Roseanne's Halloween Episodes
The first Roseanne Halloween show did not haunt the airwaves until the Second Season of the popular series. You may wonder why there wasn't a Halloween show in the first season. This might simply have been an issue of timing. The closest air date to Halloween in the first season was October 25, almost a week away from the Holiday. Others maintain that, at that time, Halloween episodes were just not done. It is believed that Roseanne personally loved Halloween and after the success of the first season, she was able to demand a Halloween episode for the Second Season. It's certainly not the first situational comedy to feature a Halloween storyline, but it was extremely popular and seemed to jump start the concept of a yearly Halloween special, which has become commonplace among prime-time comedies. Roseanne's Halloween show benefited from the shows innate charms, it projected innocence, love for the holiday, and most of all fun. At least in the beginning, later episodes would become hit or miss in their tone and focus. So lets take a look at the best of the bunch, the first ever, and best Roseanne Halloween episode simply entitled: BOO!
Like it's title, one of the most endearing aspects of this first foray into fright is the simplicity. The story of "BOO!" isn't bogged down by subplots or subtext. Later episodes will look at subjects including gender roles, depression, homosexuality, greed, and childbirth to name a few, and these are just the Halloween episodes! This is simply a look at how this average middle class American family celebrated a specific Halloween night at the end of the eighties. The show begins in the familiar Conner kitchen. Jackie (Lauri Metcalf) is melting caramel for candy apples. DJ (Micheal Fishman) is going to be a fearless Ninja for Halloween but cringes as his mom tends to a scraped knee. Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Jackie soon spin a spooky yarn for their young, naive, and captive audience. They tell of a crazy old neighbor lady who recently escaped the asylum and is loose in the neighborhood. Jackie recounts how she used to terrorize them as kids. Roseanne says "too bad it wasn't on Halloween."
Darlene (Melissa Gilbert), whom is usually quite cynical, seems sucked in by the creepy story.
The tale grows taller on down the line as even Dan (John Goodman) gets involved making up details as they go. This escalates further as Rosanne suddenly notices a figure creeping in the backyard. When Darlene and Becky look to see who's there, Jackie creeps up behind them and delivers a jump scare. The adults laugh and celebrate. Becky (Lecy Goranson) questions their maturity.
This episode, being the first of its kind, introduces the idea that an integral part of the Conner family festivities includes playing elaborate often horrific pranks on one another. We will see this theme throughout most of these Halloween shows. Here Rosie tries to convince Dan of her electrocution. Later Dan pays her back with a blood squirting "cut" to his hand.
Not so much a prank as a disgusting act of sibling terrorism, Darlene leaks fake blood from her mouth into Becky's cereal, Becky takes it rather well.
Here we see a preview of Roseanne's costume with some help from Jackie. You will note the wind-up motion pin that was sold in Hallmark stores on Jackie's chest. Many of us may have seen this item as it was a popular teacher Halloween accessory. Which brings to light, another great thing about the show is the time capsule effect, it had recognizable store-bought decorations in the background. The Conner family house was likely decorated the way your house was. As the seasons roll on you will see a change in trends, one particularly fertile example is the Jack O'Lanterns, initially they are cut traditionally with simple faces, later we see pumpkins with intricately cut designs a'la Pumpkin Masters (started in 1986), then finally we see a return to simpler designs created with paint and stickers.
Becky is on the phone, as she often is. It's a problem for Dan who is waiting for an important phone call regarding a big upcoming drywall job. Darlene can be seen here in her costume, a particularly resilient stabbing victim.
Becky is oddly well behaved in this early episode but we do have this moment of trademark sass from the Beckster. She is actually upset because she is not invited to the cool kids Halloween party.
It is Halloween night and we see the full reveal of Roseanne's witch costume, while it wont win any awards for originality, it is funny and well executed. I like the idea of her dressing up as something traditional rather than going for a fleeting reference that may seem dated as time marches on. This seems to become less of a consideration as the episodes progress but still never strays to far into the realm of dated references.
In the ongoing battle of pranks between Rosie and Dan; Roseanne pretends to choke while they are having a conversation in the kitchen. Dan just ignores her, leaving the room, staking his wife's safety on the belief that it is just a prank. Here we see Roseanne on the floor waiting for a reaction from Dan, whom never comes back to check on her. "I hate you, Dan!" she finally exclaims in shrill voiced defeat.
The puritan neighbor Crystal (Natalie West) is appropriately dressed as a "Glenda, the Good Witch" type from Wizard of Oz. Her son Lonnie (Luke Edwards) wanted to be Jason (Friday The 13th) but is dressed as a Pirate much to his disappointment.
In an uncharacteristically pleasant move, Becky whom was moping about not being invited to the aforementioned party has decided to make the best of it and join in the Conner family's Halloween festivities.
