Last episode of roseanne

Roseanne

Knee Deep Season 10 Episode 9 Editor’s Rating 5 stars ***** Photo: Adam Rose/ABC

The Conner family finally catches a break: Roseanne is going to get the cash for her knee surgery, and all it takes is a disaster to make it happen.

Roseanne and her brood have been caught at a bad station throughout this revival season. As we learned in the earlier episode, Roseanne is an Uber driver, Dan is still in construction, and they still can’t afford to get full refills on their prescriptions. Adding to the already overextended household budget, Darlene and her kids move back to Lanford and into the house. And then their lives get worse: To halt what is rapidly heading toward a full-blown pain-medication addiction for Roseanne, Dan is willing to go to any length to come up with the $4,000 for her surgery. That means submitting a low bid for a new work project, a bid so low that it will preclude him from hiring his friend Chuck to work with him. Chuck, his best friend of 30 years, doesn’t take this development well.

But Dan is too busy trying to save the family’s memories to mourn the friendship because life has dished up another scoop of misery in the form of an intense rainstorm that floods the Conner basement. With the water more than ankle-deep and rising, John Goodman — the once and still and always great John Goodman — sums up his sorrow for Chuck, which is rising faster than that water.

“What do you want me to do? I got three extra mouths to feed since Darlene moved back. Roseanne started popping pills because we didn’t have the money to fix her knee. And now I got $20,000 of water damage. I spent my whole life hanging on by my fingertips, telling everybody not to worry, that I was going to make it okay, because that’s my job,” Dan says. “Well, now I can’t promise that anymore, so, yeah, it makes me sick, but I’m gonna do whatever I have to do to take care of my family, because I’m old, I’m tired, and I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on.”

“I always told you, if I’m eating, you’re eating,” Dan tells Chuck. “I’m not eating.” It’s Dan at his weariest, and he takes his frustrations out with a crowbar against a basement door after a shelving unit breaks and dumps more of the family’s possessions into the flood.

Hope lives, though, and not in that Brady Bunch, everything-is-solved-in-a-half-hour way. As the storms worsen across Illinois, a state of emergency is declared. That means FEMA will disburse funds to homeowners to repair damages, and since Dan can do that work himself, there will be money left over for Roseanne to fix her bum leg hinge. Dan and Roseanne celebrate with Chinese takeout and sparkling cider.

Darlene’s situation may finally improve, too, but that’s less surprising. Darlene has always been an outlier in the family, the one Conner truly willing to leave the Lanford nest and believe that she could make a life beyond it. For Dan and Roseanne and unemployed DJ and tired waitress Becky (we’re still not fully up to speed on Jackie’s financial situation, but if she had $4,000, she’d presumably lend it to her sister), the future seems likely to offer more of the same.

But Darlene’s job as a cocktail waitress at the local casino is just what she needs to motivate her to start writing again. She’s not sure anything will come of the piece she’s working on — inspired by her humbling experiences at the casino — yet the job and her desire for a better life for herself and her kids has sent her back to her laptop, working on her story at night, even after an exhausting shift on her feet.

Darlene loves and respects her family, especially her parents. But to paraphrase what Roseanne observed to Dan about a then-teen Becky in season five’s “Aliens,” Darlene just wouldn’t be paying attention if her return to her childhood home hadn’t reinforced her resolve to avoid her parents’ hardships. Darlene will be okay, and in a season-ender that would have been satisfying even if ABC hadn’t renewed Roseanne after this batch of nine episodes, the rest of the resilient Conners will be too. For now, anyway.

Couch Surfing

• In another nod to one of the series’s legacies, Harris finds out just how into Halloween her family has been, thanks to the many boxes of old costumes saved from the flooded basement.

• And another piece of the Bev puzzle is revealed in those basement boxes: Roseanne and Jackie’s mom has a creepy doll named Magdalena that she loved and cared for more than she did her own daughters, according to the sisters. They even discover Bev’s old diary … written from Magdalena’s point of view.

• Dan and Chuck’s business (and personal) relationship is saved by the storm, too, as the town is going to be, well, flooded with construction work after all the damage is assessed and all the FEMA cash is distributed. But Chuck doesn’t want to work for Dan anymore — he wants to be an equal partner, with three weeks of vacation.

Into That Good Night, Part 2 was the 24 and final episode of Season 9 of Roseanne, also the 222nd overall series episode, part two of a two-part series finale episode arc. It was written by Roseanne Barr and Allan Stephan, and was directed by Gary Halvorson. The episode arc of Into That Good Night In 2011, the two-part finale was ranked #9 on the TV Guide Network special, TV’s Most Unforgettable Finales. Part 2 of the arc originally aired on ABC-TV on May 20, 1997.

