Here's How 'Roseanne' Tackled Parenting in the Modern Day
By Philiana Ng
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Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Tuesday's episode of Roseanne.
Roseanne tackled more issues at the heart of the everyday working-class family.
On Tuesday's episode, titled "Roseanne Gets the Chair," Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and her grown daughter, Darlene (Sara Gilbert), sparred over their different parenting styles, with Roseanne unimpressed with Darlene's lax approach to raising her teenage daughter, Harris (Emma Kenney), aka the "Princess of Tide."
"Kids don't need slack, they need boundaries," Roseanne confronts Darlene, after she discovers that Harris has been hogging the washing machine for the past "three days." "That happiest kids are raised in cages -- and it keeps the meat tender." Roseanne makes a point to tell Darlene that Harris "needs to respect her elders," but her daughter feels differently about the whole situation, prompting her parents to comment on her turning into a "pushover."
When Harris announces she's meeting friends at the mall and thus, skipping dinner with the family, Darlene's handling of the situation -- she allows her daughter to go and hands her $5 -- doesn't exactly give Roseanne and Dan (John Goodman) confidence in her mothering skills. (They call Darlene out at one point for allowing Harris to call her by her first name, instead of "mom." As Aunt Jackie sells it, it allows mother and daughter to be seen as "equals.")
When Roseanne explains to Darlene that kids can't be trusted, Darlene -- who wants to be the "good cop" with her kid -- gives her take: "People parent differently than they did in your day. Turns out a lot of what you did not work and some of it was against the law." And of course, Roseanne had a zinger response, saying Darlene's "generation made everything so P.C."
Things come to a head when Roseanne confronts Harris about her lackadaisical attitude about being mindful of others living in the house -- her hogging the dryer the thing that brings Roseanne to her boiling point. "You're acting like you own the place and we don't even own the place," Roseanne says of Harris' privileges, reprimanding her by dunking her under the running sink. "You think you're better than everyone else in this house, don't you? I'll answer it for you: You're not! You're smart for a kid but dumb for a person. ... You better start showing some gratitude instead of acting like an entitled little b***h."
But, that wasn't the big twist. Turns out, Harris didn't buy a pile new used clothes from the thrift shop. She stole a nice purple sweater, which still had the security tag on it. When Darlene tells her that she could go to jail for selling stolen clothes online and that her plan is "stupid," she's finally forced to lay down the law. "I trusted you and you completely betrayed that," explaining that she was going easy on Harris because she felt guilty about relocating her from Chicago. The real reason why Harris is doing this? So she could go back to the Windy City because she's "miserable."
But Darlene nixes her daughter's plan, saying they're "in this together." Eventually, Darlene makes a deal with Harris, saying if she's still miserable in three years (when Harris is 18), she can move back to Chicago. Ultimately, Harris agrees to close down her online Etsy store and provide passwords for all her online accounts. Later, Roseanne credits Darlene for handling the Harris situation well, admitting that parenting is really a "learn as you go" process, joking that there are literally hundreds of free parenting books about how to raise your kids.
Meanwhile, the episode also addressed aging. Dan attempts to surprise Roseanne with what he hopes is a sweet gesture meant to expedite the recovery for her knee injury: a motorized chair to make it easier for her to travel up and down the stairs.
"I don't need it! I'm young and vibrant," Roseanne says stubbornly. But turns out, getting older is a part of their reality. Later in the episode, Roseanne and Dan discover that they fell asleep in front of the TV from Wheel of Fortune to Jimmy Kimmel Live! -- and Roseanne concedes to riding the (incredibly slow) motorized chair to get to the second floor.
Roseanne, recentlyrenewed for another season, airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.