Tag Archives: John Goodman

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Mark Healy

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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

From the time we are very young, women are told that we are to find some version of prince charming (in whatever shape he takes), fall in love and happily ever after. While that sounds great in a fantasy world, in the real world, relationships and romantic partners are much more complicated.

On Roseanne and The Conners, the late Mark Healy (the late Glenn Quinn) was married to Becky Conner (Alicia Goranson and Sarah Chalke). Mark is a bad boy in every sense of the word, causing the parental hackles of Becky’s parents, Dan and Roseanne Conner (John Goodman and Roseanne Barr) to rise. He is not exactly the man they pictured their eldest daughter marrying.

Forced out of his house at 16 by his alcoholic parents, Mark is not exactly book smart or sensitive, but he is street smart. That street smart and his devotion to his wife eventually wins over his in-laws, though they do take the opportunity every now and then to make a joke at his expense. He is also protective over this younger brother, David (Johnny Galecki), but like any good big brother, he does give David the occasional ribbing.

Like the actor who played him, Mark died young. His nephew, Mark Healy (Ames McNamara) was named in memory of his uncle.

To sum it up: Mark may not be prince charming and may not be the first choice when a parent thinks of a future partner of their daughter. But he is reliable, he is steady and does the best he can to support his wife. I would hope that at the end of the day, that is what any parent wishes for when think of a future son-in-law.

That is why Mark Healy is a memorable character.

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Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: DJ Conner

*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.

Sometimes it’s hard to be the youngest child. On Roseanne and The Conners, D.J. Conner (Michael Fishman) is the youngest of Roseanne and Dan Conner’s (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman) three children. As a child, he was precocious, curious and not as worldly as his elder sisters. His encounters with Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Alicia Goranson and Sarah Chalke) usually end with names that only come from an older sister to a younger brother.

As he matured, D.J. began to deal with the same issues that every young man deals with. Unsure on how to deal with his burgeoning sexuality and feeling initially squeamish about the opposite sex, the adult D.J. is not the simpleton he was perceived to be as a child. As an adult, both he and his wife joined the military. While his wife is serving her country, D.J. is home with their daughter.

To sum it up: Being the youngest child is tough. But D.J. gets through it and as an adult becomes a responsible and mature member of society. Though he is remembered as a chubby-faced child teased by his sister and the young man going through puberty, he is known today as also the responsible father and husband.

Which is why D.J. Conner is a memorable character.

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Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Darlene Conner

*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.

Having a sense of humor is a good way of getting through life. Having a sarcastic sense of humor is a great way of getting through life. On Roseanne and The Conners, Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert) is sarcastic, creative, tomboyish and not afraid to speak her mind. The second daughter and middle child of Roseanne and Dan Conner (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman), Darlene is very much her mother’s daughter.

In her early teens, Darlene is very much a tomboy. As she grows up, she becomes very vocal about her art and her beliefs in animal rights and veganism. She also starts to date David Healy (Johnny Galecki), a young man who is usually the compliant one compared to his girlfriend. After a tumultuous time in Chicago, (where Darlene is in art school), she and David become pregnant, get married and bring their daughter, Harris into the world.

Though it appears that David and Darlene are headed toward their happy ending, their relationship ends in divorce. After Darlene looses her job, she has to move back to Lanford to live with her parents.

To sum it up: It would have been easy for the writers to create the typical compliant teenage girl. But Darlene is far from typical or compliant. Partially due to her sarcastic nature, she stands out from the pantheon of sitcom daughters. That is why audiences have loved her for three decades.

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Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Becky Conner

*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 path of life is riddled with potholes, missteps and walls. The question is, do we let them stop us or do we find a way to move on? On Roseanne and The Conners, Becky Conner (played by both Alicia Goranson and Sarah Chalke) is the oldest child of Roseanne and Dan Conner (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman). The audience initially meets Becky when she is a young woman. Like many girls in their preteens and early teens, she is interested in clothes, makeup and boys. But though she can act like a brat at times, she also takes on a good amount of household responsibilities.

The challenges come as Becky begins to grow up. She becomes a full on rebellious teenager, complete with underage drinking and dating boys whom her parents disapprove of. One of these boys is the Mark Healy (the late Glenn Quinn), her future husband. Their marriage is emotionally and financially rocky, ending in his off screen death.

In her 40’s, Becky is single, dealing with addiction issues and working as a waitress at a local restaurant. When she gets pregnant after trying to be a surrogate for another woman, Becky decides to keep her baby and raise her daughter with the help of her family.

To sum it up: Becky Conner is a survivor. She has been through a lot, but has come out of the other side stronger, smarter and tougher. It is that message of resilience that appeals to audiences and why after two decades, fans still come back to this character.

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Roseanne and The Conners Characters Review: Dan Conner

*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.

As I see it, the best thing about any art form is that among it has the ability to reflect the world of its audience. On Roseanne and The Conners, Dan Conner (John Goodman) is the all-American guy. He is an easy-going and hard-working husband and father. Married to his wife, Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) for decades, they have four children: Becky (played by Alicia Goranson and then by Sarah Chalke), Darlene (Sara Gilbert), DJ (Michael Fishman) and Jerry Garcia Conner. 

Dan is a solid blue-collar guy. Over the course of both iterations of the television series, he has held a series of jobs from construction to vehicle repair to business owner. When the day is done, he comes home to his family and is very much a hands-on father. When he is ready to chill out, he can be found watching his favorite sports teams on television with a beer in his hand or playing poker with his buddies.

To sum it up: Viewers love Dan Conner because as a man, a husband, and a father, he is completely relatable. Though he has his moments (as we all do), Dan is an all-American every-man. He is all of us and that is why we love him.

