Roseanne: 12 Behind The Scenes Secrets

  
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For nine seasons, Roseanne was one of the most popular sitcoms on TV and through every week and every season, fans tuned in for more. While Roseanne was delivering all the laughs, tears and important messages without fail, there was a lot more going on behind the scenes that audiences didn’t see. From good times to bad times and everything in between, here are 12 behind the scenes secrets from the set of Roseanne!

12. Getting it Started

For Roseanne Barr, her career went on a whirlwind trajectory from making her first major stand-up comedy appearance in 1985 on The Tonight Show to landing her own show in 1987. Despite only three years in the spotlight as a major comedian, she had a lot of pull and it was her decision to ask for a show. “I wanted a TV show. I told my agent I didn’t want to be on the road anymore. It took many meetings with many producers. I decided to go with executive producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner because they had the top two series—Cosby and A Different World—and I thought they knew how to make a show out of a stand-up act,” Barr revealed. Luckily at the same time, Carsey and Werner were looking for a working mother as a central voice and heroine for a series, and that is what led them straight to the distinctive and unique personality of Roseanne.

Everett Collection

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11. Original Version

Going into the production of the first season of the show in 1987, Roseanne Barr had a very clear idea of the show she wanted, but so did writer and third executive producer, Matt Williams. “Matt had come to my house, watched me with my kids and husband, took notes, watched my act, taped hours and hours of interviews. And I worked on creating the pilot, the situations and the characters as well,” Roseanne revealed of how the idea of a working mother at the center of a show instead of the father was truly based off her real life, but the version of the show Matt turned in was not what Roseanne expected. “Matt’s version was very sanitized, written from the little boy’s point of view. I brought my sister Geraldine in to get the sister character right. I was incredulous, getting crazier, more frustrated. In his draft I was a June Cleaver and my sister [played by Laurie Metcalf] was me. That’s how crazy it was.” Originally the show was also called “Life and Stuff” but Barr argued to have it named after her because it was about her life.

(c) Carsey-Werner/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

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