Saturday, 31 March 2012

Roseanne and sex

"Sex. She told me it was something people did in Europe."
-Roseanne Conner

Though the show didn't repeat the huge leap forward in quality it did in season 2, Roseanne still changed its attitude a bit coming into season 3. Suddenly more social issues than ever are being addressed, and being put under the show's usual acerbic lens. After seeing the comparatively squeaky clean Mary Tyler Moore and Cheers, it's kind of a shock to hear sitcom characters talking about perverts and homosexuality and boob jobs. Season 2 featured some well-needed deepening of the characters, and absolutely perfected small-scale domestic storylines, but I feel like the broader social conscience introduced in these episodes is what really made Roseanne unique. "Like a Virgin," the third episode, was especially successful at this. It built on the strengths of season 2 by telling a family story where neither side is right or wrong, but this time it concerned sex and birth control. What at first seemed like it might turn into a hacky morality tale (but then I should trust the show more at this point) instead became a very mature take on teenagers and sex, and eventually was turned on its head in that amazing ending when Roseanne's daughters hijack "the talk" she was trying to give them. I still don't think Roseanne has reached the point where every episode will be amazing ("Friends & Relatives," while it ended in a lovely moment between Dan and Jackie, was a bit too jokey for my taste), but I'm glad that after a fantastic second season, the show isn't even considering starting to coast yet. And I know I mentioned it before, but Sara Gilbert and Lecy Goranson have only gotten better in their roles of Darlene and Becky, and they're delivering truly wonderful work here. The last few episodes of season two soured me a little on the show, but I'm glad it's hit the sweet spot again.

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