Roseanne

Season 1 Episode 1

Life and Stuff

7
Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Oct 18, 1988 on ABC
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
134 votes
12

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Life and Stuff
AIRED:
Roseanne and Dan, parents of a low income family, deal with the trials and tribulations of suburban domesticity. Roseanne must keep her sanity while keeping her family together and dealing with her troubling daughter, Darlene.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Well, Roseanne sets the stage for the show that will change the american life of television forever.

    7.3
    Although I enjoy most of all the Roseanne episodes, this is one I can't give a 10.0. I really think it's because of the Sal Barone charachter. I really really hated Sal Barone playing DJ. Michael Fishman did a great job playing the role, and I couldn't imagine anyone else doing it. I also felt it was boring, and I don't really know why, I just get a blah feeling when I watch it. I do enjoy the part when Roseanne speaks with the teacher, that part is funny. It's just a little plain, compared to the normal storylines. However, I like how it intro'd that she'd be a show about taking care of the kids, while getting along with her husband, and keeping the house in shape.moreless
  • Suddenly, you'll realize why this WAS the start of something big!

    10
    "Life and Stuff" is legendary in my book. Sitcoms have never, EVER been the same since it first aired.

    Some things I like about this episode that have nothing to do with the storyline, except for the first one:

    1. I like the fact that Sal Barone would make his final appearance as DJ in this first installment of the series. He seems to lack any enthusiasm or energy-- and, that's putting it mildly. Those little heads in the box under DJ's bed (featured in a later episode) could have mustered up more chemistry with fellow-cast members than Sal does. 2. I like the well-measured use of double negatives, "ain'ts" and "me neithers." It realistically set the blue-collar tone, without going overboard. I kind of expected to see my parents walk in at any given moment! 3. Roseanne smiling after she delivering her barbs (perhaps a carryover from stand-up days?) I like the way that feels. 4. The lighting is noticeably different from any other sitcom I have seen, so far, in all my televison viewing. There are shadows and chinks of light coming through the windows-- not like a "set" at all. It is as if the Conner house is real and the camera people have just happened along and start filming. (Unfortunately, "Roseanne" got away from this way of lighting shortly after the series took off.) 5.It really takes me back and I smile "out loud" when the cartoon bongo noise comes from out of the TV set in the Conner living room. "Turn that down!" yells Roseanne. Yeah, just like Home, Sweet Home! 6. The essence of factory life is truly captured. People scuffling around in the background. Earplugs. The white gloves, etc.-- all the details that make the difference. And, movement, movement, MOVEMENT. It isn't like other programs where the characters must come to a halt to deliver their lines. Nothing seems staged here. The writing is so good that the activities of the people can carry on without being a distraction while they speak.



    A Dislike: (No big deal, here, just an observation and personal opinion) Jackie's Brillo pad hair. Granted, it is just like those home perms some of us have had to put up with at least once in our lives, and really fits into place with who Jackie is at the time, but MAN! Laurie Metcalf really suffered for the cause having to wear that helmet. Maybe it was a wig?



    And, a little something else to turn your attention to in this intitail installment of "Roseanne": Roseanne and Dan have a different way of talking in this episode (and, only in a few, thereafter). Roseanne uses this lilting, sing-songy voice and Dan has sort of a slow, good ol' boy drawl that lengthens his words. I found them both endearing, but soon after "Life and Stuff," they dwindled. Maybe Roseanne Barr and John Goodman thought it would be too much to have to keep up the voices for 9 years. (They had to have known with this beginning episode that they had a hit on their hands!)



    All in all, this episode of "Roseanne" is a spectacular must-see for any AND everybody. Not only is it entertaining, but its sitcom-historical value, alone, makes it well worth the trip.moreless
  • It gets so much better.

    7.2
    Life and Stuff kicks off one of the most ground breaking and important shows in family sit-com history. Although this Pilot is highly enjoyable it is by no means great or up to the quality this series reaches during its stride. Jackie is criminally under used and the killer John Goodman and Roseanne Bar chemistry/ rhythm is yet to be established. The big fight at the end is uncomfortable to watch and seems very premature. The three kids come off one dimensional and the episode lacks a strong plot. Life And Stuff is a pretty solid first episode with a few laughs but it has it's flaws.moreless
  • The start of a great show!

