Roseanne: The Complete Seventh Season

Roseanne: The Complete Seventh Season
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By the seventh season, the glory days of Roseanne had mostly passed: Lecy Goranson had gone off to college leaving Sarah Chalke to play the role of Becky and Sara Gilbert's appearances as Darlene were infrequent, having similarly gone off to college. This left the drama and comedy of the seventh season to revolve around the marital woes of Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Fred (Michael O'Keefe), after having their first child, while Becky and Mark (Glenn Quinn) speculated about the possibility of procreating, despite remaining under the roof her parents, Roseanne and Dan (John Goodman). The titular comedienne mostly played interference throughout the season, struggling with Darlene's departure while trying to manage things at her diner, The Lunch Box. And when she dealt with business problems or DJ's (Michael Fishman) adolescent hormones—an episode revolves around his uncontrollable erections at school—the show finds its familiar comic footing. Otherwise, this season featured more drama than normal with Jackie realizing that the married life may not be her and Beverly (Estelle Parsons) dealing with alcoholism. These heavier themes were popular in the mid-'90s when sitcoms often dove into heavy issues—often rather glibly—but weren't specifically what made Roseanne such an effective show. Though Becky and David eventually move into a trailer park, some of the white trash dirt that made the show funny and relatable in early seasons had been washed off with bigger and broader concepts. This loss of focus culminated late in the season when Roseanne became pregnant with her fourth baby, which is always a sure sign of a show struggling for compelling story arcs. Still, the episode where Becky and Mark move into the trailer park, the geriatric nudists storyline and the one where DJ is being bullied at school provide consistent laughs, compensating for some of the heavy-handedness of sections that focus on racism or fidelity. The Gilligan's Island parody may have been a series low but there were always incestuous dreams around the corner to spruce things up. No supplemental materials are included with the seventh season box set, which is standard for older shows. Fortunately, the eighth season box set breaks that pattern with some interviews and commentaries from Roseanne herself. (Mill Creek Entertainment)