Halloween has the power to bring the Conner family together as evident by this rare sweet moment between Becky and her Mother.
This awesome and rare outdoor shot shows an idyllic snapshot of Halloween. You can just smell the cool crisp Midwest Autumn air. You can hear the joyous shouts of kids filling the night as they run from door to door. Touches like this, as well as the many exterior shots showing fall scenes and Halloween decorations help to build the world of the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois. Also I couldn't help but notice, for a self-proclaimed blue-collar family, their porch is pretty large. Note the simply cut Jack O'Lanterns on display in this episode.
Here's where things start to get good with the spooky Halloween fun. This episode captured the excitement of the night and feels like an event. Yet its all done in a realistic way where you know there are households just like the Conners whom would actually turn on a cassette tape of spooky sounds and convert their home into a haunted house to scare the neighborhood kids for the night. The fact that it aired on Halloween night added to the feeling that we are flies on the wall watching this American family who happen to love Halloween. In this memorable scene little DJ says in a deep disembodied voice "Welcome to the Tunnel of Terror." The idea of having DJ lip sync the prerecorded voice was brilliant and funny.
Dan is in on the show too as the mad scientist, or is he one of the mad Doctor's twisted experiments? "Got an aspirin, I've got a splitting headache." Dan says pointing to the axe in his head.
Another shot of the Conner living room all dressed up as a mad Science lab for Halloween night.
Jackie gives one of the best scares in the "Tunnel of Terror" as an unfortunate someone who got to close to the deranged chef and ended up as the main course.
In the middle of the Halloween night fun the construction job contact, who's call Dan was waiting for earlier, arrives unannounced at the door. Roseanne sees her chance to get back at Dan with the ultimate prank. She asks the man if he is a good sport, luckily he is, and they quickly conspire to play a trick on Dan. Roseanne goes on to be very, very, rude to the would be employer frightening him, assaulting, and insulting all him at once. He acts mortified, all the while playing along.
Dan is horrified, but they quickly explain that it is all a joke. And all is well as Roseanne snatches back her crown as the Queen of Halloween. Note the glowing skull light in the window. I had one of these in our old house. Note also how it is pointed inside instead of out.
But this Halloween isn't over yet, and neither is Dan's capacity for scaring his wife. Unwilling to concede the crown of cruelty to Rosanne, Dan executes one more prank to end them all! We see Rosanne in the garage cleaning up in the Halloween aftermath. A hockey mask clad figure appears in the window, then the lights go out. Next, Dan bursts in with a chainsaw (corded, kinda lame) to scare Roseanne to death! This show felt unique in part due to these awesome false endings, you think its over, then there is another gag.
But in the aftermath of Dan's prank, just as it seems the night will pass with a newly crowned King, Rosanne still has a one more trick up her sleeve. She is on the phone, it is revealed that it is her mother and they are going to visit very soon and for three weeks! Dan silently, yet vehemently protests, but it is too late the plans are made...
Until she reveals it to be her final, most foul, prank of the night and remains the Queen of Halloween!
Until she reveals it to be her final, most foul, prank of the night and remains the Queen of Halloween!
The sequel to the enormously popular first Halloween episode aired on October 30, 1990 and was called "Trick or Treat". Again we see the Conners getting ready for another Halloween and much to Dan's dismay, DJ has chosen to be a witch for Halloween this year. A hint of the episodes underlying theme: Gender.
Becky again is on the phone, this time though, it serves two purposes, to provide exposition as she delivers the news that Roseanne and Jackie will be meeting the rest of the family at the lodge for the annual Halloween Party. This also serves as the reveal of Becky's costume. She appears to be a prom queen that has been murdered or met some terribly gruesome accident, it has a cool half and half thing happening. Darlene is seated on the couch, seemingly normally dressed. She says she doesn't feel so good. Then a puppeteered creature bursts out of her chest in the style of Aliens. You can see her false hand in the photo above.
Here we see Dan's costume, a three headed stooge. He has a conversation with DJ that is laced with subtle attempts to dissuade DJ from dressing as a traditionally feminine witch. This episode was written by Chuck Lorre of "Two and Half Men" fame and it certainly feels like his influence is palpable as this episode playfully explores gender identity.
Roseanne and Jackie have car trouble on the way to the lodge and become marooned at the "Lobo Lounge" local bar. Roseanne is dressed as a lumberjack and it becomes a chance for her to see how the other sex lives. We get a great moment between Roseanne Barr and Lauri Metcalf as Rosanne stays in (lumberjack) character the whole time embarrassing Jackie but allowing them to share some laughs too.
