In a fictional town in Illinois, two ridiculously fat parents with surprisingly skinny kids make lighthearted jokes about the constant, life-crushing threat of joblessness.
The mother, Roseanne, was portrayed by a type of succubus creature with a voice that could strip wallpaper and an appearance resembling a cross between a manatee and an evil ventriloquist dummy. OK, that's a little harsh. Not all ventriloquist dummies are evil.
Anyway, toss in John Goodman in his breakthrough role as fat dad and add some smart alecky kids, then make everyone hate each other. Poof, instant Emmys, presumably for its "realism." The show was praised back in the day for portraying a blue-collar family in which both parents worked, otherwise known as every family you've ever heard of ever.
So, What Happened?
Through its first eight seasons, Roseanne was always about the ups-and-downs of a struggling family. It was a steady hit for most of its run, but when the ratings declined, the powers that be decided to end the series. However, they agreed to make one last season, and plumped it full of freaky gimmicks in a cheap attempt to boost ratings.
To begin the season, Roseanne wins $108-million in the lottery. Overwhelmed by this ridiculous plot twist, Roseanne begins to drift in-and-out of fantasies, such as hanging with Jerry Springer, doing glamor photo shoots with Hugh Hefner and this god-awful episode involving Roseanne killing terrorists on a train and wearing a tube top. We freaking warned you:
Then, Jackie, the sister-who-could-probably-grow-a-mustache, marries a prince. If the jiggly adventures of a semi-nude Roseanne and Jackie-XXY weren't enough to make your sex organs crawl up into your stomach, the show decided to drop the revelation that Roseanne's crazy old bitch mom was a lesbian.
However, none of this compares to the twist of the series finale, where it was revealed that the whole show was invented by Roseanne to cope with her horribly craptastic life. Her husband, the father of their children, is dead. It was like finding out that Cliff Huxtable had murdered his family, buried them in the basement and then hallucinated a decade of wacky Cosby adventures. Cue laugh track. End series.
Once upon a time in 1998, high school senior Felicity is graduating. Hunky Ben signs her yearbook and tells her he wished he'd known her better. He should have just signed "have a cool summer!" because, like any rational person would do, Felicity interprets this completely offhanded comment as a "sign" and dramatically alters her plans so she can follow Ben to college in New York.
Once she gets there, she learns that life in the Big Apple is, like, hard and stuff. She gets a witch with a capital W for a roommate--no, really, she does; the roommate is a Wiccan--and over the course of four increasingly painful seasons, Felicity embarks on a magical journey of personal discovery.
So, What Happened?
Sorcery and time travel.
In 2002, after graduating college, Felicity realizes that she made some pretty poor choices. The rational, adult way to handle things would be to examine her life, steel her resolve and start establishing a fine path to personal success. However, this would require an iota of fortitude, something Felicity never once demonstrated in her three-and-a-half seasons of "following her heart," i.e. being totally selfish.
Instead of forcing Felicity to grow up and learn from her mistakes, the show proves it is truly made of the stuff spoiled girls dream about by concocting a ridiculous plot twist. To help her cope, Felicity's Wiccan roommate sends Felicity back in time one year.
Back. In. Freaking. Time.
Rather than do something worthwhile such as, say, warn her fellow New Yorkers about the now-pending 9/11 attacks, Felicity tries to use her knowledge of future events to make her life superficially better.
Once back in time, Felicity uses the ripple effect to alter the future timelines of her and her friends. She achieves her primary objective: To use her knowledge of the future to engineer a relationship with a man (her freshman year dorm manager) whom she believes to be her ideal mate. Soon, her dream man is in her arms. However, one short episode later, Felicity has already cheated on him. Yes, the miraculous, universe-bending opportunity to travel in time is squandered on a total whore. It was like that show Quantum Leap, if instead of trying to make people's lives better, Scott Bakula had just tried to bone them.
Learning nothing from this entire experience, Felicity begins longing for her old life. Again, the rational, adult thing would be to buck up and try harder. At least bet on some sports and make millions with her future-knowledge. But, no. Instead, she finds some crazy-ass magician, and starts working out a deal. The final episode is spent watching Felicity putting all sorts of now-magic artifacts together for a huge spell that (SPOILER ALERT) may or may not have worked. Who cares?