Table of Contents
- ‘The Conners’ Season 1, Episode 3 ‘There Won’t Be Blood’ Final Verdict
- The Conners
- Around Lanford:
- Where to Stream:
- Roseanne: “BOO!”
- The Cosby Show, “Halloween”
- Parks and Recreation, “Halloween Surprise”
- Homestar Runner, “Malloween Commercial”
- My So-Called Life, “Halloween”
- New Girl, “Halloween”
- The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror VII”
- Home Improvement, “Haunting of Taylor House”
- Happy Endings, “Sabado Free-Gante”
- South Park, “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery”
- A Disney Halloween
- 30 Rock, “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”
- Recap: ‘The Conners’ costume debate continues a ‘Roseanne’ Halloween tradition
- Tricks or Treats: Celebrating 30 Years of ‘Roseanne’ Halloween Episodes
After making things final with one of the family’s members, The Conners preoccupy themselves with Halloween. However, an obstacle stands in the way of one of them. While struggling to look for a job, one of the main characters must help her son make a costume two days before Halloween. Despite this, the family undoubtedly enjoys the holiday.
In this week’s episode of The Conners, Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert) applies for a job two days before Halloween. While the rest of the family enjoys the holiday, Mark Conner-Healy (Ames McNamara) changes his costume because of school regulation. Meanwhile, Jackie Harris (Laurie Metcalf) introduces her new boyfriend, Peter (Matthew Broderick) to Dan Conner (John Goodman).
Two days before Halloween, Darlene finds herself applying for a job at McNasty’s, a restaurant known for having staff that jokingly insult their customers. At the job interview, Darlene struggles to joke about Gary (David Paymer), the interviewer, since she did not usually have someone ask her to insult them. Unfortunately, once Darlene came up with something, Gary found her too harsh, so she did not get the job.
Back at home, the rest of the family celebrated Halloween. During the celebration, Jackie introduces her new boyfriend, Peter, to Dan. Dan repeatedly tried to leave their conversation since he found Peter boring. Finally, Dan managed to bring Becky Conner (Lecy Goranson) to take his place in the lecture-like talk. After the party, Jackie asked Dan to tell her what he thought about Peter. At first, Dan seemed to be polite about him, but eventually, he came up with an insult the way all Conners do.
Because of a school regulation, Mark switched from wearing a Fortnite costume to dressing up as Frida Kahlo, one of his favorite artists. Still, the School Principal (John Billingsley) did not allow him to enter the school’s Halloween Fair since his costume is ‘culturally inappropriate.’ Because of this, Darlene yelled at the principal, who still did not let them in. Eventually, the duo ended up wandering around Lanford’s Cemetery before they went home, albeit happily.
Throughout the episode, Harris Conner-Healy (Emma Kenney) asked Dan’s permission to drive her grandma’s old car since she recently passed the driving test. Dan continually tried to stall Harris, but he eventually let her drive. However, Dan has a condition: for a month, Harris has to bring him to work as he constantly nagged about her driving. The day after, Harris did bring him to work as he distracted her. Still, they did not expect Mary Conner (Jayden Rey) to startle them, making Harris narrowly miss one of their neighbors’ mailboxes.
‘The Conners’ Season 1, Episode 3 ‘There Won’t Be Blood’ Final Verdict
As always, The Conners brings its brand of entertainment quite nicely. The actors never lose touch of the character, and despite the absence of their previous main character, the feel of the show remains the same. This episode, in particular, highlights the younger Conner generation. Just like in real life, the show goes on, regardless of all the changes.
The Conners returns on Tuesday, November 13th with ‘The Separation of Church and Dan’ at 8/9c on ABC.
There Won’t Be Blood Season 1 Episode 3 Editor’s Rating 4 stars **** Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC
The spirit of Roseanne continues to haunt the Conner household, which is appropriate since it’s Halloween, the favorite holiday of the late Conner mama. And Roseanne would have been proud of most of the family’s costumes. The Conners always went all-out for the holiday — young DJ’s Schwarzenegger–meets–Our Gang getup of “The Alfalfinator” in ’91 remains my fave —but this year’s All Hallows’ Eve shenanigans offer extra incentive, as an Instagram contest will reward the scariest costumed family with a case of beer and a six-foot sammich from Jack’s Liquor and Deli.
So Jackie’s wearing a Lanford High uniform with guts hanging out (a disemboweled cheerleader), Dan’s a famous war leader with several wounds and a dangling arm (as Napoleon Blown Apart), DJ’s strapped with fake weapons and toy lion parts glued to his clothes (as a big-game hunter that, presumably, is mocking the hunting habits of Donald Jr. and his ilk), grumpy teen Harris is Lizzie Boredom, and Mary is Scary J. Blige.
And, as the clear individual winner in the family’s effort, Becky, wearing a bald cap and covered in toy sharks, is Sharknade O’Connor. Clever, clever, clever, even though the writers step on their own joke by making Becky explain the costume to Jackie.
