Twenty-five years ago, “Roseanne” made its debut on ABC, instantly become a huge ratings hit (it averaged a 23.8 Neilsen rating in its first season — which these days is essentially unheard of). And somehow America was then capable of having a ratings juggernaut that developed into one of the most hilarious, poignant and challenging comedy series to ever grace network television, all from the still rare perspective of a working class woman.
In honor of the series’ silver anniversary, posted below is what is in my opinion its very best episode. A highlight of the series’ fifth season (its best), “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home” depicted the death of Roseanne and Jackie Conner’s abusive father. It’s perhaps the best example of the remarkable way in which the series blended comedy and drama, somehow offering dozens of laugh out loud moments amidst a nuanced portrayal of death, infidelity, the damaging effects of child abuse, and the importance of family.
Airing in February 1993, the episode was one of the many written by Amy Sherman-Palladino (who went on to create “Gilmore Girls”). Her fantastic script was matched with pitch-perfect performances from Roseanne, John Goodman (Dan), Estelle Parsons (Beverly), Sara Gilbert (Darlene) and particularly Laurie Metcalf (Jackie), resulting in a truly classic moment in the history of American television.
Watch it in its entirety below: