‘Roseanne’ Episodes Current Day Roseanne Would Hate

Don’t let Roseanne ruin ‘Roseanne’
‘Roseanne’ Episodes Current Day Roseanne Would Hate

Roseanne Barr is back in the news for, well, reasons we don’t even really want to get into, to be honest. Roseanne’s transition from beloved TV personality to alt-right podcaster beloved by that one uncle no one in your family talks to anymore is certainly disappointing, but it’s especially baffling given her body of work. 

For 10 seasons, the original Roseanne series explored a far more nuanced political viewpoint than Barr’s current persona would suggest. So many episodes found Roseanne Conner attempting to be progressive and forward-thinking, only to have her own conservative values get in the way.

As Roseanne Conner noted in the monologue that closed the final, surprisingly twist-filled episode, she always “walked a tightrope between tradition and progress.” She also admits that she usually “failed, by one outsider’s standards or another’s.”

That openness to progress is arguably what defined the Roseanne character, whether it found her standing up for the working class, or throwing a gay wedding for her friends. The Roseanne Barr of 2024 probably would have hated a number of episodes of Roseanne, including…


Roseanne Barr has been an outspoken supporter of former President/Little Rascals star Donald Trump, who cut the corporate tax rate during his time in office, claiming that the money would trickle down and “boost the average U.S. household income.” Instead it “largely served to line the pockets of already wealthy investors” and led to some of the biggest corporations in the world “paying rates in the single digits” or in some cases, no taxes at all. 

Oddly enough, back in 1992, the episode “Aliens” began with Roseanne excoriating her state representative for proposing essentially the same economic plan. “Who’s gonna pay the taxes that they ain’t paying?” Roseanne Conner asks. “Well, you will,” Rep. Mike Summers sheepishly replies. 

‘Thanksgiving 1994’

This episode famously tackled the issue of abortion; Roseanne is forced to contemplate terminating her pregnancy after a prenatal scan reveals a potential complication. Later, Roseanne and Jackie’s grandmother reveals that she had two abortions in her youth, which required journeying to Canada. Roseanne ultimately admits that she’s unsure if she can go through with it, and Jackie concludes that “at least we have a choice.” 

All of which makes it truly bizarre that the star of this episode is currently advocating for Kari Lake, who has publicly praised the overturning of Roe v. Wade and called abortion “the ultimate sin.” “Thanksgiving 1994” literally opened with Roseanne ridiculing anti-choice advocates. “You just stuck your kid in the eye with your ‘Save the Children’ sign,” Roseanne tells one protester.


‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

Best remembered for being the episode that dared to depict a kiss between two women (so controversial at the time that ABC considered scrapping the episode altogether, until Roseanne threatened to jump networks), “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” didn’t mine laughs from its queer characters, but instead, pokes fun at Dan and Roseanne’s discomfort, and the reluctant gay panic that kicks in after Roseanne is kissed by Nancy’s girlfriend Sharon (played by Mariel Hemingway). 

Roseanne Barr’s fight to include realistic depictions of LGBTQ+ characters on TV (including Nancy, Leon, and later, her mother Beverly) was reportedly inspired by her real-life gay brother and lesbian sister, which even led to her being “named The Advocate's Person of the Year in 1994.”

While by no means perfect, the unequivocal moral of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is that allyship isn’t about performative acts of social chillness, and more about genuinely accepting the people you care about for who they are — a lesson that seemingly didn’t stick, judging from the content of Roseanne Barr: Cancel This! 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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