There’s plenty to savor in the first episode of the rebooted “Roseanne.”
In addition to discovering what happened to the family, we the get the story of the two Beckys and a look at what connects them.
We quickly learn Dan (John Goodman) isn’t dead and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) isn’t working on the police force.
Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), however, is just as acerbic and whining about knee pain. The Conners have opened their house to more people than it can hold and spend a good portion of the first two episodes helping us sort out who’s doing what.
Listen carefully or you’ll miss where Jerry Garcia lives, but you won’t lose track of the political discussion that seems to have fueled the great divide between sisters.
Careful to present both sides (particularly where it relates to the 2016 presidential election), the episodes offer an ample debate that features some of the best lines since the first year of the original series.
Metcalf hasn’t changed a bit in the intervening years (she can tap into the overdramatic Jackie in a second) but Barr isn’t quite the same Roseanne. She’s a step slower hanging with the family. She doesn’t laugh as readily as she once did.
As the episodes unfold, the old spark returns – particularly when she and Dan take advantage of a 45th anniversary outing. Watch her swipe apples and you’ll recall all those moments she zigged when everyone else zagged.
Because money is tight, Dan and Roseanne swap prescriptions but don’t pull back on helping their family. Darlene (Sara Gilbert) has children now and, yes, her daughter is such a clone you’ll swear 20 years haven’t passed.
Of the recent reboots, “Roseanne” fares better than most because it has allowed its characters to change. The political discussion jars a bit (was the series always this pointed?) but the family bonding holds no matter who’s in crisis mode.
If you were a hardcore “Roseanne” fan, you’ll see great thought was put into updating the regulars. The children’s new lives make sense, giving the series plenty of directions for stories.
Regulars from the first edition pop up here and there; pictures of those who are gone are scattered throughout the home.
Executive Producer Bruce Helford (who was fired from the original at one point) has done his homework and found a way to make this stand on its own and pay tribute to the past. “Classics really do hold up,” Goodman says at one point. He’s talking about a movie, but the statement works for “Roseanne,” too.