This Was Television On October 18

1988: Roseanne premieres

Stand-up comic Roseanne Barr brought her uncompromising personality to this ABC sitcom about a boisterous working-class family struggling to get by. Emmy-winner Barr and seven-time nominee John Goodman portrayed the heads of the Conner clan, which also included three-time Emmy winner for Best Supporting Actress Laurie Metcalf. Throughout its nine-season run, Roseanne frequently tackled issues of class, gender, sexuality, and substance abuse head-on. It was a top-ten rated show for each of its first seven seasons, and the highest rated program of the 1989–90 season.

Two separate actresses, Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke, played oldest daughter Becky Conner over the series’ run, including the unusual situation of alternating in the role during season eight. Though the show occasionally mined meta-humor from this situation, it remained a source of constant confusion until the continuity-shattering events of the epic “Crisis on Infinite Lanfords.” -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Peter Boyle, next-door dad (d. 2006); Pam Dawber, alien’s roommate (61); Zac Efron, musical student (25); Keith Jackson, commentator (84); Wesley Jonathan, city guy (34); Dawn Wells, islander (74).

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