We don’t find out if the Conners win the suds and sub because a bit of Halloween drama interrupts the fun. First, Darlene is trying to make it out of the house to get to a job interview; cash is so tight that she’s in debt to Mark’s school for a class field trip to a farm, so a second job is her immediate priority. Meanwhile, Mark’s just learned that his costume for the school carnival has been banned. He’s fashioned an outfit paying homage to a character from Fortnite, but a school email blast informs parents that such costumes might be considered violent or offensive, and therefore will not be allowed.
Dan, just as Roseanne would have been, is ticked off. He urges Darlene to march right down to Mark’s school and let the principal know his “PC crap” is just that. Darlene says she thinks the school may have a point with some costumes, and rushes off to her interview at McNasty’s. It’s a restaurant where servers are purposefully rude to the customers, so her family assumes Darlene is a shoo-in for a job. But when her potential boss, Gary (guest star David Paymer), asks her to give a few examples of quips she might lay on her patrons, Darlene is so mean that she traumatizes Gary and does not get the gig. “I was overqualified,” she later tells her dad.
Meanwhile, as the Conner household Halloween bash gets underway, Darlene and Mark go to his school carnival. He has worked hard to create a new costume, a colorful ode to Frida Kahlo, after being inspired by an art book Darlene stole from the library. (“It was an art book in Lanford. Nobody’ll even know it’s missing,” Darlene reasons.) But when they get to the entrance of the carnival, Principal Swindel yet again buzzkills Mark’s efforts. He deems the Kahlo costume culturally insensitive, as Mark is not Hispanic and is accused of “cultural appropriation.” Darlene argues — things have gotten too PC up in here even for her — but Swindel stands his ground, even, or rather especially, after Darlene reveals the nickname he was given all the way back when she was a student: “Swinedel.”
Laugh is on her, temporarily, at least, as Swindel reveals to her that he already knew about the nickname, and reveals a nickname used to describe Darlene: “Darklene.” But all’s well that ends well for the mother and son, as Mark forgets all about the costume dustup after seeing Darlene stand up for him.
Back at 714 Delaware Street, Jackie has brought a guest, Peter (Matthew Broderick) for tricks and treats, and to get Dan’s opinion on her new love match. At first, Dan tries to be polite, and says Peter is nice. Jackie presses, though, telling him she wants him to tell her the absolute truth, just as Roseanne did when Jackie introduced a new boyfriend to the family.
She asked. So Dan tells her he may hate Peter, a Cliff Clavin–meets–Sheldon Cooper know-it-all whose humorless, pedantic knowledge bombs spark Dan to fess up that he may hate the guy.
“It is a little weird that Peter doesn’t have a job at 48 years old,” Dan adds.
“I knew you’d try to destroy this,” Jackie says. “And by the way, do you know how hard it is to find a single guy in his 40s with a job?! He’s a damn unicorn! That’s what he is!”
Wonder if this means we’ve seen the last of ol’ Peter?
• The Alfalfinator Roseanne ep, “Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down” — which premiered in season four on October 29, 1991 — was written by Amy Sherman (now Amy Sherman-Palladino) and featured the final guest appearance of George Clooney as Jackie’s former boss and sometimes boyfriend, Booker.
• Jackie wants a drink after taking Harris for her driver’s license test.
Jackie: “Becky, where do you keep the hard stuff?”
Becky: “In Becky.”
• Dan walks in on Darlene’s phone conversation with someone trying to hire her as a topless housekeeper, for $40 an hour. She turns the job down.
Dan: “$40 an hour? Do they take men? ‘Cuz I’ll show off the girls for that.”
• Dan, upon hearing about Mark’s school rules about “no costumes that perpetuate negative ethnic stereotypes or are scary, gory, or anything that’s saddening”: “It’s Halloween, for God’s sake! 24 hours without laws or rules!”
Darlene: “That’s The Purge movies, Dad.”
• Darlene, explaining why she doesn’t want to get into a tiff with the people at Mark’s school: “I already owe them money for Mark’s field trip to the dairy farm to see how milk is made.”
Jackie: “Chinese kids are building robots, our kids are confused about what cows do … wow!”
• Peter has a master’s degree in medieval culture, came to the party dressed as “the mind-body dualism of Descartes,” and has no job. Yeah, he can’t hang for very long with the Conners.
Where to Stream:
Powered by Reelgood
There’s no other way to look at it: Roseanne’s return was all about politics. The 2016 election directly influenced ABC’s decision to revive it (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman have said exactly that), and all the press surrounding the first episode earlier this year focused on Roseanne Conner’s #MAGA devotion. Fast-forward just a few months and nothing has really changed. The Conners is still about politics, just in a broader sense. And like the Roseanne revival, it’s entire existence is owed to politics as well since Barr was fired from her show for tweeting racist remarks about a former adviser to President Obama. This is a show that is tangled up in real world issues, and that’s the way it’s been since the blue collar Conner family debuted 30 years ago.
The problem with the Roseanne revival, though, is that it never wanted to actually engage in those politics. The Roseanne premiere episode from back in March was all about Trump without actually being about Trump. Characters just traded buzzy insults at each other, dumbing down real fraught family fissures into something that could be solved in a scene or two. There was no nuance and no character-driven POV.
