I wanted to do something special for Thanksgiving, but wasn’t sure what to talk about. But then I remembered this show, and I have a lot to say about these episodes. I decided that the only way to do it correctly is as a whole article. So today I am taking a look at all the Thanksgiving episodes of Roseanne. And be warned, some ranting is coming!
Roseanne was of course the classic 90’s sitcom which portrayed an average blue collar family just trying to get by. It was funny but more importantly, it was real. Well as real as it got back then anyway. This show is more famous for its Halloween shows, but there were Thanksgiving episodes which ranged from personal favorites to gut wrenching awful. Let’s take a look:
“We Gather Together”
The first and one of my favorite Thanksgiving episodes. It does what Roseanne did best, portray regular struggles of an average family. The show is filled with story lines competing for attention, and yet the show manages to find sufficient time for them all. We have Dan’s mother with a new boyfriend while his father flirts with Crystal, Jackie stressed out from her mother and announcing she is becoming a cop, and Roseanne trying to find the best way to tell her parents she has booked a nice hotel room for them. All the characters feel real (this was an early episode, before Bev became a cartoon character) and the situations entirely familiar. It feels like we are peeking in on some family’s Thanksgiving dinner, and I love it.
Another classic, though not quite as good as the previous but it comes close. It’s actually weird to watch these back to back. Bev gets nuttier and nuttier. But more than that in the previous episode Roseanne’s father seems like a nice enough guy. In this episode it’s revealed that her dad has been keeping a girlfriend for years! In the next episode we hear about how abusive the guy was. Man did they retcon that character! Bev reveals this secret which sets several future episodes. But in this one the secret doesn’t go past Roseanne and Jackie. Elsewhere in the episode, Darlene is in full teenage mode as she mopes in her room. Crystal and Lonnie are having trouble, what happened to them anyway? The annoying in this episode is Jackie, I get she loves her father more than her mother but the attitude she takes in front of Bev is pretty disrespectful.
This is an interesting episode. We see Dan and Mark almost get into a fist fight, Darlene doesn’t make it home, a pregnant Jackie forced to spend time with Fred, and another revelation from Bev. I guess this was becoming a fast tradition. This time it’s the fact that she got married after she became pregnant with Roseanne. Not that bad though it was starting to became a little to cliched. The main focus is Becky and Mark who are married and the family is still adjusting. I do like the end of the episode when Bev finally gets to pull one over on Nana Mary. Nice to see her get a little payback.
I don’t like this episode, but it’s a hard one to hate. It isn’t bad, but the sad story really makes it a depressing episode. The story involves Roseanne, who is pregnant and gets some bad news regarding her pregnancy. Problem is she is unable to get any conclusive answer about what the problem is. It’s strong stuff but it also sucks all the life out of the Thanksgiving stuff.Â There is a wasted gag about David giving Mark incorrect information about Football which really has no good payoff. Also Nana Marie has a new husband who is very old. Not sure what the point of that was, but I dont get it. I think it would have been better if they had just dumped the Thanksgiving stuff for this episode, it just doesn’t mesh with the heavy pregnancy story.
“The Last Thursday in November”
I hate this episode. It makes my skin crawl every time I watch it! I am not a history expert but come on! Ok, let me see if I can sum this up. After an opening which comes off like Roseanne and Laurie Metcalf didn’t realize the cameras were rolling, we find DJ is in a school pageant regarding the first Thanksgiving. However, the director, who happens to be Native American, lets the kids do what they want. So the pilgrims then don mobster outfits and begin gunning the Indians down! This offends me on so many levels. First, that any teacher would allow kids to perform something so historically inaccurate. Secondly it’s true, the Pilgrims weren’t always nice to Native Americans, though who could know in those days the diseases The Pilgrims would bring with them, but all they do in this episode is exaggerate the other way. Pilgrims and Indians did get along sometimes, including a three day feast which did in fact happen. If you’re going to discuss a sensitive topic you need to be fair and equally represent both sides! In this episode Indians were persecuted and the Pilgrims were evil, end of story. After the play nonsense we get a fantasy sequence where The Connors play Pilgrims. The scene is more honest, making the awful play look even more ridiculous. This was late in the series run, when the writing sucked and the show was on its way out, and it shows! Look if you want to talk about the persecution of the Indians that’s fine. I think that should be talked about. Just do it honestly! I just hate this episode! It’s boring, full of propaganda, and is not funny.
“Home is Where the Afghan Is”
This was from the last season. I try to block that last season out of memory! But the funny thing is, this episode feels a lot more like a normal episode of Roseanne than the awful episode from the year before. It still sucks because this is when the lottery crap was in full swing, but it has it’s ok parts. Jim Varney guest stars and begins a pointless story about his character, a prince, chasing Jackie. Then Bev reveals she is gay….wait, I changed my mind. This episode is stupid. It feels like they were trying too hard to recapture the old days, forcing the annual reveal from Bev even if it makes no sense. Though better than the previous still bad.
This show could be fantastic, but when it missed it really missed! I hope you liked this I hope to do more articles like this in the future. But for now,
Happy Thanksgiving all!