SummaryEdit

Roseanne and her family & friends celebrate the new baby, Harris; Darlene decides to move back into the Conner home; Mark and Becky are going to have a child. The series closes with Roseanne’s infamous monologue.

PlotEdit

In the first half, the family talks about life after winning the lottery. Then Roseanne reflects about her fictional life as a voice-over monologue reveals that the show itself has really been her writing. She says that while the book she was writing was based on her life, she changed what she didn’t like. For instance: in reality, the Conners did not win the lottery; Dan died of a heart attack; Jackie–not Bev–was gay; Mark and Darlene, and Becky and David, were the Conner-Healy couples; and DJ went to college. In the final moments, after looking over her book, she goes upstairs and sits on the couch. The show fades to black and her trademark laugh is heard one last time.

In-DepthEdit

Roseanne and Dan are delighted that Darlene, David and their new daughter, Harris, will be staying with them. D.J. has grudgingly given up his room for them and is moved into the basement. It’s just a day of warmth, happiness, and celebration in the Connor house.

Family and friends are gathered together, to celebrate the new addition. Everyone comes by to welcome Harris home: Bev, Leon, Scott and Nancy. Each person takes a turn upstairs, having a little one-on-one time with Harris. During the visits over the crib, it is revealed that Mark and Becky are expecting as well. Mark wants to spread the news, but Becky opts to hold off, and let the day be about Darlene. Darlene is apprehensive about overstaying their welcome, thinking Roseanne doesn’t really want them staying there. She questions Roseanne about it. Roseanne lets her know that she would like them to live with her at the house forever. Darlene is relieved, and would like that as well. Among the party atmosphere, Leon and his significant other make an announcement. They will be adopting little Nadia, a three-year-old girl from Romania that needs a family. They are congratulated by all, even Bev who apologizes for her behavior at Thanksgiving.

As the extended family gathers around the kitchen table for takeout food, Roseanne looks at each one of them and reflects. As she reflects she reveals that she has really been writing a book about her life and that is what we have been watching. In her “book” whatever she didn’t like about her life, she changed. In “reality” Dan actually died from a heart attack. The family never won the lottery. She switched the couples around, so Mark and Darlene were actually dating, and David and Becky were dating; she simply felt that David was more Darlene’s type, and Mark was Becky’s. And it is Jackie who is gay, not Bev.

She also says that Jackie is her rock and she wouldn’t have gotten as far as she did without her. She says that a lot of people have called DJ a nerd, but oftentimes nerds are just artists. She says Leon isn’t as cool as she made him and that Scott actually was a probate lawyer she had met and fixed up with Leon. She says that Nancy was also her hero as she got out of her marriage and found a new strength in spirituality. Roseanne reveals that she wrote Dan’s affair and the lottery win to compensate for the feeling of loneliness she experienced in the aftermath of his death–until Darlene’s premie daughter was born and almost died, which snapped her out of her depression and returned her focus to her children’s lives. Then, at the final moments, after everyone fades away, we find Roseanne in the basement, in her old writing room reflecting over her book. She then walks up stairs and through the old kitchen and walks into the old living room, and sits on their old couch. Her trademark laugh is heard one last time as the lights go out.

CastEdit

StarringEdit

  • Roseanne as Roseanne Conner
  • John Goodman as Dan Conner
  • Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris
  • Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner
  • Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner
  • Sarah Chalke as Becky Conner

Also StarringEdit

  • Glenn Quinn as Mark Healy
  • Johnny Galecki as David Healy
  • Estelle Parsons as Beverly Harris
  • Martin Mull as Leon Carp
  • Sandra Bernhard as Nancy Bartlett
  • Fred Willard as Scott

GuestsEdit

  • Garrett & Kent Hazen as Andy Harris
  • Cole Roberts as Jerry Conner
  • Kevin Marshall Brady as Party Host (uncredited)
  • Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner (archive voice, uncredited)

TriviaEdit

  • This episode was viewed by 16.57 million people.
  • The last 15 minutes of this historic broadcast are a monlogue written and delivered by Roseanne. In perhaps the most surprising and effective post-modern coup in modern television, the entire last season of the show is revealed to be the character Roseanne’s fantasies as she struggles to deal with the death of Dan (who presumably did not survive his heart attack during Darlene and David’s wedding). Then, pushing the envelope further, Roseanne/author and Roseanne/character reveal that the entire series has been part of the fantasy, and that the characters we have come to know are fictional composites of the “real” people in “Roseanne’s” life: “Darlene” is really married to “Mark” and a pregnant “Becky.” to “David,” “Jackie” is gay, etc. This does not entirely make retrospective sense, but it is undeniably a powerful way for Roseanne to take back authorship of her show.
  • At the end of the episode when Roseanne comes out of the basement the house is in its original form with the original furniture, etc. before they won the lottery. However, the wallpaper and tile in the kitchen are not the same. Some of the decorations are not the same either.
  • In this episode, we learn Becky and Mark are expecting a baby, a fact that is only mentioned this one time and never revealed to Dan and Roseanne.
  • In the early seasons of the series (for example: episode 2.24), the basement is accessed through a door in the kitchen. Later on (examples: episode 6.24, episode 7.02), the basement is accessed through the service porch . Near the end of the final episode, the basement door is back in the kitchen.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Glenn Quinn as Mark Healy. He died in 2002

