When Roseanne triumphantly returned for its tenth season on March 27 — a little over two decades after airing its final episode — over 25 million people tuned in. No question about it, that's a lot of people, and an audience of that size speaks volumes to the overall impact that the show made on the television landscape, not only during its original 1988-97 run, but in years of reruns when a whole new generation started watching — and embracing — it.
What is it about the Conners? For starters, Roseanne, Dan, Becky, Darlene, DJ, Jerry, and Aunt Jackie, and their working class lifestyles, is — and has been from the very beginning — reflective of a large portion of society. Obviously not those in the top percent, but the millions of others who were and are struggling to get by, doing their best to find humor in their lives wherever they can and holding on tight. No question that the show provided plenty of laughs — and some great ones — but just as importantly, it raised a mirror to who we are, not only bringing the laughs, but tackling some truly complex issues that television had rarely done before. Oh, that door was definitely nudged open in the 1970s with shows like All in the Family and MASH, but Roseanne swung it wide and seldom pulled punches.
To see what we mean, take a look at this guide to some of the show's greatest, and most controversial, episodes.