Happy 25th Anniversary, 'Roseanne'! 25 Things You Didn't Know About the Classic Sitcom
Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman, Roseanne Barr, and Michael Fishman
It was on Oct. 18, 1988, 25 years ago, that "Roseanne" debuted, introducing viewers to the most relatable working-class family since the Kramdens and the Nortons tried to eke out a city living in "The Honeymooners."
"Roseanne," which was a hit for ABC right out of the gate, was also a boon for comedians — Roseanne started a streak of standups being offered their own network sitcoms — and for female-centric series. Much would be made of her offscreen behavior — the marriages and divorces, the warring with writers and producers (and the cast of another hit sitcom; see below), and that notorious national anthem performance — but Roseanne fought for smart, honest, groundbreaking storylines on her show, and for at least six seasons, that's what viewers got.
Gems like "PMS, I Love You," "Nightmare on Oak Street," "Inherit the Wind," "April Fool's Day," "Trick or Treat," and "Home-Ec" found Roseanne and the rest of the Conner clan hilariously dissecting everything from PMS, puberty, and flatulence to filing taxes, Halloween, and the budgetary wizardry necessary to run a family on a very small income. Both Roseanne and co-star Laurie Metcalf won Emmys for their performances, while male lead John Goodman, as Roseanne's husband, Dan, certainly should have racked up at least a few wins during the seven times he was nominated.
Despite its hit status, fine performances, and often-stellar writing, "Roseanne" never received an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy nod. But its place among TV's all-time great comedies is sealed, and we celebrate the show with this list of 25 things you didn't know about "Roseanne":
1. Oscar and Emmy winner Shelley Winters played Roseanne Conner's grandmother — Nana Mary — in 10 episodes of the series, and Roseanne said that having Winters on set was like getting a crash course in Hollywood history every time. "If she had only a line in the show, she would end up acting out an entire scene from an old classic she had been in, or else she would start telling sex stories of Hollywood, or else she would tell us secrets about Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys, as she had been Marilyn's roommate for a number of years," Roseanne wrote in her 2011 book, "Roseannearchy: Dispatches From the Nut Farm." "She did everything like that for hours. The only thing she didn't do is ever once say her line right. I loved that part. It was hilarious to me, and I enjoyed her so much."
2. Series co-creator Matt Williams — who famously feuded with Roseanne, prompting her to insist that he was the show's "developer," not creator — says the star and Goodman, who played Conner family patriarch Dan, slid into their roles in the audition. "We brought him in the room; he looked at Roseanne and said, 'Scoot over.' She said, 'Shut up,' he plopped down, and it was like they had been married for 16 years," Williams told Entertainment Weekly in 2008.