Just one of the boys, Roseanne almost starts a fight as her trademark sarcasm means trouble when being delivered by her disguise as an unknown male stranger in a group of alcohol infused posturing men.
Roseanne learns the rules of bathroom stall etiquette the fast and hard way. "Oh, Its like an elevator."
There is a haunted house at the lodge and it is here where we get a few Halloweeny scenes, but unlike the first episode Halloween takes a backseat to the gender issues subplots. Arnie (Tom Arnold) is dressed as the Ghost of Elvis, a funny costume, but one he will reprise (though executed differently) in a future Halloween episode. It is also here where the DJ gender subplot is anticlimactically resolved with an abrupt father-son talk.
Dan arrives just in time as this drunk brute was increasingly rude to Jackie and about to come to fisticuffs with Roseanne. "Hey leave him alone!" Dan Says, "What's it to you?" says the brute, "He's my husband!" This was a decent enough episode with some really good moments, but we already see in the second Halloween episode that the holiday is taking the backseat to other themes.
The Season 4 Halloween Episode "Trick me up Trick me Down" starts with an uptight neighbor Kathy (Meagan Fay) arriving at Roseanne's door, as she approaches, she hears a commotion from inside the Conner house and slowly, hesitantly, lets herself in. This character was a composite based on a new, snooty, more sophisticated, class of people the real Roseanne Barr was encountering in her life as she found financial success.
Kathy wanders through the living room calling out to Rosanne and Dan as ominous music plays. There is no reply. She steps into the kitchen to find that the awful noises she heard was Dan's grisly murder. Roseanne turns up behind Kathy where she just came in. She is looking stressed with a bloody knife, complaining about the mess she made: "What is it, Kathy? I've had a really bad day and now I've got to clean up all of this. You know, I don't know how many times I keep telling myself, it's just like gutting a fish. I swear, I was much better with Becky's dad." Dan silently comes up behind Kathy holding his guts in his hands "Liver?" offering her something to eat. It becomes clear that it is a prank, yet Kathy screams and leaves the house telling the Conners that they are terrible people.
DJ initially walks into the kitchen dressed like Alfalfa from the 1930's comedy shorts "The Little Rascals". He looks embarrassed and confused and admits he doesn't even know who Alfalfa is. "I want to be the Terminator." Says DJ. Rosanne protests, but DJ insists "I want to do what the other kids are doing" So he leaves and returns as an amalgamation that Rosanne terms the Alfalfinator. Jackie however is upset because she does not have a date for the night and is not thrilled about the prospect of having to go to the Halloween party alone. She admits to Roseanne that, in desperation, she resorted to calling old boyfriends in hopes of securing a last minute date for the party.
Another exterior shot complete with (a few) Halloween decorations, this time it's the Lodge that Dan belongs to. I found myself longing for the return to a Halloween night where the party takes place at the Conner house. But alas it wont be until Season 8 where the Conners spend another Halloween night at home. So in the meantime, it's Halloween parties at the Lodge then in later episodes at "The Lanford Lunchbox", a restaurant the Conner family opens.
Jackie shows up to the party and becomes horrified to see that Crystal and her are wearing the same costume. "I cant believe we both came as Morticia" (Morticia Addams from the Addams Family) "It's okay" says Crystal, with a sigh of relief. "I'm Elvira." Problem Solved.
The initial reveal of Rosanne and Dan's costume. Dan starts out dead but awakes to perform a ghoulish ventriloquist act with his cheerful yet sarcastic "dummy" on his knee. They are Deadgar Bergan and Mortuary Snerd, a reference to Edgar Bergan a famous ventriloquist and Mortimer Snerd one of his favorite puppets.
They perform a short but funny skit that pokes fun at Lanford, Artie, and Jackie's new job as a truck driver and her implied promiscuity in one fell swoop.
Roseanne is basking in her win of the costume contest, as she wins every year, but the celebration is short lived when Kathy arrives at the party. Her prank earlier haunts her and has her convinced that Kathy is planning a for a vicious prank reprisal. Despite Kathy showing no interest in returning a prank, the usually confident Roseanne becomes paranoid.
Jackie meets a friendly stranger, whom she connects with, but is confused when he refuses to remove his moose mask.
Until he does and is revealed as Booker Brooks, Jackie's old boss and ex-boyfriend played by an actor called George Clooney. Its kind of funny looking back now, while George Clooney is a huge star now, here he is revealed with no reaction from the audience. To this point, he had only been in television sitcoms: he was in Facts of Life (1985-1987) prior to his brief stint on Rosanne (1988 - 1991) as Booker. It would still be several years (1994) till his big break comes on ER. There he will pay some more small screen dues before becoming a movie star in 1996's from Dusk till Dawn. The rest, as they say is history. This is the last Roseanne episode that Mr. Clooney will appear in.
