The Ninth & Final Season
Roseanne was a popular sitcom from the late eighties and its cast has been given numerous awards for their performances. The series is about a lower class family, living in Lanford, Illinois, struggling through that odd thing we call life. For more background information about the series please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, season five, season six, season seven, and season eight.
Season nine of Roseanne is the series' last and also one that takes a big jump from the show's comical format. Some pretty big things happen with the cast, including the Conner family winning the lottery (and a slew of lame episodes as a result), some solid drama about relationships and separations, and a few laughs. All in all, season nine comes off a grade below the rest and is best reserved for the fans. But it is not a total loss and ends the series with a nice, yet somber tone.
The season begins with "Call Waiting", which picks up where season eight left off. Roseanne and Dan had a big fight about how he was not taking his condition seriously and she walked out on him. Roseanne contemplates her life without Dan and what to do about it. While at Jackie's, she falls asleep and dreams about her relationship with Dan in the lives of a myriad of television characters. When she awakes, she realizes how much she loves Dan and gives him another chance. At the end of "Call Waiting", Jackie finds out the Conners have won the lottery.
In the next episode "Millions From Heaven", Jackie arrives at the Conners to inform them they have won the jackpot: one-hundred and eight million dollars. It is at this point, the season starts to go belly-up. The general tempo and direction the early seasons followed is nonexistent. With the Conners being millionaires, they embark in an exotic adventure in the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
For the most part, the early season episodes (strongly tied to the Conner family and their newfound wealth) are comprised of a myriad of bizarre and unrealistic episodes. Some of them are just so dull and pointless. For instance, "What A Day For A Daydream" is just lackluster. The Conners have to deal with "fake" friends and relatives who only want money. Roseanne also has a dream and imagines her family on The Jerry Springer Show, as well as being featured in a glamorous photo shoot with Jackie. The photo shoot draws the attention of Hugh Hefner. It is just a weird episode and several others follow: "Pampered To A Pulp", "Satan, Darling", "Hoi Polloi Meets Hoiti Toiti", and "Roseambo".
The show starts to get back on track with "Home is Where the Afghan Is". This Thanksgiving episode is unlike any other. Roseanne hires caters to make the holiday meal, which leaves her with nothing to do. She feels lonely, despite having a full house, as Dan is gone. (Earlier in the season Dan left for California to take care of his mother.) But some fun things occur: Prince Carlos (Jackie's boyfriend--the Moldavian prince first introduced in "Someday My Prince Will Come") drinks a little too much and Bev reveals a shocking truth.
In "Home For The Holidays", Dan returns to Lanford and is shocked by all of the changes around the house. Jackie also learns something about Dan that he wanted to keep a secret. While in California, Dan fell for his mother's nurse. Jackie confronts him in "Say It Ain't So" and makes him tell Roseanne the truth. The news hits Roseanne hard, as Dan isn't sure who he wants to be with. In "Hit The Road, Jack", Dan leaves the Conner home to think about his situation. Meanwhile, D.J. begins a relationship with Heather.
As the season continues, there are several more dramatic developments that include Roseanne considering a relationship with another man, Dan-Roseanne patching things up, Dan's kooky mom paying the family a visit, Darlene having her baby prematurely; it is a dramatic and well-done episode, perhaps the best of the season as it details the love and compassion of the Conners as a family and individuals, and the season finale, which is ends the series with a somber twist.
Overall, season nine is less than great. The show takes a big turn in the wrong direction with far too few comical moments in comparison to the past seasons. However, the season is not a complete loss and the later episodes offer some decent comedy and a lot of dramatic moments. This season is best reserved for the fans.
1. Call Waiting: After coming to his senses, Dan attempts and fails to reconcile with Roseanne.
2. Millions From Heaven: Jackie rushes over to the Conners' to let them know that they've just won the lottery prize of $108 million.
3. What A Day For A Daydream: Everyone wants a piece of the Conner family since they've won the lottery -- the mayor has even called Roseanne and asked her to ride on a float in the Thanksgiving Day parade.
4. Honor Thy Mother: With winning the lottery, Dan begins to feel guilty for not really helping his sick mother.
5. Someday My Prince Will Come: Prince Carlos of Moldavia sees Kathleen Sullivan's interview of the Conner family and decides that he has to meet Jackie.
