Roseanne celebrates its 25th anniversary of the blue-collar family sitcom that was the most-watched show in the U.S. in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The show told the story of the Conners, a working-class family from Illinois.
The family often tackled sometimes controversial subject matter from birth control and teenage pregnancy to social class, weight, infidelity, and domestic violence.
Roseanne ran on ABC for nine seasons, ending in 1997, and continues to air in syndication on some channels.
Now, a quarter-century later, creator and star Roseanne Barr says she’s proud of what the show did for America.
“The Cosby’s were trying their best to be the kind of black family that white America could have in their living rooms without going 100 percent whiteface, but when the Connors walked out… suddenly, toeing the line wasn’t the be-all and end-all of what passed for life in the 1990s in America,” Barr wrote in a tribute to the show on the Huffington Post.
“They were barely getting by, but they made living paycheck-to-paycheck look normal along with lots of other aspects of life that made tens of millions of American say, ‘Hey, we don’t have to jive and strive and never arrive with all those mostly-perfect white familybots on TV! We have seen The Family and they are us.’”
Barr is also proud of the effect the show had on other mediums, like advertising for example.
“To speak directly to working-class viewers in an active feminist voice over the people’s airwaves about the true nature of Reaganomics on their lives seems to have led to a fracturing of the advertising medium itself,” she wrote. “Almost immediately, after becoming the number one television show of the ’90s, I noted that commercials switched from using the passive patriarchal voice to an active feminist voice to sell cheese graters and diet pills.”
Roseanne also started a lot of controversy, but it made the show more popular as it attracted more viewers from criticism.