The Cleavers they are not! Season one does a fantastic job of introducing the Conners, a middle-class family surviving paycheck to paycheck. Rosanne and Dan try their best to balance work and raising their 3 kids while trying to hold onto their sanity at the same time. Between making sure the kids don’t kill each other and complicated relationships with their parents, at times their only steps away from losing their minds.
The kids each get their time to shine especially Becky and Darlene. Dan struggles to adjust to how fast his daughters are growing up. Becky has her first romantic relationship and we get the first indication of her being a bit of a wild child when she starts seeing another guy on the side. Most of the time she comes across real bratty, but at 13 I guess that’s to be expected.
Darlene thinks her life is over when her period starts and thinks she has to give up sports and give up her Tomboy ways. I love how that episode was handled and that Roseanne told her that she doesn’t have to be like her sister or give up the the things that make her her in order to be a woman. The episode where she has appendicitis is great, but I thought it was very special episode dramatic. The same level of Randy Taylor might have cancer dramatic that felt very over the top, but I still enjoyed it. I mean I understand it was the eighties and there weren’t cell phones so not having a way to easily contact someone would make a situation scarier until you knew more about the situation, but I still think it was a bit melodramatic.
Roseanne’s sister Jackie is also a major part of the season. She’s often over at her sister’s doing laundry and babysitting the kids. She’s on the search for a man and some meaning in her life and often laments feeling trapped in their small town. She’s a great character and has some good storylines throughout the series as I go through my season by season reviews. The main focus on Jackie this season was a flirtatious Will they/Won’t they kinda relationship with her boss Booker played by a very young and unknown George Clooney. I liked it and wished it had gone on longer.
They did a great job balancing the serious moments and the funny moments this season. Whether it was finding the funny in the potential destruction of a tornado or the hilarity of trying to downplay that there was a corpse in their kitchen, Roseanne is really good at pulling the funny out of typically not-so-funny situations. A fantastic season from beginning to end!