QuotesEdit

(Voiceovers from the episode “Happy Birthday” , the final episode of Season 2) D.J.: Happy birthday, Mom. Here, pencils. Darlene: Yeah, and I got you some notepads. Becky: And I got you a dictionary and a thesaurus. Dan: You know Stephen King started this way. (Roseanne leaves the basement)

Roseanne: Season Nine

Call Waiting • Millions from Heaven • What a Day for a Daydream • Honor Thy Mother • Someday My Prince Will Come • Pampered To A Pulp • Satan, Darling • Hoi Polloi Meets Hoiti Toiti • Roseambo • Home is Where the Afghan Is • Mothers and Other Strangers • Home For The Holidays • Say It Ain’t So • Hit the Road, Jack • The War Room • Lanford’s Elite • Some Enchanted Merger • A Second Chance • The Miracle • Roseanne-Feld • The Truth Be Told • Arsenic and Old Mom • Into That Good Night, Part 1 • Into That Good Night, Part 2

Season Episode Guides

Roseanne: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3 • Season 4 • Season 5 • Season 6 • Season 7 • Season 8 • Season 9 • Season 10
The Conners: Season 1 • Season 2

DVDs

Photo: Adam Rose/ABC

In the final scenes of the Roseanne revival’s first season, the Conner house floods. A massive rainstorm hits much of Illinois, and in the midst of a family crisis about how to pay for Roseanne’s knee surgery and whether Dan should hire undocumented workers, they realize their house has sustained thousands of dollars of water damage. Dan wades through the knee-deep water, trying to convince Roseanne that everything will be okay — trying and failing, that is, because they both know there’s no way out. He sends her upstairs to reassure the rest of the family, and they give each other a look that says they both know it’s a lie. There will be no money for Roseanne’s knee. Dan has ruined his friendship with his long-time union partner, and simultaneously given up on his principles, all to maintain an already disastrous status quo.

It’s exactly the kind of painful, inescapable hole Roseanne described in the beginning of the season when she explained to her sister Jackie why she voted for Donald Trump. Things were really, really bad, and Trump promised to make things better. “He talked about jobs!” Roseanne says. And he did it in a way that resonated with Roseanne’s beliefs about government, budgeting, and handouts. She mocked Jackie for supporting the Affordable Care Act, which she implied was a terrible idea because the government could never pay for it. “You’re a good-hearted person who can’t do simple math,” she told Jackie.

For a moment in the finale, it seems as though the Roseanne will swerve into the skid, shifting gears from its frustratingly shallow approach to politics and finally connect Roseanne’s political jibes with some meaningful real-world implications. Yes, the setup for the Conner’s rock-and-a-hard-place catastrophe is concerning: It’s presented as Dan’s choice between sticking with his union partner and not having money for Roseanne’s surgery, or hiring undocumented workers so he can get Roseanne’s knee fixed. The not-so-buried implication is that the existence of illegal immigration makes things worse for the Conners. But the decision Dan is poised to make still has the potential to be frustrating and tragic in an illuminating way. He’s betraying his ideals and giving into economic pressure to hire cheaper labor so he can save his family. It could be a story about sadness and sacrifice, and the very hard, inescapable choices families have to make to survive.

Instead, the widespread flooding across the state pushes Roseanne’s imagined President Trump to declare a federal emergency. Roseanne and the Conners immediately start celebrating because this means they’ll get “FEMA money.” Dan tells them that he’ll be able to fix up the basement himself with the government funds, meaning it’ll cost them less, and they can use the remainder to pay for Roseanne’s knee surgery. Their problems are solved, and the season ends with everyone joyously gathered around the dinner table. The Conners get an unlikely fairy-tale ending.

This is as ridiculous as it is infuriating, and it’s disingenuous to boot. All season long, Roseanne has deliberately poked and prodded at some of the most tender, aching spots in the American cultural psyche. The show has danced past or lingered over topics including health care, opioids, immigration and assimilation, resentfulness, cycles of poverty, jokes about lost dreams and jokes about being in chronic pain. The message Roseanne and Dan have said aloud, explicitly, and in every episode, is clear: Things are bad, their world is unsustainable, and they’re not sure how they’ll make it. In the penultimate episode, “Netflix & Pill,” we learn that Roseanne is addicted to opioids, and in the closing moments she locates a secret stash of pills she’s keeping hidden from her husband. The message of the show could have been – should have been – that these problems are real and they’re not going to go away with the wave of a wand.

