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Roseanne - The Complete Second 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 and struggling through that odd thing we call life. The show has an intrinsic cast and they are a hard family 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. All in all, I like this show and watching the first season was a lot of fun (seeing as I've never had the chance to watch an entire season episode for episode, I caught reruns on syndication). For more background information about the series please refer to my review of the first season.
Despite my positive enthusiasm about the series, I can't say it has aged well. I thought that the first season was enjoyable to sit through, but none of the episodes left me wanting more. I laughed, but not nearly as much as I do with some other sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond. This second season felt very much the same. The episodes had some humor to them and the three leading performers Barr, Goodman, and Metcalf had some great chemistry together, but it just wasn't enough. Like the first season, season two is probably best as a rental, unless of course, you are a big fan of the series.
The second season picks up a little after the end of season one. If you recall, in the season one finale "Let's Call It Quits", the young Wellman Plastics manager Booker was replaced with an older and experienced gentleman named Faber. Faber makes the working conditions for Roseanne and her peers unbearable, with unrealistically high goals and other uptight rules. In the end, Faber offers to comprise with Roseanne if she comprises her pride and do certain things that spark sexual harassment. Roseanne quits and many of her fellows join her in leaving. Without a job, this season focuses on Roseanne finding a new job.
In the early episodes of season two, she tries a hand at selling magazines over the phone. Later episodes have her trying her hands at other jobs, which includes a slightly sad story about her realizing her lack of computer experience is a real negative or how awful it can be having a seventeen year old kid as your boss.
Jackie also finds a new line of work. In "Let's Call It Quits", she was the first of Roseanne's peers at Wellman Plastics to follow in her footsteps and quit. In this season, Jackie decides that her calling is in law enforcement. She joins the local police department in Lanford and Roseanne does not deal with the news very well. She can't believe Jackie is willing to put herself in imminent danger for a paycheck. It is something the two sisters have to reconcile.
As for the rest of the season, the content stems from various domestic situations like dealing with the kids in terms of dating, teenage rebellion, alcohol and drinking, etc., as well as celebrating the holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas), reminiscing about the past, dieting, love affairs, tax day, etc.
Overall this season offers some decent episodes with stories that should give you a few chuckles. Still the content doesn't have the same punch as some other sitcoms and despite solid performances from leads Barr, Goodman, and Metcalf, this season falls short. In the end it should make for a good rental.
1. Inherit The Wind
2. The Little Sister
3. Guilt By Disassociation
4. Somebody Stole My Gal
5. House Of Grown-Ups & BOO!
6. Five Of A Kind
8. Sweet Dreams
9. We Gather Together
10. Brain-Dead Poets Society
12. No Talking
13. Chicken Hearts
14. One For The Road
15. An Officer And A Gentleman
16. Born To Be Wild
18. I'm Hungry
19. All Of Me - Part I
20. To Tell The Truth - Part II
21. Fender Bender
22. April Fool's Day
23. Fathers And Daughters
24. Happy Birthday
The first season release came with syndicated episodes (not originally network airing, missing footage). This is a concern some will have with this second season release. The episodes in season two are the uncut original network episodes. The episodes in this set are approximately two minutes longer than the episodes in the first season release.
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). Still considering it is from the late 1980s, 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 is closed caption enabled.
The first item is a featurette John Goodman: A Candid Interview (8:36). Goodman talks about different aspects of the series, including how he got on the show, some of the social impacts that directed the series' flow, about his character, the other cast members, and other thoughts about the show. The actual interview is supplemented with clips from the series.
In the next featurette Michael Fishman stars in DJ: All Grown Up (9:01). It is a featurette about Fishman and his character DJ, which as he states was the only big thing he has done in his acting career. Best Of Season Two (7:44) is a montage of season two clips that highlights three different themes: "raising the kids", "the calories", and "the suburbs". Wacky Jackie (4:47) gives us various season two clips of Jackie acting wild.
Roseanne Reunited - Behind the Scenes: Season One Launch Party (2:33) is a short clip from the season one DVD launch. It was the first time the cast has all been together since the finale. John Goodman Audition (1:12) is short clip from December 8, 1987 with Goodman and Barr doing a reading together. Lastly there are trailers for Peanut Butter & Jellyfish, 3rd Rock From The Sun, and Grounded For Life.
I thought only the first two items were of any entertainment value. I liked getting to hear from Goodman and Fishman. The DVD launch party was a neat idea, but far too short.
Roseanne is a show I never really followed episode to episode, but I still managed to catch quite a few episodes through original airings and re-runs. The episodes I did see left me with fond memories of this show. As I found out with the season one DVD release, the episodes did not live up to those expectations. I found the first season to have its moments, but the comedy was lacking. This second season feels the same way and I can't say I truly enjoyed the experience. In the end, I think this season set will make for a good rental.