Roseanne’s Darlene Conner is my biggest fear of becomming
So, I watched the latest Roseanne episode today. The “Netflix & Pill” episode focused on the growing opoid addiction that plagues, the lead female character (and the rest of America), but I’d like to discuss the second biggest theme. The demotion of Darlene Conner.
Or should I say the disappointment of Darlene. Played by Sarah Gilbert, Darlene has always been my favorite character. No, not favorite female character, but favorite character period. Smart, creative, witty, sarcastic, opinionated and fearless Darlene was everything I hoped to become back in the 90’s. Now she’s one of my biggest fears.
Yes, I’m very well aware that she’s a fictional character in a beloved sitcom, but that sitcom has represented a blue collar, working class characters for decades now. Something the majority of the US and world population is, or is on their way to become. Struggling to find employment, living paycheck to paycheck, and eventually finding any form of employment just as long it brings the food on the table. Yes, her sister Becky is not doing any better, but Darlene had some potential.
She went to college and had the most prospects of making something of her. Now that potential, those prospects (and her aspirations of having a successful career as a writer) are gone, and what’s left of Darlene is a disappointed, single mother of two who as of this episodes works as a casino waitress. She has no husband, she has no house and up to this episode she had no job.
In the latest episode of Roseanne, she reluctantly takes the job of a casino waitress. Her father convinced her not to throw away a paying job with benefits, and she had to think of her children’s wellbeing too. “I still want to be a writer. I mean, I’ve gone from novels to textbooks to menus. If I take this waitress job, I’m just giving up completely. Says Darlene at one point in the episode. And it’s true.
Darlene ends the episode humiliated by her sister, while wearing a sleazy provocative outfit and serving cocktails to drunk and pissed off customers. She undeniably suppressed any hope of having a job that she likes (and eventually a successful career) for the sole purpose of providing for her children, and I find that heartbreaking. It’s also one of my biggest fears. Being forced to do a demeaning job, just to put food on the table. Look, I get that there is no shame in honest work (and being a waitress is perfectly honest job), but when it gets to the soul-crushing reality of having a job that I detest I think will be end of me. That’s why I write here.
That’s why I write for other people for money. Writing has been my passion, and I’m not just grateful and happy to being able to do it for money, but I’m happy and very grateful that I’m able to do it on a day to day basis.
I certainly don’t want to become Darlene in let’s say 10 years of now. Cause Heavens knows I’m basically there in terms of age and opportunities. I’m 31 right now, and about those opportunities… Yeah, there are even more dire and bleak where I live than they are in Lanford.