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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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50 Responses

  1. Nahida
    Nahida May 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm |

    I fucking love her.

  2. Kat
    Kat May 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    Me too!

  3. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin May 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm |

    My mother had excerpts from her standup comedy routine written in calligraphy and framed. I believe they were in our kitchen.

  4. zuzu
    zuzu May 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm |

    God, that was such a great show. And she’s awesome.

    Is it wrong that I’m all excited to learn she was in love with John Goodman? Because I was also; or maybe with Dan Conner.

  5. Alison
    Alison May 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    I loved Roseanne and still watch reruns sometimes at night. It was one of the most realistic shows ever made, and was actually funny, unlike 99% of sitcoms. The kids looked and behaved like kids their ages really did, the parents had what looked and felt like a real marriage – they bickered and got annoyed with each other, but also obviously loved and liked each other – and the struggles/conflicts in the show were things people actually deal with in daily life.

    So basically, she rocks, and good for her for always speaking out and telling people to fuck off when they deserve it. Also, she looks amazing in those pictures!

  6. Helen
    Helen May 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm |

    Thank you for sharing this. Roseanne is an amazing person and I’m glad her voice is still being heard.

  7. April
    April May 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm |

    That was an awesome article, and her hair looks fantastic.

  8. JustDucky
    JustDucky May 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm |

    I remember watching the show with my mom when I was a kid – she told me later it was like someone had written her life up and put it on TV. That one, and Grace Under Fire.

    Y’know, back when television mimicked real life, and found the funny in it.

    Does TV even -do- that anymore?

  9. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles May 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm |

    That is some of the most amazing stuff I have read in a long time.

  10. smmo
    smmo May 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm |

    She is wonderful. Truth tellers are always hated.

    Don’t read the comments. Damn, I should know better. Someone actually said TV has come a long way since she was on the air. A long way DOWN. Remember when middle-aged women were actually allowed on television? Roseanne, Candice Bergen, Cybill Shepherd? And they were smart feminists? But it’s OK, because now we have, um, …

  11. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston May 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm |

    Chuck: “A woman just doesn’t have the equipment to satisfy another woman.”
    Dan: “You can buy the equipment.”

    God, I loved that show.

  12. IrishUp
    IrishUp May 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm |

    @JustDucky-
    LOLOLOL! I always describe my mother’s parenting as “Roseanne” mixed in with “Grace Under Fire”. For realz.

    I loved that Roseanne and Dan had a hot sexy side to their relationship, too- anyone else remember the epp when they tore the bedroom apart? Real looking people who were into each other, FTW!

  13. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable May 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm |

    Can I just say – Roseanne Halloween episodes? I watch them on youtube every October.

    Also, I’m glad I read that. I wasn’t familiar with her struggles while putting the show together.

  14. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth May 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm |

    I am rewatching Roseanne right now (on netflix, streaming) and the show is even better than I remembered as a kid. Also, the issues that they’re dealing with–struggles to stay in the lower middle class, really resonate right now, the show is whatever the opposite of dated is. Roseanne Barr is totally right about TV today as well.

  15. thewhatfor
    thewhatfor May 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm |

    Wow, this is a great piece.

  16. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. May 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm |

    Strange. I’ve always hated Rosanne (the show not the woman) with a fiery passion. Being that poor was not funny. It wasn’t charming. Growing up in a house like that as a child wasn’t comical…it didn’t make me clever or witty…things didn’t always work out. It was painful…and hungry…it hurt, physically and psychologically. Not entertainment.

  17. Lis
    Lis May 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    Roseanne is fierce. I love her.

  18. Daisy
    Daisy May 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm |

    I love Roseanne and this article just made me love her more.

  19. Lori
    Lori May 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm |

    Thanks for the link. Wow. She’s fascinating. Excellent article.

  20. ks
    ks May 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm |

    Strange. I’ve always hated Rosanne (the show not the woman) with a fiery passion. Being that poor was not funny. It wasn’t charming. Growing up in a house like that as a child wasn’t comical…it didn’t make me clever or witty…things didn’t always work out. It was painful…and hungry…it hurt, physically and psychologically. Not entertainment.

