I can’t even describe how much affection I have for the old sitcom Roseanne. You can have your Huxtables, your Bankses, your Tanners… just give me my Connors.
The reason I love this family show the most is that it’s always struck me as the most realistic and relatable. On Full House someone once drove a car through the kitchen wall, and no one barely yelled. The Huxtables would enact elaborate roleplays to teach Theo the perils of moving out on his own at 16 instead of just telling him to go to his room and shut up. And the Bankses, well, they lived in Bel Air. Let’s get real, none of these ever reminded me of my family. The Connors yelled at each other, they were surly, they had money problems, they were decidedly un-glamorous.
I’d guess almost all of my family members would bristle to know these characters remind me of them, but to me it’s no insult. Brigitte, like Roseanne, is the alpha dog of the family, and Bill just tries to stay out of trouble like Dan. I even have a cool single aunt who was a cop, just like Aunt Jackie! Then there’s the sisters – I don’t think me and Allison ever fought like Darlene and Becky, but their big sister/little sister dynamic feels familiar. Becky is older and cooler and seems to do things right, and at least for a number of years Darlene is the wise-ass and the “offbeat” one. I don’t have a brother, so DJ’s just a freebie, but I can live with that.
There is yelling, oh, is there yelling… but it’s generally not mean-spirited, but simply the everyday language through which we communicate. And despite it, Roseanne still seems to me like the best TV mom – funny and sassy and truly caring, even when her kids drive her absolutely nuts; she’s a TV mom I can buy into. Sorry, Lorelai Gilmore, but for every witty banter me and my mom share there’s a wicked bicker. What Brigitte has never appreciated about this comparison is how sympathetic Roseanne has made me to the plight of the mother. It’s easy to get why Darlene is miffed, but I usually find myself siding with the matriarch, and in turn seeing things from my own mother’s perspective.
Even as they read this, various family members are probably revolted at their Roseanne analogs, but I suppose it’s just a matter of opinion. Viva Connors.