Roseanne: 817 and 818 – Disney Episodes

Title too long for header!

817, “We’re Going to Disney World!” (Feb 20, 1996), and 818, “Disney World War II” (Feb 27, 1996).

A billion years ago I was going to do a Disney Week because we’d reached the BMW Disney episode, then… blah. I decided to try to revive this goal because I’m going to Disney World. I thought it’d be fun if I took all my screenshots from here and reenacted them in real life and posted them, but I’m not walking around Disney World with a handful of screenshots and being like “Okay so I gotta position it this way…” If I had more than three days, or friends, then I might try that.

But anyway! As a short recap, ABC back in the 90s decided all its sitcoms had to do an episode in Disney World to increase sales or something. This fine tradition of having episodes of shows in a Disney park still goes on today, with Wheel of Fortune having a Disney week (although Wheel of Fortune does air on NBC in some regions), America’s Funniest Videos having grand prize shows in Disney, and shows like Modern Family and, oddly, Once Upon a Time having episodes there (although Modern Family was in Disneyland, unlike pretty much all the other shows)

Now to recap Roseanne: Roseanne was a really popular sitcom in the late 80s and in the 90s, partly due to it having a more down-to-earth, often sarcastic kind of humor than other “Gee whiz!” family sitcoms of the era (also why Married With Children was popular around the same time). Roseanne also featured two lead characters who were overweight. While having a fat husband/patriarch was definitely not unheard of for a sitcom at the time, the wife/matriarch also being fat was definitely unusual. So maybe that also helped it be popular.

The show was also pretty notable as having early writing credits for people such as Joss Whedon, who yo may know as the Buffy/Doctor Horrible/Firefly/Avengers guy (and who also did some work on the first Toy Story movie); Chuck Lorre, who you best know as that guy who produces all those sitcoms on CBS that nobody seems to actually like yet they keep getting picked up for more seasons; and Amy Sherman, who you may know as Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls. The show also featured a lot of people who would go on to be famous, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt as DJ’s recurring weird friend; Tobey Maguire was in one episode; and Leonardo Dicaprio was in one episode in an uncredited, non-speaking role as an extra in exactly one scene. WOW.

We’re getting close to the start of the screenshotrecap, I promise. Okay, Roseanne was also pretty interesting because she refused to bow to the whims of the Network Guys. This was HER show, darnit, and she wasn’t going to let those stuffy Network Guys tell her what to do with it! One notable exception to this was the whole “you’re required to film an episode in Disney World” bit, which obviously happened, but… more on that later.

Finally we begin the screenrecap!

The first of two parts, “We’re Going to Disney World!” doesn’t take place in Disney World at all! Yay! 😀

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Dan’s packing up his office. He worked for the government, supervising people who repaired school buses and stuff. I don’t remember why it is he and everyone else lost their job. Maybe the government’s outsourcing the repairs, who knows? (The answer is: Someone who remembers what happened in previous episodes!)

Oh, Dan’s the big guy in the plaid shirt. John Goodman, you know.

Dan’s packing up his personal items, anyway, which consisted of one thing, until he starts shoving other office supplies into his box. “Memories, memories,” he says about his stapler. He calls Roseanne to tell her he’s about done packing up the office, and he wanted his last call from there to be to her. He tells her he loves her, the audience “awwws”, then he rips the phone off the jack and put it in the box as well. He, the black-haired guy, and Mark… who also has black hair… leave, and turn out the lights. The audience applauds like they would do if this was the series finale. After a few seconds, the three guys come back in and take the desk as well. Heh.

Credits roll, and Dan’s back at the house. He calls Roseanne into the kitchen to discuss something with her. She’s miffed because the episode of Full House where “they think one of those twins is dying” is one. The one where Michelle falls off the horse?

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Dan’s discussing finances. He got pension pay, AND got paid for his unused vacation days. He says they ought to split his pay between paying the bills and investments. Then he and Roseanne laugh raucously at the idea. Roseanne then (jokingly?) says they ought to hide half the money in the mattress and half in a tomato can. Dan says whatever they do, they need to be smart. Then Roseanne says she wants to go to Paris, or London, or China, then has the great idea that there’s one place they could go where they could see all that stuff. Three guesses as to where, and the first two don’t count!

Dan doesn’t think it’s a good idea to spend all that money on a vacation, until Roseanne tells him there’s a beer garden (biergarten!) and that really excites Dan. He gets disappointed when Roseanne says they’ll bring the whole family, though. He begins to say they ought to discuss it and really consider it in a smart manner while Roseanne goes into the living room to yell that they’re going to Disney World. The opinion of a mere man means NOTHING in this household, darling.

