Since the show’s earliest iterations, Roseanna has always tackled sensitive social issues head on. From the core themes of poverty, to the complex realities of working class families, Roseanne has done it’s best to show multiple sides of an issue while remaining entertaining and cringe-worthingly funny. The reboot has attempted to meet the expectations they set up for themselves decades ago, to varying success, but based on the conversation that has surrounded the episode since it aired we will say this one was pretty close to a homerun, minus a few hiccups, but we are here to recap and analyze it for you!
So the episode premise focuses heavily on DJ going to the VA for mental health counseling while his daughter Mary stays with Roseanne and the rest of the family. The special circumstance? Mary is supposed to have her special skype call with her mother [Xosha Roquemore], who is still serving in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, during their girl’s night slumber party staying up for the call, Roseanne and Dan’s financial situation comes full circle and his lost job results in the immediate bouncing of their utility checks (my biggest issue with this episode is that the timeline makes no sense). Since the neighbours next door they typically stole wifi from moved and were replaced with Roseanne’s new Muslim neighbours that she hasn’t introduced herself to because of her prejudice, she has to swallow her pride and ask to borrow their wifi at 2 in the morning. They explain their situation to Fatika and Samir but Roseanne puts her foot in her mouth and creates animosity, but there is a sobering moment when their son comes out worried and is sent back to bed when the Conners notice he was in a bullet proof vest and when they question ot they said people had shouted some horrible things that scared him and it just helps him feel safe and have less nightmares. They give them the wifi password, gocubs (the secret word!), added to some hilarious dialogue where Fatima makes fun of her husband not understanding Amazon and over-ordering hundreds of pounds of fertilizer and we got a new iconic scene.
Almost more iconic is the following scene the next day when Roseanne runs into her neighbour at the grocery and is in line behind her. When Fatima’s EBT card has insufficient funds Roseanne lends her the difference, while also making small talk about the real stupid reality that food stamps can’t buy premade food because the rich have very strong opinions on what is a luxuryfor the poor (Rotisserie Chicken is delicious and is my chosen luxury, but I digress). Not only did Rozeanne show appreciation for her neighbours previous kind gesture, but even once her new friend was gone she addressed the rude cashier directly and gave her a good old fashioned Roseanne scolding that had us living, until she looped back around to potential homemade bombs which would only fuel the cashiers prejudice, but the writers tried to divert into a quick tone flip coupon joke. The joke couldve still landed without mucking up the message and that joke may have cost them an Emmy nomination, because the rest of the episode moved so fast and well that is was at that level of good. Even up to the closing scene of Samir returning the money Roseanne lent his wife at 2 in the morning the next day had us engrossed and laughing to the end credits.
The storyline that could’ve used more jokes was DJ and Dan’s bonding in the garage whenDJ reveals the Army wouldn’t let him re-up, and them day drinking in the garage and majing the plan to restore bikes (does no one remember the bike shop going under in the original run of the show?). There were good moments of the DJ we know shining through but the scene just felt heavy and less rapid fire amongst the other scenes, but we are excited to see DJ (hopefully) get his groove back next season. The reboot continues to be a must-see piece of pop culture and with the dwindling amount of renewals it continues to solidify its spot in the current tv landscape.