Except their problems do go away! The hidden pills Roseanne pulls out in the previous episode don’t appear again; apparently, she kicked that addiction with ease. The Conners are saved by the flood that seemed to be their destruction, and then their financial woes dissolve immediately. It is the most heavy-handed deus ex machina imaginable, a literal diluvial deliverance, a get-out-of-debt-free card, an all-consuming act of God that the writers handily pass off to a benevolent fictional Trump so he can save the day. The show’s wafer-thin veneer of political content is still in evidence, as Darlene asks whether Trump’s state-of-emergency declaration is valid even if he misspells Illinois. But that gentle little dig is eclipsed by the overwhelming demonstration of Roseanne’s most cowardly impulse: to raise the specter of American desperation and then cleanly cover it all with a sudden rush of water. You could see the flood as absolution, I suppose. It could be a fresh start. To me, it looks more like a convenient way to hide some bodies.

The trials and tribulations of the Conner family have been touted as representative of a “real” America, as one of the few stories to give us a picture of the forgotten white working class. But again and again, the show refuses to connect any of Roseanne Conner’s cracks about Trump or fake news with the real ramifications of her positions. She believes that the government shouldn’t pay for people’s health care, but she’s thrilled to take FEMA assistance when their house floods. Her knee surgery will still be paid for with federal money, but because they’re getting the money after a flood rather than the basic need for health care, it’s acceptable. Earlier in the season, we were supposed to smile Roseanne as opened her heart to the new neighbors, a Muslim family that she initially assumed had purchased fertilizer to make bombs rather than to fertilize their lawn. But we’re not supposed to draw any through line between that grudging tolerance and the MAGA hat she keeps hanging in her laundry room.

With the end of the revival’s first season and the early glimmers of what fall TV will bring, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey has suggested that new episodes of Roseanne will now lean less on the politics, and instead will stick more to stories about “family trials and tribulations.” This looks like a way to emphasize universality, but it’s also precisely the problem with this entire season: It rejected the idea that there is a meaningful connection between politics and the family, and instead posited that you can draw a line between stories about a down-and-out working-class family without affordable health care and sufficient employment — that they are either about the family, or they are about politics. That line of thinking suggests that if Roseanne just stops joking about Hillary Clinton, the show will no longer be about politics in America. That if the Conners just hang in there long enough, their house will flood and they’ll be rescued by a potent, metastable mixture of Trump, God, and aid from the federal government — and somehow it won’t be about politics.

If the best future Roseanne can offer for working-class families is to wait around for a flood, then it’s not actually a show about an underrepresented reality in America. It’s a fairy tale masquerading as gritty realism. At their very best, fairy tales use fantasy to elucidate buried truths of the human condition — mermaids demonstrate the pain of transformation, and witches are a tangible embodiment of threat — and they use unbelievable plots to illuminate the unseen darkness and beauty of human existence. But Roseanne’s season-ending fairy tale, its final gesture of improbable wish-granting, is not illuminating. It’s a way for the show to hide.

Roseanne wrapped up its first revival season Tuesday night, and the season finale was a rollercoaster of emotions. The episode, titled “Knee Deep,” finds the Conners with a basement that’s flooded due to a severe storm, and the family doesn’t have flood insurance.

Meanwhile, Dan has had to hire undocumented immigrants to keep his contracting bids low, alienating his friend and business partner, Chuck, played by James Pickens Jr., because he needs the money to pay for Roseanne’s knee surgery.

As he wades around his flooded basement, Dan, played by John Goodman, gives a dramatic monologue about dealing with tough economic times:

“I got three extra mouths to feed since Darlene moved in. Roseanne started popping pills because we didn’t have the money to fix her knee. And now I’ve got 20 grand in water damage. I spent my whole life hanging on by my fingertips, telling everyone not to worry, that everything was going to be okay, because that’s my job. Well, now I can’t promise that anymore, so yeah, it makes me sick but I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to take care of my family because I’m old, I’m tired, and I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on.”

Watch below:

Goodman’s performance was emotional and raw, impressing Goodman’s fans and castmates.

As the episode aired Tuesday night, Roseanne Barr tweeted Goodman’s praises, calling him “a great actor.”

John Goodman is a great actor-#Roseanne

— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 23, 2018

And lots of fans agreed, saying his monologue was expertly handled. Some called for Goodman to win an Emmy for his portrayal of Dan. Shockingly enough, Goodman never won an Emmy for the original run of Roseanne, though he was nominated seven times. He won an Emmy for a guest role on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and despite his impressive film career, he’s never been nominated for an Oscar.