After commercial, Roseanne, Dan, daughter Darlene, and son D.J. are gathered in the living room with David, Darlene’s boyfriend and brother of the man (Mark) who’s married to other daughter Becky.

Darlene’s tired of waiting and wants to just carry on the meeting without Becky, and suggests they just start doing everything without Becky. Becky, though, arrives just after that. She asks if she heard right that they’re all going to Disney World, and she and everyone else freezes.

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An announcer like in a stage play says that the role of Becky, “originally played by Lecy Goranson, then by Sarah Chalke, then by Lecy Goranson again, will tonight be played by Sarah Chalke” and advises the audience to take no flash photography. The two Beckys were great. I mean, this isn’t the first show to have two actors portray the same character (Becky’s not even the first character on THIS show – D.J. was played by someone else in the first episode), but the first episode with Sarah Chalke as Becky has a line like “Our daughter comes back and we barely recognize her!” Later when Lecy Goranson returns to the role, people keep asking her “Where have YOU been?” One Halloween episode, with Lecy as Becky, features Sarah Chalke herding some trick-or-treaters and she says that she’d always wanted to grow up in a house like the Conners’. One part of the clip show features “future D.J.” who keeps sayin “They say she’s the same but she isn’t the same”, followed by a montage of clips of both Beckys. One episode stinger even had a parody of the Patty Duke show (which had one actress playing identical cousins, who were daughters of identical brothers; one was Irish I think) featuring both girls as “Nearly Identical Beckys.”

Lecy was actually back to being Becky in all the episodes at this point, hence the joke here that Sarah Chalke would tonight be performing as Becky. Also I liked that there was no camera or editing trick here, the actors just sat or stood really still while the announcer was talking. You can see David’s arm moving a bit at one point.

Continuing the joke, though, Becky says she’s always wanted to go to Disney World. Roseanne replies, “Aren’t you glad you’re here this week?”

So the main Conner clan, Becky and Mark, and David, and Roseanne’s sister Jackie and her son Andy are invited. When Dan points out they’d need to do something about baby Jerry (and Andy who’s only a toddler), Roseanne then adds her mother to the list of people going.

David’s in charge of getting flight reservations, and unfortunately couldn’t get quite enough. Roseanne has a plan, though. She calls the airport and says she’ll need to cancel the reservations for some random name she pulls out of her hat. It works on the third try! That would never work today. Probably.

Jackie comes in and says they have a problem with the restaurant. (Roseanne, Jackie, and their friend Nancy started a loose meat diner a few seasons ago. Their mother helped pay for it and eventually Roseanne’s old boss Leon bought part of the restaurant from their mother. So Rosie, Jackie, Nancy, Leon, and sometimes a waitress work there). Jackie can’t find ANYONE to cover the shifts they’d be missing on this vacation. Nancy’s going to an erotic cartoon festival, and no former employees or friends can make it to cover the shifts either. Roseanne basically blows this off and says it’s Leon’s problem now. That’s a bit mean, sure, but Leon’s kind of a jerk. And anyway, with more than half the employees gone on vacation, I don’t know, I’d just close the place for a few days.

Believe it or not, the next EIGHT minutes of the episode take place entirely on the plane to Orlando. I don’t feel like recapping it all, but I’ll sum it up like this: Trashy midwestern people who have never been on a plane before are excited about their vacation, mindless of other passengers, and sitting scattered across the plane. Shenanigans ensue that would be very irritating to real people, and indeed are irritating to the passengers as well. Roseanne, while trying to calm down baby Jerry Garcia, stumbles in First Class which is bizarrely, completely empty.

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The rest of the family is intrigued that she made it past the closed curtains without getting in trouble, and they all join her, one by one. The one, uh… I’m honestly totally blanking on the word so I’ll steal this one from 3rd Rock From the Sun; The one sky waiter serves them even though they clearly don’t have first class tickets, and tells them the other passengers would actually prefer if they stayed up there the whole flight.

OKAY. GEEZ. Onto Part 2.

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Everyone’s super stoked to be in such a nice room that has robes, and even a phone in the bathroom! And the tv’s in the dresser! And a minifridge!

I like this because they’re gushing over how nice the hotel room is, which in another show would be a shameless shill over how great Disney World hotel resorts are. But the room looks just like any other regular hotel and the features they’re gushing about are pretty standard in your not-dirt-cheap hotel.

Eventually everyone ends up in Roseanne and Dan’s room, but Roseanne says she spotted Mickey Mouse in the hallway. Everybody excitedly runs out to meet him, and Roseanne slams the door shut after them, so she can be alone in the room.

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Also their bellhop is played by the guy who would play McSteamy on Grey’s Anatomy in 10 years!

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You really can’t tell from the picture, though.

