The Eighth 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. The show has an intrinsic cast and they are a hard bunch not to like. Roseanne looks at some of the most common daily situations from the home and the work place. In most cases these situations turn out to be funny. However unlike some sitcoms that rely on slapstick comedy to make ordinary situations a riot, Roseanne uses witty dialogue to get laughs. For more background information about the series please refer to my reviews of season one, season two, season three, season four, season five, season six, and season seven.
Season eight is another season of change for the Conner family. One of the biggest changes is the return of Lecy Goranson in the role of Becky. During season five, Goranson's character was slowly written out so that she could attend college. Throughout season five Goranson made brief appearances. In season six, actress Sarah Chalke took over her role and continued into season seven. Season eight sees the return of Goranson, although Chalke returns in season nine and makes a few appearances in season eight. This change was handled well and there are some fun gags about Goranson having been gone for three years. Other big changes this season include the new Conner baby, marriages, new job opportunities, relationships, and health issues. In addition, season eight comes with a new title sequence that shows the main cast members aging over the series' run. All in all, season eight has the same fun tempo found in earlier seasons with Roseanne and company giving good performances.
In season seven Roseanne decided that she wanted to have another baby. This issue was a big source of drama, as Dan was not keen on the idea at first. Roseanne and Dan also faced problems actually getting pregnant. But in the end they were able to conceive. The baby storyline plays a minor role this season, mostly in the beginning with a wacky baby shower and the birth of the newest Conner member Jerry Garcia.
Dan has had a good and stable job working for the city running a shop that repairs city-owned vehicles. Chuck and Bob, Dan's friends, come to him in "Construction Junction" to ask him about going back to working construction. The city of Lanford is building a prison on the outskirts of town. And it is open season for contractors to put a bid on the project. It is a great opportunity for Dan and company to make money. However, it means giving up the stability of his city job. Roseanne and Dan have to decide if it is worth the risk.
David and Darlene's lives undergo some big changes. The first is career-oriented. After a minor scuffle with Dan and Mark, David comes to realize it is time for him to move on and get his life started. He agrees with Dan it is time to get a real job and move out of the Conner household. This realization comes with a fun episode "Springtime for David". David gets a job at a theme park, where he is brainwashed. Roseanne fights to get him back. Darlene is also given a great opportunity to start a career. The only catch is that it means quitting college. She is offered thirty grand a year to work as a media consultant in advertising. The news shocks the Conners, as it is a great opportunity and she turns it down. The Darlene-David relationship also moves ahead in "Another Mouth to Shut Up". Darlene informs David she is pregnant and proposes to him. They get in married in "The Wedding", which is both dramatic and comical.
Marriages do not stop with David and Darlene. Reoccurring character Leon has been in a relationship with male companion Scott (Fred Willard) for years. They had even tried to get married years earlier, but Leon got cold feet. Now, Leon and Scott are trying it again. The only problem is that they do not have the time to plan the wedding or money to hire a wedding planner. Roseanne, with purely good intentions, offers to help out. She plans their wedding and makes it too flamboyant in "December Bride". It is a fun episode. Scott reoccurs throughout the season. He appears in strong episodes like "Out Of The Past". Roseanne invites Scott and Leon to Dan's poker game. The male-couple turns the "manly" game into a discussion about discrimination and racism. While a serious subject, the characters put in a few good jabs to lighten the mood.
Becky and Mark run into some serious problems with their relationship. Last season, Mark and Becky moved into a trailer park. At first, Becky seemed happy with the change and direction their life was heading. In "Becky Howser, M.D.", Becky admits that her life is not going as planned. She begins to doubt her marriage and wonders what life would have been like if she had gone to college instead of getting married. She decides to reapply to college and try to realize her dream. Mark feels threatened by the sudden desire for more and fears that Becky will not love him.
Other happenings this season include "The Thrilla Near the Vanilla Extract", a classic episode with Roseanne v. Jackie, "We're Going to Disney World" and "Disney World War II", the Conner family goes to Disney World, "Morning Becomes Obnoxious", Roseanne's cynical attitude gets her on television, "Heart & Soul", Dan suffers a heart-attack, and "Fights and Stuff", Dan tries to survive the aftermath of the heart-attack, i.e., a new diet.
Overall, Roseanne's eighth season is another fun adventure with the Conner family. The show continues to tackle dramatic issues and incorporates a fine-level of comedy into the situations. This season has a lot of good moments and will keep fans of the series laughing and smiling.
1. Shower The People You Love With Stuff: As the baby's birth approaches, the Conner family makes plans for the new arrival.
14. Becky Howser, M.D.: Knowing that Becky is felling a little depressed about Darlene's big job offer, Mark invites the Conners over for a surprise get-together to cheer her up, which only makes things worse.