    9.0
    With this episode started a run of one of the funniest comedies ever to air on tv, even if the last season was horrible. The only thing I didnt like in the episode was the kid who played DJ, but of course that was fixed by the next episode. Dan and Roseanne fighting about work was funny and so was Roseanne going to Darlene's school to talk with her teacher because she was barking in class. Overall I enjoyed the episode.moreless
  • Life and Stuff

    8.5
    A great start to a new show at the time. Laugh out loud funny. When the time comes to be funny Roseanne dosn't sound like she was just reading a script 5 miniutes before its filmed. Comedy flows natrually for her and you can really tell at the outrages kitchen scene, where Roseanne gets on Dan's case for not picking up any of the slack around the household. One thing I would like to see is a Roseanne reunion on TV. Like what the lives of the Conner family is like today. With a 50 year old Roseanne, and a 40 year old Jackie, and how Becky is dealing with the facts of being a spouse since Glen Quinn the actor who played Mark died of a drug overdose in real life. Great start to a wonderful show.moreless
John Goodman

John Goodman

Dan Conner

Laurie Metcalf

Laurie Metcalf

Jackie Harris

Sara Gilbert

Sara Gilbert

Darlene Conner Healy

Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Conner

Lecy Goranson

Lecy Goranson

Rebecca "Becky" Conner Healy

Judy Prescott

Judy Prescott

Miss Crane

Guest Star

Charlayne Woodard

Charlayne Woodard

Vonda

Guest Star

Sal Barone

Sal Barone

David Jacob "D.J." Conner

Guest Star

Evelina Fernandez

Evelina Fernandez

Juanita Herrera

Recurring Role

Anne Faulkner

Anne Faulkner

Sylvia Foster

Recurring Role

Ron Perkins

Ron Perkins

Pete Wilkins

Recurring Role

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Judy Prescott who plays Miss Crane also appears as a nurse in the fourth season episode "Less is More" when Roseanne gets surgery.

    • Roseanne does a throwback to this episode in Into that Good Night Part 1. In that episode Roseanne is talking to Darlene about raising kids, and she mentions "Do you remember when I was called down to your school because you had been barking in class?"

    • Laurie Metcalf (Jackie) wore a curly-haired wig in this and a few other early episodes so that she could look more like Roseanne's actual sister.

    • The intersection of Delaware Street and Third Avenue is in Evansville, IN, where Executive Producer Matt Williams attended college.

    • During the breakfast scene, Roseanne asks Dan to save her the coupon from the paper. He starts tearing it off nice and straight, and the scene cuts to Becky complaining about her bookbag. When the camera goes back to Dan, he's finishing tearing out the coupon, which is now in a peanut shape.

  • QUOTES (11)

  • NOTES (6)

    • The title of this delightful pilot episode is echoed in two later episode titles, Death And Stuff, 1989 and Fights And Stuff, 1996.

    • At the very end of this (and every) episode, you see the Carsey-Werner logo and copyright. In this episode, it has white text matching the end credits - rather than the orange text used by Carsey-Werner at the time.

    • "Life and Stuff" was also the working title of the series.

    • This pilot episode features a slightly different title sequence with a different Roseanne logo than the one used throughout the rest of the series, the kitchen looks different, and Sal Barone plays D.J. instead of Michael Fishman.

    • This is the only episode of "Roseanne" to date to be published: in Donald McQuade and Robert Atwan, eds., Popular Writing in America: The Interaction of Style and Audience, 5th. edition. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993 (721-35).

    • In this episode D.J. is played by Sal Barone. D.J. was recast after the first episode because the producers wanted someone younger to play the role. There were also some problems between Barone and Sara Gilbert on the set.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • In the season finale of season eight, Fights and Stuff, homage is paid to this first episode. When Roseanne and Dan are amidst they're big fight after Dan returns home from the hospital after recovering from his heart attack, Dan says "you want me to fix dinner, I'll fix dinner, I'm fixing dinner" to which Roseanne retorts "oh, but honey you just fixed dinner 11 years ago." This is the same dialogue that was used in this first episode during the scene between Dan and Roseanne arguing in the kitchen replacing 3 years ago with 11 years ago as nearing 8 years had passed.

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