6. Pampered To A Pulp: Roseanne and Jackie check in to an exclusive beauty spa and receive a less than optimistic evaluation.
7. Satan, Darling: After a few drinks, Roseanne dreams that Darlene is the daughter of Satan.
8. Hoi Polloi Meets Hoity Toity: Astrid Wentworth (who Roseanne and Jackie met at a party) takes Roseanne's clan home to meet her family.
9. Roseambo: The Conners go to Washington to visit Dr. Bakshi, whom they met when visiting the Wentworths.
10. Home Is Where The Afghan Is: Catering Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, Roseanne realizes that there are people who are less fortunate.
11. Mothers And Other Strangers: Roseanne still misses Dan, and Bev learns to lighten up after a heart to heart with Nana Mary.
12. Home For The Holidays: Dan is finally home from his trip to California, and is amazed at the changes in the Conner family lifestyle that have taken place in his absence.
13. Say It Ain't So: Dan's affair with his mother's nurse is brought to light, just as Jackie finds out her Prince has married someone else.
14. Hit The Road, Jack: With their marriage on rocks, Dan makes an attempt to talk things out with Roseanne before heading back to California.
15. The War Room: An intervention by Jackie and friends helps a deeply depressed Roseanne get back to business.
16. Landford's Elite: While at an exclusive Luncheon, Roseanne runs into Edgar Wellman Jr., the disinherited son of a plastics tycoon who ran a factory where both Roseanne and Jackie once worked.
17. Some Enchanted Merger: Roseanne has spent so much time with Edgar Wellman, Jackie accuses her of having a crush of him.
18. A Second Chance: Dan comes home and attempts again to get his wife back.
19. The Miracle: Darlene goes into labor early, and the Conner family does all they can to support her
20. Roseane-Feld: D.J. contemplates taking his relationship with Heather to the next step, while Jackie ends up getting herself in the ring at Lanford Armory women's wrestling matches.
21. The Truth Be Told: Roseanne and Jackie are disturbed about the feeding frenzy among the media since the Conners won the lottery.
22. Arsenic And Old Mom: Audrey, Dan's mother, has been released from the mental hospital and has a bone to pick with her son.
23. Into That Good Night, Part 1: Darlene, David and their new daughter come to live with Roseanne and Dan.
24. Into That Good Night, Part 2: The family talks about their life after winning the lottery and make plans for their promising futures.
The video is given in its original television aspect ratio 1.33:1 full frame color. Overall, the picture looks decent. The transfer is a little dirty with a noticeable grain and other imperfections (minor aliasing, rough edges, and compression artifacts). It is an acceptable transfer and shouldn't ruin the viewing experience.
The audio track included with this release is English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The sound quality is good with dialogue consistently audible. It is an average TV on DVD track. It is dialogue driven and as a result remains pretty flat and has very little distinction with channel separation. This release does not come with subtitles, but it supports closed captioning.
For extras, Roseanne: The Complete Ninth Season comes with a video commentary and two featurettes. Here is the breakdown:
- Video Commentary (22:04): This extra is a play-by-play commentary with Roseanne Barr and Michael Fishman for the episode "The Truth Be Told". Barr and Fishman offer thoughts and insights about the episode. Video commentaries are similar to audio commentaries. The difference is that side-by-side video is shown of the episode in question and the individuals being interviewed.
- A Legacy Of Class (6:20): is an interview featurette with Roseanne Barr. She talks about the theme of season nine as it applies to the notion of class in America, becoming famous, and the relevance of the final quote shown in the closing moments of the series finale.
- Breaking The Sitcom Mold (6:24): is a featurette with Roseanne Barr about the premise of season nine. She talks about the relevance to her life, as a former working class individual turned celebrity and how the crossing-over impacted her life. She also talks about having John Goodman for only part of the season, the season in general, how she enjoyed doing season nine, and the season finale.
When I first started watching season nine of Roseanne, I had a difficult time getting into it. The Conner family winning the lottery changed the show's direction for the worse. For several episodes, Roseanne, Jackie, and the rest of the family got into some bizarre situations that did not result in laughs or really make much sense. However, as the season progressed, it got better with some fun and dramatic moments. It is not a complete loss and worth looking into for the fans.