Season three of Roseanne doesn't revolve around any particular overriding story arc, but the kids are definitely beginning to grow up. As in almost every season, there are quite a few changes taking place in all of the characters' lives, but the show's greatness mainly lies in the "real life" way that each situation is handled and in the raw emotions and interactions of the characters, not in the situations themselves.
"The Test" is a great season opener as Roseanne and her family wait for the outcome of her home pregnancy test. There are some precious moments, such as when DJ asks if he was an accident, and Roseanne tells him that he was a surprise, the difference being that "an accident is something that you wouldn't do over again if you had the chance, but a surprise is something you didn't even know you wanted until you got it." The girls show their selfish side, trying to make a case for not having the baby even before the test is complete. Becky goes as far as asking her mother "Don't you want me to go to college?".
The audience gets their first look at the late Glenn Quinn as rebel and smart-mouth Mark Healey in "Becky, Beds, and Boys". Mark doesn't even pretend to care what the Conners think when he shows up in a bar, obviously under-aged and the Conners see him there. His answer to their question of how he got in there when he is only 18 is that he has a piece of paper that says he is 21. Becky's concerned parents forbid her to see Mark anymore, but she keeps coming up with ways to see him anyway. I liked how Mark was portrayed in these early seasons when he was "Rebel Without a Cause" as opposed to the last three seasons when he was transformed into "Rebel Without a Clue". Mark and Becky are the cause of quite a bit of trouble, starting with "Her Boyfriend's Back", in which Mark and Becky take Dan's prize Harley out for a ride without telling him. This infuriates Dan who doesn't even bother punishing Becky - his hurt and anger are so deep that he just ignors her for days. Of course, this is far worse than any punishment he could have given her.
In the Halloween episode, DJ decides he wants to dress as a witch this year, and this has Dan very upset as he believes it might mean DJ is having trouble with his own gender identity. You see, Dan believes only girls should dress as witches. Meanwhile, Roseanne decides to find out what it's like to be one of the guys by dressing up in Dan's clothes. She then goes to the Lobo and enjoys conversing with a group of men there on a variety of subjects. You even see Roseanne trying to make conversation with "another" man at the urinal. Unfortunately, the restroom scene has been cut from most (if not all) syndicated showings of this episode. We also get another look at Crystal's desperation for male companionship as she shows an interest in Roseanne ( alias Bob) after "Bob" pays her some well placed compliments.
"PMS I Love You" is one of my all time favorites. Dan's birthday party collides with Roseanne's PMS, and she is on a rampage. Dan, being the guest of honor, must ride out the rollercoaster of his wife's emotions, including her blurting out to everyone present that he cried when he saw "Old Yeller". In one of those great moments that Dan and Jackie often have together, Dan vents to her privately about how his 39 years have been a blur and he wonders when will it be his turn, when does HE get to have HIS PMS?
Ned Beatty returns as Dan's father, although he is more subdued and less buffoonish than he was in season one when he was first introduced. Dan, however, is still somewhat contemptuous of his dad, and it doesn't make things any better when he finds out that his father is planning to marry one of Roseanne's friends. Matters go from bad to worse when he finds out why - the bride-to-be is pregnant. Dan fears that his new brother/sister will have the same kind of life he had as a child - a life with an unhappy mother and an absentee father who is always on the road.
The other plot developments include Jackie being injured and leaving the police force, Roseanne getting a job at Rodbell's, a diner in the mall, and Dan opening a motorcycle shop of his own. This is truly one of the best seasons of Roseanne, and I highly recommend it. I just wish that there were more extras and interviews in the DVD sets than we have been getting.