*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Roseanne and The Conners to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
The image of the grandmother in the sitcom world, is usually one of two things. She is either the kindly, loving grandmother who gives advice, loves her family endlessly and cooks like nobody’s business. Or, she is the mother/mother-in-law whose has good intentions. But she comes off as pushy, opinionated, judgmental and thinks that she knows better than her children.
On Roseanne and The Conners, Beverly Harris (Estelle Parsons) is not exactly the ideal mother/mother-in-law. But to be fair, her life has not been easy. Her marriage was far from easy or loving, used as a cover to legitimize the birth of her eldest daughter, Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr). In addition to being a former alcoholic, Beverly left her husband after discovering his twenty year long affair and watching her husband abuse their daughters.
Known for being pessimistic, negative and over-controlling (especially toward her younger daughter Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), Beverly is not the easiest of mothers. Being that Jackie is in and out of relationships (and jobs), her mother tries to act with motherly concern. But it comes out as critical.
Presently, Beverly and Jackie live together. They are doing their best to tolerate each other, in spite of the the decades long sniping between mother and daughter.
To sum it up: Beverly may not be the perfect mother or grandmother, but she is the perfect comedic character. Though her comments come from a good place, the reaction does not always match the intent. But that is why she is a memorable character.