S01.E04: Language Lessons

These are the show notes for this episode! Airdate November 22, 1988.

  • We don't want to put Jackie in front of a firing squad, but maybe we do want to put the leaping fish earrings there.
fish earrings.jpg
  • The whole 2011 Ken Levine feud can make your head spin. Ken Levine is a writer, editor, and producer for tv and film. Like everyone on the internet, he has an opinion.

Here's what happened:

First, Roseanne writes an article for New York Magazine

Complaining about the “created by” credit made an enemy of Matt. He wasted no time bullying and undermining me, going so far as to ask my co-star, John Goodman, who played Roseanne Conner’s husband, Dan, if he would do the show without me. (Goodman said no.) That caused my first nervous breakdown.
— "And I Should Know" by Roseanne Barr, May 15, 2011

Then, Ken Levine, unprovoked commentator-at-large, responds on his blog. Then Roseanne replies on her blog. Whew!

THEN Levine replies again, and calls on some people for backup, including Laurie Gelman, writer of this episode. 

Really???? People actually broke into their minds and took [their ideas]???? I was on the show from the rewriting of the pilot in New York all the way through the first season. There was never any point where Matt Williams did not include Roseanne in the creative process and actually want her input. In fact, I have never worked with an EP more inclusive or fair ( or nicer) than Matt Williams. He bent over backwards to please her. We made it a point to bring her into the room and get her take on every idea before we laid out the stories. Obviously, we also accommodated her notes on all the drafts. Additionally, Matt permitted her husband Bill Pentland to sit in on all the rewrite tables, thus giving her additional insurance that the Roseanne take on things was being adequately addressed.
— Laurie Gelman on Ken Levine's blog, 5/31/2011

We need a nap after that!

We were interested to see that Gelman accuses Roseanne of "class bigotry" and pondered what she meant. Queen SJ wondered if it was because of the sometimes unflattering representations of the characters as unsophisticated ("hillbillies"). Queen Debbie wondered if it was because Roseanne was living a different life than the one portrayed on her show.

Parked outside her dressing room is Ms. Barr’s chocolate-brown Mercedes. But the glitzy trappings of Hollywood stardom add up to little, she insists. ‘’I’m still a working-class person, but with money now,’’ she says.

Since arriving in Los Angeles from Denver three years ago, money has bought her a house in the San Fernando Valley - and a maid. ‘’Boy, that solves a lot of family problems,’’ she says, as if some angel of mercy has now entered her life. Then she launches into a tirade about women who exploit their domestic help. ‘’My mom used to clean houses, so I know.
— "June Cleaver without Pearls" by Joy Horowitz for the New York Times, 10/16/1988

Also of note from the above article, Roseanne pushed to have more people of color appear on the show:

I go, ‘O.K., now did you get the racial breakdown on the town?’ They said, ‘We will, we will.’ It comes back 30 percent black and 15 percent Hispanic and 40 percent white and there were some Jews there and everything else. And I go, ‘O.K., let’s see you re-create it.’ So they just hired a whole bunch of black people to stand in the background in the factory. All those things will change,’’ she hopes.
— "June Cleaver Without Pearls"

JESUS CHRIST DECANT IT INTO A RAMEKIN, YOU ANIMAL. This empty container is what we would put Dan's leftover chili into in 1988.

  • CORNSPOTTING! Roseanne declares the exercise from the teen mag "corny" in this scene.
 Things go Three Stooges really fast. "Come ON, you guys!"

Things go Three Stooges really fast. "Come ON, you guys!"

 Wee Fishman and his adorbs mugging telegraphs even under a sweater.

Wee Fishman and his adorbs mugging telegraphs even under a sweater.

  • We couldn't help but notice Roseanne's denim-on-denim (dark and acid wash!) and were reminded of the Canadian tuxedo.
 Darlene rocks the barette plus banana clip combo, a must for an 80s girl with a big mane.

Darlene rocks the barette plus banana clip combo, a must for an 80s girl with a big mane.

 "No Manners" Harris puts her boots on the WALL! TSK!

"No Manners" Harris puts her boots on the WALL! TSK!

 Queen SJ takes issue with the room temperature orange juice. That stuff doesn't grow on trees, you know!

Queen SJ takes issue with the room temperature orange juice. That stuff doesn't grow on trees, you know!

 Stressed, and similarly dressed.

Stressed, and similarly dressed.

Queen SJ nibbles Tom and Lorenzo's steez vis-à-vis their amazing costuming deep dives.