John Goodman’s scene last night in the flooded basement moved us to tears. So realistic.

— Linda Jacobellis (@JacobellisLinda) May 23, 2018

John Goodman is the best, PERIOD! Well, except maybe for you, Roseanne. https://t.co/xHGlRLCjYh

— Not a bully… (@FrankFFurter) May 23, 2018

John Goodman’s performance last night on the season finale was incredible. Thank you Roseanne!

— Chris Douglas (@CMcGuireD) May 23, 2018

Who among us has not gone to antique shop with a treasure, only to be told item is worthless? Very realistic, and tapped into the panic & desperation to raise funds. John Goodman was brilliant–the basement scene: his finest work as Dan Conner.
Beautiful episode

— Helen Rose (@Division1Yankee) May 23, 2018

From Matinee, to Punchline, to Stella all the way to the Big Lebowski !! How memorable becomes Unforgettable, a character actor and hopefully Best Comedy Actor of 2018, John Goodman deserves an Emmy for Dan Conner !! The series deserves the win finally too. pic.twitter.com/lq76u8Vvkr

— Don Everson (@SUPERHERO1) May 23, 2018

Actor Michael Fishman, who plays D.J. Conner on the show, tweeted a behind-the-scenes view of the basement scene, noting he loves “watching the incredible talents of John Goodman each week.”

Watching the incredible talents of John Goodman each week is among the things I cherish most about working on #Roseanne pic.twitter.com/elQHM3vjdK

— Michael Fishman (@ReelMFishman) May 23, 2018

The Conners’ fortunes go up when the government declares a state of emergency in Illinois, giving them enough money to fix the basement and pay for Roseanne’s surgery. As for what happens next? We’ll just have to wait until Roseanne comes back for its next season later this year.

This post contains spoilers for the Roseanne Season 10 finale.

As a longtime fan of the original Roseanne, watching the reboot has been a maddening exercise. Each week, I tune in wondering which show I’m going to get—the version that picks up where the original left off (examining Becky’s heartbreaking struggle to secure her financial future; reuniting Darlene with her absentee ex, David), or the intentionally provocative nouveau Roseanne built specifically to rankle liberal viewers. At its best, the first version—the one that thankfully showed up Tuesday night—is a pretty good but slightly dusty answer to the first Roseanne. But can it make up for the rebooted show’s lower moments, which seem to completely abandon the spirit of the original series?

The past two weeks have brought, without contest, the best installments this revival has produced yet. Last week’s central plot heartbreakingly advanced the Conner family story in a way that felt true to the original series: Darlene gave up on her dreams of being a writer (at least temporarily), while Dan realized that Roseanne has developed an opioid addiction thanks to her bad knee, an injury that had been quietly rumbling in the background of the entire season. This week’s finale was a little sunnier; though Roseanne still has a back-up pill repository, she’ll be able to afford knee surgery after all, thanks to a rare stroke of good luck. And Darlene has started writing again, at least a little. It was a positive note for the season to end on—one that embodies the idea that no matter how many times the Conners get knocked back down, they’ll always keep fighting.

But how do we square that thoughtfulness with the unevenness of the series as a whole—a show that proclaims Roseanne-the-character’s allegiance to Donald Trump even as it shies away from examining what that allegiance might mean, beyond a shallow punchline or two? In the pilot, Roseanne defends her vote for Trump by shrugging, “He talked about jobs!” Roseanne then goes out of its way to assure us that this is the only reason its central character chose the way she did in 2016—not, as the series emphasizes, because she’s even remotely bigoted. Roseanne Conner has a black granddaughter, Mary, whom she loves very much, though we never really get to hear that granddaughter speak. The revival has also shown Roseanne defending her grandson, Mark, who likes to dress in girls’ clothes, and standing up for her Muslim neighbor Fatima at the grocery store—after worrying that Fatima and her husband might be terrorists. She’s not a daring, Archie Bunker type; as Emily Nussbaum wrote in The New Yorker earlier this year, “The show’s repeated theme is always that Roseanne is not that kind of Trump voter: she’s sweet to Mary; she defends Mark against homophobic bullies. You might see this as complexity or as spin. If you’re in a darker mood, you might call it propaganda.”

This Roseanne—or Roseanne—is not one that rings true to fans of the original series. The revival has shown it’s completely willing to abandon backstories established at length in the original series in the interest of making contrived political points—while letting its central character off the hook by consciously distancing her from any truly divisive rhetoric. Even writers from the original series have said that they don’t recognize the Roseanne Conner we see in these episodes; co-showrunner Whitey Cummings, who made an effort this spring to distance herself from Roseanne Barr’s politics, ended up exiting the series last week—ostensibly because, as her colleague Bruce Helford said, she’s “too busy” to return next season.