    I always liked Roseanne for just those reasons–I grew up that way too and I’ve always been a fan of dark humor that cuts a little too close. But my mom really, really hates Roseanne (the show, and also a little bit the woman) for the same reason. Because it was *real* and mirrored our actual lives, and the lives of most everybody we knew, pretty closely and it wasn’t fun or entertaining for her.

  21. Tori
    Tori May 16, 2011 at 8:26 pm |

    Kristen J.:
    Strange.I’ve always hated Rosanne (the show not the woman) with a fiery passion.Being that poor was not funny.It wasn’t charming.Growing up in a house like that as a child wasn’t comical…it didn’t make me clever or witty…things didn’t always work out.It was painful…and hungry…it hurt, physically and psychologically.Not entertainment.

    This was the same and not the same for me, personally.

    On one hand, it hit a little too close to home for me to feel comfortable about the humor.

    On the second, it felt weird and wrong for a situation that was so real and scary to me to be used as what looked like a source of mass media humor. In other words, I was Not Okay with the idea that someone who didn’t have the same types of problems was laughing at those problems instead of empathizing with them.

    On the third hand (yes, in my metaphoric reality, there exist three hands), it was a way to give a sort of defiant voice to all that. In my family growing up, we had the same sarcastic sensibilities (my parents both carried the gene, and my siblings and I inherited from both sides) and made a lot of similar statements — since as long as I can remember, which was at least a few years before the TV show. And when the show started, there was someone basically saying, “Hey, these issues are legit and by the way, aren’t they also fucked up?” And maybe also validating the concept that — while that all wasn’t inherently humorous — it was okay for us to create humor in there to cope.

  22. Bushfire
    Bushfire May 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm |

    She looks so good in that picture.

  23. Emily
    Emily May 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm |

    zuzu:
    God, that was such a great show.And she’s awesome.

    Is it wrong that I’m all excited to learn she was in love with John
    Goodman?Because I was also; or maybe with Dan Conner.

    No way, I was totally excited to learn that as well. I love John Goodman AND Dan Conner so much!

    And I also love Roseanne more than i can even say. It is my favorite sitcom, maybe my favorite tv show, (except for maybe Six Feet Under) ever. I so idolized Darlene when I was 10. And I have watched it a lot on reruns and no other show can hold a candle to it. It was smart, subversive, socially conscious, realistic, treated with dignity fat and poor people, who are so often the butt of jokes, and it just so happened to be one of the funniest shows ever put on the air. God i love that show. It makes me sad to hear that Roseanne had to deal with so much shit, but she seems to have dealt with it in a manner worthy of Roseanne Conner herself.

  24. Emily
    Emily May 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm |

    Oops, did not mean to put my whole comment in a quote. I trust you all can figure out where zuzu’s comment ends and mine begins. :)

  25. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 17, 2011 at 7:49 am |

    I loved that show (right up until the final season, which was a big bag of fail). I loved the fact that everyone on there looked like my neighbors and schoolmates and their parents, that the Conners had older furniture and a normal house (instead of these ridiculously appointed places that even middle-class people wouldn’t be able to afford), that things didn’t always get solved neatly in the half-hour time slot, that people fucked up but still loved each other (and refrained from those godawful Meaningful Talks that no one EVER has in real life). I liked the fact that the lead and the man who played her husband were fat and that there were no fat jokes (I wasn’t particularly aware about fat issues at the time, I just thought it would have been too easy and cliche a punchline.) I liked how they were basically loving but wiseassy, since that’s how my family operates and I hate gushy bullshit. I liked the fact that it was in one of the flyover states, not in a suburb of LA or NY or sometimes Boston. I laughed with them because I knew that I and everyone else were either in the same spot or not far from it.

