Lanford, Illinois…1988

3 Mar

Here at ohbriggsy, I like to keep my readers (?) informed of the hottest trends and newest pop culture items.  This cutting edge, oh so twenty ten topic?  Roseanne.

For the “I Wish I Would’ve Thought Of That Department”:  This little number catalogs the best of late 80s/early 90s fashion from Roseanne.  I haven’t talked about Roseanne yet in ohbriggsy land, but I love it.  I watched it from the beginning as a kid in 8th grade, and almost made it to the end of the series (I’ll get to that later).  I was a mini teevee addict, or couch potato to use the lexicon of the times.  And what a time it was.  Spuds McKenzie!

I swear I had this ad tacked to my wall. Is it any wonder I'm drinking a Budweiser product as I type this? Seriously. Anyway, this was taken right before the Humane Society was called.

More recently, I watched a crap ton of Roseanne when my cat The Bear was sick.  He had to be tube-fed, people.  And the only thing that made it bearable (heh!) was watching Roseanne while squeezing disgusting mashed medical food down his feeding tube into his maw.  He recovered!  Look at this little rascal.

The Bear.

Anyway, not to sound like a hipster or anything, but, (1) I watched it before you did, and (2) I liked the old episodes way better.  Have you seen hipster kitty?


Back in the day, my family told me that Darlene reminded them of me.  I thought Darlene was cool and the closest thing to me on the teevee, thus Darlene became a fave of mine as there weren’t many other girls I could stand on the tube.  Now Alex P. Keaton, yes!

Sha la la la!

Anyway, back to Darlene.  Look at her!  From sports playing little Darlene to Meat Stinks t shirt wearing Doc Marten sporting Darlene, she WAS pretty awesome.

Darlene's patented inside out sweatshirt look.

Basically my outfit most days then and now.

Darlene's acid washed jacket. I had a two toned acid washed/regular denim jacket.

If you graduated from high school somewhere between '91-'94, you or someone you knew had this shirt. Sigh.

Then remember her poem, “To Whom It Concerns.”  Get out your tissues, friends.

Now, she’s a queer.  Bonus!

My other favorite was Dan.  Dan reminds me of my dad (St. Louis accent included–he’s from Affton!) and he has an unbelievable flannel shirt collection that I was just recently coveting.  Which made me all the more excited to discover  I guess I’m not the only one obsessing over late 80s and early 90s sitcom fashion, and watching old Roseannes thinking about my glory days.  I’m about to cross the turnstile into my first self-defined scary age.  So I walk down memory lane.  Bear with me.  It is funny how much some of the ensembles (tres French!) are so hipstery now.  I think you’re officially old when you start lamenting the cyclical nature of fashion.  Hello, middle age.

Tom Arnold...arbiter of aughts hipster culture.

Jackie's early outfits will make you think that perhaps American Apparel is running dated looking tv ads now.

Roseanne will also just give you some straight up chuckles with its blasts from the past.  For me, this mainly comes from Becky’s hair and clothes.  At the time, Becky was kinda the cool girl that made fun of me in junior high and high school.  Check her out.

Ladies and gentlemen...the undercut.

Floral dress and blazer. And the french braid. Oh yeah! Do not tell Double S that I slightly laughed at the french braid.

Denim shortalls!

Dan’s wardrobe was legendary.  Timeless.  Classic, even.  Here are just a few of my favorites.

Dan's hair changed from season to season. I liked the bushy curly look. Not to mention that flannel. Sweet!

The buffalo plaid jacket, the chambray work shirt, the headband. I wore this last week to clean out the garage. Classic Americana, Dan Connor. Well played, sir.

Hat, jacket, shirt. Perfection.

Dan sporting the ultimate party accessory, the foam dome.

If you recall, Roseanne got really gay as the seasons progressed.  This 1992 episode might have been the first time I heard the words “Dyke” and “Lesbian” on teevee.  One of my favorite lines commences here at around 6:30, but the whole clip brings the early 90s funny.  Lil’ 90s alternateen Darlene and her meat stinks tee: I think she has tix to that Veruca Salt/Belly concert this friday down at the Lobo!  Dan’s flannel.  Hapless DJ.  Roseanne’s put upon housewife routine.  Microwave food. The edgy introduction of the first recurring gay character on a sitcom, played by Sandra Bernhard of all people.  Classic.

Now, having caught more of the later season episodes (blecch! for the most part) on Nick at Nite, I’m often left wondering what the hell happened to this show.  After approximately 1994, the show seemed to slowly tank.  It bizarrely ended with the Connors winning the lottery, babies being born precariously, and Dan and Roseanne having marital problems (Say it ain’t so!  Dan and Roseanne were kind of a late 80s sitcomy version of Friday Night Lights’s Eric and Tammy Taylor–not nearly as fleshed out (or hot–yowzah!), but as real as you were going to get for the time).  Then, (spoiler alert) we find out in the last episode that ITWASALLADREAM.  Dan actually died from a heart attack he had at Darlene’s wedding, Dan never cheated (phew!), and the family never won the lottery.  I actually liked the last episode, but I’m a sap for those kind of things.

