‘Roseanne’: 11 Surprising Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Hit Show

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

On May 16, 2017, the ABC network announced it would be bringing back one of its most beloved family sitcoms from the ’80s and ’90s: Roseanne.

Scheduled to appear as a mid-season replacement in 2018, the official tenth season will reunite original cast members — including both of the actresses that played the oldest daughter Becky during the series’ run. The new season will run for eight episodes.

Don’t worry: Lecy Goranson, the original Becky, and Sarah Chalke won’t have to fight over who gets to take the reins this time around. They’ve already announced Sarah will be playing a completely different role.

Plus, according to reports from TV Line, Dan’s grim fate in the final episode won’t keep John Goodman from reprising the role of Roseanne’s husband — they’re just going to ignore that little detail entirely.

Looking back at the series, I can’t believe how much I never knew about the show despite tuning in with my own family every single week!

For example, did you know Becky wasn’t the only Conner kiddo who was replaced with a different actor?

Take a look below to learn about that as well as other behind-the-scenes tidbits from the series.

And be sure to SHARE all the fascinating Roseanne facts with your friends!

1. Roseanne Paved The Way For Other Comedians To Get Shows

roseanne on johnny carson

After scoring a mega-hit with The Cosby Show debut in 1984, producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner were inspired to reach out to Roseanne after seeing her “domestic goddess” stand-up routine on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. 

The success of her show inspired networks to take a chance on some of her comedian peers — like Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Ellen DeGeneres, and Brett Butler.

2. It Was Originally Called Life And Stuff

roseanne laughing

According to the Los Angeles Times back in 1989, the show’s original head writer and co-executive producer, Matt Williams, wanted the title to reflect the ensemble cast rather than focusing on the star, but Roseanne insisted on naming it after herself.

The tension between the two continued and Matt ultimately left the series after one season.

3. There Were Two DJ's

roseanne and dj

The show poked fun at itself for the not-so-subtle re-casting of Becky when Lecy Goranson left the series for three years to attend college. She was replaced by Sarah Chalke.

But that wasn’t the only cast member to be switched out.

In the pilot episode, the youngest member of the Conner clan was portrayed by Sal Barone, but when the 1988 television writer’s strike delayed filming for the rest of the season, he had grown too much to continue the role, and Michael Fishman took over.

4. Producers Tried To Stop Lecy From Cutting Her Hair

roseanne and becky

While reuniting with Sara Gilbert, Michael, and Roseanne on Sara’s show The Talk, ABC News reported that Lecy took a moment to share one of her favorite moments with her TV mom after producers told her she couldn’t get a haircut she wanted.

When Roseanne heard about it, she took matters into her own hands and chopped away at Lecy’s locks herself — forcing them to allow her to get it professionally fixed with the ‘do Lecy had wanted from the get-go.

5. Darlene Changed David's Name

darlene from roseanne

When Johnny Galecki made his first appearance as Darlene’s soft-spoken boyfriend in 1992, the character was actually referred to by the name Kevin.

They made a joke about this in the 1994 episode “Everyone Comes to Jackie’s” with Roseanne saying, “David isn’t even his real name — Darlene just made that up.”

6. John Goodman Was The Only Actor Considered For Dan

roseanne and dan

He was the first and only person to audition for the job. His natural, domestic chemistry with Roseanne instantly sealed the deal.

Matt Williams revealed in the reunion interview with Entertainment Weekly that the pair’s marital banter began with John asking her to “scoot over” on a couch in the room and she simply and hilariously responded “shut up.”

7. Macaulay Culkin Auditioned For DJ

macaulay culkin

The reunion interview also revealed that two years before Macaulay made his breakthrough in Home Alone, the iconic child actor was up for the role on the show. Roseanne preferred Michael to play DJ, saying he “looked like my family.”

8. The Family Was "Forced" To Go To Disney World

magic kingdom

Like other shows on ABC at the time, such as Boy Meets World and Full House, the merger between the network and the Walt Disney Company meant that the Conners also took a slightly out-of-character trek to Orlando for an episode. Such a trip didn’t exactly line up with the fictional family’s financial situation.

Of course, I doubt anyone was too upset about getting to spend time at “the happiest place on earth” as part of their job!

9. There Was A Short-Lived Animated Spinoff

roseanne barr

Roseanne told The Washington Post that she believes her notoriously out-of-tune rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” in 1990 was the reason networks axed her Saturday morning cartoon, Little Rosey, which was loosely based on Roseanne’s childhood, after only three episodes — despite its good ratings.

It was replaced by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

10. The Lanford Lunch Box Was Based On A Real Restaurant

roseanne in lunchbox apron

In 1991, Roseanne and her second husband, Tom Arnold (who also appeared on the show), opened a diner near Tom’s hometown in Iowa. It was called Roseanne and Tom’s Big Food Diner and served menu items similar to the onscreen restaurant.

As reported by Entertainment Weekly back in the day, they closed shop shortly after their divorce in 1995.

11. You Can Buy Your Own Version Of The Infamous Chicken Shirt

roseanne wearing the chicken shirt

In the season five DVD commentary, Roseanne admitted that the shirt worn by pretty much every cast member at some point throughout the series was an inside joke. When she found it she thought it was the “ugliest shirt” she’d ever seen.

Now these joke shirts are for sale on Zazzle.

Were you surprised by any of these facts about the beloved TV series? Be sure to SHARE them with your friends and family!