The Conners, which debuted earlier this month, has mostly avoided the pitfalls of the Roseanne revival by not addressing the Trumpiness of the midwest by name. Instead, the first two episodes focused on broader issues that are still inherently political (the opioid epidemic and substance abuse), but in a natural way. The issues were character-driven and the writing let the Conners deal with them in their own voices.
“There Won’t Be Blood,” The Conners‘ first Halloween episode without Roseanne, feels different from the previous two. This episode’s hot-button topic, whether or not it’s okay to wear Halloween costumes others might find offensive, feels a bit more “Very Special Episode”-y. But then again, this is the first Halloween episode of a Roseanne show in 22 years and talk of cultural appropriation has become a seasonal tradition since then. Was there anything else this episode could be about, really? Maybe if The Conners gets a Season 2 we can see them do a riff on the rise of A24’s arty mainstream horror (we all wanna see Laurie Metcalf channel Toni Collette in Hereditary, right?). But right now, PC Halloween culture is the issue of the week–and The Conners‘ take on it isn’t as terrifying as that sounds!
Instead of simplifying the matter into black and white, right vs. left, snowflake vs. deplorable issue, “There Won’t Be Blood” actually offers multiple sides to the argument and lives with the fact that there’s a whole lot of uncomfortable gray area in matters like this. Here’s how it breaks down:
Darlene’s (Sara Gilbert) youngest child Mark (Ames McNamara) wants to dress as a character from Fortnite with a severed head accessory.
But it turns out that Mark’s school has banned any costume that could be deemed offensive, which includes characters from violent video games. Dan (John Goodman) voices an opinion fresh from the Roseanne revival, calling all this “PC crap” and saying he and his late wife woulda totally fought this. If Roseanne were alive, that’s what this episode woulda been: a right-wing crusade against whiny libs and, since Roseanne was the title character, the show would’ve had to have placed her as correct (this wouldn’t have been the case in the original run, but the revival had a real hard time showing Roseanne as anything other than right).
Thankfully that doesn’t happen here. The show’s now titled The Conners and Darlene, not Roseanne, is the co-lead of the show. Because of that, Darlene’s opinion gets to be expressed (we never got to see Darlene fight with Roseanne over their definitely differing political views in the revival!), and she doesn’t agree: “I know you and mom felt that way but maybe I don’t. Some stuff does cross the line and Mark will be completely fine in a different costume.” Wow–The Conners just had two characters of equal prominence voice differing opinions rooted in their world views!
Things don’t go well for Mark’s second costume, though. He spends two days whipping up a picture perfect celebration of Frida Kahlo, “one of the great artists of the 20th century” he says, a woman whose style he admires. But even though his costume’s coming from a place of celebration and admiration, the principal denies him entry to the Halloween carnival citing cultural appropriation.
“No, it’s cultural appreciation,” says a now agitated Darlene. “He loves Frida Kahlo.”
The principal doesn’t budge. “I get what the rule is for, I really do,” says Darlene. “But sometimes the good intention of the rule gets taken a little far, don’t you think?” Darlene wants the principal to “start judging Mark on an individual basis instead of lumping him into some category on a list.” It doesn’t work. Instead, Darlene and Mark spend the evening wandering around a cemetery.
So the episode ends without a happy ending, with the characters all in disagreement but all right and wrong in their own way. Dan’s right to want to fight for his grandson, but he’s wrong in wanting to disregard the genuine feelings of others. The principal’s right to make sure no kid wears something heinously offensive to a school function, but he’s wrong to lump celebrating Frida Kahlo in with kids potentially dressing up as a degrading Mexican stereotype. Darlene’s right that there are costumes that cross the line, but her request that Mark be given special treatment does sound a little culturally privileged.
This is the way these arguments play out in real life, with no easy solutions. This is also how these issues played out in the original Roseanne run; episodes weren’t afraid to end with you not sure who was right or racist or wrong. Darlene basically says this at the end of the episode when she and Mark return home and tell Dan what happened: “You were still mostly wrong but this guy was mostly wrong too. So what have we learned? Men are wrong.”
“There Won’t Be Blood” isn’t a perfect episode by any means. The principal (played with snippy charm by the always great John Billingsley) is just an obstacle dropped in the episode to parrot and parody what conservatives would call “PC culture.” It helps that Darlene agrees with his sentiment and, more tellingly, doesn’t agree with Dan. Maybe that means this episode plays too far down the middle, and I know that certain parts will make people on the right or left cringe. But considering how unfairly weighted this show was just earlier this year, I call this progress.
Stream The Conners “There Won’t Be Blood” on Hulu
- The Conners
Halloween episodes are an underappreciated art and, when done well, they’re uniquely satisfying. You get to see all your favorite TV buddies in delightfully character-appropriate costumes, and inevitably something weird or scary that would not happen any other week goes down. Here are our favorite spooktacular moments from the small screen — happy early Halloween!
