28 years ago today, the world first met Roseanne Conner. Producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, who had previously developed Mork & Mindy, Happy Days, and Soap, wanted to put a new spin on the middle class family sitcom by using a working mother as the show’s focal point. They had recently seen Roseanne Barr on The Tonight Show, loved her “in your face” voice, and offered her the job.
Let’s talk about the first episode, which for one, featured Sal Barone as D.J. The pilot was shot just before a long Writer’s Strike in 1988, and when the series went to production, Barone had grown several inches making him too big to play six-year-old D.J. Plus, Barone did not get along with actress Sara Gilbert, who played sister Darlene. So, they scrambled to quickly and quietly replace him with Michael Fishman.
D.J. wasn’t the only recast Conner child. Oldest daughter Becky was played by dueling actors, but these two frequently traded off. Lecy Goranson originated the character, but in the fifth season, she left for Vassar College, and could only appear part time. She was replaced by Sarah Chalke for the sixth and seventh seasons. Goranson returned for parts of the eighth season, and Chalke finished out the final season in the role. The writers loved to make light of the dueling Beckys, like in this future vision of D.J. in which he repeatedly claims, “They say she’s the same, but she’s not the same. They say she’s the same, but she’s not the same.”
You may also notice in the pilot that Jackie, Roseanne’s sister, looks a little different… The producers put her in a bad curly wig to look more like Roseanne, but really, they just made her look like she’s wearing a bad curly wig. However, George Clooney, who played their boss at the plastic factory, did not wear a wig and his bad hair was his own creation. He’s since fixed the problem.
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Tell us what you think! What was your favorite episode of Roseanne? Mine was the one where they find Roseanne’s stash and smoke it in the bathroom. Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or leave your comments below. And check out our host, Khail Anonymous, on Twitter.