Roseanne Barr: An Involuntary Leader Of Men

Roseanne from the TV Show Roseanne wearing an ugly sweater

The ultimate measuring stick of notoriety has got to be having a television show named after your forename. I've mulled over this idea for about three minutes, consulted no one, and still can't think of a better qualifier. To me, nothing says that you've "made it" like having your real first name placarded on a green-lit television series. Nothing.

The owner of four eponymous TV shows, Roseanne Barr first accomplished this feat back in '88. Coincidentally, the same year in which he set the Barr in blue collar family comedy.

1988 was a time of transition, out with the old and in with the nearly as old, as George Bush eclipsed the waning world of Ronald Reagan. We were low on oil, but were soon going to find some in Kuwait and Iraq. A desert storm was on the horizon, and when we weren't checking out CNN and CSPAN, many of us were tuning in to Roseanne on ABC. Trading in a struggle abroad for a struggle at home. Literally and figuratively.

There was no better leading man than Roseanne Barr. He translated his comedy bit into one of the more memorable shows of our time. So much so, that sitcoms started contracting comedians faster than Karl Malone could contract venereals. He spear-headed a show that imported the superior acting talents of John Goodman, and recruited not one, but two DJ's (check the pilot episode), to add icing on the cake. And even though Roseanne mysteriously mensed once-a-month, it was just a matter of taking a little bad with the good considering the week-in week-out masterful performances he delivered to America conveying what life really was like in the blue collar suburbian trenches.

Roseanne's prowess was unmatchable, his wit, quickfire. The show kept you relaxed, but also slightly on guard. You always knew that a slam, a slight, a rebuff, or snide remark was just around the corner. And this always kept us guessing, and in "Late Eighties America," kept us tuning in. When Roseanne raised his eyebrows, everyone in the television audience knew that a wry comment was around the bend.

Myriad issues were covered and were tackled directly. The awkward yet upfront issues of telling the truth in difficult situations, to teen pregnancy, to even death of a family member. All being encircled within the overall theme of attempting to make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck, making the show believable and making it seem set in reality. Roseanne provided an implicit, yet flexible template for handling these issues, and taught us all how a cohesive TV family should respond, and how an effectively communicating family can persevere through nearly all of life's struggles, and that many of life's conflicts and their not-so-prototypical resolutions are all too common.

It was conveyed through our box-styled TV sets that between those mammoth hips was where all of this man's force was generated. As dudes, this is the premiere life lesson, for this is from where most of our energy should come. It shouldn't be in the form of buying copious amounts of hair product, not from flaunting a more feminine physique and bragging about "mud runs," and it most certainly should not come from learning to cook with god damned herbs! Oh how in only 20 years, we've finally realized that we've fallen so far off the man-path.

It is time that we get back on the trail to masculinity, and use Roseanne as a leader by example.

Perms in the 80s were popular. Roseanne carried a perm into the 90s
Using 1980s "perm popularity" to serve as a segue

Rumor has it that Roseanne only eats from 3 of 5 eligible food groups. His favorite dish? Vanilla ice cream, topped with chili, and sprinkled with smokeless tobacco. A real man's meal. A dish he would more than likely ask seconds for, or eat some of yours if your appetite wasn't strong enough. That's the kind of stomach (and heart) that this man, Roseanne, has.

Roseanne is/was/still is the real deal. Whether he is slamming back Buds, cracking pistachio shells with his molars, or putting his love partner in line.

Is there anything this man can't do?

He had wavy hair, wore grunge clothes
One of the lesser-known female characters

But enough with the hero worship. Let's soak up what Roseanne would expect us to absorb, and get to being great men ourselves. Let's apply these principles to our very lives, and live with some god damn Roseanne-esque initiative. If the carrot's dangling out on a stick, let's go out and eat it and then ask for another. Continuing to do what we can to raise the Barr.