Tag Archives: Sara Gilbert

Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Harris 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*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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.

It is often said that women become our mothers, whether we like it or not. On Roseanne and The Conners, Harris Healy (Emma Kenney) is nearly a mini-me of her mother, Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert). Born premature, Harris survived her first few months in the hospital before coming home to a loving and chaotic family.

While most of her is a miniature of her mother, there is also a little of her aunt, Becky Conner (Alicia Goranson & Sarah Chalke). After spending most of her life in Chicago, Harris was not pleased when she had to move back to Lanford. To be a teenager is hard enough, but to be uprooted and move to a new town at that age is especially difficult.

Though Harris does make friends, they are not the sort that her mother approves of. They tend to lean toward not so legal activities, creating a rift between mother and daughter. Like any good parent, Darlene is just looking out for her daughter. But in Harris’s eyes, her mother does not understand how she feels.

Her one wish is to move back to Chicago. She hopes that her wish materializes in the form of her estranged father, David (Johnny Galecki). But like many hopes, it never became reality.

To sum it up: We all remember how hard it was to be a teenager. It’s one of the most tumultuous, life changing and sometimes heartbreaking experiences that anyone will ever go through. What I like about Harris is that she is an ordinary teenager. When your that age, it’s nice to see yourself reflected on screen.

Which is why Harris Healy is a memorable character.

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Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Mark Healy II

*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.

One could argue that art is about representation and giving voice to those who are voiceless. When it comes to the LGBTQ community, art has a way of opening minds, doors and hearts. On Roseanne and The Conners, Mark Healy (Ames McNamara) is that voice. The son of Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert) and David Healy (Johnny Galecki), Mark is artistic, sensitive and polite. Named after his late uncle, Mark prefers feminine clothing and is out to his family.

Though his grandfather Dan Conner (John Goodman) initially expressed some concern about Mark’s identity, his love for his grandchild eclipsed his concerns.

To sum it up: It takes courage to be yourself, no matter how old you are. In being himself, Mark speaks to and speaks for those of us who are different. He encourages us to not be afraid of standing out from the crowd. Though he is young, the lesson he teaches is timeless and ageless.

That is why Mark Healy is a memorable character.

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Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: David 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.

On Roseanne and The Conners, David Healy (Johnny Galecki) is not the most forceful of personalities. He can be sweet, loving and polite to those around him. He was also susceptible to being pushed around by his girlfriend/wife Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and his older brother Mark (the late Glenn Quinn).

Like many sensitive and quiet men, David often loses out on potential partners because of his personality. He also has an artistic streak, but he lacks the educational experience that others have. Having come from an abusive home, he finds an ally in Darlene’s mother, Roseanne (Roseanne Barr). Though David is often compliant, he is no pushover and will tell Darlene exactly how he feels when he needs to.

Years later, David and Darlene have married and have two children, Harris and Mark. Their marriage has crumbled and David walked away from his wife and children. He comes back after meeting another woman and wants a divorce from Darlene. Eventually, David ends his relationship to get back together with his wife, but she has moved on with her life and is ready to move back to Chicago.

To sum it up: David is a nice guy. There is a saying: “nice guys finish last”. But I don’t think David finished last. He may have messed up every now and then, but he did the best he could as a boyfriend, a brother, a husband and a father. He finished in exactly the way he was supposed to finish.

Which is why he 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 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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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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