Friday, 20 April 2012

Roseanne and reservations

I should've known "Valentine's Day" was just a taste of things to come. I've been having reservations about Roseanne ever since I started watching it, even as it's been consistently surprising me by how good it is. And after I assumed that the ultra-consistent third season would be the high point of the show, already the season 4 premiere, "A Bitter Pill to Swallow," is something even more wonderful. It hit that sweet spot where every single joke works, and I'm laughing at every point the audience is. It's mastered the three-act structure, and ends every scene with a perfect button line. Most interestingly, it's perfected something I've seen hints of in the last season, where instead of being a comic story that culminates in a dramatic scene, jokes and reaction shots are woven into every scene, even when something dramatic is happening. And my god, those reaction shots! There's nothing as effective as a really great reaction shot, and this episode has so many of them. Roseanne (and Roseanne) has turned them into an art form.

It's looking more and more like Roseanne won't return to its season 2 model, of alternating comedic episodes with dramatic ones. But as much as I loved the darker moments in that season, I'm becoming more and more convinced that it's not the best model for the show. Season 2 put in a lot of work deepening the characters, and now that it's done, the show can focus on episodes like this one, which weave together comedy and drama so expertly it looks effortless. Honestly, I don't know why I'm consistently so skeptical of Roseanne. It's addressed every problem I've identified in it, and as a result it's steadily gotten better and better since it started. It made its characters worth caring about in season 2, and perfected its voice in season 3. And now, in season 4, it looks like it has no desire to slow down. I'm very excited about this season.

No comments:

Post a Comment