Roseanne—Season 1

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Realistic stories, good cast

A bit dated, Roseanne Barr isn't for everyone


Introducing Roseanne…the everywoman

Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) has a busy life.  Working days at Wellman Plastics with her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and her friend Crystal (Natalie West), Roseanne comes home to a crowded house with her children DJ (Michael Fishman), Darlene (Sara Gilbert), and Becky (Lecy Goranson) and her contractor husband Dan (John Goodman).  Roseanne and Dan must face the struggles of daily life while keeping a positive spin on things…but change is inevitable and the bills must be paid.


Swing by the house!

Roseanne—Season 1 aired from October 18, 1988 to May 2, 1989 on ABC.  The series is frequently ranked as one of the all-time classic comedies and the season was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics (for “I’ll Never Change My Mind” in “Radio Days”), Outstanding Art Direction for a Series (“Lover’s Lanes”), Outstanding Editing for a Series—Multi-Camera Production (“Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore”), and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (John Goodman).

Roseanne was a bit of a revolutionary series, but it did rub people the wrong way.  The rather abrasive nature of the family might have had more realism, but when The Cosby Show ruled the airwaves, a family like the Conners where the kids back-talked as much as the parents was not seen as a “positive family portrayal” by many.


That’s right…I’m charming!

This was the changing attitude in TV however.  Roseanne and Dan Conner were a step above Peg and Al Bundy but more akin to Homer and Marge Simpson.  The basic idea is that despite their squawking, the Conners, the Simpsons, and the Bundys did love each other and ended up always doing the right thing.

The series also was blue-collar.  The character had bill problems and never could get ahead.  When Darlene has appendicitis, an insurance concern is big problem.  Overtime, childcare, and quotas are big concerns and this is a difference from something like the Huxtables who never really worried about money (despite living in a fantastic house in New York City).


Ahhh…The original DJ and his love of pies

The other thing about the series is that the cast works so well.  Both Roseanne Barr and Dan Goodman make perfect parents who don’t want to grow up and Laurie Metcalf has the perfect sister relationship.  Sara Gilbert has comic timing, but Lecy Goranson sometimes struggles (but I do love her “Mother” moaning).  DJ is played by two actors in this season.  Michael Fishman replaced Sal Barone as DJ after the pilot due to Barone’s mother’s decision that she didn’t like how Barone was interacting with Sara Gilbert.  George Clooney followed up his Facts of Life time with Roseanne as Roseanne’s boss (who was later replaced by future senator Fred Thompson for the season finale).  Ned Beatty plays Dan’s father Ed and Roseanne’s parents were played by Estelle Parsons and John Randolph (though Randolph’s character later became an abuser after his “death” in later seasons).

Roseanne is a comedy of the period, but it does still hold up mostly due to the relationship between Dan and Roseanne.  This season has less kid storylines and mostly featured stories featuring the adult characters.  Roseanne really was a good series…of course it did end up going down in flames, but you can enjoy these early seasons (plus cheap “The Whole Series” prices give you the later seasons for free).

Roseanne—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:


“Life and Stuff”

1.1       Life and Stuff Airdate:  10/18/88

Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) finds herself rushing through life and dealing with a busted backpack from her daughter Becky (Lecy Goranson), a barking problem at school from Darlene (Sara Gilbert), and pie theft from her youngest DJ (Sal Barone) while balancing her job at Wellman Plastics with her sister Jackie Harris (Laurie Metcalf) and her friend Crystal Anderson (Natalie West) under the watchful eyes of her boss Booker (George Clooney).  When Roseanne finds that her husband Dan (John Goodman) had a day off as she rushed around, Roseanne finds this to be a problem.


“We’re in the Money”

1.2       We’re in the Money Airdate:  10/25/88

When Dan gets a $500 advance on a drywall job, Roseanne and Dan must decide if they want to do the right thing and catch-up on bills or buy some much wanted luxury items that they normally can’t afford.



1.3       D-I-V-O-R-C-E Airdate:  11/01/88

Date night at a fancy restaurant leaves Dan and Roseanne questioning their future when they run into one of their friends who has just gotten a divorce.  Becky finds herself in charge of the house when Jackie is late to show up to babysit.


“Language Lessons”

1.4       Language Lessons Airdate:  11/22/88

Dan tries to find work and grows frustrated when Jackie is forced to move in for a few days.  Darlene finds herself failing history and tries to finish a castle for extra credit…which DJ (Michael Fishman) wrecks.


“Radio Days”

1.5       Radio Days Airdate:  11/29/88

Roseanne convinces Dan to try to enter a country music station’s radio contest for an original song, and Dan turns to her old poetry for inspiration.  Jackie and Booker try to hide their relationship from the people at the plant.