Dan and Roseanne settle into bed after the Halloween party only to find snakes in the bed! Not rubber snakes, not one snake, several large REAL snakes! Roseanne is sure that this is Kathy's prank, that she had been fearing.
The kids reveal that it was them who played the snake prank on their parents to show they hadn't lost their Halloween spirit after all!
Happy Holidays! Dan and Roseanne beam with pride at what their children had done. But of course if this wasn't Kathy's prank then that means shes still out there!
"I cant believe your going to prank your own wife." In an effort to calm Rosanne's fears, Dan with help from Jerry (Kathy's husband played by Danton Stone) orchestrates a prank that Rosanne can attribute to Kathy so that she can stop being paranoid and move on with her life.
The prank was a bucket of blood over the door and a kitten (recorded sounds) in a box. Dan describes "Waves of superiority wash over her" as she spots the prank from a mile away. She then says: "Becky its for you!." getting revenge for the snake prank at the same time. I enjoyed this episode, there was a lot of Halloween shenanigans and it was funny up to the very last line.
In this Halloween tale called simply: "Halloween IV" Roseanne is depressed and not in the Halloween spirit as Becky announces she cant come over for Halloween. Becky's absence here is due in part to Lecy Goranson attending college at this time. Here we see the infamous Chicken and Egg sweatshirt that turns up again and again, you will see it a few more times in this article. The shirt became an inside joke among the cast and apparently at one point all the characters have worn it including Dan, Becky, Darlene, DJ, and Jackie.
Jackie is concerned that Rosanne isn't into Halloween this year and enlists Darlene to help get her back in the spirit. Darlene stages a prank where she appears to have hung herself in Roseanne's bathroom, a prank that goes unnoticed or unappreciated by the melancholy Roseanne.
Dan joins in, trying to scare some holiday fun back into Roseanne with this gruesome prank.
Jackie adds drama to the proceedings.
But alas, despite Dan's special effects and Jackie's theatrics Roseanne remains unimpressed.
Another exterior shot of the home used between scenes complete with Halloween decorations. The actual home is located in Evansville Indiana, it had been pointed out that the home shown here does not line up with the set of the show. The front door doesn't really line up. Evansville Indiana is also the location of the Lobo Lounge's actual facade.
Darlene is dressed as Tippi Hedren from the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds. I'm certain this isn't the first time this costume was attempted but I'm curious if its inclusion here hasn't boosted its popularity. I found this similar, yet inferior, package costume available for sale right now. Speaking of classic movie references its interesting to note that Daniel Harris who was a frequent character (A neighbor girl named Molly Tilden) in this Season of Roseanne actually starred in the original movies Halloween IV and Halloween V of which the episodes borrows thier names.
We briefly see DJ in yet another classic movie inspired costume as Hannibal Lecter from "Silence of the Lambs" in the infamous restraint dolly. Although a bonifide classic movie now, The Silence of the Lambs was only a year old when this episode aired.
Roseanne, unwilling to join the party at the lodge, is relegated to Trick or Treat duty and quickly falls asleep on the couch. Note the sticker decorated and painted pumpkins, differing from the traditionally carved variety we saw in earlier episodes.
Still asleep, she dreams there is a knock at the door, She answers, and is greeted by this strange figure who identifies itself as The Ghost of Halloween Past.
In order to test what the spirit is saying, Rosanne demands to see whats under the sheet.
The spirit shows Rosanne that she seemed to always have the spirit of Halloween in her. Here the Ghost shows her playing a cruel trick on her mother even as a baby.
Young Roseanne conned Young Jackie out of her candy by relating the urban myth that the candy was likely tampered with containing a razor blade. Rumors of such tampering started in the 60's but reached fever pitch in the 80's, in fact in 1985 a survey of parents reveled 60 percent were concerned about tampering and poisoning. As a kid, I remember ritually checking the wrappers of candy to make sure they were in tact, for a time. The actress playing young Jackie in this scene is Laurie Metcalf's actual daughter Zoe Perry. Zoe Perry still acts and has had an impressive television career thus far. Serendipitously, she will play a younger version of a character portrayed by her mom once again in the upcoming Big Bang Theory spinoff Young Sheldon where she plays Sheldon's mom just as Lauri Metcalf did in Big Bang.
Along with George Clooney, another actor who would go on to star in ER is Abraham Benrubi, here he portrays a young Dan. Here we see that Dan and Rosanne met at a Halloween party. Dan is accompanied by a stuck up blonde girl but Dan is soon charmed by Rosanne they dance together. This dance is apparently is the dance that started it all.
Roseanne confronts the Ghost of Halloween present as represented by a giant candy corn.