  26. norbizness
    norbizness May 17, 2011 at 8:11 am |

    Something in the back of my head says that a lot of this was covered by Susan Faludi in Backlash, and it turns out that’s the case. I was never a huge fan of the show, but I always rooted for her to succeed after reading that passage/chapter because of the reactionary forces arrayed against her. Looking back, it was definitely a worthy successor to those Norman Lear 70s shows.

  27. Rachel
    Rachel May 17, 2011 at 8:38 am |

    Kristen J.: Strange. I’ve always hated Rosanne (the show not the woman) with a fiery passion. Being that poor was not funny. It wasn’t charming. Growing up in a house like that as a child wasn’t comical…it didn’t make me clever or witty…things didn’t always work out. It was painful…and hungry…it hurt, physically and psychologically. Not entertainment.

    I’ve also felt the same, but for different reasons. This article makes me love the woman, but I find the show a little to vulgar for my own taste. The people I know just don’t act like that, even though I know there are people out there who do. But maybe I need to give the show another try.

  28. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 17, 2011 at 8:55 am |

    I remember that section of the book. It’s why I view the arguments that market forces would allow for the potrayal of certain people/certain types of entertainment but no one is interested with a jaundiced eye. Sorry, but there’s been too much smashing of shows that did quite well ratings-wise but weren’t what the white suits in the executive suite thought were appropriate (and by appropriate I mean–“Stuff they like and approve of.”) That book also confirmed my hatred for that godawful show Thirtysomething, which was propped up despite its failing ratings–while others shows that did well ratings-wise had to fight to stay on-air. To this day, I throw up in my mouth a little if I hear the theme music.

    norbizness:
    Something in the back of my head says that a lot of this was covered by Susan Faludi in Backlash, and it turns out that’s the case. I was never a huge fan of the show, but I always rooted for her to succeed after reading that passage/chapter because of the reactionary forces arrayed against her. Looking back, it was definitely a worthy successor to those Norman Lear 70s shows.

  29. norbizness
    norbizness May 17, 2011 at 9:35 am |

    Sheelzebub: Say what you want about the 70s, but people like Carroll O’Connor, Esther Rolle, Redd Foxx, Isobel Sanford, and Abe Vigoda were key players in some of the highest-rated shows.

    And now that I’m thirtysomething (jeez, even the ee cummings punctuation makes me want to retch), I am looking to go all Ministry of Information on that show to make everyone forget it ever existed.

  30. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub May 17, 2011 at 10:32 am |

    HEY! The Seventies are hip again!

  31. DaisyDeadhead
    DaisyDeadhead May 17, 2011 at 11:21 am |

    “If you come home from work and those kids are still alive, I’ve done my job!”

    I quoted this line for 10 years; I should probably pay her royalties.

    She is awesome.

  32. Aaron W.
    Aaron W. May 17, 2011 at 11:42 am |

    I don’t, know this whole article rubbed me the wrong way.

    I think it’s because I’m not super sympathetic to the plight of management to begin with and when management tries to pass itself off as labor my hackles go up. Rosanne writes as if she was part of the “labor” that “Hollywood hates” (and, as an aside, I have a hard time believing in a monolithic enough Hollywood for that to be a terribly meaningful claim). But she also writes about how happy she was to fire people, how she sees producers as working for stars, how she hired and promoted people, and how she made her assistant prank call the Palm. (Also I simply don’t believe that none of the people she enjoyed firing suffered as a result – it reads like a self-serving lie).

    I also have a hard time empathizing with people who use their fame to get special treatment and then, when their fame disappears, are shocked and hurt that the special treatment disappears with it. You used to get in last minute on a Saturday night at a restaurant so exclusive and expensive most people will never be able to get a reservation at all, let alone afford it if they could, and then when you are less famous you can’t do that anymore? Well I guess that is mildly unfortunate, but, if that is the worst story you have to tell about what loosing fame did to you, I’m not going to lose much sleep over it. (Especially if you respond by making your personal assistant – who is still with you – prank call the restaurant.)

    As an introspective article about the dangers of fame, this strikes me as something of a fail.