So the next day, everyone eats breakfast, fully enjoying the room service. Then it’s time to head out. They march out to a typical Roseanne music-sting, but I could’ve sworn they originally went out singing the Mickey Mouse Club theme song in a military training style. Music rights issues even though it wasn’t even featuring the show’s original music?

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They’re at the park! For rope drop! You have to get up pretty early to be in the front of the line for Rope Drop, and that seems… out of character. Finally the park officially opens, and the rope drops, and everybody runs out onto Main Street. The music playing is the 1812 Overture, which fits, but once again I could SWEAR that originally the music here was a slower-tempo version of “When You Wish Upon a Star”, because the juxtaposition of such a slow, sweet tune to people running crazily in slow-mo in Disney World was funny. I don’t get it, ABC OWNS Roseanne and Disney owns ABC, why would an ABC show be having trouble getting rights to a Disney song? One that’s used for like 30 seconds?

Well anyway, that mad dash didn’t actually take them that far. Jackie asks Rose and Dan what they want to do first. Dan doesn’t care, he just wants beer. It’d be like 9 am at this point, so… yeah. But Jackie correctly points out they only have alcohol in Epcot, so Dan runs back up the street to go to Epcot. Hope he got a Parkhopper! Incidentally, it’s still true about “no alcohol in Magic Kingdom.” The Be Our Guest restaurant is the only place in MK that serves alcohol now. The menu in the place is like more French than the restaurants in the France pavilion in Epcot, man. Also the breakfast is pretty pricey, and you pay a flat $20 no matter what you order, but apparently you get a ridiculously amount of food for breakfast, and the $20 includes drink, so that’s cool. Also they don’t care if you order off the children’s menu, which is cheaper. :3

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Darlene’s being totally blah about Disney. All this happiness is too much for her. D.J.’s bummed, he really wants to go on a ride, and David agrees to go with him, even though he and Darlene had planned to hang out and people-watch all day.

No mention is ever made, by the way, of the fact that Darlene and D.J. have both been to Disneyland. Roseanne convinced a neighbor to take a family trip to California instead of to Branson, Missouri, and then suggested she, Dan, and Jackie go when he said he couldn’t drive all that way by himself. Dan mentions later in the episode that Darlene, D.J., the guy’s two daughters, and he went to Disneyland.

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Dan runs up to this people standing in front of the fountain and asks if this is the beer line. A lady wearing gloves says no, they’re all just looking at Spaceship Earth, and gives some spiel about how amazing it is. It IS a cool structure – it’s a geodesic dome that has a special system that funnels water into the lake so guests walking under it don’t get drenched when it rains – but Dan doesn’t care. He runs off to find the beer. That’s really sad when you think of him in terms of a real person and not a sitcom character.

Meanwhile, Roseanne thinks all the pigeons in the parks are robots. She also thinks some old guy on a bench is a robot. Jackie tells her she’s being ridiculous, and besides, nobody’s used the term “robot” since the 50s. Roseanne apologizes and then refers to the guy as an “Audio-Anamatronic American.” She drops some popcorn, and a janitorial Cast Member immediately sweeps it up. She and Jackie think that’s funny and start intentionally throwing popcorn onto the ground to see how fast the guy will clean it up. A manager-type Cast Member shows up and politely tells them there’s trashcans for them to use. He says it in such a chipper, polite way that Roseanne can’t quite figure out what he means, responds, then pretends to look up the”Roseanne-to-Disney” translation in her guidebook and politely apologizes and says she won’t do it again.

Meanwhiler, Dan finally found beer. He’s at the Rose and Crown in the England pavilion, which is where I had my first bangers and mash long, long ago. Also this is interesting because this probably means Dan entered the World Showcase from the right rather than the left, as most people do.

He asks for beer, and the waiter asks him if he’d like half-pint, pint, or yard. Dan has never heard of yard in terms of being a measurement of an alcoholic beverage, but luckily some other guy who’s drinking at 10 am ordered one.

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How do you even drink out of that? Like with just a crazy long straw? Also the way the water said “Rose and Crown” it sounded like “Rosencrantz”, like that guy from Hamlet. You know, that one guy who died in Hamlet.

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David and D.J. come back to Darlene. The boys are surprised to find they’ve been gone for more than an hour. While coming back from “the rockets”, they stopped at the Hall of Presidents and then ending up at Pirates of the Caribbean! I can’t figure out what “the rockets” are. The Astro-orbiter thing? Or Space Mountain? Whatever it is, it’s obviously in Tomorrowland, so they somehow went from one ride in Tomorrowland to Liberty Square, then to Adventureland before ending up where Darlene is sitting with her view of Splash Mountain and the Tom Sawyer Island rafts. Darlene’s still being all Darlene about Disney but David and D.J.’s spirits are… insatiable? I guess.