Mark Lisanti: No sitcom family enjoyed Halloween more than the Conners. This Season 2 episode kicked off an annual tradition of macabre one-upmanship, with Dan and Roseanne jamming their arms down malfunctioning garbage disposals, or pretending to sabotage important contracting jobs, or — terror of holy terrors — faking a mother-in-law visit; my god, why don’t you just decapitate Original Becky with a cleaver while you’re at it? They took utter glee in the holiday. No one did Halloween better this side of Homer having Satan’s doughnuts forced down his bottomless gullet in quantities that even James Coco couldn’t withstand.
I miss the Conners. No one does it quite like them anymore.
The Cosby Show, “Halloween”
Sean McIndoe: Oh, look, it’s a special event of some kind, and that means the Huxtable kids are conspiring to recognize it with some sort of elaborate production.
Yes, whether it’s Halloween, or Cliff’s birthday, or their grandparents’ anniversary, or their grandparents’ anniversary again, you can always count on the Huxtable clan to break out the props, costumes, and recording devices. Apparently all it takes is one chance encounter with Stevie Wonder to turn an entire family into an aspiring Cirque du Soleil troupe.
As a kid, I assumed that all happy families were like this and that there was something wrong with mine. Now that I’m a parent, I realize any family that operates in this way is clearly deeply disturbed. Can you imagine building a ghost-based pulley system to attack your father? Is that really the most appropriate way to avenge a lifetime of mandatory tuxedo-clad Motown sing-alongs?
Here’s how my two kids celebrate grandparent anniversaries at my house: a little production we like to call “just try to talk to them on the phone for five seconds without attacking each other with it, you little monsters.” (Total times we’ve staged it successfully: zero.)
The Huxtables were certifiable lunatics. Happy Halloween.
Parks and Recreation, “Halloween Surprise”
netw3rk: Picking the best Parks and Recreation Halloween moment isn’t easy. There’s Tom, dressed as T-Pain, singing “I’m in Love With a Stripper” before introducing his wife. The first appearance of Burt Macklin, FBI Andy’s Chuck Liddell costume. All great. But then, above all others, there’s the eternally put-upon Jerry and his jump-scare-induced fart attack. What’s a fart attack? It’s all the fun of a normal, life-threatening myocardial infarction but with uncontrollable farts. Symptoms include: shortness of breath, agonizing pain radiating down the left arm, a feeling of pressure on the chest, and shame commingling with a deep existential absurdity. And to think, if Jerry had died here, we might never have learned whether his name is Jerry, Gary, or Larry. Actually, I guess we haven’t learned that yet. Anyway, fart attack.
Homestar Runner, “Malloween Commercial”
Emily Yoshida: There was a lot to love about the pre–social media meme empire Homestar Runner (see Todd VanDerWerff’s breakdown for more insight into its run as a prototypical Internet TV show), but everyone knew it really broke out the big guns during Halloween. And while it’s hard to beat Strong Sad as David Byrne in the pantheon of sitcom-character Halloween costumes, my favorite HSR bit, both spooky-themed and otherwise, will forever be this commercial for orange-and-black Malloweens.
Turns of phrase from this 1:44 Internet video clip that to this day I occasionally accidentally slip into, to dwindling recognition/comprehension because this was a Flash animation series from 2000 and oh god, that was 13 years ago, ugh:
- “I’ll scare your dad!”
- “Oh hello, little boy or little ghoul.”
- “A tidal wave of marshawade!”
- “I’m so goosed up, I’m swimmin’ in ’em!”
- “Stack ’em to the heavens, stack ’em to the heavens! I can write a song called ‘Stack ’Em to the Heavens’!”
- “WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT!?”
My So-Called Life, “Halloween”
Holly Anderson: For its brief time on earth, MSCL had a thing for holiday episodes with supernatural tinges (see Juliana Hatfield’s mop-headed turn as a scruffy messenger from the beyond in the Christmas hour “So-Called Angels”), but only “Halloween” featured Rayanne shaving her legs in the school bathroom sink in a vampire costume while a fellow student lectured her about clogged drains.
The entire episode’s available on Hulu, and it bombards viewers with all of the following: an urban legend about a greaser falling from the gym rafters on Halloween night and impaling his face on a spike-heeled shoe, a major character being startled by a science-class skeleton, a double-scream-take, a haunted textbook, a haunted flower, maybe also a haunted mohair cardigan, a mysterious wind ruffling pages of a book, ghosts of greasers’ girlfriends past who may actually still be alive, and Rayanne inexplicably not turning into a bat and flapping away into nothingness when she twirls her cape around herself. The pivotal scene, shown in the above clip, involves Angela encountering the greaser-ghost and imploring him to steer clear of the choices that led him to his doom thirtysomething years ago, which is all a pretty dramatic parallel for Jordan repeatedly cutting English. Also: Rickie dressing as Brian Krakow for Halloween!
New Girl, “Halloween”
Patricia Lee: I am terrified of all things scary and bone-chilling, and have stepped into a haunted house exactly two times in my life. Nick is my hero.
