A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series takes a comedic look at blue-collar family life and the realistic ups and downs that come with raising kids, dealing with in-laws, work issues, money struggles, divorce, etc. Newer episodes feature much of the same, but in a more contemporary context.
Positive Role Models
Roseanne is strong, hardworking, independent, the strength behind the family. Roseanne and Dan are a loving, hard-working couple trying to make ends meet and do the best they can for their kids and grandchildren. They can get snarky (and the kids can be rude), but their parenting tactics are unconventional rather than bad. They care deeply about raising responsible, well-adjusted children, as do their kids when they grow up and have children of their own.
Violence & Scariness
Yelling is frequent during arguments. Roseanne's abusive childhood is sometimes referenced, and a few episodes specifically deal with domestic violence (bruises and a black eye visible). Bullying is a theme in some episodes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Moderately graphic talk about sexual issues is common, ranging from tongue-kissing, teen sex, and going on birth control to using men to get pregnant. One episode features a well-known porn star. Pregnancy and childbirth are also addressed in various episodes and seasons.
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Adults and teens alike use strong language like "bitch," "damn," "ass," and "crap." Closing scenes sometimes feature bleeped curses as a joke.
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Products & Purchases
References to Cool Whip, Jell-O, Milky Ways, and other products.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults often kick back with a beer (or six) after work or in social gatherings, and there's some underage drinking (with negative consequences). Early seasons feature Roseanne and other characters smoking cigarettes; occasionally cigars are smoked during poker games. One episode features adults smoking pot. Later episodes features an adult character fighting opioid addiction.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Roseanne is a sitcom that has strong language, fiery arguments, and examples of a blue-collar lifestyle that were rarely seen on TV until it debuted in 1988 (and then was rebooted in 2018). Roseanne is a strong woman who is the strength behind the family, but not everyone will view her parenting style and sarcastic, belittling comments as a positive thing. Over the years the family faces a variety of challenges, which aren't necessarily handled with grace, but offer life lessons. Episodes deal with a range of issues, including domestic violence, drug use, underage drinking, teen sex, divorce, gender questioning, and the economic struggle of the middle class. There's lots of beer drinking, and some cigarette and cigar smoking. References to brands like Jell-O, Milky Way, Cool Whip, and Mallomars are common, but the logos aren't really visible.
Is It Any Good?
The groundbreaking series was the first to offer TV audiences a hyper-realistic look at the family life of working-class Americans. It highlights some of the real concerns Middle America faces, including rising costs, stagnant wages, and the lack of employment opportunities. It also features a strong female lead character who's unapologetic about her body, her domineering personality, and her frank (and sometimes crass) zingers. These character traits created some controversy during the show's first few seasons, but it's impossible to ignore the fact that Roseanne is always motivated by her love for her family.
Classic Roseanne episodes tackle many mature issues, ranging from underage drinking, drug use, and teen sex to domestic violence, child abuse, and falling below the poverty line. The 2018 reboot addresses more contemporary topics, including transgender youth and opioid addiction. It also features the older, wiser, and a little less energetic Dan and Roseanne enjoying their grandchildren while trying to figure out how to afford the rising cost of their prescriptions. But no matter which version of the series you choose to watch, you'll find a fun comedy about the day-to-day antics of a loving, imperfect family trying to do its best.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.