Gayest Episode Ever: Before She Went Nuts, Roseanne Kissed Lesbians and Helped Queer Causes
Longtime fans of Roseanne (the person) and Roseanne (the show) have less than two weeks to decide how they feel about the series’ revival. Yes, we get to return to Lanford, Illinois once again, and John Goodman’s Dan and Laurie Metcalfe’s Jackie are waiting for us. But in the years since Roseanne’s final season, Roseanne Barr herself transformed into a conspiracy theorist who supports Donald Trump.
It’s a tough one. On one hand, we have this testimony that Roseanne’s real-life love for Trump doesn’t taint the entire revival. On the other hand, most of her Twitter output indicates that her interpretation of current events is, at best, very selective.
It stings all the more when you look back and remember how awesome Roseanne was back in the day. And it’s with that in mind that I did the second installment of Gayest Episode Ever, my podcast that looks at LGBT-themed episodes of classic sitcoms to see how they hold up. We did “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the episode that’s probably better remembered today as the Roseanne lesbian kiss episode.
The episode originally aired March 1, 1994 — just months after the gay Frasier discussed in the first installment of Gayest Episode Ever, BTW — and it holds up beautifully today. Not only is it a time capsule of history — the actual Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy had just gone into effect, and ABC initially balked at even airing an episode with an onscreen kiss between two women — it’s also funny.
And the rift that develops between Roseanne and Nancy (Sandra Bernhard) leads to a conversation about matters a lot of people still haven’t resolved, 24 years later: fluid sexuality and the sexual spectrum — as well as the idea that even the most progressive among us need to admit they have certain biases and prejudices before they can become truly tolerant.
You can subscribe to future episodes of Gayest Episode Ever on Soundcloud, on iTunes or on Google Play. And please, if you have any recommendations for future episodes or just want to talk about the gay side of mainstream TV, hit me up on Twitter.