Roseanne

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Roseanne TV Poster Image
Fun, snarky blue-collar sitcom withstands the test of time.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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. 

Sex

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. 

Language

Adults and teens alike use strong language like "bitch," "damn," "ass," and "crap." Closing scenes sometimes feature bleeped curses as a joke.

Consumerism

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. 

What 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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written byExerSarah May 27, 2010

Disagree with Common Sense Review

I'm sorry, but I am completely offended by the "Common Sense" review. You say, "Both parents are obese and show no intention of altering th... Continue reading
Adult Written byrmcavoy June 11, 2013

Roseanne's Weight?

Really, that's what you want to focus on, the Connor's family health? Never mind the fact that they struggle to find work, pay bills, and pay for thei... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bythe Liberator August 4, 2009

Very good show for children 11-18

this is a really good show i enjoy watching it a lot and i think it is really funny ill admit there is some not age appropriate stuff in there but come on there... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 24, 2016

very innopropriate

it talks a lot about sex drinking and drugs i say 15+

What's the story?

ROSEANNE, which aired from 1988 to 1997 (and rebooted in 2018), features the Conners, a blue-collar family living in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois. Dan (John Goodman) works hard to provide for the family, but it's Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), the strong, bossy, and wise-cracking family matriarch, who manages to keep everything running as smoothly as possible, despite having to balance taking care of Becky (played by both Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke), Darlene (Sara Gilbert), and DJ (Michael Fishman) with working minimum-wage jobs at factories, beauty parlors, and fast-food restaurants to help make ends meet. Roseanne's younger sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), practically lives with them, and sometimes needs as much guidance as the kids. It isn't easy to keep up with the family's changing needs on a tight budget, and there are times when they don't know how they will make it to the next paycheck. But the Conner family finds a way to keep going, and does so with their own brand of humor. 

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. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the family is similar to or different from their own. Do the members of your family talk to each other like the Conners do? Has your family faced any of the issues that the series highlights? How have you handled them?

  • Roseanne has dealt with different issues, and the cast has faced different challenges over the years. What were some of the problems they dealt with? Are the issues they discussed 20 or more years ago still relevant today? What's changed?

  • Why was Roseanne Conner a controversial character when the series first aired? Is she less controversial now? Why? 

TV details

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