The Halloween party scene is great for picking out all the costumes. Dan and Jackie have created this awesome beheaded Marie Antoinette costume whereas Jackie is at the mercy of Dan for food and drink. Note the Santa Claus and the Pigs in Space costumes in the background. Pigs in Space was a recurring sketch found on the Muppet Show which ran from 1976 to 1981.
Here we see a collection of relatively tame costumes: a pirate, Nancy is Bride of Frankenstein, Crystal is Peter Pan and Anne-Marie (Adilah Barnes) and Chuckie (James Pickens Jr.) as a Gypsy and a werewolf respectively.
As she watches unseen, the group of friends begin by lamenting that Roseanne isn't there to join in on the festivities. But the conversation quickly descends into an indictment of all the pranks Roseanne has done in the past in the name of Halloween. Roseanne takes further offense as she hears the unfiltered truth about her pumpkin cookies.
The ghost of Halloween future. I particularly like the design of this ghost that is tasked with showing Roseanne the shadows of Halloweens yet to be.
"Please Dan, I'm only a woman!" Somehow snubbing Halloween leads to a chain reaction of events that ends with Rosanne becoming transformed into this hyper-doting insecure bleach blonde 50's style Stepford wife. This vision particularly horrifies Roseanne.
But the worst is yet to come when she realizes this vision of her mother with an aged Jackie is actually her! Perhaps the sweatshirt should have given that away! Of all the visions she witnessed on this Halloween night the idea of turning into her mom rocks her the most.
Snapped out of her Halloween hating funk by the shadows the three spirits showed her. She decides to go to the party after all and throws together this elaborate costume? She reveals that she somehow knows how they really feel about her pumpkin cookies and most of all her infamous pranks.
They brace themselves for Roseanne's vicious reprisal.
She asks someone to light her torch, they do, then uses it to set off the sprinkler fire suppression system. She employs an umbrella she had hidden in her liberty bosom.
Soaking everyone's costumes and causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, but hey Rosie got her spirit back. This was a fun episode, that for the most part, kept Halloween in the forefront, and although sitcoms have been using the O'l Christmas Carol format for years to tell a story, it's use here for Halloween is interesting.
The Season 6 Halloween episode ushers in the Lanford Lunchbox era of the show. Throughout the series we have seen Roseanne struggling with her career, we have seen her endure many thankless jobs; like her job as a factory worker at Wellman Plastics, her demeaning and soul crushing magazine sales job, as well as her job as a waitress at a dinner where she meets Leon among others. The Lanford Lunchbox allowed her, along with several partners, to own a business of her own. On the pragmatic side, the restaurant set is an enviornrment where the show can take place that allows for more characters to come and go. We are no longer confined to the Conner living room, but I found myself wishing I was there.
Nancy (Sandra Bernhard), Jackie, and Roseanne are discussing their plans for Halloween. When Nancy finds out Dan will be at a social event she considers not attending. Nancy then confesses that the feels aware that Dan doesnt like her. A statement Roseanne finds to be simply untrue. Nancy warns that if in fact Dan doesn't like her she does not feel comfortable with her ownership stakes and she would abandon them. This would inadvertently give Roseanne's nemesis Leon more power. Here the three of them share a laugh at Leon's (Martin Mull) expense. He thinks he has just been pranked with a lame rubber snake, but in reality there is fresh paint on the back of his jacket revealed to us while walking away. Note the three different apron designs including the infamous chicken and egg design worn by (obscured) Roseanne.
Another exterior view, this one a dark nighttime version, which shows what appears to be a post-production added or embellished glowing Jack O'Lantern on the porch as the lone emblem of Halloween.
Roseanne, made afraid by Nancy's threat to dissolve her share of ownership tells Dan that Nancy thinks he doesn't like her and he needs to set her straight. To which he admits he absolutely does not like Nancy. "Nancy is the most selfish person I've ever met." Roseanne attempts to defend Nancy "She's like a scared little girl. Ya know." "Yeah," Says Dan, "I know whats scaring her, the raging bitch on the outside." Ouch.
Exterior view of the Lanford Lunch box dressed up subtly for Halloween.
The phone rings at the Lanford Lunchbox and its Darlene calling just as David is there with a pretty new project partner. Panicked Rosanne says "Hello caller." in a funny scene.
Roseanne is not happy about David's pretty new friend while Darlene is away at school. Rosanne's feelings are all the more complicated as Darlene has confessed to Rosanne that she is considering dating another guy at school. She fights her urge to meddle.
714 Delaware Street Lanford, Illinois: Another exterior view, here it looks as though the pumpkin was actually there but the carved face was added later.
Meanwhile back at the Lanford Lunchbox a robber attempts to hold up the place but Roseanne is not convinced. She is sure that it is somebodys idea of a prank. Ultimately she is right, but the events drag on as the prank goes on with red herrings meant to keep the audience guessing.