The Simpsons, “Treehouse of Horror VII”
Dan Fierman: “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”
Home Improvement, “Haunting of Taylor House”
Bryan Curtis: Your Home Improvement costume lineup card:
Tim: Zombie Mother-in-Law
Jill: Giant Carrot
Brother no. 1: Raggedy Andy
JTT: Headless Body
Brother no. 3: Ghoul
Al: Severed Head
Subject for later discussion: Home Improvement was actually pretty clever, right? Those little animated bits between segments; the show-within-a-show; the innovative camera work. The show also had a noble commitment to Halloween specials. I’d watch ’em and wish I lived with the Taylors, but maybe that’s just me.
Happy Endings, “Sabado Free-Gante”
Andy Greenwald: I miss Happy Endings all the time: on subway platforms and elevators, when eating breakfast, when making dinner, and when freaking a tiny, rapping Santa Claus. But on Halloween there’s a particularly bittersweet note to my pining. Because while it may have seemed impossible for the show’s crack (cracked?) writing staff to top last year’s costume masterpiece — the gang as “marionette Jackson 5 — with Dave as La Toya — I kind of think they would have pulled it off. Even in unjust death, Happy Endings is basically the funniest thing on TV. Even if said TV only exists in my fevered, holiday-themed imagination.
South Park, “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery”
Zach Dionne: Twelve-year-old me’s favorite band premiering a new single on 12-year-old me’s favorite show? More than enough to leave a big, beautiful memory stain. Have I rewatched it to see if it holds up? I’m rewatching it right here, buddy — in my heart.
A Disney Halloween
Rembert Browne: This is just the best thing that exists. Ninety minutes of spooky gold, made up of dastardly clips from Fantasia, The Sword in the Stone, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, The Rescuers, and more. And timeless cameos from Mickey, Goofy, Donald, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Pluto. Who’s the host? Occasionally an offscreen narrator, but other times it’s the Magic Mirror from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And does it begin and end with the skeleton dance?
Why, of course it does.
Advice for how to best consume this relic? Watch on your own, alone, as I just did, and then for your Halloween party, project on the wall, muted. It makes for a phenomenal party backdrop. Especially that skeleton dance.
30 Rock, “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”
Andrew Sharp: Sarah Larimer selected this for a HOF last year, but it needs to be included again because it’s untouchable. And also because I’ve had this stuck in my head for 10 days now, and it’s important to say that out loud. Spoooooky, scary. Cooooky, hairy. The eight-foot sub at the Larchmont Country Club. Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves.
Every other TV show is fighting for second.
Recap: ‘The Conners’ costume debate continues a ‘Roseanne’ Halloween tradition
Political correctness was the big fright in Tuesday’s Halloween installment of ABC’s “The Conners,” as just about any costume chosen for Mark’s school carnival was deemed off limits.
The episode, “There Won’t Be Blood,” continued the long-running “Roseanne” tradition of Halloween episodes without Roseanne, whose character died when “The Conners” rose from the ashes of the canceled sitcom revival.
The costumes were fun: Roseanne’s husband Dan was dressed as Napoleon Blown-apart; her sister, Jackie. as a disemboweled cheerleader; Darlene’s sister, Becky, as Shark-nade O’Connor; Darlene’s daughter, Harris, as Lizzie Boredom; and Roseanne’s granddaughter, Mary, as Scary J. Blige.
A debate over free expression and respect for others seemed a good fit, given the Conner tradition of in-your-face frankness, and it pitted Dan’s opposition to overly sensitive rules against daughter Darlene’s desire not to perpetuate offensive stereotypes.
More: ‘The Conners’ recap: What Johnny Galecki’s visit means for Darlene-David marriage
More: Matthew Broderick to join ‘The Conners’ as Laurie Metcalf’s on-screen love interest
Unfortunately, the snippy school principal was just a straw man – and not the frightening scarecrow kind – because his excessive rigidity turned a potentially intriguing argument into a big “Boo!” – again, not the scary kind. There are surely officious types who are that rule-bound, but they wouldn’t be any fun arguing with, either.
Mark (Ames McNamara) first dressed as a Fortnite character, but that was forbidden because it’s based on a violent video game and the school would not allow costumes that “perpetuate negative ethnic stereotypes or are scary, gory or anything that’s saddening.”
Mom Darlene (Sara Gilbert) was on board for the stereotype prohibition, but found “saddening” a bit too broad. “Our whole family is saddening. Does that mean we can’t go out anymore?” she asked, dropping one of the episode’s funnier lines.
Mark’s solution was to dress as a woman he admired, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo: “Presenting one of the great artists of the 20th century!” He showed off his outfit to his proud mother and and grandfather, Dan (John Goodman), who had said he and his late wife, Roseanne, would have fought the school over what he termed “P.C. crap.”
More: How ‘The Conners’ moves on without fierce (and fired) matriarch Roseanne
Unfortunately, Mark’s Frida didn’t pass muster, either, as the principal rejected the costume “because it falls under cultural appropriation.”
“No, it’s cultural appreciation,” Darlene said. “He loves Frida Kahlo.”