“Lovers’ Lane”

1.6       Lovers’ Lane Airdate:  12/06/88

It’s Friday night and Roseanne has convinced her friends from the factory to go bowling with her family.  When Jackie and Booker make a bet, a high score could send Jackie home with Booker for the night.  Becky tries to talk to a boy she likes who works at the alley and worries her parents will ruin it.


“The Memory Game”

1.7       The Memory Game Airdate:  12/13/88

Roseanne and Dan’s class reunion is coming up, and Dan is pushing for a family photo for the program.  When Jackie accidentally reveals an indiscretion by Dan during a high school break-up with Roseanne, Roseanne finds she feels betrayed.


“Here’s to Good Friends”

1.8       Here’s to Good Friends Airdate:  12/20/88

Roseanne and Jackie take out Crystal to cheer her up when her boyfriend dumps her, and Jackie finds Booker out on a date.  Dan is left at home with the kids and has to enforce Roseanne’s rules.


“Dan’s Birthday”

1.9       Dan’s Birthday Bash Airdate:  01/03/89

Dan is celebrating his birthday…when he has to back down from a fight at the bar, Dan wonders if age is changing him.  Becky finds herself worried as she goes on her first date.



1.10     Saturday Airdate:  01/10/89

Dan bets Roseanne that he can fix his car, and Roseanne takes up the bet.  Dan’s friend Dwight (William Sadler) reveals that he has a crush on Jackie…despite Roseanne’s misgivings.


“Canoga Time”

1.11     Canoga Time Airdate:  01/17/89

Roseanne and Dan prepare for a rummage sale.  Jackie and Booker prepare for their first date, but Booker stands her up.  Darlene gets a D in History and enlists Becky to try to help her cover for it.


“The Monday Thru Friday Show”

1.12     The Monday Thru Friday Show Airdate:  01/24/89

Roseanne and Dan decide to take the honeymoon they never had.  Darlene finds her first job as a paper delivery person is harder than she thought.


“Bridge Over Troubled Sonny”

1.13     Bridge Over Troubled Sonny Airdate:  01/31/89

When Jackie drives Crystal over the bridge where he husband Sonny died, Crystal decides she doesn’t belong with anyone but Sonny…but Dan and Roseanne wonder how they can tell her that Sonny was a cheat.  Darlene decides to take up smoking.


“Father’s Day”

1.14     Father’s Day Airdate:  02/07/89

Dan’s father Ed Conner (Ned Beatty) is coming to visit…much to Dan’s dismay.


“Nightmare on Oak Street”

1.15     Nightmare on Oak Street Airdate:  02/14/89

When Darlene gets her first period, Dan and Roseanne try to find a way to talk to her about it.


“Mall Story”

1.16     Mall Story Airdate:  02/21/89

A family trip to the mall ends with a day of arguing.  Dan is forced to go with D.J. to buy shoes as Roseanne and  Becky search for a dress for Becky’s dance.  Darlene tries to scam money, and Jackie questions if her life in Landford is a waste.


“Becky’s Choice”

1.17     Becky’s Choice Airdate:  02/28/89

Becky’s boyfriend Chip (Jared Rushton) and his parents are coming by for dinner.  Unfortunately, Becky’s set up another date with the tough guy Johnny Swanko (Tony Crane).


“The Slice of Life”

1.18     The Slice of Life Airdate:  03/07/89

Darlene needs an emergency appendectomy, and Dan and Roseanne worry that she won’t pull through the surgery.


“Workin’ Overtime”

1.19     Workin’ Overtime Airdate:  03/14/89

When Roseanne is forced to work mandatory overtime, tensions run high for the Conners.


“Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore”

1.20     Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore Airdate:  03/28/89

Tornados rip through Landford, and Roseanne, Dan, Darlene, DJ, Becky, Jackie, and Crystal batten down the hatches to wait out the storm.


“Death and Stuff”

1.21     Death and Stuff Airdate:  04/11/89

A travelling salesman (Jeff Corey) stops by the Conners’ home on a Sunday afternoon…but never leaves.  When Roseanne and Dan find the man dead in their kitchen, they must wait for the arrival of the coroner to get rid of the body.


“Dear Mom and Dad”

1.22     Dear Mom and Dad Airdate:  04/18/89

Roseanne’s parents Al (John Randolph) and Beverly (Estelle Parsons) have stopped by for a visit and caused hell between Dan, Roseanne, and Jackie…but worse news that they might be moving to Landford could be the breaking point.


“Let’s Call It Quits”

1.23     Let’s Call It Quits Airdate:  05/02/89

Booker’s is out at Wellman Plastics and his replacement Keith Faber (Fred Thompson) isn’t taking any attitude from Roseanne, Jackie, and Crystal.  As quotas keep raising, Roseanne might have to make a deal with the devil…or leave her job of eleven years.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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