Roseanne is an Emmy Award-winning American sitcom which aired on ABC from 1988 to 1997, starring Roseanne Barr. The show portrayed a working-class family living in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois, struggling to get by on a limited income. Many critics have claimed the show to be the most ground-breaking sitcom in generations as it was the first to portray a stark reality that many American families had already lived with for decades: both parents working out of the house.
For many years, Roseanne tackled subjects that most other popular shows at the time avoided, such as poverty, alcoholism, narcotics, sex, race, menstruation, masturbation, obesity, feminism, domestic violence, and homosexuality. The show was also significant for its portrayal of feminist ideals including a female-dominated household, an overweight female lead whose likability didn't rely on her appearance, relationships between female characters that were cooperative rather than competitive, and females openly expressing themselves without negative consequences. The show was hugely successful from its beginning, spending its first six seasons among the Nielsen Ratings' top five highest-rated shows. The show's success inspired television networks to offer a rash of sitcom deals to stand-up comedians, a practice that continued for years afterwards. During its seventh season, the show's ratings dropped but it still managed to remain among the Neilsen Ratings' top ten highest-rated shows. It was only during the show's ninth and final season, when the show's storyline drifted away from its original premise, that Roseanne dropped below the Neilsen Ratings' top thirty highest-rated shows.