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May 29 2012

A look back at Joss Whedon's Roseanne episodes. An interesting, critical look at Joss' episodes on the sitcom.

"To Whom It Concerns" still makes me blubber to this day. I was always sorry to read about Joss's nightmare working for her... that he had to go through that experience. It made me dislike her. Still do.
I can't really stand Donald Sutherland anymore after I read how he treated Joss on the Buffy movie. Thanks for the link Simon, been curious about his work on that for a while (I don't know a thing about it other than that he wrote for the show for a bit).
Roseanne was a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the US sitcoms we got here in the UK in the 80s. I can not remember any particular episodes standing out (apart from the Halloween ones) but it was powerful dramatic stuff for 13/14 year old me. If I have a chance, I'll try and watch Season 2 again (it's been 25 years at least since I've seen it) and see if Joss' episodes stand out.
This is great. The Roseanne episodes stand as the only Whedon work I haven't seen (apart from the original Parenthood series, anyway) and it seems like it's time I fix that.
MrArg I feel the same way about Sutherland. I even sneer at his orange juice voiceovers. Prick.
There was something of a "dramedy" movement in the 80s that I think this show represented quite well from the sitcom side of the house.
I like that word. It fits the genre nicely. I did love the show until probably the last two seasons. That's what made Joss's painful recount of his experience that much more tragic to me. He was instrumental in my total enjoyment of this show, and he felt like he was in the crazy-ass totalitarian salt mines all that time. Boo.

Plus Joss is always so great about taking the high road. To make him actually speak out? Can you imagine how bad it must've been? Poor Joss.
Roseanne is one of my favorite shows, ever. "To Whom It Concerns" really touched me and stuck with me from the first time I saw it, and I remembered the words to Darlene's poem for years, long before the internet existed to look them up. To find out, years and years later, that Joss wrote that episode was just amazing. It makes perfect sense.

[ edited by mouse on 2012-05-30 00:28 ]
Darlene's poem always stood out as one of the best moments on 'Roseanne'. It made me happy to know that Joss wrote what I consider to be the best thing on that show.
Darlene's poem was one of those TV moments that stuck with me for long after, so that when I learned (years and years after) that Joss wrote her poem, it felt like a perfect moment of serendipity.

And regarding artists with difficult temperaments, I'm always reminded of a quote by Harry Cohn (early Hollywood movie mogul): "If you have talent, I will kiss your a--. If you don't, I will throw you through the window, and I won't open it first."
I agree re Darlene's poem. I don't think I'd seen much of the earlier Roseanne seasons before but a couple of years ago found them cheap on DVD and I could really relate to those Darlene scenes- i love the scene between her & her mum when her mum is persuading her to do it, telling her I don't think you're afraid you're not good enough, I think you're afraid you are good. It summed up my attitude to school as a teen. (I was seen as the 'clever one' and resented that).
Joss on his time at Roseanne (full interview) :
Having been rewritten almost to death, I got shut out of the process and I thought the producers were talented and good friends, but I couldn't work for them anymore, because I don't like getting paid to do nothing.

So how much of what's there is actually Joss... hard to say.
Thanks BringItOn5x5 - If I'd read the wonderful and incredibly long IGN interview before, I'd forgotten it.

This struck me:

IGNFF: What direction did you start to go in? Did you see a direction for yourself going in a certain path?

WHEDON: Oh yes... I was going to be a brilliant, independent filmmaker who then went on to make giant, major box office summer movies.
IGNFF: So, Spielberg...

WHEDON: Spielberg by way of George Romero or Wes Anderson, or a strange combination of the two ...

IGNFF: Commercial success with artistic integrity intact...

WHEDON: Exactly!

IGNFF: So, obviously, you had these dreams of Hollywood which were completely unrealistic...

WHEDON: Well, you know, you don't know it could still happen.

Heh. :-D

ETA a bit more of the quote

[ edited by Bluey on 2012-05-30 23:26 ]
Wow - I had no idea you could watch Joss' Roseanne episodes on Youtube. I'd heard so much about the episode with Darlene's poem, it's a treat to finally have seen it. And to see that what stands out so much is the pain of high school, of being the misfit, that Joss then brought to BtVS.

Also, the whole "culture night" reminded me so much of the talent show in the "Puppet Show" episode in season 1.
Totally agree with Simon about the effect of Roseanne on a British kid. Comedy can be honest and relatable? Wow. I'll check out Joss' eps.

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