John Goodman

The politics of 'Roseanne' are about recognition and empathy

The politics of 'Roseanne' are about recognition and empathy

Before Wednesday evening, I'd never seen a single episode of "Roseanne." But in the interest of cultural commentary, I cranked up my ABC.com app to see what all the fuss — and the extraordinarily high ratings — was about. Here's what I learned.

1) It's knowing.

From the moment Dan Conner (John Goodman) wakes with a start, we're in a familiar world rarely seen on TV. His face is covered by a plastic mask with a breathing tube. The show assumes the audience recognizes what it is: a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to treat sleep apnea. Back when the original "Roseanne" was on the air, from 1988 to 1997, I'd never heard of sleep apnea,...

55°