"Many people did not like the ninth season of Roseanne, but in its totality, I found it fascinating. The main problem was that it was clumsily written and directed, and that is mainly why I am giving it three stars. Let me warn you there are SPOILERS AHEAD.
The season opens with Roseanne having retreated to Jackie's house after a tremendous fight with Dan over lifestyle changes he will have to make for the sake of his health. He is in complete denial, and she lashes out in fear of losing him to a second heart attack. She spends the day parked on Jackie's couch, watching TV and fantasizing about the various sitcom couples that she watched as a child. At the conclusion of the episode, Roseanne and Dan reconcile, Roseanne returns home, and Jackie watches the announcement of the winning state lottery numbers. Much to her surprise, she and Roseanne have won the 108 million dollar Illinois state lottery. This is where the series begins to make a slow turn from the show you have become accustomed to into something that resembles "Absolutely Fabulous, Midwest Style".
The next major plot development is the cutting of the final rope that has been tethering this show to its former incarnation - the presence of John Goodman as Dan. Thus, in "Honor Thy Mother", Dan decides that with his newly found wealth he should try to see if something more than just "warehousing" can be done for his institutionalized mentally ill mother, and he takes off to a clinic in California to see to this task.
With Dan away from home and all the money in the world at her disposal, Roseanne takes the show on a series of fantasy episodes. First, the late Jim ("Ernest") Varney stars as a prince who becomes enamored of Jackie after seeing her on TV and comes to town to woo her, then Jackie and Roseanne enter an expensive, exotic, and very oddball spa where they are subject to all kinds of torments that are supposed to invigorate body and soul, but just seem plain silly in many ways. The Halloween special makes clear what the audience has suspected all along - that Jackie and Roseanne have morphed into "Absolutely Fabulous"' Patsy and Edina, with the real stars of that show guest starring. Next, the Conners are invited to spend a weekend with the wealthy Wentworths on their Cape Cod estate. Apparently the Wentworths use pill-popping and overindulging in alcohol as a means of dealing with their personal problems rather than just "letting it out", and Roseanne is more than happy to teach the family how to release their anger. Quite frankly, the fine art of temper tantrums is one thing I've always felt the uber-rich had down pat.
Next is an episode so bad that it is seldom shown in syndication, and has me asking "What WAS Roseanne thinking?" Of course I am talking about "Roseambo". Seriously, this episode is "Ed Wood" bad. The villains in this episode are an ethnically diverse bunch, and yet they all have the same fake accent. There are two good jokes in this episode. The first is when the subservient middle-eastern women mumble through a choker and scarf and the subtitles don't match the mumblings. The second good joke was when Roseanne was using such weapons as a set of hot rollers, dispensing with the terrorists one by one, and spouting parodies of action-movie tag lines such as "Avon calling!" after kicking down a door.
This ends the fantasy sequence part of the season, and the rest of the season is back in Lanford. The Thanksgiving episode is more oriented around family relationships, and thus there is an up-tick in quality. At Thanksgiving, Bev, Roseanne's mother, makes a startling revelation about her sexual orientation. It doesn't make much sense that Bev, divorced for several years, financially secure, and whose romantic trysts with men have been the subject of several shows in the interim, would come to such a self discovery in her 60's or have been afraid to admit this fact about herself until this point. I think it would have been better to concentrate on the other announcement of this episode - that Leon and Scott are planning to adopt - and focus on the hardships and road-blocks that abound when they set off on that road.
Next, in "Home for the Holidays", Dan returns to be home with the family at Christmas. There are happy moments - the Conners finally burn their mortgage - but at the same time, Dan seems uneasy and somewhat distant around Roseanne. At the conclusion of the episode we find out why, when Jackie overhears Dan on the phone talking tenderly to "another woman" - the nurse who is taking care of his mother in California. The next three episodes deal with the fallout of Roseanne finding out about the affair, confronting Dan about it, and mourning what seems to be the end of her marriage when she locks herself in her room and goes on a junk food binge. Although I really enjoyed these episodes as something that any woman who has been dumped for another could relate to, I found Dan's actions to be completely out of character. Perhaps that is the point - maybe Dan stayed by Roseanne's side through very bad times because he didn't really have any broader horizons in life, and now that he knows that he has alternatives he is taking them, or at least flirting with them.