Nancy hits Dan in the face with the swinging door. This was a genuine and truly painful accident. Self absorbed Nancy thinks it must be a prank that Dan designed for her and therefore he must like her after all.
To Roseanne's surprise, while David is downstairs with his new friend Darlene comes home.
Which leads to this: Darlene commits murder.
Roseanne is horrified, but its all just a prank, as her loved ones come out of the woodwork to point and laugh at the prankee. This episode culminated with this one prank, and while it was gruesome and funny, there was not a ton of Halloween in this episode, but I do like how Darlene comes back from school just to execute this prank on her mom.
It's Halloween again and this time around Leon is spearheading the Halloween party to take place at the Lanford Lunchbox. Being gay, it is understood that many of his guests may be gay as well. This seems to be the crux of the episode. It seems odd now seeing this environment where people are freaked out because gay people will be around. But, its easy to forget how much opinions have changed. This was still relatively controversial fare, remember Ellen's (Ellen DeGeneres) coming out episode isn't until 1997 and the gaycentric Will and Grace would not "come out" till 1998. But before we give to much credit for trailblazing, there were more than a few gay characters throughout television history: Billy Crystal played one of the first gay characters in 1977's SOAP.
Rosanne and Jackie end up going to their mother's "Old Bitty" hair salon. It is revealed here that Fred is friends with one of the "obviously gay" male hairdressers.
While there, Jackie spots a wig that looks just like their mother's hair, causing her to be certain that she is hiding the fact she is bald! This gives Laurie Metcalf a chance to comically shine as she does a hilarious impression of their mother that ends all to quickly.
DJ, aware of the whispers, asks what is so different about Leon's Halloween party this year. Mark (Glenn Quinn) dismisses it. David, feeling a young persons questions should not be dismissed, takes on the task of explaining that there will be gay people there, leading to a discussion of what it means to be gay. David tries, but abruptly abandons his attempt to give an earnest talk to the young DJ on the subject. Turns out though, it was all a set up designed specifically the make the idealistic David so uncomfortable that he abandons his principle of honesty.
Exterior shot of the Lanford Lunch Box they do a good job of making it look like there are party goers in the windows.
Roseanne as Prince and John Goodman as the duke John Wayne. Leon is dressed as Hillary Clinton. Rosanne keeps getting subtle and not so subtle clues that Fred is hiding his secret identity from Jackie. Dan thinks she is crazy and once again meddling where she shouldn't be.
Estelle Parsons as Beverly Harris, Jackie and Rosanne's mother. Throughout this episode they are trying to discover if she is bald. Rosanne notes that her hair is the same even with this hobo costume, of course that doesn't prove anything. Note Freddy Krueger in the background.
Nancy demands the attention of all in her Marilyn Monroe costume reenacting the famous skirt blown up by a subway blast scene from 1954's The Seven Year Itch. Considered racy at the time, Marilynn Monroe's then husband Joe DiMaggio hated it and felt it was immoral. They divorced soon afterward.
Jackie as Robin and Fred (Micheal O'keefe) as Batman. At first he's uncomfortable because of the gay people in attendance. He fears they may be checking out his "utility belt".
Jackie and Fred leave the party and Roseanne decides she needs to confront her about her fears that Fred is secretly gay.
Which leads to Roseanne confronting him and discovering this! The one thing Roseanne didn't count on was that Dan would be Fred's lover! Roseanne soon sees this is just a prank and storms off, she returns shortly with a camera a takes pictures for blackmail use later.
The other running story comes to its "head" as Roseanne's belief (spurred on by Jackie) that Roseanne's mother wears a wig had her asking questions at her salon. This embarrassed Beverly and she confronts Rosanne livid for being such a busybody. But this also forces her to admit the "ugly truth" that she IS bald. Beverly angrily takes her wig off and throws it on the table. This too, is a prank, made obvious as all the other family members file into the kitchen wearing skull caps. Note: Sarah Chalke is here as Becky.
Roseanne realizes there is no way she can top this prank. Then she remembers she has something for a situation just like this. In a surreal moment she takes out a cartoon style TNT Dynamite plunger and blows up the house. I love the looks on the bald characters as this silly event unfolds. Roseanne blowing up the house is a good example of the limits this show will push itself: breaking the forth wall, actor cameos, inside jokes shared with the audience, all of this and more proved the show did not take itself too seriously and was fiercely self aware. Which in a way is ironic, here was a show that in the beginning, although always funny, was lauded as a realistic portrayal of a lower class American family, but as the show changed and the success came it became something different and lost some heart along the way.
