Roseanne

(1988)

Roseanne is an American sitcom broadcast on ABC from 1988 to 1997 starring stand-up comedian Roseanne Barr. The show portrayed a working-class family struggling to get by on a limited income in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois. Many critics considered the show notable as one of the first sitcoms to portray an American family in which economics necessitated two parents working jobs outside the home. For many years, Roseanne tackled taboo subjects or joked about issues that most other popular shows at the time avoided, such as poverty, alcoholism, drug use, sex, menstruation, teenage pregnancy, masturbation, obesity, race, class identity, domestic violence and homosexuality. The show was also significant for its portrayal of feminist ideals including a female-dominated household, an overweight female lead whose likability didn't rely on her appearance, relationships between female characters that were cooperative rather than competitive, and females openly expressing themselves without negative consequences.

Roseanne was hugely successful from its beginning, spending its first six seasons among the Nielsen Ratings' top five highest-rated shows. The show's success inspired television networks to offer a rash of sitcom deals to stand-up comedians, a practice that continued for years afterwards. During its seventh season, the show's ratings dropped, but it still managed to remain among the Nielsen Ratings' top ten highest-rated shows. It was only during the show's ninth and final season, when the show's storyline drifted away from its original premise, that Roseanne dropped below the Nielsen Ratings' top thirty highest-rated shows.