The Dark Ages was the third episode of Season 5 of Roseanne, also the landmark 100th overall series episode. Written by Eric Gilliland and Mike Gandolfi, the episode was directed by Andrew D. Weyman. It originally aired on ABC-TV on September 29, 1992.
The Conner household experiences a blackout, due to not paying their bill. Darlene spends the night with David and her parents don't believe her when she claims they didn't sleep together.
This episode concluded with a fourth wall-breaking moment of Roseanne Barr and Laurie Metcalf wrestling over the Emmy Award Metcalf had won that year. John Goodman eventually joined in before they all ran offstage and out a studio door accompanied by Tom Arnold.
Roseanne finds a flyer from the electric company that tells her that this is the final notice, and they are cutting off their electric at 5:00.
Roseanne asks Dan if Becky called and he replies that he didn't talk to her, and Roseanne gets upset. Roseanne tells Darlene and D.J. that they only have a few minutes before their electric goes out, and neither of them seem to care. Then Roseanne goes to tune up the fridge, but the electric goes out and Roseanne and the family sit in the dark.
Later that night, Roseanne and Dan are trying to entertain Darlene, D.J., and themselves as they have flashlight fun. Darlene states that she is having a horrible time, so Dan suggests that they should share stories. Then David comes over and he and Darlene try to go upstairs to work on their comic, but Dan says they shouldn't be upstairs in the dark alone. Roseanne reminds Dan that David is not like Mark, so Dan lets them upstairs. The next morning, Jackie comes over, not knowing that they lost their electricity, and makes an idiot out of herself while trying to do things that require electricity. She soon realizes that they have no electricity, and the phone rings. Dan answered it, but it was Becky so he ignored her and left.
Then Roseanne sees David and Darlene sneaking downstairs, and Darlene trys to make Roseanne believe that David came from his house. Roseanne yells at Darlene, but Darlene says that they were just working on their comic book all night. Roseanne doesn't believe them, but when Dan comes in and asks why David is at their house again, Roseanne covers for Darlene and David.
Later, Roseanne comes up to Darlene's room and Darlene thanks her for not telling Dan. Roseanne tells Darlene that she should get some birth control, but Darlene says that nothing happened last night and that Roseanne doesn't need to hold her hand.
Darlene storms downstairs and Roseanne goes after her. Darlene asks Dan for some money to get out of the house, but he doesn't have any. Roseanne tells Darlene that she is not going anywhere. Darlene tells Roseanne that the discussion is over and that she is not going to relive the same moment she had with Becky. Dan asks what is going on. Roseanne doesn't want to tell Dan yet, but Darlene confesses to Dan and he gets extremely angry. Dan tells Darlene that she is not to see David again, but Darlene defiantly says that she is not like Becky and will not let them interfere with her relationship when she has it under control. Roseanne and Dan question whether they believe Darlene or not; Roseanne is starting to because she had the guts to tell Dan. Dan tells Roseanne that she should have told him earlier, but Roseanne doesn't know what to tell him since he doesn't talk to Becky anymore.
That night, Dan calls Becky and she is really suprised that he called and so is Mark. Dan tries to make conversation with Becky, but ends up talking to Mark. Roseanne watches him as he talks to Becky and Mark over the phone and is happy that he is talking to them again. She walks off and Dan continues to talk to Mark on the phone.
- This is the show's 100th episode; the coda shows Laurie Metcalf polishing her Emmy as Best Supporting Actress. In syndication the scene is removed and the episode ends with the scene where Dan is on the phone talking to Becky.
- DJ says his flashlight battery is dead, Darlene tells him to get the battery out of the smoke detector, and Roseanne says that's dangerous because she might need it for the remote. But she can't use the remote anyway because there's no electricity. Even as a joke, this doesn't make sense. Besides which, the devices all use different battery types.
- In this episode, when Roseanne and Darlene are talking in Darlene's bedroom, behind Roseanne on Becky's bed you can see a mannequin wearing the dress that Becky wore in the season 4 episode, Breakin' Up is Hard to Do on her date with Dean.
- Owing to her brief appearance at the end of this episode, Lecy Goranson narrowly managed to appear in all of the first 100 episodes of the series.
- Becky's apartment is the same as Darlene's college dorm.
- Roseanne: It's from the electric company. They're shutting us off at 5.
- Dan: Didn't you pay the bill?
- Roseanne: Well it was either that or water and you can only live 2 days without water.
- Dan: Oh sure, I can take a bath but I can't throw the toaster in.
- Roseanne: They said they'd get around to it on Monday and then they'll turn the electricity back on whenever the hell they feel like it.
- Jackie: No! There's got to be something we can do. How do we get the power back on?
- Roseanne: Mmmm, you pay the bill?
- Jackie: Okay, I'll do that...I'm going to call them...did you tell them you have children?
- Roseanne: Yeah, they don't want them.
- Roseanne: I've got a story. Uh, once upon a time there were these four princesses who lived in a palace and just spent their days yammering and yammering and yammering. And they killed every man who came to the palace except for one that they kept as a pet. Then one days these two princesses left and these other two princesses came in and they really stunk and...*Darlene: Mom, that's Designing Women.
- Roseanne: You figured it out.
- D.J.: I want to make one up.
- Dan: Go for it.
- Darlene: I'm in hell.
- Darlene: I don't believe this, you guys are treating me like I'm Becky. I'm not Becky. I don't go to the mall like Becky, I don't do great laundry like Becky, I don't love school like Becky and I'm not going to sleep with my boyfriend like Becky!
- Roseanne: So what's your point, Becky?
- Darlene: My point is, Mother, that I'm stuck here so I'm paying for how she screwed up. If you're going to be angry, be angry at her. Leave me out of it.
- Darlene: Mom wants me to go on the pill 'cause Becky had sex.
- Dan: I don't think that'll work.
- Dan: Any luck with the job hunt?
- Roseanne: Yeah, one place actually offered me an executive position; unfortunately, I'm allergic to corn dog batter.
- D.J.: I'm bored.
- Darlene: And stupid. Don't forget stupid.
- Roseanne: If anyone has anything to do this weekend that involves electricity, you've got about two minutes.
- Darlene: Oh rats, and it was my turn to vacuum the house.
- David: This is weird. When are you going to have light again?
- Roseanne: Oh, just as soon as the earth spins back around towards the sun!
- Dan: Where are you going?
- Darlene: Upstairs to work on the comic.
- Dan: Alone, with no lights? I don't think so.
- Darlene: Why, what do you think we're going to do?
- Dan: If I think about it, you're grounded!