Roseanne: A Pioneer of Television

I like to believe I’m a funny person. If not, at least I amuse myself, but I seem to make people laugh. My goofiness, well… I owe that to my mother whose impersonation of Joe Piscopo inquiring “I’m from Joisey! You from Joisey?” always makes me laugh; the quick-wit, that has gotten me into trouble more times than I can count, definitely stems from my father; but the dark, sarcastic humour came from none other than Roseanne Barr. At the ripe age of nine, my parents banned me from watching her sitcom, Roseanne. So, naturally, I learned how to desaturate the image on my television screen to reduce the possibility of flashing and placed the volume on mute with subtitles in order to watch Nick @ Nite while my parents were sleeping. In the wee hours of the morning, Roseanne taught me the facts of life from PMS to owning a restaurant.

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As I grew up, I understood why they wanted to shield me from some of the content on the show — I didn’t realize half of the risque jokes or situations beforehand. Although she could be crude or vulgar, the truth of the matter was Roseanne resembled no other mother on television. She wasn’t June Cleaver or Mrs. Brady, Roseanne was herself. Her series revealed the flaws of parenthood and the struggles of a middle class family living in America from the perspective of a woman. Above all, her left-wing attitudes and feminist beliefs were instilled in my mind probably because I appreciated her humorous way of addressing heavier issues.

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Years later, YouTube came along and I had the pleasure of seeing Roseanne’s stand-up performances before she was a television star. Watch it, you’ll be forever grateful:

I know she’s off-putting. Her voice is nasally and she butchered our National Anthem, but I hope people can see that’s the point. She’s all about deconstructing beauty and showing there’s something more to value than vanity, money, and idolizing our home country. Roseanne is not every man or woman’s cup of tea, nor is she suitable for children (haha!) but I think it’s obvious the formula she translated from stand-up to sitcom touched the lives of viewers who kept her show on the air for nine seasons.

So, why the fangirl post about Roseanne? I have the privilege of announcing the return of Pioneers of Television on Panhandle PBS this Tuesday @ 7PM, guest starring Roseanne Barr and many others who rest in their laurels of 90s sitcoms! Pioneers of Television is one of my favourite programs aired and you don’t want to miss it. In the meantime, why don’t you find out which Pioneer of Television best resembles you in this quiz?

As always, stay tuned for a double take..

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