After a very mundane two-parter in which Roseanne uses her wealth to help rescue the Wellman Plastics factory that she and her sister worked in during the first season, come two of the season's best episodes. First, in "A Second Chance", Dan returns to Roseanne in an attempt to start over. The couple's reunion is cut short when Jackie calls with news that Darlene has gone into early labor. "The Miracle" is one of my all-time favorite episodes of Roseanne. All medical intervention possible is used to stop Darlene from going into labor, but she does so anyway, and delivers a baby girl that even the medical experts Roseanne has retained say is too premature to survive. The episode shows us two things to which we are unaccustomed - David being strong and Darlene being overtly loving, vulnerable, and selfless. It's truly great and yet heartbreaking seeing the two being a normal loving couple comforting each other and grieving over the probable loss of their child.
The next three episodes - "Roseanne-Feld", "The Truth Be Told", and "Arsenic and Old Mom" are light-hearted comic romps that are OK but ultimately forgettable. However, the two-part series finale is excellent. It starts out somewhat slow, the premise being that the Connors and their friends are gathering for a celebration as Darlene and David bring their baby home from the hospital. But in the final ten minutes, through Roseanne's monologue, we learn that what we think we are seeing and have been seeing for the last seven years is actually a novel written by Roseanne based loosely on the truth. All of the characters do exist, but not as they have been portrayed in the show/novel. We also find out that Roseanne has recently experienced a horrendous personal loss rather than a tremendous financial windfall. This loss has caused Roseanne to throw herself into finishing her novel in the basement office that her family first set up for her at the conclusion of season two, where she hatches the state lottery storyline as a conclusion to the book she has been working on for seven years. We then see her finish her novel, put it aside, go into the living room that has the same drab furnishings from the previous seasons, and sit down to watch TV - alone. It was all very touching.
I guess since I have been hypercritical of more than a few of the individual episodes, some might wonder why I am giving this season a three star rating. I actually did not like this season during its initial run, but on repeated viewings it has grown on me. Standing all by itself it would truly be dreadful. However, you have to remember that by the conclusion of the eighth season, just about every issue between the various Conner family members had already been tackled and the show had become stale, so that there were really only two options - end the show at that point, or take it in an entirely different direction, which is the choice that was made. Thus, taken in contrast with the previous eight seasons, and especially the very mundane eigth season, I really liked the ninth season for the chances it took.
You also have to look at this season in the context of Roseanne's actual life. By the ninth season, the show had gradually been losing that genuine quality of a real working-class family for a couple of seasons at least in part because, by 1996, Roseanne herself had not been living a blue-collar lifestyle for over a decade. Thus it probably became increasingly difficult for her to inject something into her work that was becoming a distant memory for her. It was probably much easier for her to do something she knew - play a woman with a blue-collar background who comes into sudden wealth. I'm subtracting two stars mainly because the production quality could have been much better even given the exact same storyline. There should have been more effort put into the delivery of lines, and some episodes came off as unrehearsed and hurriedly thrown together. Plus, it really saddened me to see Laurie Metcalf's character of Jackie change from a delightful bundle of unpredictable neuroses into a sidekick with a Barney Fife-like quality. You have to ask yourself, though, do you actually believe that people would still be talking about this show if it had gone out with a whimper after its eighth season instead of taking the bizarre turn that it did in its ninth and final season? I seriously doubt it. Thus, I do recommend this DVD set to any Roseanne fan, especially if you are familiar with the previous eight seasons. Just prepare yourself for more than a few cringe-worthy moments of TV viewing."
Lost interest in Season 9, but never lost faith in Roseanne
JGC | 09/13/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I loved "Roseanne" because it was such a funny and realistic sitcom. There has never been a TV show that has portrayed such a true American family. My family was just like the Connors and I am certain there were millions of families just like this around the country. Why was Roseanne so shocking? This was the first time an actress had total creative control over her show. There wasn't a man telling Roseanne what to do. She set her own rules. Then she broke every one of them!
In my humble opinion "Roseanne" peaked in Season 5 (1992/1993 season, when Becky left.) The shows during that season were so on the money because everyone could relate to Roseanne's problems. I especially loved the show when Roseanne's father passed away; it was so funny but also very touching. And the one with Loretta Lynn was so funny.