  33. JPlum
    JPlum May 17, 2011 at 11:50 am |

    In the picture at the link, she looks like a badass woman/Goddess out of a Greek play. Which is awesome.

  34. verucaamish
    verucaamish May 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    So much of Roseanne was anti-tv trope. I loved the way she deal with her daughter’s sexuality was to get them on birth control. I also loved the episode where Darlene gets an awesome job but wants to turn it down to stay in college. Everyone’s reactions just felt believable. From Darlene’s ambivalence and knowledge that jobs can come and go to Roseanne and Dan’s excitement at someone in the family having a white collar job.

  35. Steve
    Steve May 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm |

    A fascinating perspective. For years I’ve read TV writing blogs – Ken Levine’s, for one – and the word I heard about Roseanne was that her involvement made for a much better show, but it was a nightmare to be her writer. Usually in TV it’s the writers who have the vision. There are exceptions (Bill Cosby, Roseanne of course, Sarah Jessica Parker was a producer on “Sex and the City”) but, for example, Joss Whedon decided Buffy’s creative direction, not Sarah Michelle Geller; Gilmore Girls belonged to Amy Sherman-Palladino for six seasons, not to Lauren Graham (as much as I love Lauren Graham). But Roseanne muscled her way through to define her own program.

  36. Matriotic Muse
    Matriotic Muse May 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

    Aaron W.:

    Aaron W.:

    I also have a hard time empathizing with people who use their fame to get special treatment and then, when their fame disappears, are shocked and hurt that the special treatment disappears with it.You used to get in last minute on a Saturday night at a restaurant so exclusive and expensive most people will never be able to get a reservation at all, let alone afford it if they could, and then when you are less famous you can’t do that anymore?Well I guess that is mildly unfortunate, but, if that is the worst story you have to tell about what loosing fame did to you, I’m not going to lose much sleep over it.(Especially if you respond by making your personal assistant – who is still with you – prank call the restaurant.)

    I don’t think she told that story to score sympathy. I think she mentioned it to point out the shallowness and addictive nature of fame as it played out in her own life.

    Fierce article, fierce woman, fierce picture! She’s aged like fine wine. Being true to yourself is the best medicine.

    I’ll be netflixing the sitcom. I LOVED the show as a child, especially Darlene.

    I also love that she gave Dave Chappelle acknowledgment for being true to himself amidst pressure to succumb to the forces of Hollywood.

    And lastly: Roseanne’s Nuts. Someone call an ambulance cuz I just died when I read that. She is a hoot!

  37. Matriotic Muse
    Matriotic Muse May 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

    Steve:
    A fascinating perspective.For years I’ve read TV writing blogs – Ken Levine’s, for one – and the word I heard about Roseanne was that her involvement made for a much better show, but it was a nightmare to be her writer.Usually in TV it’s the writers who have the vision.There are exceptions (Bill Cosby, Roseanne of course, Sarah Jessica Parker was a producer on “Sex and the City”) but, for example, Joss Whedon decided Buffy’s creative direction, not Sarah Michelle Geller; Gilmore Girls belonged to Amy Sherman-Palladino for six seasons, not to Lauren Graham (as much as I love Lauren Graham).But Roseanne muscled her way through to define her own program.

    And thank goodness she did!

  38. April
    April May 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm |

    verucaamish:
    So much of Roseanne was anti-tv trope.I loved the way she deal with her daughter’s sexuality was to get them on birth control.I also loved the episode where Darlene gets an awesome job but wants to turn it down to stay in college.Everyone’s reactions just felt believable.From Darlene’s ambivalence and knowledge that jobs can come and go to Roseanne and Dan’s excitement at someone in the family having a white collar job.

    Exactly. Because of a recommendation from this site a couple months ago, I added the series to my Netflix queue, as well, and have been picking up the same thing this time around. Believability is my number one criteria for liking a show, and I appreciate the reality of their family and, while a bit exaggerated for effect, their interactions with each other.

