I envy the person who has not seen this beloved classic. Truly one of the all-time greatest shows ever made, Season 4 was when "Roseanne" reached the zeneth of creative perfection; an amazing feat, considering the first three seasons were spectacular.
Many fans agree that seasons 4 and 5 contain the best set of episodes, not just for Roseanne, but for any sitcom period. With 20-plus episodes in each season, it's shocking that there simply isn't even a single dud in the bunch. EVERY single episode in seasons 4 and 5 play like mini-masterpieces, blending that trademark comedy and realistic drama like no other. Enjoy!!!
I was twelve years old when "Roseanne" came out, and vividly remember it having such a huge impact on my family, as well as society as a whole. For the first time, middle-class families could identify with characters on a sitcom, and enjoy real life issues and problems being handled with utmost care and realism.
What made "Roseanne" unique was its utter lack of vanity, superficiality, and unrealistic idealism. In the age of "The Cosby Show," and "Family Ties," Roseanne stormed in as an overweight, screaming mother who didn't always keep her house clean, didn't pay the bills on time, didn't always have the answer, and didn't keep her sexuality hidden. From the very first episode, viewers got to see a messy house, screaming kids who don't always listen, and parents who struggle with money, menial jobs, and weight issues. Finally, a real family on television! Can you think of another show where the female lead walks around the house with an xxx-large bright pink bathrobe, rollers in her hair, and can still be taken seriously? Whatever you might think of Roseanne personally (in terms of her public behavior), she never let it effect the quality of the show. The show benefited from WONDERFUL writing, a fantastic cast, and a pitch-perfect blend of comedy and drama. The show had some incredibly funny moments, combined with profoundly touching scenes that really played well on television; the show was never sappy, and stayed true to life. In my opinion, virtually every episode during seasons one through six, with rare exceptions, played out like thirty minute masterpieces. By seasons three and four, the show had reached perfection.
Roseanne acted her heart out on this show, and got better every year. She could always deliver a sarcastic one-liner like no other, but as the show progressed she managed the dramatic scenes with perfect accuracy. She managed to infuse her strong, sarcastic exterior with an incredible dose of heart and generosity. John Goodman had exceptional chemistry with Roseanne, and turned Dan into a hard-working, loving father that we all wish we could have. Laurie Metcalf's Jackie was, perhaps, the shows most complex character, and, in my opinion, the best actor of them all. She could take even mundane lines and turn them into hysterical comedy. Metcalf turned Jackie into a cool, sympathetic character you always wanted around. The sister relationship between Roseanne and Jackie was perhaps the most realistic ever portrayed on TV.
The kids of the show were also exceptional. I remember watching Darlene when I was a kid/teenager, and thinking "finally, a realistic depiction of a teenager." The iconic Darlene was a tomboy, depressed at times, and certainly not your typical happy, popular, beautifully perfect character. She had many challenges, emotions, and Gilbert pulled them all off with complete ease. Darlene was a hero to anybody who felt like they didn't fit in. Becky was the whiny, spoiled brat of the bunch, played beautifully by Lecy Garonson; she never hit a false note. Sarah Chalke, on the other hand, was sub par, and really should never have been cast as a replacement. Even DJ, the youngest of the bunch, had some incredible one-liners, and managed to be completely real.
Overall, this show goes down as a masterpiece; it's exactly what a TV show should be: Hysterically funny, profound, insightful, relevant, and, above all, completely entertaining.