It may be 2018, but these days it’s like time in TV Land is standing still. Maybe that’s why shows like Will & Grace, Dynasty, and even Cagney & Lacey are making big comebacks. And while those reboots are all fine and dandy, we only have eyes for one re-imagined show this week, and that’s the highly anticipated return of Roseanne.
Yup, Roseanne Barr and her big laugh, biting remarks and zingy one-liners are back — and after having seen the pilot (#workperks), it’s as though we never left. From the opening credits to the return of beloved characters like Dan, Darlene, Jackie and Becky, everything about the first half hour reminded me of her old show… except it was updated in the most perfectly nostalgic way.
Let’s break it all down in this spoiler-free space, shall we?
These days rolling shots (a continued shot where the camera just keeps rolling) are all the trend thanks to shows like 19-2 and True Detective. But to this day the original opening of Roseanne is still one of my favourites. The entire family sat at the dinner table, passing food and chatting in a circular shot that showed all of the cast members in their happy places, before the camera panned back to Roseanne and ended with her great, big laugh. Sure enough, the intro to this reboot is much of the same, except now the family is a little larger. No worries though — that laugh is also as large as ever.
If you expected Dan and Roseanne to have updated their clothing in the past thirty years, well you’ve got another thing coming. Checkered plaid and soft paisley is obviously still in when it comes to the Connor household, although to be honest I’m not sure that plaid, at least, ever left. Think about it: this family never had a lot of money to spend in the first place, so it’s kind of fitting that they’re still sporting the same attire.
Oh, the couch… don’t we all remember the couch? It’s obviously back, and it’s just as kitschy as ever. Sure, having the set piece back for the reboot makes perfect nostalgic sense, but can I just point out how weird it is that they still have the same piece of furniture after so many years? Like, I wish my couch — or the signature granny square blanket covering it — would hold up for 30-plus years without buckling or breaking.
Becky and Darlene and D.J. may be all grown up, but that doesn’t mean their characters have matured much. Sure, two of the three of them now have kids of their own, but they’re still relying on their parents far too much and don’t seem to have progressed much in life. That stunted growth is exactly why they’re able to participate in this reboot without too many questions asked, and believe me when I say that it only adds to the overall nostalgic vibes.
Oh, Dan. It’s thanks to you that we’re able to realize just how much a manly man needs his solitude… not to mention a manly garage in which to have it. In the pilot when things get stressful Dan still retreats to his original man cave, and it’s like nothing has ever changed.
The financial struggles
One of the things that made this show really stand out back in its day was its uncanny ability to discuss money and the struggles that middle-class families deal with on a daily basis. Even though the Connors are older now, they remain an underrepresented section of families that aren’t often shown on television. That theme is very prominent in the pilot, as Dan and Roseanne trade the few pills they’re able to afford and talk politics from their corner of the world. Again, it’s like we never left.
Jackie versus Roseanne
It wouldn’t be Roseanne without a sisterly feud to bank on. When we return to this world Jackie and Roseanne haven’t spoken for a few years thanks to their political differences. But while the issues they’re sparring over are updated to reflect what’s going on in America today, the overall vibes the sisters give off and the way they fight make me feel as though it’s 1988 all over again.
Most of the time when a show tries to re-launch decades after its original run, producers don’t always get everyone back on board (here’s looking at you, Full House). That is far from the case with Roseanne. Dan is back from the dead and even both Beckys (Alicia Goranson and Canadian Sarah Chalke) are on board. We won’t give away how, of course, because that would be too spoilery. But having that full cast on board means that all of the original characters and stories can pick up where they left off, meaning viewers will love this new incarnation just as much as the original.
Trust me, by the end of the episode you’ll be clamouring for the next episode too.