swing of things as Dan. For the first few minutes, everyone’s comic timing is a little off, and you can even hear the studio audience not quite laughing at some of the old punch lines.

In subsequent episodes, everyone seems to loosen up a little and the chemistry that made the program so popular is at least somewhat re-created, if not completely. Consequently, the jokes land more effectively, and the new realities of their life feel more, shall we say, lived-in. Darlene’s children, Mark (Ames McNamara) and Harris (Emma Kenney), appear to be mirror copies of Darlene and Becky’s early years: Mark wants to dress in feminine clothing, while Harris (Emma Kenney) feels embarrassed by her mother and the rest of the family.


“Start the Quiz”

  • Question of

    What is Roseanne’s last name?

    • Wilmer
    • Conner
    • Runner
    • Bomer
  • Question of

    ‘Roseanne’ is set in which state?

    • Michigan
    • Indiana
    • Illinois
    • Minnesota
  • Question of

    Who is Roseanne’s husband?

    • Dan Conner
    • Dick Conner
    • Dylan Conner
    • Dwayne Conner
  • Question of

    Who is Roseanne’s sister?

    • Julia
    • Jan
    • Jenny
    • Jackie
  • Question of

    Where do Roseanne and Jackie work during the first season?

    • School
    • Factory
    • Post Office
    • Restaurant
  • Question of

    Before he was a big star, which actor had a recurring role in the first season?

    • Ralph Macchio
    • Neil Patrick Harris
    • Ben Stiller
    • George Clooney
  • Question of

    Did the theme song have lyrics during the first eight seasons?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    What was Dan’s job?

    • Mailman
    • Grocer
    • Construction contractor
    • Bartender
  • Question of

    Who was Dan’s father, who was a loving grandpa to the kids but sometimes clashed with his own son?

    • Horatio Conner
    • Bill Conner
    • Mario Conner
    • Ed Conner
  • Question of

    What’s the name of the oldest Conner child?

    • Beverly
    • Becky
    • Barb
    • Brenda
  • Question of

    What’s the name of the second Conner child?

    • Dana
    • Daria
    • Darlene
    • Delia
  • Question of

    What’s the name of the third Conner child?

    • VJ
    • AJ
    • DJ
    • RJ
  • Question of

    What is the name of Becky’s boyfriend, who she ended up marrying?

    • Drew Healy
    • Mark Healy
    • Zach Healy
    • Luke Healy
  • Question of

    Darlene also had a boyfriend who she ended up marrying. What was his name?

    • David Healy
    • Mike Healy
    • Tom Healy
    • Joe Healy
  • Question of

    Incidentally, the Conner girls’ boyfriends are related. How?

    • They are brothers.
    • They are cousins.
    • They are step-brothers.
    • They are twins.

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