Welcome back to the 31 Days of Halloween! Since my big thing is sitcoms and sitcoms always enjoy doing great Halloween episodes, it only seemed logical to focus on one. The question was, what series to discuss? Then it became clear.
Last year I took a look at the Thanksgiving episodes Roseanne has done. But when it comes to Halloween, this show went above and beyond. No show pulled out the stops the way this one did (well, except maybe The Simpsons) in creating annual Halloween classics every single year.
But, were they all classics? Today for the 31 Days of Halloween I am going to do a run down of these memorable episodes and discuss them for better, and for worst!
Apparently there was no Halloween episode that first year, so instead let’s dive right into season two.
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The Connor’s host a haunted while Roseanne and Dan compete to decide which is the master prankster
While not my favorite (we’ll get to it) this episode is probably a close second place for me. This is such a fantastic Halloween episode that it’s a freaking classic. one reason because it is before Roseanne got bogged down in social commentary (more on that later). This episode is justÂ the family having fun, as the Connor’s set up aÂ haunted house while Dan and Roseanne play pranks on each other. The haunted house is just amazing, and the costumes are fantastic including Roseanne as a witch. The best part comes at the end. I still remember laughing the first time at how Roseanne finally wins their little competition, it’s a moment of pure brilliance. If you’ve never seen it check it out!
“Trick or Treat” (1990)
En route to the lodge Halloween party Jackie and Roseanne are stranded in a bar while Roseanne is dressed as a man
This episode was a massive disappointment. After going all out the year before, what do we get this year? Roseanne has dressed like a man and is stuck in a bar with Jackie after their car breaks down. It’s not bad, but all it does is one “men are disgusting” joke after another. I mean really, the whole joke is “Roseanne is dressed as a man”. Yawn. There is a subplot about DJ dressing up as a witch, and as we all know only women can’t be witches. Thankfully Dan gets over that by the end of the show. This episode isn’t awful but is a letdown. Darlene steals the whole show with a quick Aliens gag which is quite funny!
“Trick Me Up, Trick Me Down” (1991)
The lodge Halloween party Roseanne thinks Cathy is going to pay her back for an earlier prank
A lot better but as the series was progressing to its ongoing story lines at this point, we get that here. Jackie dating Arnie and so on. The opening is Dan and Roseanne scaring their uptight neighbor Cathy, and then Roseanne spends the rest of the episode worried Cathy will do something to get even. Just an aside, but that uptight neighbor was one of the worst characters ever on the show. The rest of the episode is at the lodge where Dan and Roseanne pretend to be a dead comedy team and do a lame act (they even admit it sucked in the script). Though most of the lodge scenes are decent. One highlight is the end when the kids scare them, after saying they were to old for Halloween. All in all, better than the previous episode but not great.
Â “Halloween IV” (1992)
A year of crap leaves Roseanne depressed, three ghosts appear to help Roseanne rediscover the spirit of Halloween.
My friends, I give you my favorite Roseanne Halloween episode. With all the crap that has befallen the Connor’s over the last year, Roseanne is just in no mood for hijinks. That is until the ghosts of Halloween Past, Present, and Future arrive to show her the true meaning of Chris…er, Halloween. I kid but I love this Christmas Carol take off. It’s nice to see that this story can be adapted for a season aside from Christmas. But the other reason I like this is because it seemed like Roseanne the show, as well as the character, needed a reminder that Halloween was supposed to be a big deal for the Connor’s. This shows us why, and the final reveal at the end which convinces Roseanne to go pull a break is hilarious! The pranks are funny within being overstated as they often could be, and the episode fits in very nicely with the story line of the show but doesn’t let the storyline take over the entire plot. It’s a funny, well written Halloween show. Love this episode.
Â “Halloween V” (1993)
Roseanne thinks David is cheating on Darlene, Nancy thinks that Dan hates her
Yeah and now the ongoing stories begin to take over. This episode is boring as far as Halloween episodes go, but it saves itself in the end. The main story involves Roseanne expecting Dan to prank her. Then a real robber robs the store but Roseanne thinks it’s a prank, and it turns out it is after she freaks out. There’s also a story about Nancy wondering why Dan hates her. This is all OK but the payoff comes from B story. Darlene believes that David is running around on her, and she arrives at the house and races downstairs to confront the two. Roseanne and Dan follow and the gag that follows was real clever and well done. I won’t spoil it for you check it out. In the last episode I discussed that one of the things I liked about it was that the series finally remembered that Halloween was supposed to be a big deal. Here it’s in the background again only coming in to remind us that it is in fact Halloween. Any episode where Roseanne never dons a costume can’t be a great one.
“Skeleton in the Closet” (1994)
Roseanne and Dan got to Leon’s Halloween party
And then things start to get silly. This was the point when the show started to get so topical that being topical was all it knew how to do! It was basically the same stuff episode after episode. For instance, how many gay jokes can you spot in this one episode? Too many. The episode isn’t all bad, but the gay stuff gets old. Heck Jackie and Fred even show up as Batman and Robin. Gee wonder what that is referencing? To be fair it does feel like a real Halloween show. The B story was abut the family pranking Roseanne for a change (even though she’s been pranked at least twice by now). The end gag is so broad that I can’t even say that it fits in with the continuity of the show. It’s almost like a Simpsons episode, you know how their Halloween stories are unrelated to actual continuity so they can do whatever they want? Yeah. Not a fan of this one.
“Halloween: the Final Chapter” (1995)
Roseanne goes into labor on Halloween
As much as I complained about the last episode, this one is much worst. Roseanne wrote it and man does it show. Where do I begin? It was supposed to be a tribute to Jerry Garcia and that’s all well and good. But couldn’t she have written a script that, I don’t know, makes sense!! How can I sum this one up in a way that makes any sense? Roseanne and the family are playing with a Ouija board while 4th wall gags keep happening. Then Roseanne goes into labor and has a dream (or hallucination) that is such a non sequitur I can’t possibly describe it. There are clips of past Roseanne Halloween episodes which really makes us realize how much this one sucked. Then it just gets nonsensical as Roseanne talked to the ghost of Jerry Garcia (?) before she wakes and up and discovers her new baby in a moment totally devoid of any heart. The stuff about Jerry Garcia is kind of nice but this episode is bad. Really bad. In the end Roseanne had to literally come out and defend it, seriously watch the credits of the uncut version of the episode. I will say this, I can see what she was TRYING to do. But man does it fail.
Roseanne: “Satan, Darling” (1996)
Roseanne has an odd dream about Darlene’s Baby
Sigh. What haven’t I said about the atrocity that was the ninth and final season? So was this episode ANY good? I watched it and had never seen it before. And, it’s not really a Halloween episode. After a night of drinking Roseanne has a bizarre dream about Darlene and her baby in a spoof of the classic Rosemary’s Baby. It’s weird, but It barely counts as a Halloween episode so you know what…I’m not gonna even bother with it. That whole final season was just plain terrible, enough said.
Before I go I leave you with this clip package which I think came from that Jerry Garcia episode. It’s just a nice summation of all the awesome Halloween momentsÂ this show had over the years. Check it out HERE, totally worth a watch.
Well folks, good or bad Roseanne always knew how to deliver something special on Halloween. In fact, it just wouldn’t be Halloween without these great episodes. These episodes are all collected on one special edition DVD and available for free on YouTube. Watch and enjoy!