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The concept behind Roseanne was so simple it was radical: a sitcom about a blue-collar family in the Midwest, with money troubles and unvarnished family issues, headed by a strong-willed woman who said what was on her mind. Roseanne (nee Arnold, nee Barr) and her TV family dealt with subjects that were rarely handled in family comedies: domestic abuse, mental illness and plain old-fashioned money dramas. Barr benefited from great supporting actors, including John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and one of TV’s most believable casts of kids. Roseanne often got as much attention for its problems as its successes (the star’s backstage temper and National Anthem singing, the lottery-winning storyline of the last season). But that’s fine: like many ambitious works—and its star—Roseanne never offered a dull moment.

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