It seems like after Season 5 all the eps of "Roseanne" were downhill. There were some excellent shows after that, but with each passing season "Roseanne" got progressively worse.
Roseanne is as American as Apple Pie, but what's up with Season 9??? By Season 9 "Roseanne" was horrid. I can't name a single ep from this season that is halfway edible. They are all so incredibly unfunny, uninteresting, boring and rather painful to watch. All the storylines were pointless because by now I (like many die-hard/loyal viewers) lost interest in the show; but I never lost faith in Roseanne.
Besides Rosey and her family, my favorite character was Nancy. Sandra Bernhard was the perfect actress to play Nancy Bartlett because who else can look and sound more trampy than her? Nancy was a kook but she also had a very sweet side to her; this was only revealed if you looked very closely. Unfortunately, Nancy was rarely seen by Season 9, though. I remember reading that Roseanne was angry that Sandy discussed one of her failed marriage on a late-night talk show. Maybe Roseanne was punishing Nancy by confining her to the same purgatory that banished Crystal Anderson-Conner from the show?
I was never crazy about Leon Karp (Martin Mull) and Scott (Fred Willard.) They were in way too many shows during the last season. Why? No one was interested in these two. And they were such a cliche of what people think the typical middle-aged [...] couple is; but they were never even remotely funny. And, I never understood why Roseanne always tried to go out of her to way to include [...]-themes on her show. This show is based on her own life. In her personal life Roseanne doesn't associate with [...] people and she is far from being a [...] icon. She is just a domestic artist that was able to turn her life into something very funny and amazing.
The last episode of "Roseanne" was a special hour-long program. There were a few good scenes on the last show. I liked that Roseanne included all of her supporting cast (not just the main stars) in the last ep. Because it added a touch of realism and closure. Of course in syndication and on Nick @ Nite these last 2 eps are butchered beyond recognition.
Here's all the eps from Season 9:
Call Waiting 9/17/1996 Roseanne goes on a spiritual journey in front of the TV, after walking out on her husband.
Millions from Heaven 9/24/1996 The Connor family wins the lottery.
What a Day for a Daydream 10/1/1996 The Connors go on Jerry Springer.
Honor Thy Mother 10/8/1996 Dan leaves to take care of Audrey, his mom.
Someday My Prince Will Come 10/15/1996 Jackie's Prince (played by the late "Earnest" star Jim Varney) whisks everyone away to NY.
Pampered to a Pulp 10/22/1996 Jackie and Roseanne go to a spa.
Satan, Darling 10/29/1996 Foolish Halloween ep.
Hoi Polloi Meets Hoiti Toiti 11/12/1996 The gang all visit the snobbish Wentworths.
Roseambo 11/19/1996 Rosey battles terrorists.
Home is Where the Afghan Is 11/26/1996 Roseanne misses Dan during Thanksgiving.
Mothers and Other Strangers 12/3/1996 Bev visits Nana-Mary to find out who her real father was (this is such a pathetic storyline!)
Home for the Holidays 12/17/1996 Dan comes home for Christmas and seems a little distant and cold.
Say It Ain't So 1/7/1997 Dan reveals to Roseanne that he was more than friends with one of Audrey's nurses (another pathetic storyline!)
Hit the Road, Jack 1/14/1997 Roseanne drives around Landford in her new Benz drowning her sorrow in fast food.
The War Room 1/28/1997 Everyone is concerned when Roseanne takes to her room and won't come out.
Lanford's Elite (1) 2/11/1997 Rosey meets Edgar Wellman, Jr. at a first-class party.
Some Enchanted Merger (2) 2/11/1997 Roseanne develops an attraction to Edgard Wellman, Jr.
A Second Chance 2/18/1997 Roseanne and Dan try to fix their marriage.
The Miracle 2/25/1997 Darlene gives birth.
Roseanne-Feld 3/4/1997 Bev introduces Leon and Scott to her new lesbian-lover, Joyce. Meanwhile, Jackie and Mark go to a wrestling match.
The Truth Be Told 3/18/1997 Producers from network and cable channels want to do a movie about Roseanne.
Arsenic and Old Mom 5/13/1997 Audrey, Dan's mom makes a rare visit to Landford.