ABC

By the end of its first season, Roseanne was the second most popular show on television. By season two, it hit number one, beating The Cosby Show by 200,000 viewers. The ABC blue collar sitcom would stay in the top-10 until season eight, when it dropped to #16. That’s when things got weird.

Roseanne was one of three shows I loved growing up, right there with The Simpsons and Seinfeld, but what separated it from those two was that it was the first comedy where I distinctly remember something feeling different. That something was season nine, a bizarre middle finger to convention that had the Conners, a family that went through as many low-paying jobs as Roseanne did ugly shirts, winning the Illinois State Lottery. The prize: $108 million. It made no sense at the time, and didn’t for the next 22 episodes, until the series finale. In case you’ve forgotten: the Conners becoming millionaires? Never happened. Everything we witnessed was Roseanne coping with the death of her husband, Dan, who we all thought survived his heart attack from a season prior. Also, Jackie’s gay and DJ turned into a serial killer, probably. Here’s the voiceover that plays over the scene:

My writing’s really what got me through the last year after Dan died. I mean at first I felt so betrayed as if he had left me for another women. When you’re a blue-collar woman and your husband dies it takes away your whole sense of security. So I began writing about having all the money in the world and I imagined myself going to spas and swanky New York parties just like the people on TV, where nobody has any real problems and everything’s solved within 30 minutes. I tried to imagine myself as Mary Richards, Jeannie, That Girl. But I was so angry I was more like a female Steven Segal wanting to fight the whole world. (Via)

TV shows and movies about writers writing are typically a painful, self-serving slog (and the rest of her speech should have been trimmed), but this one kind of works. Here’s a woman who was deeply, painfully in love with her husband who she’s been with since middle school, but in an instance, he’s gone. She responds to the tragedy by immersing herself in a fictional world, one where Dan’s alive and they’re rich and…OK, it still doesn’t make up for everything before it. Things were getting too real there. (Even though Dan’s obviously alive in the revival, which is dealt with in a throw-away joke already in the trailer.)

To celebrate the 2018 Roseanne revival, let’s take a look back at a brief collection of the oddest scenes from season nine of Roseanne.

-Roseanne imagines herself in That Girl, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

ABC

-Roseanne goes all AW HELL NO on The Jerry Springer Show.

ABC

-Roseanne and Jackie modeled for Playboy.

ABC

-Roseanne entered a beauty pageant.

ABC

-Jackie goes on a date with a prince played by Jim Varney.

ABC

-Roseanne and Jackie go to a rich person spa.

ABC

-Darlene gives birth to Satan.

ABC

-Roseanne fights women-hating terrorists on a train, meets Steven Seagal.

ABC

-Roseanne wore this thing.

ABC

-Roseanne dreams that she’s in Evita.

ABC

-Jackie wrestles Dot Marie Jones

ABC

-Dan’s mom keeps trying to kill her son.

ABC

And so on. It’s a deeply, deeply weird season. Roseanne knew this was it for her once must-see show, so she allowed herself, through her fictional on-screen persona, to act out her most preposterous fantasies, on ABC’s dime no less. Then she undid it all with the heartbreaking finale that almost made up for all the nonsense before it. Almost. Roseanne hasn’t really spoken at length about why season nine was so different from the eight before it, but possible explanations include:

-Ratings were sinking, so she resorted to cheap stunts.

-As the show went on, Roseanne’s wealth greatly increased. The Conners getting rich was meant to reflect what was happening to her in real life.

When Roseanne went off the air, the final season — especially the two-part series finale — was controversial because it made major changes to characters that had been canon for nine seasons. The revival is no different in courting a little controversy, as it’s basically erasing season nine of the show. In the series finale, it is revealed that Roseanne has actually been writing a novel all these years and that while the characters on the show are real, she has been taking liberties with their lives in order to make a better story.

This retcon (a plot device that retroactively changes the events of a movie or TV show) changed the characters so that the Conners have never won the lottery, Darlene is actually with Mark and Becky is actually with David, Jackie is gay instead of Roseanne’s mother being gay, and Dan actually did die of a heart attack a year prior to the series finale. The revival is doing away with almost all of that. For instance, it isn’t reversing the lottery thing so that the Conners are now rich — they are still the working-class family they always were. But the other things are reverting back to the way they were throughout the original run.

With that in mind, here’s where everyone was when the show ended the first time around.

Roseanne fans are getting ready to welcome back another Conner family friend. The May 8 episode of the ABC revival will feature the return of James Pickens Jr. as Chuck Mitchell. The actor, best known for his starring role as Dr. Richard Webber on ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, played Dan Conner’s (John Goodman) poker buddy on 19 episodes of the original series between 1990 and 1996. Now, James will return to reprise his recurring role as the Conner family friend in the upcoming “Go Cubs” episode of the top-rated Roseanne reboot.

