Comparing Roseanne and My Family

Roseanne

Themes

  • Anniversary
  • Romance
  • Work ethic (the Cs got by the two girls for different reasons)
  • Moral principles (cutting up the frog)
  • Striving for the American Dream (adults want a better life for the kids and Roseanne wants it but Dan doesn’t)
  • Male and female expectations of the other

My Family

Themes

  • Anniversary
  • Love and the showing of it
  • Man’s love for his car (Ben but not Nick)
  • Family ties (Abi has never seen any)
  • Manipulation of Ben (financial by Nick; emotional; by Susan)
  • Male and female expectations of the other
  • Michael and his pubescent sexuality.

Narrative

Or what story lines are dedicated to which characters…

  • Darlene and her lack of commitment to her paper round
  • Becky and her principles about the frog but the dilemma about the C grade
  • Roseanne and Dan’s different ideas about the ideal honeymoon

Narrative

Or what story lines are dedicated to which characters…

  • Nick wins a car at poker wants to cut it up, Ben wants to do it up and recapture his youth.
  • Susan wants to go to Dorset for their anniversary, Ben doesn’t.
  • Abi is looking forward to celebrating their anniversary.
  • Michael and Abi’s underwear
  • How Nick gets his dad to show he loves him

Characters

 

Roseanne

Humorous

Wheedling

Domesticated

Lazy, slob

Romantic

Maternal, supportive

Becky

Mature

Conscientious

Moral

Dan

Humorous

Lazy, slob

Antagonistic to sister-in-law

Macho – hunting, fishing, man’s man

Darlene

Lazy

Cunning clever

Characters

 

Ben

Sex obsessed

Worried about getting old

Kids in the way

Grouchy

Thinks he knows

Susan

romantic

bad cook

manipulative

maternal

superior

bossy

Nick

loves his dad

irrepressible

naïve

immature

thinks he’s God’s gift

Abi

romantic

family oriented

naïve

disaster area

well-intentioned

 

Other elements to consider:

 

Activities each character is seen doing
Roseanne making the bed / Dan eating potato chips out of a packet / Ben talking romantically to the car / Nick and the chainsaw / Michael and the bra on the teddy / Darlene answering all telephone calls / Susan cooking for the family / Abi and the cake

 

Props the characters are seen with
Ben: oil, gloves / Nick and the car-jar / Dan and the fishing pole / Roseanne and the candle; or are referred to e.g. Ben and the collection of broken lawn mower parts / Dan and the wood yard.

 

Also very important is the dialogue the characters get to say
Susan, ‘it’s junk!’ Ben, ‘it’s not.’ Ben, ‘Jasmine.’ Nick, ‘Leroy.’ Michael, ‘and then I don’t remember anything at all.’ Susan, ‘I told you it wouldn’t work.’ Ben, ‘Michelle Pfeiffer’s love toy.’

 

How does humour have gender connotations?

‘Michelle Pfeiffer’s love toy.’

‘You can’t park there.’

‘Oil on your collar.’

‘I told you it wouldn’t work.’

‘But you’re terrible at poker!’ ‘You should see the car.’

verbal – one liners / double entendres / extended metaphors

Lipstick messages on the forehead

Ben covered in oil

Michael and the bra and knickers

Michael’s excuse to leave the garage

visual

Susan with the take-away and large glass of wine

Car does start after petrol put in – then stops

The different ways that Nick says the same thing to the car

reversal of expectations

Abi finding Michael in her room

Abi’s clumsiness resulting in blowing up the garage

Not going to Dorset

predictability of male humiliation

character predictability

predictability of plot – nothing changes

        

And finally how camera angles and editing are used to privilege, marginalise or make a point of emphasis.

 


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