Roseanne was a big time hit sitcom for ABC, running nine seasons, from 1988 until 1997. The show quickly garnered mainstream success for the working class relatability of the characters, beating off classics like Full House and The Cosby Show in the ratings race. The Conner's were America's low income sweethearts, crippled by false consciousness and happy in the simplest things in life. That is, until Roseanne's final season, which featured one of the weirdest TV finales in history.
Season 9 of Roseanne may go down as one of the worst final seasons in TV history; it's certainly one of the most weird final seasons of great shows. From the beginning of the season, when Roseanne learns she's won millions in the lottery, to the two-part finale in which Rosie reveals the entire series was a fictionalized version of her life she wrote while coping with Dan's heart attack (in Season 8), things get pretty bizarre.
Most of Season 9 is spent in crazy and outlandish circumstances, veering the series far from where it started, making it much less relatable. Roseanne goes on uncharacteristic adventures like modeling for Playboy and entering a Miss Universe contest, and a even stages Rambo style escape from terrorists. Season 9 is so bizarre the writers basically undid the whole thing by claiming it took place as part of Rosie the writer's fictionalized reality. Check out what made this one of the weirdest final seasons of great shows below.
Roseanne Won $100m In The Lottery, Undermining The Relatability Of The Family's Financial Struggle
One of the biggest appeals of Roseanne was how relatable the working class family was for millions of Americans. The Conners weren't nearly as wholesome as other television families, like the Huxtables or the Tanners, and they talked about real problems, like not being able to pay the bills. They rode the realism wave for eight glorious years until winning the lottery in the show's 9th season downfall. The Connors became increasingly less relatable to average Americans after winning over $100 million.
A Prince From A Non-Existent Historical Territory Courts Roseanne's Sister
After winning an absurd amount of money in the Illinois lottery, the Conner's faced a media frenzy. Everyone loves an underdog story, and the good fortune of the Conners spread so far and wide, a prince from Moldavia (a historical region in Eastern Europe that doesn't exist anymore) sees Roseanne's single sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) on TV and becomes enamored.
Prince Carlos Charmaine (why his name is Carlos when he's from a region in Romania and Turkey is unclear) drops everything and heads to the Midwest to court Jackie. This plot twist sent Season 9 down a rabbit hole of absurdity that is equal parts David Lynch and The Simpsons, sans the sly intentions of either.
Dan Abruptly Left His Family, Including His Pregnant Daughter, To Go To California
Dan Conner (John Goodman) is nothing if not dependable. A stereotypical corn-fed Midwesterner, he's is a hard-working, faithful husband, and a pretty involved dad. So, when he suddenly decides to leave his family to head to California, it doesn't feel very 'Dan'. Especially considering his daughter Darlene (Sara Gilbert) is expecting her first child.
Though Dan is supposedly going to care for his sick mother, most fans were aware the character was being written out of episodes so Goodman could pursue his movie career (in particular, filming The Big Lebowski).
Roseanne And Her Sister Model For Playboy In A Warped Fantasy
After winning the lottery, Roseanne spends a lot of time daydreaming possibilities for her future. In one of these imagined timelines, viewers are subjected to Roseanne and her sister, Jackie, meeting millionaire Playboy owner Hugh Heffner, and doing a photo shoot. Pretty uncharacteristic for self proclaimed 'domestic goddess' Roseanne, even if it takes place in a fantasy. Unless, of course, it's intended to be a satire of spectacular society. Or the writers actively commenting on Roseanne's out-of-control ego.