Monday, January 16, 2017

Roseanne - Season 2

It has been just a few months since my blog covering the first season of the ABC hit sitcom of the 90s, Roseanne, but I finally got around to cranking out the last few episodes of season two yesterday (s2 highlight montage). It wastes no time picking up where season one left off and it carries on the same vibe and feel of the show where the first season settled into. Like I mentioned in the previous blog, I am going to attempt to cover these seasons in a list format bouncing between the noteworthy highlights that stuck out to me. Here we go!

-First and foremost, Roseanne is still primarily about everyday life at home for a blue-collar family with a house full of kids attempting to persevere through hard times. All the episodes have a majority of the scenes transpire in the Connor household, and just like last season there is a few that happen exclusively at the Connor’s. This is a good thing! Something about this show that struck me this season that I do not get a feeling sticks out in most other shows of late is that the family members that are not the focus of a scene are not off to the side twiddling their thumbs, but consistently busy doing random everyday things like combing through the fridge and pantry, rounding up the dishes and taking care of countless loads of laundry. It is those little things that gave Roseanne a more authentic feel to me even all these years later watching the episodes for the first time since I was a kid.

The show retains that feeling I love about it that deals with the friendly hostility with family members that you want to strangle in one moment of a sibling/parent squabble, but then give a heartfelt hug to when they resolve their differences a few scenes later. Again, growing up with three siblings myself I can heavily relate to the lives of DJ (Michael Fishman), Becky (Alicia Granson) and Darlene (Sara Gilbert) who are once again raising hell around the home for Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman).

-I texted photos of an early episode this season to some of my siblings where the Connors get their very first VCR when Dan and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf)are scratching their heads at figuring out how to hook up the gizmo. My mom constantly has problems at programming her VCR to tape her soap operas, and usually once or twice a year for the past 15 years (yes, still to this day) I have to swing by and reprogram it for her. My siblings texted me back with a response that had me cracking up with how patient I was for her with the ‘ol VCR.

-A majority of this season Roseanne spends bouncing around jobs after she and Jackie quit the plastics factory in the season one finale. Roseanne starts off the season working at home for a magazine subscription service, but after that quickly fizzles out she attempts to ply her craft as a secretary, clerk at a fast food chicken joint and bartender before finally settling down in a steady job at a beauty salon for the last quarter of the season. I had no recollections of Roseanne working there either before, but she has a ton of funny quips with her coworkers there, but I got a feeling a few wisecracks that took place there would not fly in today’s era of major network primetime sitcoms.

-Jackie decides to join the police force shortly into this season. I do remember her as a police officer, but I want to say I also recall her and Roseanne both working at the Lanford Diner at some point in the series. Jackie continues to be the awesome aunt, and Metcalf is a natural at the role. Jackie gets some awesome episodes this season where she subs for Dan & Roseanne as the household mom when they are out of town, and then later on towards the end of the season when she gets her first serious boyfriend of the series.

-I got the feeling DJ was kind of got the shaft this season as he was barely noticeable in the background of most episodes and it seems like he somehow had far less lines than he did last season. Darlene and Becky both have a few episodes with them having key story arcs. Darlene is still the tomboy who loves sports and cracking wise around home and Becky is still all about trying to be the rebel who wants more freedom while her parents attempt to keep her in check. The earliest episode I had a vivid memory of happened this season where Becky had a friend over and they raided the liquor cabinet and had horrible hangovers the next day.

-The cast and crew had some unorthodox fourth wall breaking moments of the show in an episode where the Connors do their taxes. The moments took me for a loop since I did not see them coming as the Connors constantly rag about doing taxes and take plenty of potshots at the IRS and how befuddling all the tax laws are to understand. After that episode during the credits roll, John Goodman appears as himself stressing to the audience that he is merely an actor reciting his lines and that those lines are in no way his personal feelings about the IRS. Amazing material here as I no doubt got a feeling that some of the writers had to vent about some recent problems they had with the IRS and wanted to get some form of public revenge on them.

-My favorite episode of the season will go to “Fathers and Daughters” where Dan and Roseanne attempt to bond and spend time with the daughters they are less connected with. Becky is superb at wondering at what her dad is up to when he tries to make chit chat with her and take her to the mall while Darlene is just as puzzled when her mom attempts to watch a hoops game on TV and talk sports with her.

-Like last season there is a small smattering of extras tallying up to nearly a half hour. Highlights include nearly 10 minute interviews with John Goodman and Michael Fishman several years after the show concluded. It was kind of stunning to see DJ in his 20s here with a completely different voice and now a father and talking about watching himself grow up and explain his character to his kids. Both Goodman and Fishman have lots of love for their cast and crew members, and both interviews are worth checking out.

-Season 2 of Roseanne keeps up the same pace and is as enjoyable as the first season. Except this time you do not need several episodes for the cast and crew to work out the kinks and establish themselves as the entire cast is gelling right from the season opener. I am avoiding reading future season plot summaries and am eagerly anticipating when Darlene gets emo, DJ settles into the ‘weird kid’ role, and once Darlene and Becky’s main boyfriends become permanent fixtures on the show. See you next season!

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Vol 8
Angry Videogame Nerd Vol 7
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television

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