Roseanne, The Final Season: Episode 1

On September 17, 1996, Roseanne began it’s 9th and final season on ABC.  The series’ final episode aired May 20, 1997.  From now until May 20th, we’ll take you through each of the final 24 episodes of Roseanne, one by one, week by week.

When Roseanne entered Season 8, it began dipping in ratings and the show’s star and creator, Roseanne Barr, began making more daring creative decisions, which alienated some.  Over the years, the series developed a reputation for its rather ground breaking TV moments (such as one of the first gay kisses on TV, or the infamous marijuana and masturbation episodes) by handling real life issues that were realistic and thus, the public could relate.

Season 8 ended with Roseanne’s husband, Dan Conner, having a heart attack at their daughter Darlene’s wedding (the Conners have three other children: DJ, Becky, and baby Jerry Garcia).  After a brush with death, Roseanne became rather protective over her husband’s health and ultimately, an argument ensued in the Season 8 finale that caused a separation between Dan and Roseanne.

As a result, Season 9 opens with Roseanne in a state of depression at her sister Jackie’s house.  Dan has been incessant in trying to reach her but Roseanne refuses to speak to him.  Left to her own devices, Roseanne goes on a Nick@Nite binge and in every classic sitcom she sees herself and Dan replacing the main characters.  In the meantime, nearly every family member stops by to see Roseanne and tries to persuade her to go talk to Dan.  Roseanne, consumed with pride, refuses to speak to him and especially refuses to apologize.

What this episode does best (aside from the fantastic sitcom recreations) is help Roseanne realize some of her own errors in her marriage, as well as how much she and Dan being together means to the rest of the family.  Over the years, their relationship had served as an exemplar to everyone, friends and family alike, of a couple who withstood all life’s challenges, coming out unscathed, no matter what.  Never before had Roseanne and Dan’s marriage been so challenged.

The Conner family, and their family of viewers, waited with baited breath to see how this unprecedented story line would unfold.  Ironically, it is the “spiritual odyssey guided by Nick@Nite” that Roseanne experienced that ultimately persuaded her to take the plunge and go speak to Dan again.  In their conversation, Dan says, “Lets fix this; I know we can do it, we’ve always fixed things before.”  Roseanne’s response?: “I don’t know that.  It seems like we’ve always left ’em broken and ignored ’em.”

Ultimately, they make up, in one of the shows most serious and intense episodes.  Of course, it wouldn’t be Roseanne without a bit of that sarcastic, witty humor thrown in there.  One of the most exciting twists and cliffhangers in Roseanne history comes at the end of the episode, though, when Jackie frantically realizes that she and Roseanne have just won the 108 million dollar Illinois State Lottery. But you’ll have to wait until next week to find out what happens next…

Watch it all unfold in Season 9, Episode 1: “Call Waiting,” below:

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