  39. smmo
    smmo May 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm |

    Aaron W.:

    As an introspective article about the dangers of fame, this strikes me as something of a fail.

    Possibly because the article was about misogyny in television?

  40. Aaron W.
    Aaron W. May 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm |

    smmo: Possibly because the article was about misogyny in television?

    I think if you go back and reread the first several paragraphs of the article you’ll see that it isn’t just about misogyny in television. The framing paragraphs are all about fame. I read the article as being about both misogyny in television and about the dangers of fame. As an article about misogyny in television I thought it was fine – not great not bad just fine. I didn’t think I had anything of value to add to that discussion so I chose not to comment on that aspect of the article. But as an article about fame I thought it was flawed (in the ways I pointed out) and I though and think there could be a good conversation about that.

    Matriotic Muse: I don’t think she told that story to score sympathy. I think she mentioned it to point out the shallowness and addictive nature of fame as it played out in her own life.

    You may be right. I think that is a very reasonable reading of that part of the article. That being said, even reading it that way, I’m still having a hard time empathizing and I do think the reader is meant to empathize with that story even if the reader is not meant to feel sympathy. It’s just hard for me to put myself in a place where I could imagine describing that as “the blackest of days” or “a gut shot with a sawed-off scattershot, buckshot-loaded pellet gun.”

  41. smmo
    smmo May 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    Aaron W.: As an article about misogyny in television I thought it was fine – not great not bad just fine.

    All these years later, men STILL hate and fear Roseanne. She must be doing something right.

  42. Aaron W.
    Aaron W. May 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm |

    Ironically at about the time you were posting this I was listening to Monty python’s Argument sketch.

    smmo: All these years later, men STILL hate and fear Roseanne. She must be doing something right.

    I know I’m going to regret asking this, but I am too curious not to. How do you get from the fact that I though this article was a fine commentary (not great or bad, just fine) on the misogyny of the television industry to the conclusion that men still hate and fear Roseanne? The leap there is so great that I honestly have no idea what the underlying logic could possibly be.

  43. rain
    rain May 18, 2011 at 8:17 am |

    Aaron W.:

    The framing paragraphs are all about fame. I read the article as being about both misogyny in television and about the dangers of fame. As an article about misogyny in television I thought it was fine – not great not bad just fine. I didn’t think I had anything of value to add to that discussion so I chose not to comment on that aspect of the article. But as an article about fame I thought it was flawed (in the ways I pointed out) and I though and think there could be a good conversation about that.

    Well, your framing paragraph was about management and labour. As a commentary about fame, your post was flawed. All your subsequent comments must be about management and labour in Hollywood.

    As an introspective article about the dangers of fame . . .

    I read the article as being about both misogyny in television and about the dangers of fame.

    But as an article about fame I thought it was flawed (in the ways I pointed out) and I though and think there could be a good conversation about that.

    Dammit, people, stop talking about misogyny! Aaron wants to talk about fame! It’ll be a good conversation, I promise you!

  44. Aaron W.
    Aaron W. May 18, 2011 at 11:04 am |

    Rain:

    I’m not sure I get your point. Is it that an article can only be about one thing? Is it that this article is not about the nature of fame? Is it that Rosanne was right to position herself as “labor” when she is clearly management?

    rain: Dammit, people, stop talking about misogyny! Aaron wants to talk about fame! It’ll be a good conversation, I promise you!

    I’m not sure how you get from what I said to the idea that people should stop talking about misogyny.

    But since you clearly missed the point, let me try again.

    I think this article is about at least two things – 1) Rosanne’s introspection on fame and the nature of fame and the impact of fame on the individual. 2) Misogyny in the television industry or possibly Hollywood as a whole. I addressed one of the things that I think the article is about because I thought I had something to add to the conversation and because I thought it was ripe for interesting discussion. smmo suggested the article was about only one thing and that I should be talking about the one thing smmo thinks the article is about. I explained that I thought the article was about 2 things and that the one thing smmo thought the article was about was something I didn’t think I had anything interesting or valuable to say about.

