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'Roseanne - Seasons 1 + 2'
(Roseanne, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman, et al / 3-Disc DVD / PG / 2011 / Mill Creek Entertainment)

Overview: Roseanne is the glue the keeps the Conner family together as they struggle with life's essential problems: Marriage, Children, Money and Parents. Both Roseanne and Dan work hard, but can never seem to get out debt. A typical, blue-collar American family.

DVD Verdict: Sure there's been a mighty few DVD releases of this first season, and those to follow, but this set contains the complete, UNCUT, original broadcast edits of all 23 episodes available for the FIRST TIME on DVD! Now that's something to get excited about, right?!

Well, yes and no. We all know and love the show, but with re-runs most all of us have seen the complete first and second seasons 100+ times by now. That said, Roseanne Barr won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress and Laurie Metcalf won three Emmy Awards for for Outstanding Supporting Actress for the show, so I guess if they sweated blood and tears for it, the least we can do is give it another viewing.

To me, the first show that really had the characters clicking on a macro level was "Lover's Lane" in which the Conner family along with Booker, Crystal and Jackie, decide to spend an evening bowling. Becky gets all dressed up to impress a boy she likes that works at the bowling alley, but is afraid that Roseanne is going to say something to embarrass her. Roseanne does keep Becky guessing all night long, but ultimately, she doesn't do or say anything to hurt her daughter's chances with the young man.

"Nightmare on Oak Street" is another great episode in which Darlene goes into puberty. Dan's reaction to the news is classic - he punches Darlene in the arm and says "Way to go." Darlene is upset about the whole thing because she figures she will be expected to leave her tomboy stage. Roseanne has a talk with her and explains to her that being ultra-feminine is Becky's version of womanhood and that Darlene will find her own unique way of expressing herself that may be nothing like her sister's. This is groundbreaking stuff for almost twenty years ago.

One of the more puzzling episodes in retrospect is "Dear Mom and Dad", where Roseanne's parents visit. This is the only episode in which Roseanne's father appears, and he comes across as an annoying yet harmless man. In later seasons he is described by both Jackie and Roseanne as having been an abusive father, which seems wildly out of character considering his demeanor during his sole appearance on the show.

Particularly funny is the very end of this episode in which Bruce Willis makes a surprise visit to the set, jumping into bed with Roseanne, planting a kiss on her, and telling her that he figured he'd visit since he "No longer has anything to do on Tuesday nights". A reference to his show Moonlighting that had just been recently cancelled (1989).

The series finale has some real surprises in it that sets up taking the show in a completely different direction in season two, and as a result this is the first and last season for a few recurring characters that were not regular members of the cast.

The season opener, "A Bitter Pill to Swallow", is excellent as Becky - under advisement of Jackie - goes to Roseanne and asks her for the birth control pill. Obviously, the boy involved is Mark, and, as Becky freely admits, the sexual part of the relationship has already begun, she just wants a safer method. Roseanne's immediate reaction to Becky's request is hilarious as she has a Joker-sized grin on her face that says she is having a nervous breakdown, but she manages to hold it together and keeps her cool.

The Bowmans, the Conners' snobby neighbors are still around. Actually Mr.Bowman is fitting in just fine. It is his wife, Kathy, that is very unhappy living in Lanford. She is not amused when the Conners' annual Halloween hijinks involve her. This year's prank has what appears to be a blood-spattered Roseanne greeting Kathy in her living room, cleaver still in hand, acting as though she has just murdered Dan in a homicidal rage and that Kathy is next. When Kathy learns this is all just a joke, she seems more upset than she was at the idea of Roseanne having gone over the edge and after her.

"Aliens", the end of the season is bittersweet. After all the hard work and sacrifice, it becomes clear that the motorcycle shop is not going to make it. At the same time, Rodbell's is closing and Roseanne will be losing the income from that job too. The only bright spot is D.J. winning the spelling bee, so the whole family dresses up for the occasion of him being honored. For once D.J. is the center of attention, and it couldn't come at a more needed time. This episode also sees the end of Arnie and Nancy's brief marriage.

Although the debut season was finding-their-way good, this second season is not the last of the good seasons of Roseanne, trust me. But, I would say season four is the last of the golden years of the series. But, these are all well worth seeing, given the very decent price point attached to them by Mill Creek! These are all Full-Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.