In 1988, television viewers first met Roseanne Conner and her decidedly blue-collar family.
Repeats have kept the sitcom “Roseanne” a home-screen staple pretty much ever since, and WE marks its exact 25th-anniversary date Friday (Oct. 18) with a seven-hour marathon including episodes from each of the Roseanne Barr-starring show’s nine ABC seasons.
Another beneficiary of the series’ success has been stage and screen actress Laurie Metcalf, who earned three consecutive Emmy Awards (1992-94) for her portrayal of Roseanne’s sister Jackie.
“It certainly doesn”t seem that long ago,” Metcalf tells Zap2it. “During the run of the show, I wasn’t able to watch it, because I would be self-conscious. I just couldn’t. Now I’m a fan of it, and I see how forward-thinking the writing and some of the subject matter was.
“The thing I’m reminded of is how proud I am to have played a part in it, literally … to have had a hand in that particular show. What could be better than being proud of something that people relate to, and you were on it? It was monumental for me, and I couldn’t ask to be known for all my life for something that makes me more proud.”
The occasional “Roseanne” reunion has been supplied to Metcalf by the CBS hit “The Big Bang Theory,” on which she has guest-starred several times as Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) mother. Johnny Galecki — the show’s Leonard — played David on “Roseanne,” and she enjoys being able to act with him again.
“Even a lot of the crew is the same,” she reports, “and the writers. It’s a very comfortable, fun set, and those guys keep it that way. They’re all very professional, which I appreciate. There’s no ego.”
Metcalf’s first husband, Jeff Perry, is well-known these days for playing Cyrus Beene on ABC’s “Scandal.” She admits, “I haven’t seen the show, but I’ve got to get on that bandwagon. I know that Jeff is terrific on it; I’ve seen a clip of a monologue that he gave, and it was fantastic.”
Soon, Metcalf will resume weekly TV work herself. She plays a supervisor at an extended-care facility in “Getting On,” HBO’s adaptation of a British “dramedy” that premieres Sunday, Nov. 24. Her busy fall also includes starring with Jeff Goldblum in “Domesticated,” a play by Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Norris that’s in previews at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater before opening Monday, Nov. 4.
The specially commissioned drama is about “gender issues,” Metcalf says. “It’s kind of an Eliot Spitzer tale; Jeff and I play a political couple going through a scandal. It’s really provocative.”