“Home Goddess” Roseanne Barr’s comedic number rose from the stage to become a sitcom legend in Roseanne. Unlike the ambitious middle class airplay that defined many of its television predecessors, Roseanne is a slice of life from the point of view of the working-class Conner family. Matriarch Roseanne Conner (Barr) and her husband Dan (John Goodman) work hard in the fictional Lanford, Illinois, bouncing around and saving money to provide light for their three children. Roseanne is both deadly funny and persistently poignant, and the show has never shied away from its position on controversial topics.
Roseanne has broken out of sitcom form. Its popularity signaled that audiences were ready to embrace the complexities of their lives in sitcom form. However, as innovative as Roseanne was, she still stuck to many of the comedic tropes, and in later seasons the show played with them very consciously. “Last Man Standing” is not a TV meta-commentary, but, like “Roseanne”, touches on current social issues through family dynamics. What could be more related than seemingly out of touch parents who argue with their children only to solve the problem with a good old heart-to-heart talk? The next time you need a dose of realism in a laugh track, play the Roseanne episode and expect to be blown away.