The Futon Critic posted a synopsis of Roseanne’s upcoming “Go Cubs” episode. “The Conners can’t pay their Wi-Fi bill, so they befriend their new neighbors to use the internet for Mary to Skype with mom Geena, who is stationed in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Dan loses an important job and D.J. admits post-military life has been hard, so they come up with a plan to make extra money.”

The episode description also reveals that, in addition to James Pickens Jr., guest stars for the “Go Cubs” episode include returning actress Adilah Barnes as Chuck ‘s wife Anne-Marie. Barnes played the longtime friend of Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) and her sister Jackie Harris (Laurie Metcalf) on 15 episodes of the original series, so she is another familiar face to longtime Roseanne fans.

Featured image credit: Adam RoseABC

ABC posted several new photos from the upcoming Roseanne episode, “Go Cubs.” In one photo, Pickens’ character is seen sitting with Dan at the Conner kitchen table. But 20 years later, it looks like he is going over paperwork with the Conner patriarch instead of poker chips. Other photos show the longtime pals along with new friend Al (Andy Milder) as they are sitting at the Mexican restaurant that Becky Conner (Lecy Goranson) works at. James Pickens Jr. is slated to appear in two episodes of the nine-episode Roseanne revival.

Featured image credit: Adam RoseABC

TV Guide previously posted a sneak-peek promo that showed a quick glimpse of James Pickens Jr.’s Roseanne return. In the quick clip, Chuck appears to be sitting in front of the restaurant bar.

You can see the extended Roseanne sneak-peek clip that features James Pickens Jr., as well as fellow Roseanne returnees Natalie West and Sandra Bernhard, below.

Roseanne airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC. The “Go Cubs” episode featuring James Pickens Jr. will air Tuesday, May 8.

What “Roseanne” doesn’t say about race speaks volumes

To get an accurate gauge on where “Roseanne” stands on America’s cultural phobias, don’t look at what the show is explicitly discussing. Rather, keep an eye on what Dan (John Goodman) and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) discuss in passing or what the producers show us without specifically talking about it.

On Tuesday, ABC debuted “Go Cubs,” the highly-publicized “Roseanne” episode about a Muslim family that moves in next door.

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“Go Cubs” also marks the first time we see the return of James Pickens Jr. reprising his role as Dan Conner’s buddy Chuck, joined by his wife Anne-Marie (Adilah Barnes). Chuck previously appeared in 19 episodes of “Roseanne” as part of Dan’s group of poker buddies, and for the most part his race isn’t part of the conversation. That is, until the guys actually talk about it in the season 7 episode “White Men Can’t Kiss.”

“Go Cubs” is this era’s version of that episode and evidence of the deficit of nuance, thoughtfulness and bravery in the 10th season’s overall writing. One of the most frequently quoted observations about this season comes from NPR’s Linda Holmes, who tweeted that the series “treats politics as an emotional issue for white people, something that they need to work out with each other, but not as something that makes anyone’s lives better or worse.”

This week’s episode proves this. Not explicitly, though. Returning to “White Men Can’t Kiss,” an episode about D.J.’s initial refusal to kiss a black girl (who viewers are to presume is the same Geena to whom he’s married), the story gave Roseanne the opportunity to dissolve assumptions that working-class white people are prejudiced.

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But there are layers of inspection of that topic within the episode. Good guy Dan, for example, doesn’t consider himself to be racist but sees nothing wrong with kids wanting to stay with “their kind,” for instance. Even Roseanne herself is made to reflect upon her own internalized racism when, after she reproves her son’s action, she fearfully denies entry to a black man coming by her diner right before its closing time.

In the 14 years since that episode first aired, Lanford’s discriminatory view towards black people has apparently been solved. Now the main problems are the “illegals” snaking a contracting job out from under Chuck and Dan, a loss that leaves Dan and Roseanne unable pay their bills.

Only that last bit has anything to do with the main plot of “Go Cubs,” which begins with Roseanne suspiciously eyeing her new neighbors through a rake.

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Basing her reaction to her new neighbors on fearmongering news reports linking Islam to terrorism, Roseanne is particularly alarmed by the large amount of fertilizer the family appears to be stockpiling.

“That’s how they make bombs!” she declares, adding as proof of her fears, “Anytime somethin’ bad happens, it’s always somebody who lives next door to somebody! . . . I’m telling you, this is what people from Eye-Rack or Talibanistan do!”

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Even for “Roseanne,” that’s a lot of extremity to jam into the first minute and 15 seconds. But let’s unpack what’s going on in the background: Anne-Marie is clipping coupons in the living room with Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Roseanne while Dan and Chuck discuss that drywall job they don’t realize they’re about to lose to “illegals.”