Into That Good Night (1) 5/20/1997 Darlene brings the baby home from the hospital.
Into That Good Night (2) 5/20/1997 Everyone celebrates the birth of Darlene's & David's baby. Roseanne reflects on her life and family.
One of the Best Shows EVER Ruined in its Last Season
70's Girl | Far From My Hometown | 10/13/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I love Roseanne. I can watch it over and over and never tire of it--especially seasons 3-7. I definitely was not happy with Sarah Chalke in the role of Becky, the lottery storyline or Bev all of a sudden (in her 60's??) realizing that she was a lesbian, but I could live with it. Roseanne just trashed her show in its last season. Previously, even though the characters had lots of ups and downs, the show was mostly upbeat and very, very funny. It was comfort TV and I always felt good after watching it. The last season always left me feeling bad and the finale just left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even though the characters were not real, I became attached to them after almost ten years. Killing off Dan and making all the characters into someone different was appalling. It was a sitcom , a COMEDY. It should have gone off on a high note. This is a season I never want to see again. Be sure you want to spend your money on this depressing and unfunny season."
I wish I had a better review to give....
Kahuna Cowboy | Austin TX | 11/11/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have enjoyed the entire series run of Roseanne, I always found it extremely humorous and well written for a sitcom, that is until Season 9. I remember the announcement that John Goodman would not be a part of most of the season and it's like the writers just gave up without his character being a part of the season. Season 9 is a train wreck (and yes there is even an episode with a train wreck) which only gets mildly better at the finale.
The season begins with Dan post-heart attack and his inability to stick with his diet which leads up to a big blow up between Roseanne and Dan which of course they reconcile. Right after they find out they won the lottery. Shortly after Dan decides to leave for California to take of his mom and it's right here the season goes haywire. Following Dan's departure we are subjected to some of the worst writing in television history with what is known as the fantasy episodes. All of these episodes revolve around Roseanne and Jackie as diva like wannabee mid-western gals, what's worse is not only are we sans Dan, but Becky and Darleen are absent from most of these episodes as well. These episodes are poorly written, terribly acted, and the story lines are so outlandish and tacky they are just painful to watch.
Following the fantasy episodes Dan, Becky, and Darleen return and the show begins to return more true to form, but compared to any of the other seasons these last episodes still seem pretty roughly written and the characters just do not seem the same. I really have to wonder if there was a change in writers during this season because it's pretty harsh. With the family reunited we are dealt 2 major story arcs leading to the series finale. Dan having a quasi affair while he was in California and Darleen having the baby much too early and the struggle to save it. Everything gets resolved in the end which leads into the finale which actually I think was brilliantly done despite what many others think.
In the finale we learn the series of Roseanne had been little more than a novel written by Roseanne. It is unclear if the entire show was a "dream" or just everything following season 2 after Roseanne got her writing room in the basement. We learn the Conners never won the lottery, Dan died from his heart attack the year prior which is right on the time Dan had his in the season 8 finale. Also we learn Jackie was gay, not Bev, Leon was much more of a feminine homosexual than he was written in the series, and Darleen married Mark while David married Becky. We do also learn the baby coming too early did indeed happen which is what snapped Roseanne from her depression after losing Dan. Roseanne also mentions that she thought Dan dying felt like she had been cheated on which I can only surmise is to tie in what was otherwise a totally out of character story arch for Dan the few episodes prior.
Regardless of season 9 being really bad overall, I feel the finale was a bit of a tear jerker and quite emotion filled, while still being true to the overall back theme of the series of a strong woman who is the family patriarch."
N. Dreher | New York, NY | 10/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The first half of this season was terrible. If you like the episodes where there are dream sequences and off-the-wall story lines, you will probably like the first half of the season. For me, I like the Roseanne of years gone by (particularly seasons 3-6) where the humor was in the witty dialogue. I actually fast forwarded through many of the episodes on the first 2 discs. Don't worry though, the last half of the season gets back to the Roseanne of yesteryears. This season was not on par with season 4 or 5, but it was not bad. The finale was very good, except for the whole people switching roles thing (don't want to spoil to much). Overall, don't wasted your time on discs 1 and 2, just watch 3 and 4, and you will still know exactly what has happened without all the crap episodes."