S5 E8: Designated Basket Case: Family Trauma in Roseanne

714 Delaware St.

In our latest episode, we take a look back at two classic Roseannes that focus on Roseanne and Jackie’s father Al Harris: “This Old House” and “Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home.” These are two of the series’ most memorable episodes, as they reveal the physical abuse Roseanne and Jackie suffered as children and chronicle their efforts to heal — a process still ongoing for Jackie and Bev in The Conners. We consider the way trauma from the past seemed to shape Roseanne and Jackie’s lives, as well as how recent revelations on The Conners shape our own understanding of these episodes and all that remains unspoken about the Harris family.

We also discuss Roseanne Barr’s own public revelation, in 1991, that she was sexually abused by her parents — an accusation she partially retracted in the 2010s — and how she seemed to be wrestling with her own past during the years these episodes aired. We also talk about Roseanne’s then-partner Tom Arnold, who was seen at the time as riding Roseanne’s coattails but whose own childhood pain inspired a key part of “Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home.”

While this conversation can get a bit heavy, we have our comedic diversions as always, including string cheese, Barbra Streisand’s basement mall, MTV Beach House memories and more. Listen and subscribe on Apple podcasts!

Leave a Reply