59) A Stash from the Past (Roseanne)

Parents often hold their children to a higher standard than they held themselves during their youth. It’s just a fact of life. It’s usually not as much hypocrisy as it is trying to pass on the benefits of having made mistakes and learned from them. Usually. Sometimes, though, it can come off as a bit “do as I say not as I do.” In the case of a pair of parents who really, really want to get high who start off by punishing their children for smoking pot, it seems more than a little hypocritical.

Apparently now certifiable.

Many people would agree that pot makes things funnier. This doesn’t just apply to watching shows while mating the moss monkey (this is my new term for smoking pot), but also to episodes in which normally uptight characters are given pot. This is the latter… unless you decide to do go ahead and get stoned before watching it.

Roseanne was a show about people who were not attractive, smart, wealthy, or really even great people. Unlike most shows, they struggled often just to get by. Even the Kramdens (The Honeymooners) usually had more than the Conners, and Ralph Kramden was a bus driver. In other words, the Conners were pretty much a regular working-class family, who were often hilarious.


This episode’s setup is that Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) finds a bag of pot in her son D.J.’s (Michael Fishman) room, and punishes him, telling him of the dangers of marijuana. That’s right, it’s a very special episode set-up. D.J., thinking it belongs to his sister, Darlene (Sara Gilbert), takes the rap for it. Roseanne is ready to go ahead and have a parental conference over this, but when Dan (John Goodman), her husband, comes home, he realizes that the pot belongs to him and Roseanne. It was actually from 20 years before the series started, when they used it to “better enjoy music.” In the present, however, Dan has been having trouble at work, and it has taken a toll on him. As such, he decides it is in the best interest of his family if he, Roseanne, and Roseanne’s sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) all get high. I’m not sure if the actors are actually high in the scenes, but if Metcalf is sober, she is the funniest stoner I’ve ever seen. The last 5 minutes of the episode involve a fight over a pudding pop between a stoned couple.


This is the great subversion of both the “Stash episode” that sitcoms often use, as well as the “very special episode” concept. Instead of saying drugs are bad, it shows that they actually can help with stress. Now, at the end, they try to cram in a light anti-drug message, but it really doesn’t come off sincerely after the previous scene. While the cast swears to stay clean, it also shows that they’re just going to find another temporary escape, like we all do at times. But, in the end, this is how television can be at its best: Simple, funny, pudding-ed.

Update: This show has since been revived. Will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

Update of an Update: The revival is cancelled due to Roseanne being Roseanne.

Update of an Update of an Update: ABC is un-cancelling it, but with Roseanne not on the new show.

PREVIOUS – 60: Murphy Brown

NEXT – 58: Batman: The Animated Series

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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