"Arsenic and Old Mom"
Season 9: Episode 22
(220 / 231 episodes)
Network ABC-TV
Air date May 13, 1997
Written by Carrie Fisher
Directed by Mark K. Samuels
Episode Guide
The Truth Be Told
Into That Good Night, Part 1

Arsenic and Old Mom was the 22nd episode of Season 9 of Roseanne, also the 220th overall series episode. It was written by Carrie Fisher, and was directed by Mark K. Samuels. It originally aired on ABC-TV on May 13, 1997.


Dan's mother Audrey Conner (now played by Debbie Reynolds, before played by Ann Wedgeworth in the 1989 Thanksgiving episode), visits unexpectedly and keeps trying to kill her son for putting her away for so many years. Roseanne finally decides to end it all with a simple backyard battle. This episode was written by Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia of the Star Wars movies), daughter of Debbie Reynolds and 1950s singer Eddie Fisher.

Note: Debbie Reynolds, who was also a guest on The Roseanne Show claimed that Roseanne broke her ribs during the back yard fight between Rosanne and Audrey.

Full plot summaryEdit

The knock on the door at the Conner house that night revealed an unexpected guest. Dan's mother showed up after being released from her long stay at a psychiatric hospital. Both Dan and Roseanne were leery of the visit, but after a phone call to the doctor, her release was verified.

As long as she continues to take her medication, she should be OK. A little bit of tension is alleviated. Audrey seems perfectly adjusted when she is dealing with all the family members, except Dan.

After Dan gets locked in the garage from the outside, while the garage fills up with smoke, he begins to suspect foul play. Roseanne dismisses Dan's thought as paranoia. As Dan naps on the couch, Audrey sneaks up on him, ready to attack, just as he opens his eyes. She pretends to fluff and arrange a pillow for him. Several incidents occur, including his mother trying to choke him, as Dan tries to persuade Roseanne that he is not imagining the whole situation.

The final straw happens when Audrey is in the backyard digging a hole to bury Dan in. When questioned, she admits that she would like to kill Dan, for "putting her away." A fight ensues, Roseanne overpowers her, and Audrey is sent packing.


  • This is the second of two episodes that Dan's mom is in. The first is the Thanksgiving episode from season 2. In that episode Dan's mom is played by Ann Wedgeworth. In this episode, Dan's mom is played by Debbie Reynolds.
  • Debbie Reynolds revealed on Roseanne's talk show that while they were wrestling in this episode, Roseanne had accidently broke one of her ribs.
  • When Roseanne and Audrey are wrestling in the backyard, you can see Roseanne is trying hard to keep a straight face.
Roseanne: Season Nine (Season 9)
Call Waiting|Millions from Heaven|What a Day for a Daydream|Honor Thy Mother|Someday My Prince Will Come|Pampered To A Pulp|Satan, Darling|Hoi Polloi Meets Hoiti Toiti|Roseambo|Home is Where the Afghan Is|Mothers and Other Strangers|Home For The Holidays|Say It Ain't So|Hit the Road, Jack|The War Room|Lanford's Elite|Some Enchanted Merger|A Second Chance|The Miracle|Roseanne-Feld|The Truth Be Told|Arsenic and Old Mom|Into That Good Night, Part 1|Into That Good Night, Part 2
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