Roseanne is talking to the spirits in this Halloween episode. She is pregnant in the show and in real life. This is also an odd time in the shows history where it would seem that Dan and Roseanne traded their daughters for sons. Mark and David are around while there really isn't any sign of Becky or Darlene. This episode was one of the few that receives bonus points for airing on Halloween Night. The episode's name was borrowed from 1984's Friday the 13th the Final Chapter and as in that franchise this would not be that last.
Jackie arrives at the Conner house with Halloween cheer to spare. She interacts with Roseanne in a charming and childlike way. In character as a Witch and a Gypsy the sisters square off citing their powers and abilities. Ultimately they settle things the old fashioned way with a junk-drawer flashlight lightsaber fight. Of which Jackie seems victorious until Roseanne pulls out her secret weapon.
"Not Mrs. Butterworth." Shudders Jackie. "Remember how your sister Roseanne told you how I came to life at night in the cupboard? Remember how I would chase you around even though I have no legs? Well I'm back and I just want one more sticky kiss!" Roseanne taunts Jackie.
Roseanne is taking things a little too seriously with her ouija board for DJ who ultimately decides he'd rather do homework.
Although not seen in this episode, Season 8 marked the return of Lecy Goranson to the show as Becky giving this cameo it's humor. "I wish I had a daughter like her" Rosanne says of the nice woman at the door played by Sarah Chalke. "It just wasn't in the cards" replies Dan.
David, in an effort to give the Trick or Treaters something healthy, grabs a bowl of fruit. "Wait a minute honey, I've seen this before," say Dan to Roseanne "Its food that doesn't come in a wrapper." "That's unsanitary." replies Roseanne.
Par for the course with these Halloween episodes is various Trick or Treaters coming to the door allowing the writers to have some fun with the door gags. They can be hit or miss though and nowhere does it seem more out of place or phoned in than this brief dull cameo with Ed McMahon.
Jackie and Roseanne decide to play with the Ouija board some more as the Halloween night is winding down. When they ask the spirits when she's having her baby the planchette spells out NOW!
So Roseanne ends up in the hospital where the Demerol she's been given along with the hospital staff being in costume gives her vivid visions, unsure what is real or in her head. In a surreal moment this magician and his assistant who look like Amy Grant and Geraldo Rivera pull a rabbit out of her.
The drugs make it so the pain is relieved but the strange visions are making her uneasy so at the suggestion of her nurse she goes to her happy place. This just happens to be memories of Halloween. We then see a brief flashback of clips from Halloween past ushered in appropriately by this gruff voiced little Ninja.
After her short strange trip through Halloweens of Ol'. She witnesses another vision, Jerry Garcia appears to Roseanne on the vitals monitor. Jerry Garcia died on August 9th, 1995, just a few months before this episode airs. "I have a message for you..." A message from God?" asks Roseanne. "No from me." says monitor Jerry "That's cool too." Says Roseanne. "The message is, what we need is magic, and bliss, and myth, and celebration, and religion. We need spiritual connection to each other." Roseanne says "Thanks Jerry, I was sad when you died."
In a scene that feels influenced by Absolutely Fabulous she hallucinates hippie dancers dancing to a Grateful Dead song and the line between reality and fantasy is blurred.
A new addition to the Conner family. She names him Jerry Garcia Connor. This television family birth coincides with the birth of her son Buck Thomas with her third husband Benjamin Thomas in real life. The end of the show is marked by three unique things, Roseanne shares a photo of her with husband and her new baby boy, there is a memorial tribute to Jerry Garcia, and also a brief segment where Roseanne answers audience questions.
She explains why the baby who was revealed to be a girl at the end of Season 7 turned out to be a boy. She wanted to match the gender of her actual baby so she changed the script to echo her life. Roseanne takes questions from the studio audience and is asked to do the Tarzan yell and obliges while incorporating this nod to Carol Burnett in the process. She never addresses however why this episode was called The Final Chapter, indeed this was the last episode to take place on Halloween. This is a strange episode that really takes some unexpected turns. The first half has a good amount of Halloween in the proceedings, the flashbacks to old Halloween episodes kinda makes you long for the old days. The second half is trippy, nostalgic, an ultimately optimistic. Which is ironic considering some of the heavy subjects coming up in the rest of this season where Darlene has an unplanned pregnancy and Dan has a heart attack.
