Tag Archives: Estelle Parsons

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Beverly Harris

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Jackie Harris

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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.

In an ideal world, our lives are planned out and we easily settle into those plans. We find the perfect romantic partner, the perfect job, have children and settle down to a simple and predictable life. But life is not always ideal. On Roseanne and The Conners, Jackie Harris (Laurie Metcalf) is Roseanne Conner’s (Roseanne Barr) younger sister.

Her life is far from ideal. Over the course of both series, she went through a series of jobs and boyfriends that never lasted. Lacking in self esteem and sometimes a little too flighty for her own good, she relies on her sister, who is jokingly perceived as a tad overbearing. Married briefly in the first series, the marriage started via an unexpected pregnancy and a one night stand. It ended in divorce, leaving Jackie as a single mother.

In addition to her dealing with everything else in her life, Jackie has a love/hate relationship with her mother. Beverly Harris (Estelle Parsons) is constantly harping on Jackie’s lack of romantic success and her inability to hang onto one career for a serious amount of time.

To sum it up: Jackie’s life is far from ideal. But that is what makes her character interesting. Boring and predictable does not hold the audience’s attention. Interesting and complicated not only holds the audience’s attention, but it keeps them coming back. The constant ups and downs in Jackie’s life makes her a unique character and why after 30 years, television viewers still love her.

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Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Television