Friday, September 23, 2005

Wife-and-Motherhood Has Really Made Me Appreciate Old Episodes of Rosanne

I grew up watching old episodes of Rosanne, and I always assumed that when I was in her position, I would be much more sophisticated and life would be a lot easier. Well I was wrong.

We're not so different, Rosanne and I.

Just replace a few of the incidentals: I work as a part time teacher rather than a part time waitress or a part time factory worker. Mike does his auto-tinkering on the side, rather than as a career. Our kids are not all yet born or grown, but we can assume that they will give us as much trouble as young hooligans Becky, Darlene, and D.J.

Barring our career choices and hair colors, everything else is pretty much the same--except that we don't own our home like they do on the show.

For example, the other day when I spilled an entire orange juice container full of bacon grease all over my pantry floor, did I laugh it off gracefully, like a Margery Hinckley or a Margaret Thatcher? NO. I threw a tantrum that only Rosanne herself could top. When Mike and I have "disagreements," are they handled with love, patience, and, above all, quiet voices? No. Our disagreements rival those between Dan and Rosanne, particularly that one time when they alternate throwing each other's belongings out the front door onto the snow-covered lawn. If I weren't nearly nine months pregnant right now, and consequently unable to lift heavy objects, believe me, there would be a giant pair of speakers and a ratty blue recliner littering our front yard right now.

But seriously...when I watch the show with almost five years of marriage under my belt, I find myself really cheering Rosanne on, where in the past I would have thought she was out of line or ridiculous. I used to think she was loud, obnoxious, whiney, neglectful, naggy,irresponsible, callous, etc. etc. etc. Now, when I watch the really early episodes, especially, I can really relate to the way she is feeling. This leads to two possible conclusions:
1. Rosanne was really onto something, and the show came a lot closer to reality than such shows as Growing Pains and the Cosby Show, OR...
2. I am a bad mother

Neither conclusion provides me with much comfort. Why can't I be gracious, refined, and dignified, like Claire Huxtable?

And why can't I balance career and family as effortlessly as Maggie on Growing Pains?

At the VERY least, I would like to be as pretty and former-hippie-idealistic as Elise Keaton

But, no. My eighties television alter-ego would OF COURSE be Rosanne.

Because that's just me, isn't it?

Come over to my house, and you'll have to dodge flying furniture and avoid the grease-covered pantry. I may throw some twinkies at you, cook up some Hamburger Helper, and let you settle down on the sofa for some raucous, possibly crass, dinner conversation. At least once during your visit I will complain about making ends meet, admit to saving old brand name cereal boxes but replacing the contents with Malt O Meal, and make a sarcastic comment regarding my opulent lifestyle. At no point will you be offered fancy cheese or olives. Neither will you hear soft jazz music playing in the background. My husband won't come out of his home office to make a witty observation, and we won't sit and thumb through old pictures of me protesting a war or rallying for women's rights. When it's time to go, I'll give a cackle, whack you hard on the back and say "thanks fer comin'."


  1. Once a boy in my class told me I looked like Darlene.

    I would feel bad sitting on the butternut sofa while you and Mike sit on the hard-as-rock red bench entertaining me with crass conversation. But please throw twinkies at me ANYTIME. ily, hoss.

  2. And, I am excited to point out, you are wearing a dew rag in your picture--which also seems like something Roseanne would do.

  3. Huh. I always thought it was 'do rag. Like "hairdo rag" only shortened. I wish the pic I took of myself wearing a red sweatshirt and shrugging my shoulders would have worked. My digital camera is broken. So I had to find the next best thing. The similarities between our pictures are
    1. large faces
    2. strange, frantic smiles,
    3. somewhat hunched shoulders

  4. I thought it was do rag least you aren't a panty ho head.

  5. I'm glad you posted a picture, because I would have pictured Roseanne every time I read your blog. You look nothing like her.

    I went through all of junior high, high school, and college calling my friend, a boy, Darlene. He looked like her a lot, but I wonder what that did to his ego.

  6. Heavens, I would easily peg you as an Elise Keaton. NPR? Hmmm? DAMN? Hmmm? Republicans in your family? Hmmm? I see it. Plus your picture tells the tale. By posting such a cute pic you seriously weakened your argument that you are Roseanne-esque. Sorry.

    By the way, I believe that (having lived in the do rag capital of the world) you are indeed not wearing a do rag in that picture. Sorry again.

    Don't tantrums and bacon grease go hand in hand?

  7. Give it a few more years and you and Mike can follow the path that my wife and I have followed, we ARE Bill and Judy of "Still Standing". Our livin kids hate us, they purposely do not inform us of family participation events for fear of being embarrassed. AND rightfully so.

  8. Skewedview,
    Thanks for giving me something to shoot for. I can't wait for Bill and Judy-hood!

  9. I'm not going to pretend this isn't a little bit sad. I prefer to suspend reality and tell myself I'm refined and I've got it together.

  10. Hey, leave my recliner out of this. If we had a porch (and it wasn't so hot outside, and we wouldn't have a baby sooner than expected) I'd say throw the thing outside.

    Is that why the pantry is so slick?

  11. I'm not sure a porch--no matter how lovely--would improve the look of the tattered recliner.

  12. I still think you look like Jennie Garth from 90210.

  13. That is more horrifying to me than if I looked like Rosanne.

  14. She is pretty and always has cute hair. :)