    If you have something interesting or valuable to say about misogyny in the television industry or Hollywood or in general, I would be very interested to hear it. I like it when people have interesting or valuable things to say and they do in fact say them.

  45. smmo
    smmo May 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    Aaron W.: I like it when people have interesting or valuable things to say and they do in fact say them.

    Roseanne Barr had some very interesting things to say about misogyny in television. If you weren’t so busy mansplaining, you might have noticed that.

  46. La Lubu
    La Lubu May 19, 2011 at 7:46 am |

    Is it that Rosanne was right to position herself as “labor” when she is clearly management?

    Aaron, it isn’t clear to me that she’s “management”. A loose analogy from my world would be that she’s in a “foreman” position—a lead worker, but make no mistake that the real power is far outside of her hands. Artists, and particularly female artists, don’t have a whole helluva lot of control over their work, particularly when they are breaking through. The difference between Roseanne and a lot of her contemporaries is that she didn’t forget whwere she came from; she didn’t forget who her audience was. That was what made her show successful.

    Anyway. I highly recommend Women and Hollywood for an up-front discussion on how even award-winning, talented women are routinely shunted aside. Right now, I’m disgusted that both “Detroit 187″ and “Chicago Code” won’t be renewed (seems like the only place where women can be strong on screen is if they play cops). Some real misogynistic horseshit is the replacement. Worthy of note is that both of those shows had strong, leading characters of color (including and especially women of color). Hollywood (why do I always catch myself typing “Hollowwood”?) is “lightening up” the scenery once again.

    Also worthy of note—back when Roseanne was on, her physical appearance was critiqued to all hell (unlike say, John Goodman’s), as was her class background. You may not have been paying attention, Aaron…but women sure were. I remember standing in line at the grocery store and seeing all the tabloids with Roseanne being dragged through the mud on the front page. She was our (working-class women) stand-in. Our understudy, you might say.

  47. Florence
    Florence May 19, 2011 at 8:00 am |

    We need a special “Like” button for La Lubu’s comments:

    Artists, and particularly female artists, don’t have a whole helluva lot of control over their work, particularly when they are breaking through. The difference between Roseanne and a lot of her contemporaries is that she didn’t forget whwere she came from; she didn’t forget who her audience was. That was what made her show successful…

    …back when Roseanne was on, her physical appearance was critiqued to all hell (unlike say, John Goodman’s), as was her class background. You may not have been paying attention, Aaron…but women sure were. I remember standing in line at the grocery store and seeing all the tabloids with Roseanne being dragged through the mud on the front page.

    When I watched the show as a kid, a lot of the political themes went over my head. But I remember liking that there was a poor, fat, working woman on TV with a sass mouth who was still presented as loved, likable, and a good mom. I also liked that the two girls on the show were ambitious, competitive, and successful in ways that went beyond boys and prettiness.

    I also remember the special scorn that was reserved for Roseanne-the-person, and in particular, the way that Tom Arnold made a second career out of grossly slandering the woman. Among the slight stirrings of social justice that I can remember from my pre-adolescence, looking at that man and the things he said about his ex-wife, I knew something was seriously wrong there even if I didn’t know then what it was called.

  48. rain
    rain May 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm |

    I’m not sure I get your point. Is it that an article can only be about one thing?

    Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Also, that you get to decide what that one thing is.

  49. MisukoB
    MisukoB May 21, 2011 at 2:02 am |

    I liked it, the more people who call out the misogynistic shit on TV the better. And especially when someone criticize the misogynistic crap that is Two and Half fail… Dangit I fucking hate that show. That it is the most watched (or was?) show is very telling of this patriarchal society. I’ts so fucking easy to get away with being misogynistic failbags. Yes, misogyny is normalized. I know.

    One thing I do wish is that Roseanne would ease on down with the misogynistic slurs. If you are going to criticize others misogyny then please don’t play into it yourself. And especially don’t excuse it with, “but i’m only calling those women that!”. Yes “those” women. Should we all start calling women we don’t like bitches and whores? No.

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