Chuck and Anne-Marie’s presence, along with the Conners’ new Muslim neighbors, make this the most diverse episode of this season, if you don’t count the child actor extras we see in Mark’s homeroom. And the realization that the first time we’re seeing them happens to be in an episode that makes Roseanne’s bigotry central to the story should not go unnoticed.

A recurring flaw in season 10 is the writers’ usage of people of color as a kind of cover for their inability to discuss race. We see Mary mostly in the credits, and in this particular episode she gets more lines than she has all season. And like Mary, Anne-Marie and Chuck exist to make the Conners seem more misguided than intolerant. When Jackie chastises Roseanne on her assumptions about her neighbors, she invites Anne-Marie to jump in, leading Anne-Marie to reply, “Oh, because I’m black, I’m the expert on racism?” See, not even the liberal white person knows how to handle the subject.

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But then, we can see that Anne-Marie, Chuck and Mary are inside Roseanne and Dan’s home. They are instruments of deflection, proof that although Roseanne harbors odious views, she’s not an entirely bad person. They also enable the writers to allow “Roseanne” to have it all ways, politically speaking. Its characters can claim people of color as friends and family while explaining why they support political machinery that would take away their rights.

Actually, this is one way “Roseanne” handles race with a crumb of subtlety. Dan can mourn losing his job to “illegals,” forwarding the narrative of undocumented immigrants taking American jobs — “It ain’t right, Rosie,” Dan says, “Those guys are so desperate they’ll work for nothing, and we’re getting screwed in the process.” But the writers stop short of endorsing deportation by explaining that it’s not the fault of the immigrants but the guy who hires them. “He’s taking advantage!” Roseanne responds.

And eventually the writers do enable Roseanne and Jackie to engage in their own version of “extreme vetting,” forcing them to meet the neighbors instead of just talking about them. D.J. (Michael Fishman) entrusts Roseanne to help his daughter Mary connect with her mother Geena, who’s deployed in Afghanistan, via Skype. The catch is that the call needs to be on Geena’s time, meaning the call has to go through at 2 a.m.

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Right before the connection can happen, the Conners’ internet provider cuts their Wifi. Their only hope is to see if their neighbors, who hopefully aren’t terrorists, are willing to share their password. So in the middle of the night, Roseanne and Jackie venture to the door of strangers — Jackie holding a plant, Roseanne clutching a baseball bat. Amazingly, their neighbors Samir (Alain Washnevsky) and Fatima (Anne Bedian) answer the door – and Samir, too, has his baseball bat in hand.

Point being, everyone’s afraid of each other. That much is established during the strained, stilted exchange that follows. And while the stack of fertilizer can be explained by Samir’s overzealous shopping on Amazon, Roseanne and Jackie have no answer to stories of threats and harassment the family endures. Lanford has caused them so much anxiety, Fatima explains, that their young son sleeps in a bulletproof vest.

As one might expect, the morning-after parsing of “Go Cubs” split between liberal and conservative views. Depending on one’s viewpoint, “Go Cubs” represented either a bold statement in support of tolerance or a trite, hackneyed effort for the writers to check a box on some predetermined list of social issues.

Barr reportedly advocated for the episode in order to allow her character, and maybe herself, to receive some version of a comeuppance for her own prejudices. Certainly the episode achieves this mission, albeit in the most ham-fisted way imaginable.

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Roseanne, in that 2 a.m. confrontation, realizes that her new neighbors have more to fear than she does, a breakthrough enabled by seeing Fatima and Samir’s sleepy son come to the door and watching them dote on him lovingly. Suddenly she realizes Fatima and Samir are not some disembodied threat. They’re a family, just like her.

And isn’t this just America right now? Through its title character, “Roseanne” mirrors the American practice of parroting the schismatic headlines or politically marginalizing entire groups of people while taking pride in treating the minorities with whom they interact the same as their white friends. The people who pass muster are somehow different than the strangers who slightly resemble a small number of other strangers who mean us harm.

It’s not OK, “Go Cubs” seems to be saying, although our fears are kind of justified.

At the end of the episode, Roseanne gets the opportunity to play the heroic bystander at the local grocery store: She just happens to be in the checkout line behind Fatima, who is wearing her hijab and who happens to be $30 short, and who happens to get an outspoken racist for a cashier.

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Not only does Roseanne lend Fatima enough money to cover the difference, she gives the cashier the kind of tongue-lashing that passes for woke in her world. Just like that, Fatima and Samir rise to the level of “all the shows about black and Asian families” in the Conners’ view. They’re “just like us.” They’re not part of the problem.

Those “illegals,” though, are an issue left for another time.