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Becky’s taking pictures of Tom Sawyer Island when Goofy comes over to say hi. Mark gets really jealous for some reason, and gets even more upset when Dopey shows up. He tells Dopey to lay off his woman.

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Dan’s in Morocco!

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The next day, I think, David and D.J. are on the Dumbo ride because seriously that seems to be a requirement for everything taking place at Disney. GIVE US A SHOT OF SOMEONE ON DUMBO. PERFECT. THAT’S A WRAP.

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I mean, you can’t tell, but he’s on the Dumbo ride here.

Darlene, still unimpressed, is waiting for them, until Pooh shows up. Darlene at first says, “Shoo, Pooh,” but then gets really excited. The first book she ever read all the way through by herself was a Winnie-the-Pooh book, and Pooh’s just her  favorite. She gets super excited and hugs him and jumps and then they leave together, utterly baffling and impressing David and D.J.

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Grandma, meanwhile, is hanging out in Toontown with Jerry and Andy. She got them all ear hats and says they’re now Mouseketeers, asserting she’s the only one with the stuff to be Annette Funicello. She starts singing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah and a crowd gathers and applauds her, rather than getting upset that she’s sitting down and blocking the entrance to one of the house attractions.

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Dan’s finally at the Biergarten in Germany. He asks for “Ein bier por favor” which is of course, German and Spanish.

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Roseanne shows up and pretends to be a French spy. They have a cute back-and-forth about silly fake spy things. The Cast Member behind them thought it was funny (as did the audience).

Dan apparently joins the family back at Magic Kingdom, and they ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad together. Dan has heard the ride is so fast it peels the skin off your face and your skull flies out your mouth hole. I’m not kidding. He actually says this. I just love this stuff, instead of being like “Oh this ride is great, it’s fast and fun and blahblahblah” it’s like “This ride is so fast YOUR SKIN FALLS OFF YOUR FACE.”

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The ride hydraulics or whatever squirt and everyone starts yelling like they do on rollercoasters but the thing only moves an inch before stopping. But then it starts up again and we get a ride video.

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The trip appears to have reached its final night, and the family are all at Epcot. Darlene is giving her home number and the number of her dorm room to Winnie-the-Pooh.

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Mark and Becky are enjoying the scenery on the bridge, and Goofy stands next to them. Mark eyes him and protectively pulls Becky closer to him.

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Grandma tells Mickey he needs to consider branching out into drama now that he’s proven so well that he can do comedy.

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Roseanne comments on what a great trip this has been, and says next year they oughtta cash in Dan’s life insurance so they can go on a cruise. Dan feels this is a bad decision. It’s a little, hrm, not exactly funny, but considering Dan later this season will have a heart attack, which Roseanne reveals in the series finale actually killed him, that life insurance line sure is something.

Fireworks go off, and once again the 1812 Overture plays. I am 100% certain it was not playing in the original broadcast at this point in the episode.

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We conclude on a photo of the cast and several costumed characters.

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The credits gag is the family, chilling at home, and it’s quiet. Until… Room service!

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The guy flew all the way from Orlando with that cart. Roseanne ordered something else, though, so the room service guy goes back to Orlando to get it. We conclude on a comment from Roseanne: “You know, that whole Disney operation is tops with me.”

Or is it?

The episode after this is about David, bummed about leaving Disney World, finding a job in a local theme park, as costumed mascot Hans the Hare. It becomes apparent that the organization is dubious to say the least – they have an extremely rigid schedule, aren’t allowed to have items from home, and seem to be brainwashing their employees. Being so happy all the time just isn’t natural! This episode was written as a response to the mandated Disney episodes. A bit of tongue-in-cheek, biting-the-hand humor if ever I saw some.

Well now, I give this episode a “Gawrsh!” out of 10. This is maybe the only one of the mandated Disney episodes that has no real plot. It’s just everyone hanging out at Disney World and being their regular selves in several unrelated vignettes. A lot of the Disney episodes seem to have decided to have a completely, utterly ridiculous plot to do while in the parks. Roseanne really didn’t have any plot at all. And it works! Actually, you know, a lot of the early episodes of the show were like that, too. It was mostly characters doing and saying things without there being an overall plot to the episode. And as I said in the recap, there wasn’t as much blatant park schilling is there is in other Disney World episodes.

But I think this one gets bonus points for doing a feature on the ridiculously efficient janitorial staff. It’s actually scary how efficient the Cast Members are sometimes. Standing in line for tickets once, some kid in the line behind us threw up, and it was like the CMs appeared out thin air, got the kid and his family out of line (probably to take them backstage or to the bathroom or something), and cleaned up the vomit in no time flat. You couldn’t even tell anything had happened after we left when we finally got our tickets.

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