“He has not experienced what a person of that ethnicity has experienced,” the principal said. “Therefore, he does not have a legitimate entitlement to use or wear any element of their ethnic identity.”
When Darlene and Mark returned home, she explained the situation to her less sensitive father. “You were still mostly wrong, but this guy was mostly wrong, too. So, what have we learned? Men are wrong.”
“Uh, Mom, I’m a man,” Mark said.
“Yes, you are, son. Welcome to Wrong Island,” Dan responded, clearly knowing his place.
More: Review: ‘The Conners’ lacks Roseanne’s bite but provides a satisfying meal
More: ‘The Conners’ reveals how the show kills off Roseanne – and fired Roseanne Barr responds
Earlier, Dan hosted a Halloween gathering at the Conner home, which featured a guest appearance by Matthew Broderick as Jackie’s love interest, Peter, a snobby, overeducated type immediately disliked by Dan.
Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) asked Dan for his assessment, saying Roseanne used to steer her away from big romantic mistakes.
“He does seem to know a lot and he’s not shy about sharing it,” Dan started. Then: “He’s the kind of guy that even though you haven’t spent much time with him, you feel like you’ve spent a lot of time with him.” Finally, the coup de grace: “I think I might hate him, but I really need more time.” This Dan-Peter acrimony could work out well if Broderick returns.
The Conner’s Muslim neighbors, introduced during last season’s “Roseanne” revival, stopped by the party at Dan’s invitation, with reservations.
“We weren’t so thrilled about Halloween, because last year you people vandalized us,” one said.
Dan had a ready answer. “We did that to everybody. We talked about not doing your house, but we thought you might feel discriminated against,” he said.
Welcome to the Conners’ neighborhood.
“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” makes its long-awaited debut on Netflix Oct. 26, just before Halloween, with Kiernan Shipka in the title role. The series is just the latest in scary shows to grace television. Here are a few of our other favorite spooky shows. Netflix Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” based on a 1959 novel, follows a family who once lived in an old mansion that may be haunted. The series stars Michiel Huisman and Timothy Hutton. Netflix “The Walking Dead,” based on the graphic novels, follows a group of survivors who are struggling in a world overrun by zombies. The series, starring Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln, is currently in its ninth season on AMC. Jackson Lee Davis, AMC Liv Moore (Rose McIver) eats the brains of corpses to help solve their murders on CW’s “iZombie.” The show is based on a comic book series. Bettina Strauss, THE CW FX’s anthology horror series “American Horror Story” is in its eighth season, with Sarah Paulson returning in a lead role. Each season, the show tackles new eras or new places while maintaining a high spooky factor. Kurt Iswarienko, FX A small town experiences supernatural events after the disappearance of a boy in Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” The series, set in the 1980s, follows the family and friends of the missing boy has the try to uncover the truth about his disappearance. Netflix “Supernatural” has become a stalwart on CW with its 14th season debuting this month. The series follows two brothers — Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) — who hunt demons and ghosts with the help of the angel Castiel (Misha Collins). Dean Buscher, The CW “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which lasted for seven seasons on the UPN and WB networks, followed high school student Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who is destined to be a vampire killer. Richard Cartwright, The WB The classic “The Twilight Zone,” created by Rod Sterling, presented standalone episodes featuring the supernatural and scary. The episode “Eye of the Beholder,” featured Donna Douglas as a woman who undergoes surgery to look “normal.” CBS via Getty Images Set decades after the “Evil Dead” movie franchise, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) is once again called upon to save humanity in Starz’ “Ash vs. Evil Dead.” Matt Klitscher, Starz Entertainm Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev and Matt Davis starred in the CW series “The Vampire Diaries” about a group of vampires who have to face threats in a small town in Virginia. Bob Mahoney, The CW The strange circumstances surrrounding the disappearance of children from a small town are investigated in “Dark.” The German-language series, which starred Louis Hofmann, has been renewed by Netflix for a second season. Netflix Tobias Menzies and Ciarán Hinds starred as Royal Navy leaders on “The Terror.” The AMC series, based on the 2007 novel, examines the circumstances surrounding a lost Arctic expedition in the 1840s. Aidan Monaghan, AMC The HBO horror series “Tales From the Crypt” featured the Crypt Keeper as host of the creepy anthology show, which ran for seven seasons. CLIFF LIPSON, HBO A young drawing teacher (Ben Hardy) encounters a woman on a moonlit road, and their meeting draws him into a web of lies, love and family intrigue in PBS’s “The Woman in White.” Steffan Hill, Origin Pictures Based on Aaron Mahnke’s popular podcast, Amazon’s anthology series “Lore” tells real-life scary stories, and has attracted stars such as Robert Patrick for the series. Curtis Baker, Amazon Michael Raymond-James, Paul Wesley and Dorian Missick star in CBS All Access’ “Tell Me A Story.” The series, streaming Oct. 31, twists traditional fairy tales into a thriller about murder and revenge. Michael Parmelee, CBS
Interested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:
Replay Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last Slide
Tricks or Treats: Celebrating 30 Years of ‘Roseanne’ Halloween Episodes
Some families have Christmas, and others have Easter. Friends had Thanksgiving. But no TV family has ever done Halloween like the Conners. This week marks 30 years since the first Halloween episode of Roseanne aired back in 1989. And in the three decades since, nobody else has come close to touching the legacy of Halloween on Roseanne.