The Season 9 Halloween episode "Satan, Darling" could arguably not even be considered one. Written collaboratively by Roseanne and Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) this episode had many hallmarks of a Halloween special, it aired on October, 29th, there is a party, funny outfits, celebrity cameos, and a subplot that pays homage to one of the most famous horror movies of all time. But the episode is not expressly about Halloween. This episode may need a preface because it looks so different than the others. Roseanne has won the lottery by the final season and thrown Dan out because he is not taking care of himself after surviving a heart attack. Newly rich, the Roseanne and Jackie try to mix and mingle at a New York society party. This is the basic backdrop for a Roseanne/Absolutely Fabulous mash up. It must have looked like a good idea on paper and as a fan of both Roseanne and Ab Fab was disappointed to see this union somehow diluted the equity of all those involved and ultimately fell flat. Lets take a look.
This episode starts out with Rosanne and Jackie practically in costume dressed in black for a society party. Roseanne's unusual dress was modeled after Fran Dresher's dress she wore to the 1996 Emmys. That's why one of Roseanne's first lines is "Look, I'm the Nanny" addressing a photographer. Mo Gaffney stars as Astrid Wentworth and serves as a liaison between the Conners and the wealthy New York socialites. Astrid introduces Rosanne and Jackie to Edina and Patsy who are in New York for an auction they are interested in befriending them solely because they are new money and new money is naive money. Edina would like Roseanne to invest in one of her ventures.
Absolutely Fabulous (AbFab) originally aired in 1992. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley portray Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone respectively from the popular British comedy series. Apparently Rosanne was a big fan of the show and actually was poised to produce an American version of Ab Fab starring Carrie fisher as the Edina character and Barbara Carrera as the Patsy type. This never materialized. This can be confused with the 2008 Fox development of an Americanized AbFab that starred Kathryn Hahn as Edina and Kristen Johnson as Patsy. A pilot may or may not have been shot but Fox decided to pass on the project. Set photos may be the only remnant of this endeavor.
In a gag I'm certain I've seen before on the UK series Patsy treats a perfume like booze much to Jackie's shock. Rosanne and Edina pair off while Jackie and Patsy do the same. The gag here is that both Jackie and Patsy think the other one a drag queen. Edina explains to Roseanne that she bought fashion icon Jackie O's razor at a New York auction for the DNA so Jackie O could be cloned, even manufactured like Jurassic Park. "We could have Jackie Os of every size" says Edina to Roseanne. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died in 1994.
As it sometimes does in AbFab the party moves into the bathroom. Rosanne and Jackie struggle to keep up with Patsy and Edina where the parting and drinking is concerned. Roseanne is pushed over the edge when Patsy gives her something from her private stash.
As the drugs kick in the hallucinations kick up. Roseanne seemingly discovers a secret door in the bathroom and goes inside.
There she finds the society women are actually a coven of witches beckoning her to drink their elixir.
Here we see Rosanne has found a very pregnant Darlene (the Darlene character was pregnant at this time) being given the herb Tanis Root by pair of overly invested neighbors played by Kathleen Freeman and Jim J Bullock (Too Close For Comfort). Tanis Root is a fictional herb from the 1967 book Rosemary's Baby written by Ira Leven, and of course the 1968 film of the same name starring Mia Farrow.
Roseanne wakes up on the couch and Darlene is gone. So she creeps about the place that seems to be empty. She sees an odd yet familiar work of art.
Roseanne stumbles upon a group of socialites with her daughter. Here we see Phil Leeds playing a butler, he was actually in the original Rosemary's Baby as a doctor in the film.
They look upon the baby. Roseanne, angered, demands to see baby's the father. Satan appears, Roseanne is shocked at the form it takes. Satan informs her he can take any form.
The episode ends with Roseanne waking up and being encouraged by her new friends to go out there and face society. This is one of my least favorite of the Halloween episodes. I found it to be odd and unbalanced story that could not even be saved by Patsy and Edina.
As not to end a sour note, I've included here for your viewing pleasure a virtual patch of some of the most prominently displayed Jack O'Lanterns from the Roseanne Halloween episodes. Enjoy.
If you have not been living under a rock, you may have heard about the 2018 Roseanne revival. The series will in fact return to ABC for an 8 episode run. This photo from the first script reading answers some questions, but also raises a lot more. Because of the, lets say, creative yet strange way the series ended and the shocking bombshells that were revealed in the final episode of Roseanne, its difficult to predict where this new show will pick up. Did Dan die or not? Is Becky with David and Darlene with Mark? Did the Conners ever win the lottery? We know that although both actresses that portrayed Becky are here, Lecy Goranson will be Becky. Sarah Chalke will actually play some other yet to be revealed character. Johnny Galecki is reported to return in some capacity. Glen Quinn who played Mark unfortunately passed away in 2002 of a heroin overdose. He was 32. So there is a lot that is unknown. As we saw in this article the show went through a lot of changes so it will be interesting to see what a revival looks like, and even though the show went from acclaimed to criticized, there's obviously still love for the Conners. I also wonder, if in an 8 episode run, there is room enough for a Halloween episode. Time will tell.