But that doesn’t negate the fact that, like so many other shows, Roseanne just went downhill after 5 or 6 seasons.  So what happened?  Was it Roseanne’s egomanical ways, as the tabloids probably would’ve liked to have us believe?  The fact that the sitcom kids kept changing and going off to Yale and the like, and the one that remained got really weird looking and was kind of a bad actor?  Sorry Deej!  Regardless, take any episode in the first four seasons or so and you’ve got a winner.  There’s a few funny moments beyond that, and some fun memories of the time, but that’s about it.  I recently saw an episode from 1995 where Jenna Elfman guest starred as a riot girl (I mean grrl, I guess?  Was she a grrl if this was on ABC?) with a Bikini Kill mixtape, and the plot sort of mimicked Thelma and Louise.  I can’t find a picture, but it was awesome.  Great mid ’90s stuff!

I wish I could say the show was groundbreaking AND funny because it introduced gay characters and gay subplots (at the end, almost every character on the show was gay) which was pretty much unheard of at the time, but like most gay and lez movies in my experience, this is not the case.  Save The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love.  How cute was that movie?  How crazy was it that Randy Dean turned into Tina on the L Word?

Randy Dean

Uh oh! Evie's mom just got home!

Oh Randy...we hardly knew ye.

Sigh.  Bette and Tina.  I hope those crazy kids made it work!  Speaking of a show with a terrible ending, The L Word.  Holy Crap!  What the hell was that all about?

Despite all of this, my DVR is full of Roseanne and me watching Roseanne at Halloween is a given. I’ll always have those early episodes and memories of Darlene’s sarcastic tomboy/alternateen (I love having a reason to use that term again!) ways, Becky’s Every(straight)girl teenage humiliation, Roseanne’s feminist mom wisecracks–Take My Husband…Please!, Jackie’s role as the wacky sidekick sister, and Dan’s fatherly wisdom, beer drinking and fashion to remind me of simpler times.  The where are they now pics are fun.  Check this one out.

I love the meta-ness of the Beckys arm wrestling. Did original Becky turn out exactly how you thought she would have, or is it just me?

You guys wanna go to the Lobo tonight?  Buds are on me!


8 Responses to “Lanford, Illinois…1988”

  1. growandresist March 3, 2010 at 2:50 PM #

    loved the walk down memory lane!

    • ohbriggsy March 3, 2010 at 3:40 PM #

      thanks friend! have i told you about my summer of ’90 bbq idea? stay tuned!

  2. TinTin March 3, 2010 at 3:32 PM #

    Excellent post. I loved/hated this show as a kid. It represented Illinois and had delightful plot lines- so that was good. But it made everyone think people from Illinois were all slightly white trash and worked in diners, and then there was Roseanne herself and she was a total nutter- so that was bad. Also- I totally went to that Veruca Salt concert in the student center at the local university. Darlene was probably there. And finally, that last season was the WORST deus ex machina ending EVER. Horrible. I hate it when shows do that. All of my favorite shows ended that way last season and I was pissed.
    That is all. Sorry for the long comment. 🙂

    • ohbriggsy March 3, 2010 at 6:29 PM #

      hey! comment away! i could definitely see you shoulder to shoulder with darlene at the veruca salt show! you stepped on her docs, ya big jerk! deus ex machina endings are very popular right now. ya gotta prove you’re clever, right? anyway, i agree that the final season was terrible. i did get a smidge misty at the last episode, remembering how dan and the kids built roseanne that office so she could write. come on!

  3. sonja March 4, 2010 at 9:35 AM #

    I wanna go to the Lobo tonight! Comparing Tammy and Eric to Roseanne and Dan is interesting. Not sure I would have thought of it, but I kinda like it. I think their parenting style is different, but both sets adore their kids and are super involved in their lives in their own ways. I like your hipster kitties. I think you should wear more acid wash jean products. And, you are wrong about french braids.

    • ohbriggsy March 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM #

      i knew, that, 1) you’d go with me to the lobo–thanks, babe!, and 2) you’d disagree with me re french braids. you need to grow out those locks so you can get a properly formed french braid going and start the revival!

  4. michael April 24, 2011 at 8:31 PM #

    This is a great photo of the two Beckys arm wrestling – I liked the second one better


  1. 12 Days of Xmas in ’12! Day One! « oh, briggsy… - December 6, 2012

    […] Connor flannel shirt”: I agree that he had some sweet ass flannel shirts on Roseanne. I used to covet his vintage Bears jersey […]

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