Other television series might have featured Halloween in the past, but Roseanne certainly invented the Halloween TV episode as we know it. In the 21st century, almost everyone has done Halloween—from Modern Family, to The Big Bang Theory, and even Desperate Housewives. But arguably none of that would have existed if it weren’t for the Conners’ elaborately planned spectacles at scaring each other on the spookiest day of the year. “For a while, they refused to let us have a Halloween episode, because they said the Bible Belt doesn’t like Halloween, that they think it’s satanic, so they didn’t want it on ABC,” Roseanne Barr told Yahoo TV in 2014. “And we’re like, ‘Are you crazy? People trick-or-treat, you know. It’s a big holiday.’ They were very kind of fundamentalist about it, but you know, that was the first dragon we slayed on the Roseanne show.” And it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Barr also shared in the video commentary on the DVD release of the series’ Halloween episodes that the only reason she wanted to get into television was to break all the rules of television—and there’s no doubt she accomplished that and more, in the best and worst ways possible.
Roseanne’s first Halloween episode, “BOO!”, was the seventh episode of the series’ second season and first aired on October 31, 1989. It set the standard for a Halloween celebration like no other that would continue for every year the show was on the air. And while it might not have seemed unordinary for a family sitcom to celebrate Halloween, regardless of religious objections, Halloween on Roseanne became revolutionary because they did it like nobody else ever had—just like the rest of the show. The Conners were just like you, and not ashamed to show it. They were unabashedly unpolished. They were overweight junk food eaters. They belched and bellowed, and fought over the TV remote. They struggled to make ends meet and occasionally had their power shut off (John Goodman often joked that the Conners were poor because they spent all of their money on Halloween). Their kids fought with their parents, and vice versa. Nothing was ever solved into a happily ever after by the final commercial break—but there was always impeccable writing and Roseanne’s signature wit, brash sarcasm, and comedic timing to relieve the tension. It’s no surprise they brought all of that and more to their Halloween episodes, and in fact, it was on Halloween when Roseanne did what Roseanne did best: break the rules, and make us laugh about it.
Dan and Roseanne trying to outdo one another by scaring each other would become a staple of the Halloween episodes. John Pasquin, who directed every episode of Roseanne’s second season, remembered the couple’s “one-upsmanship” as his favorite part of the Halloween episodes, particularly from that first one from 1989. “This is the kind of thing that actually does go on in your household when you have a couple who is playful, just trying to get the better of your mate,” he said. “That was such a nice through-line, apart from all of the dressing up, and the makeup and the hair and all that stuff… a couple really just having fun and trumping each other.” In “BOO!”, Dan and Roseanne quip back and forth at who is “the master” at scaring the other. Although they both play a good game, it is Roseanne who emerges victorious—setting a precedent for every other aspect of the series—by faking a phone call with her mother in the episode’s final moments, saying they are coming to stay with them indefinitely. Dan’s immediate panic leads him to bow in gratitude at the prank. Roseanne, despite her faults, will always be the Master of Halloween.
Like any cultural text from decades ago, we might also argue some aspects of Roseanne’s Halloween celebrations have not, what we call, “aged well.” But on the other hand, considering the social context in which they originally aired—the American working-class in the Midwest, late eighties and the nineties—it was Roseanne’s daring social commentary that grew more ambitious as the show went on that propels the Halloween episodes to the forefront of why Roseanne, as a whole, was groundbreaking. A key example is “Trick or Treat,” the show’s second attempt at Halloween in its third season, that remains relevant in the social progression of American popular culture. The episode begins with Dan playing poker with his buddies at the Conners’ kitchen table, a common occurrence throughout the series. These poker games were often portrayals of stereotypical patriarch activity, the act of the male of the household “blowing off steam” or “doing a man thing.” In “Trick or Treat,” the less than classy Arnie (Tom Arnold) tells his friends a story about mail-order brides, and the rest of the men continue a conversation that can only be described, by our modern standards, as “locker room talk.” The talk grinds to a halt when Roseanne and Jackie enter the kitchen, with Dan redirecting the conversation into something about tools. But the icing on the cake comes a mere moments later, when DJ (Michael Fishman) enters the scene in his Halloween costume, as a witch with a broom. Roseanne and Jackie are enthusiastic, but Dan immediately sends him upstairs in a panic before his friends see him. “Two daughters aren’t enough for you?” he asks Roseanne. “Witches are girls.” Roseanne, as only she can, breaks the tension perfectly in the episode’s best line. “This is the nineties, Dan. Witches are women.” The women see no issue with DJ’s costume and when Roseanne questions Dan on why he had no issue with Darlene (Sara Gilbert) dressing up as a pirate three times, Dan dismisses that costume as “cute” and insists that if they let DJ go out as a witch, he will come home with a bloody nose. It’s such an impeccably perfect textbook example of toxic masculinity that the cultural criticism basically writes itself. “DJ, instead of a witch, you wanna dress up like Madonna?”
