Some Brief Thoughts On Why Roseanne Is Still Great in 2011

People usually think I’m kidding when I tell them Roseanne is my favorite show. Well, I’m not. In short, I like it because I think it’s funny, but so are a lot of things, and telling people I think it’s funny usually doesn’t motivate them to watch it (when it comes up. It’s not like I just go around telling people to watch Roseanne all the time). For whatever reason, most people under the age of 25 seem to place the idea of watching Roseanne in the same category as, I don’t know, watching Gigli on a loop while their parents audibly have sex in the next room. I don’t think this is justified. In fact, I think Roseanne portrays a source of relief from one of the biggest problems haunting the “MySpace Generation,” and is still a worthwhile show twenty years later.

The MySpace Generation (or group of people now coming out of college or whatever you want to call them) has been given a raw deal. On one hand, we grew up during the self-esteem craze, where every one of us probably has a closet full of trophies from a sport we sucked at. On top of that, the emergence of things like LiveJournal and MySpace provided a platform that made essentially everything about us falsely seem interesting and important. Further still, we grew up in the ‘90’s, when the economy was thriving and America still felt like the best country imaginable. I think a good number of people developed the idea that they were some kind of secret genius, and that things would somehow work out beautifully after college. Looking back, not many other alternatives were ever really emphasized.

Meanwhile, the economy fell apart and a harsh reality began to sink in. I’d go further into it, but I really don’t understand what happened on any significant or intelligible level. For all intents and purposes, a lot of people who were programmed to expect an unrealistically bright future are now un- or underemployed. These are some pretty cruel circumstances, and a lot of the MySpace Generation is scrambling. Understandably, a lot of feelings of shame and bitterness are developing amongst 20-somethings.

Then there’s Roseanne.  Roseanne is unique because, unlike most sitcoms, the drama comes from outside forces rather than wacky misunderstandings, or the stupidity of the characters. Other than DJ (f–k him), the members of the Connor nuclear family are both funny and notably intelligent. Unlike most of the MySpace Generation, Dan even has a set of marketable skills (with his motorcycle fixing and what not). Yet, the Connor family endeavors always seem to come up short; Dan’s entrepreneurial efforts always fall through, and Roseanne, who worked in some sort of sweatshop run by George Clooney in the first installment of the series, consistently bounces from one humiliating job to another.

Still, the characters never let their situation define them. Obviously the show is centered on blue-collar themes and elements (things like the hardships of living below the poverty line), but these aren’t what make it so endearing. Instead, what sells the show is the Connor family’s ability to stay vibrant and stay light (figuratively speaking… they’re pretty fat) through everything. In a similar situation where no one is quite getting theirs, the Connors display a more fun alternative than shame and bitterness. I think it’s really refreshing and great. Otherwise, it has great holiday episodes and John Goodman is always good for a few yucks, but that stuff is harder to write about. TC mark

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  • Jlawless329

    I actually just watched the entirety of Roseanne on Netflix and absolutely loved it. Just brilliant, and thank you for affirming my choice of how to ration my time.

  • melis

    i still dvr it when i can! one of my favorite shows of all times. love the seasons up until they win the lottery. after that, it’s all downhill for me lol

  • mp90909

    Is it bad that I love The Cosby Show more than most shows I watch today?

  • Nick

    I’m not usually much of a grammar nazi but the phrase is ‘intents and purposes’ not ‘intensive purposes.’ Come on. You’re a writer.

    • Stephen Peters

      whoops! good call

    • 8765432

      ah, you tipped off that edit? i was going to quote one thing form the article. that one thing being, “for all intents and purposes…” as it is probably the first time many people have heard/read that correctly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    I woke up around 5:30 this morning to prepare for an interview and was surprised to find it on TV…I watched it, and, yes, it’s still endearing.  Their decor is absolutely hideous, though.  It looks like they went on a shopping spree at Savers. 

  • Matt

    I thought I was the person, or nearly the only person, in his/her twenties that still watched this show.  It isn’t my favorite show, but I watched it a ton of nights in my dorm room before I passed out from exhaustion.

  • Burger King

    This article sucked and just scratches the surface of literally every issue you discussed on a basic level, but that doesn’t take away from the 100% truth that “Roseanne” is still incredible.

    • A67f345jk

      you’re really mean.

  • Nick

    This article was actually pretty good and had a lot of potential right up until you started talking about roseanne.

  • Kate

    roseanne is also awesome because she called for the beheading of bankers and wealthiest Americans.  a little over the top, yes, and i’m assuming she wasn’t completely serious, but at least she’s (somewhat) politically active.
    and yeah, the show. that’s good too.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

    I love this show, mostly for the reasons you mentioned.
    Glad I’m not the only one our age!

  • Rache

    yeah!i hated dj…and what about that time jackie and dan said the kids were losers?everyone just let it blow over.god,i hate jackie,dj and dan.and darlene was too good for david!!!

  • jumparound

    Roseanne’s Nuts!

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    “On top of that, the emergence of things like LiveJournal and MySpace provided a platform that made essentially everything about us falsely seem interesting and important. Further still, we grew up in the ‘90’s, when the economy was thriving and America still felt like the best country imaginable. I think a good number of people developed the idea that they were some kind of secret genius, and that things would somehow work out beautifully after college. Looking back, not many other alternatives were ever really emphasized.”

    I think you just perfectly summarized the lives of everyone age 18-25 in the US in four sentences. You’re good – like, really good.

  • guest

    Every time I mention casually that Roseanne is a great show to anyone in my peer group (28-32), everyone agrees with me!  Darlene was my favorite character too, especially for that poem she wrote that won the poetry contest, “To Whom It Concerns” www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCM-sAkjssE .

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198922828 Marianna Elvira

      That was one of my favourite moments.

  • guest

    Every time I mention casually that Roseanne is a great show to anyone in my peer group (28-32), everyone agrees with me!  Darlene was my favorite character too, especially for that poem she wrote that won the poetry contest, “To Whom It Concerns” www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCM-sAkjssE .

  • meg

    Love this

  • GirlyGirl

    I will always love this show. People look at me crazy when I say this is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. They’d expect me to watch something silly like Gossip Girl. It’s mainly because I come off as aloof.

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