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Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Roseanne Conner

*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 the history of television, housewives have been portrayed as paragons of motherly and wifely virtue. Their houses and their appearances were magazine ready, their children are angels and their husbands came home to perfect families. Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) broke that mold the moment she appeared on our television screens. She was brash, outspoken, far from modelesque and her family was imperfect.

Roseanne and her husband, Dan (John Goodman), have three kids. Becky (played by Alicia Goranson and then by Sarah Chalke), Darlene (Sara Gilbert), DJ (Michael Fishman) and Jerry Garcia Conner. In addition to her kids, Roseanne’s sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is always stopping by.

The Conners are the average middle-class American family and Roseanne is the average middle-class American wife and mother. She and Dan are juggling their kids, their jobs, paying bills, keeping their marriage going, etc. Over the course of the original series, Roseanne has multiple jobs, a breast reduction, and a fourth child.

When the series returned, Roseanne was still Roseanne. But with a new twist. While dealing with knee pain, she has become addicted to the pain killers. It’s what kills her on-screen while her off-screen alter ego, Roseanne Barr became a persona non-grata after some rather unsavory comments made via her Twitter account.

To sum it up: in being real and representing real women, Roseanne Conner and the actor that played her changed the way that women are portrayed on television. Roseanne was imperfect, complicated and faced the same everyday situations that the viewers faced. It is that grounding in reality that makes her memorable and lovable.

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The Conners Review

After the reboot of Roseanne was cancelled earlier this year due to Roseanne Barr’s social media verbal diarrhea, the question of what was going to happen to show was on the lips of many.

Tonight, that question was answered. The Conners picks up where Roseanne left off, albeit without the show’s previous namesake and title character. Roseanne Conner has recently passed away. Her family must deal with the loss while trying to move on with their lives. Dan (John Goodman) is slowly coming to terms with his wife’s death and the reason for her sudden passing. Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is trying to fill the void that her sister left. Darlene (Sara Gilbert) is doing her best to take her mother’s place in the family while raising her own kids.

I felt like this was the right way to go in terms of the series. While the previous series was called Roseanne, the focus was not just Roseanne Conner. It was the story of the Conners, a working class family who is doing their best every day to get by. But at the same time, absence of Roseanne Conner and the actress who played her was palpable. It was as if as I had just walked into the home of a loved one who had recently passed away. I had been in the home countless times, but this time felt odd and sad at the same time.

I recommend it.

The Conners airs on Tuesdays at 8PM on ABC. 

 

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Flashback Friday-Evan Almighty (2007)

Many go into politics for altruistic reasons. Whether or not their reasons change over time is to be seen.

In the 2007 film Evan Almighty (a sequel to the 2003 film Bruce Almighty), Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) has changed careers. After spending years reporting the news, he becomes the news when he is elected to Congress. Sensing that Evan is a virgin politician, Congressman Long (John Goodman) is trying to pressure Evan to co-sponsor a bill that will allow developers to re-create the National Parks in their own image. Then G-d (Morgan Freeman, reprising his role from Bruce Almighty) tells Evan to build an ark. Evan is not exactly a believer in the instructions he has received. Torn between co-sponsoring the bill and the more than obvious signs from G-d, Evan has to make a decision. Should he save the world or co-sponsor the bill?

As sequels go, the film is not that bad. I also certainly appreciate the message about taking care of the environment. This film is the type of film that you might see in theaters or find it while flipping through the channels on a rainy weekend afternoon. But it is the best sequel ever? Not really.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Roseanne Review

*-Warning: this review contains mild spoilers. Read at your own risk if you have not yet seen the premiere episodes. 

Television is supposed to the medium of the masses. But for most of television history, the family sitcoms focused on middle class families who seemed just a bit too perfect.

Then Roseanne premiered in 1988. Roseanne and Dan Conner (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman) are a working class couple living in middle America just trying to get by as best they can. The original series lasted for 9 years and has become a new classic. This evening, the reboot of Roseanne premiered.

Dan and Roseanne are still living in the same house. Their three kids, Becky (Alicia Goranson), Darlene (Sara Gilbert, who is also one of the show’s executive producers) and DJ (Michael Fishman) are all grown up and dealing with adult issues. Roseanne’s ever-present sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is still more in her sister’s house than she is her own. Also returning is Sarah Chalke as Andrea (otherwise known as Becky #2), as the mother to be of the child Becky plans on carrying.

Watching this show is like slipping into a pair of jeans that you haven’t worn in a long time. It’s comfortable, it fits perfectly and it makes you feel good. Hitting the right mixture of notes of humor, family drama and current events, Roseanne feels like it never went off the air in the first place.

I recommend it.

Roseanne airs on ABC at 8PM on Tuesday. 

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Flashback Friday-TV Edition-Roseanne

The television of families of the 1980’s were pretty similar. Upper middle class families with two working parents with children who except for the normal childhood scrapes, were too good to be true.

Then Roseanne premiered in 1988.

The Conners were different. They were lower middle class, just struggling to get by and raise their kids the best way they knew how. Roseanne and Dan Conner (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman) were high school sweethearts who had their kids earlier in life. The children, Becky, Darlene and DJ (Alicia Goranson/Sarah Chalke, Sara Gilbert and Michael Fishman) were smart ass and constantly fighting with each other. Roseanne’s sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) bounced from job to job and from relationship to relationship.  Over the course of the series, Roseanne and Dan both held a series of jobs, some which lasted longer than others.

In short, unlike the rest of the family sitcoms of the 1980’s and 1990’s, it felt realistic.  Whether it was stretching your paycheck to pay the bills or fighting with your teenager because you did not like their boyfriend or girlfriend, the stories reflected the lives of the audience.  And it was one of the funniest shows on television.

Do I recommend this show? Of course

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