This was not the first time that toxic masculinity and heteronormative gender norms were explored on Roseanne, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. After Dan convinces DJ to ditch his broom in an attempt to rebrand him as a warlock, he can’t shake a sense of guilt from preventing his son from being who he wanted to be. The episode didn’t solve Dan’s masculine panic, and no episode ever does, but this was 1990, and it did at least allow space for some understanding and forgiveness. Dan even pretends that Roseanne is his husband when, in a turn of events, Jackie and Roseanne end up stranded at the Lobo Lounge on Halloween and Roseanne takes her male lumberjack disguise a little too far. It makes me think of the time I dressed up as a witch with a broom as a child, fourteen years after this episode aired, as well as my own doubts and whether I should call myself a warlock instead. But my parents embraced my costume idea without hesitation, as they always did, and reminds me how far we have come with dismantling gender norms and heteronormativity—and how far we still have left to go.
It might not seem like much today, but Roseanne made social commentary regarding gender roles and toxic masculinity a mainstay in American primetime television, in an era before Ellen was cancelled or Will & Grace premiered. “Trick or Treat” wasn’t even the only Halloween episode to address such topics—“Skeleton in the Closet,” from the seventh season, not only continued to push boundaries but if anything showcased how far Roseanne had also progressed since season three (it also featured Roseanne Barr’s personal favorite costume, when she dressed up as Prince). That year’s Halloween celebration revolved around Leon (Martin Mull)—Roseanne’s former boss and later business partner, and an openly gay character—throwing a Halloween party at the Lunch Box, Roseanne and Jackie’s business in which he had bought a stake. It prompted most of the episode’s subtext to revolve around gay people in an attempt to provide a “they’re just like us” narrative, which ultimately doesn’t hold up against the multitude of homophobic jokes. Roseanne Barr originally added gay characters in the form of Leon and Nancy (Sandra Bernhard) to the series in an effort for representation, since she had gay siblings, but the plight for gays and lesbians to be seen on Roseanne was often lost in the context of the homophobia necessary for them to even be there in the first place. Nonetheless, they were there, and any publicity is in fact good publicity when it comes to sparking a conversation. In other words, Dan’s prank on Roseanne that year in which everyone leaves clues to convince Roseanne that Jackie’s husband Fred (Michael O’Keefe) might be gay might not still be funny in our modern context, and might not have “aged well.” But in 1994—when Ellen still wasn’t out yet and Will & Grace still didn’t exist—it was something. It was something that said gay people exist, even if Roseanne often made a joke out of them.
It would be difficult to even discuss the possibility that some of Roseanne’s Halloween episodes haven’t “aged well” when the current popular opinion suggests that Roseanne—the sitcom or the person—has certainly not aged well, either. I’m pretty sure merely the word Roseanne is still polarizing, given her current penchant for racism that lost her a lot of fans during the 2016 U.S. election as well as the highly successful revival of Roseanne, which aired for 9 episodes in 2018 before being unceremoniously cancelled after Barr made racist comments about Valerie Jarrett on Twitter. But it would be difficult to argue that Roseanne is only polarizing and one of the most hated people on the planet in the present, when back in the early nineties, she was also polarizing and one of the most hated people on the planet. Back then, she was overweight, rejected femininity, and said what she wanted. It worked in her favor when what she did and said pushed boundaries and allowed room for representation, but when she began turning her unruliness towards racism and bigotry, it was for many—at the very least—jarring and horrifying.
Perhaps the saving grace to ensuring Roseanne’s legacy, and especially that of its Halloween episodes, will be The Conners, the spin-off series that ABC rebranded the revival as after its cancellation (the series premiere effectively killed off Roseanne from an opioid overdose). The spin-off will take its second stab at Halloween this year, with an episode that sees Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) learning that a local Chinese restaurant is closing and seeing an opportunity to reopen the Lunch Box without her late sister. The Conners has already amused fans with a blast from the past earlier this season with a guest appearance by Meagan Fay, who played Roseanne’s neighbor Kathy during Roseanne’s fourth season—and who Dan and Roseanne play a particularly gruesome Halloween prank on in “Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down.” Last year, The Conners tried their hand at a Halloween episode that saw Darlene’s son Mark (Ames McNamara) grappling with a costume ban at his school, and the episode also introduced guest star Matthew Broderick as Jackie’s boyfriend Peter. It certainly wasn’t the same without Rosie, but the spin-off will have a second chance this week not only with Jackie’s blast from the past but also when DJ’s daughter Mary (Jayden Ray) gets upset when someone assumes she is adopted based on the color of her skin. The episode will air Tuesday, October 29 on ABC. The Conners might not have Roseanne’s loud-mouthed wit or sarcasm (or, as of late, her racism) to break tension anymore, but the spin-off is still making excellent use of the social commentary, pushing of boundaries, and evidently celebrations of Halloween that Roseanne pioneered 30 years ago.