Tag Archives: Laurie Metcalf

Thoughts On The Roseanne Controversy

*Warning: This post contain spoilers regarding last week’s Roseanne premiere, as well as a spoiler from the original series. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the episode. 

The reboot of Roseanne premiered last week to critical acclaim, love from the audience and ratings that are a dream for any television show.

With the love from the critics and the audiences comes a bit of controversy. It was a shock to some audiences that Roseanne Conner not only voted for you know who, but proudly flaunts it, especially in the face of her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) whose equally proudly flaunts that she voted for Hillary Clinton.

It’s also necessary to point out that Barr herself voted for you know who, but that is a topic for another time.

Some viewers were outraged that Roseanne (the character, not the actor) voted for you know who. Other viewers were more than pleased with revelation.

My feeling is that as much as I would have loved for Roseanne to have been a Hillary supporter, the writer in me knows that it was the right decision in terms of the politics of the character. Roseanne Conner is not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination (despite the fact that the Conners won the lottery towards the end of the run of the original series). She is still a working class wife and mother, trying to get by as best she can. One of the reason, unfortunately, that you know who won, is that he spoke directly to the needs of the working class, aka the Conners.

Only time will tell if Roseanne changes her mind. But what I liked about the episode was how Roseanne and Jackie were able to come together as sisters, even if they disagree on certain political views.  If they can come together on-screen, then perhaps Americans as a whole can come together, even if we disagree on the issues.

 

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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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Lady Bird Movie Review

The year before we graduate high school can often be described as trans-formative. Especially when we know that the last thing we want to do is going to college near home.

The new movie, Lady Bird, written and directed by actor/director/writer Greta Gerwig, is about Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan). Set in Northern California in 2002,  Lady Bird is starting her senior year of high school and wants nothing more than to go to college out-of-town. She does not get along with her equally strong-willed mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf) and has a decent relationship with her father, Larry (Tracy Letts). As the year goes on, both Lady Bird will learn a few things about life and relationships.

I really enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed it because Lady Bird’s character arc and narrative feels universal. The struggle to find herself, the need to get away from home, the arguments with her parents, it all feels normal for a 17 year old girl.

I recommend it.

Lady Bird is presently in theaters. 

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A Dolls House Part II Review

A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, has one of the most famous endings in the world of theater. Nora Helmer walks away from her husband and her children, the door slamming behind her.

The new play, A Dolls House Part 2, is the sequel to the classic play. Nora (Laurie Metcalf) returns to her husband and her home 15 years after the original play ends. She is greeted by her children’s nanny, Anne Marie (Jayne Houdyshell), who is both pleased and displeased to see her. Nora receives similar responses from her husband, Torvald (Chris Cooper) and her now teenage daughter, Emmy (Condola Rashad), who was very young when her mother left.

At first glance, this play appears to be a straight drama. But it turns out to be a very funny comedy. It is also speaks, as it did with the original in 1879, about the difficulty of marriage and how women are still fighting for their own needs vs. the needs that the overall culture says we should strive for.

I absolutely recommend it.

A Dolls House is playing at The John Golden Theater at 252 W 45th Street in New York City. The show runs until January 8th of 2018.

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Filed under Broadway Play Review, Feminism, History

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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