Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Roseanne - Season 6

-Choo-choo! That’s right, the Roseanne blog train of 2017 is still chugging with this entry covering season six (s6 excerpt)! If you missed previous editions, click here to get caught up. The goal is to hopefully wrap up all nine seasons by the end of the year just before Roseanne makes its long awaited return to ABC after an absence of just over 20 years! Onto the job roll call…

-Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Nancy (Sandra Bernhard) are still holding down the fort at their self-owned diner, The Lunchbox. However, the trio has enough of Roseanne & Jackie’s mom, Bev (Estelle Parsons) and talk her out of her ownership stake of the diner. Bev gets the last laugh though, as she sells her share to Roseanne’s former, antagonizing boss, Leon (Martin Mull). As I mentioned in prior blogs, I am a huge fan of Roseanne & Leon’s dynamic in season’s three and four, though now both are equal owners of the restaurant, but that does not change much of their awesome love/hate relationship that is a delight to indulge.

Dan (John Goodman) is running his own business though I am not quite sure what exactly it is. I recall towards the end of season five he picked up some work renovating houses that families move out of, so I am presuming he took that over and is now running it. The show does not really say, but there are a few episodes that have scenes of him at his office. He ends up hiring Mark (Glenn Quinn), who makes his return to the show several episodes into this season. Becky (now portrayed by Sarah Chalke) returns too and she picks up a job working at the Hooters knockoff, Bunz.

-So yeah, Becky and Mark are now back on the show. Before we get there though, as you recall at the end of season six Darlene (Sara Gilbert) decides to go to college in Chicago. Darlene moves there in the first episode of the season, but she is not taking a huge sabbatical from the show like Becky did, as Roseanne has episodes with Darlene phoning home semi-frequently, or Darlene visiting home every two or three episodes since she essentially lives a few hours away. Darlene is only absent from six or seven episodes this season. A few episodes into the season, David (Johnny Galecki) makes up a lie to move in with Darlene. That only lasts several episodes and the way it plays out is the awesome disaster I anticipated!

So for a few episodes it is just DJ (Michael Fishman) as the sole child living in the Conner household until Becky and Mark move back. I will not spoil the show’s explanation for it, as it seems the writers wanted a fresh mix of young’ns back in the Conner house and picked a random reason out of a hat. Regardless it is a blast to get Becky and Mark back in the mix. Sara Chalke is a fine replacement for Lecy Goranson. I recall watching the series as I grew up I was too naïve to realize she was replaced since a year and a half went by on the show without her. It seems the show does not want to overdo it on forcing Chalke in your face either as she is only a featured actor in a handful of episodes and is primarily in the background for most of her duration this season. Speaking of dialing it back, I am glad Darlene got dialed back more this season too, as the writers went overkill with the Darlene character in season five and she is a little less crass and not as reliant on cheesy-one liners as before.

-This is a big season for Jackie as she meets and hooks up with Dan’s coworker, Fred (Michael O’Keefe). Jackie winds up expecting after their one night stand, and watching the season unfold as Fred wanting to be supportive for Jackie, but Jackie trying to ignore Fred’s advances was fun to keep up with throughout the season and it led to an awesome payoff in the season finale. O’Keefe is a natural fit for the show and is perfect in portraying Fred. He won me over after just a couple of episodes with him.

-This season DJ finally gets to be more prominent for the first time throughout a season. He has several episodes with him in the forefront, and they are actually good! DJ joins a church group and constantly questions his family’s decisions, while in another episode the family finds out DJ has begun masturbation which culminates in Dan having a raucous heart-to-heart talk with his son! Finally, in a “special” episode Roseanne loses it and goes overboard punishing DJ and has an emotional scene with DJ apologizing for her actions in one of the most powerful scenes of the series by far.

-Speaking of “special” episodes, the show brought them full force this season with a two-parter involving Dan finding out that his mom is mentally disabled and has to move her into a mental hospital. These are the only two episodes this season that feature Crystal (Natalie West) and Dan’s father, Ed (Ned Beatty). Dan and Ed have a few intense/aggressive scenes which had a surprising resolution I did not see coming. Seeing the blowback from this and how it affected the whole family was very impactful to watch, and my hat is off to Barr and Goodman for delivering on some dramatic scenes to take in.

-On a lighter note, the writing for season six is easily my favorite for the entire series up until this point. Almost every episode has several moments where I found myself nodding along to another excellent line of dialogue. This is most apparent in the annual Thanksgiving/Halloween episodes both standing out as blowing away all other prior holiday shows from Roseanne. Instead of good-natured ‘spooky’ gags past Halloween shows relied on, this one is all about just trying to have the best prank, and the depths the family went to prank Roseanne this year and later on that show how Roseanne pranked Jackie had me losing it! Roseanne has constantly pushed the envelope each season with tackling controversial topics like homosexuality, child abuse, mental illness and they can add another one to the list with promoting pot as Dan and Roseanne rediscover their 20-year old stash in an unforgettable scene.

-Season six is the first of the DVDs to contain zero extra features so that will wrap up my take on this year of Roseane. This is a much-needed pick me up from the mixed results of season five, and ranks right up there as one of the best seasons of the show so far. Once again, I will give credit to the writers for delivering with a strong script throughout most of the season.

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
2016-17 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television

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