Roseanne Recap: A Bitter Pill

Photo: Adam Rose/ABC


Netflix & Pill Season 10 Episode 8
Editor's Rating 5 stars

Roseanne and Dan have been married for 45 years, and their celebration includes a family dinner at Becky’s workplace, La Casita Bonita. Summing up the precarious financial situation the entire Conner clan is in, it’s Dan who whips out his credit card to pay for his own anniversary meal.

In a bright spot, his adult children suggest he might get rewards points for the credit purchase. When he checks, he finds there are enough points (thanks largely to the consolidation of other credit debt onto this card) for a one-night stay at a local mid-range hotel, with enough left over for a freebie that has Dan ready to literally lick his phone screen: a HoneyBaked Ham.

But in a story that the Roseanne reboot continues to drive home, being poor doesn’t mean just a lack of opportunities; it can mean not having the resources to take advantage of the opportunities that do pop up. Roseanne and Dan arrive at the Radford Suites, and are promptly greeted by a front desk agent who assesses them and assumes their reservation is a rewards points comp.

The Conners are undeterred by the snotty supposition, but after poking some well-deserved fun at the clerk’s news about the reservation’s complimentary access to the 24-hour business center (“Capital idea,” Dan says, looking at his watch. “I need to fax a copy of my ass to our associates in Singapore”), things turn sour. Though the room is free, the hotel — like every hotel in the world, the clerk sarcastically points out, and, okay, fair point, dude — requires a credit card to check the Conners in. Dan pulls out that trusty piece of plastic that brought him and Rosie there, but when it’s declined, the Conners suffer the indignity of the clerk’s attitude and not being able to enjoy the night that wasn’t even truly free to begin with.

Side rant: The Conners earned those points by spending their hard-earned cash. Who hasn’t used rewards points, coupons, or discount codes, only to have, at some time, encountered a customer service representative who tried to make you feel bad about it? As if the right to good service belongs only to those who don’t use, or don’t need, those perks. As if the Conners wouldn’t be fools if they didn’t take advantage of the rewards points and discounts. Rant over, and we now return to our regularly scheduled recap.

Dan and Roseanne return home and make the best of another bad situation — it’s what they do — with a little help from a bottle of cheap Champagne Becky gifted them (stole for them?) from La Casita Bonita. There’s also that ham to enjoy, and they’re having a giddy, Mexican hooch–aided evening, until Roseanne can’t stop laughing, or trying to nosh on Dan’s leg. She’d almost had to cancel their plans earlier in the day, because of intense pain in her knee, and a lack of meds to help deal with it. Nearly half a bottle of her pills were missing, in fact, sending Jackie into police mode as she questioned Darlene and Harris.

But as she’s sitting on the Conner living room floor with Dan, laughing uncontrollably and trying to take a bite out of his leg, he realizes something is wrong. A couple of glasses of alcohol wouldn’t have her acting like this. When he presses her about it, in her uninhibited state, she reveals a big secret: She’s been hiding a stash of pills.

She wakes up the next day — the next afternoon — and Dan confronts her with the three bottles of pain meds he found. They’re prescriptions she’s gotten from other people. Dan had planned on using his back problems to obtain another prescription, for Roseanne (who’s two weeks away from a refill of her own), but now, all he wants to know is how big her pill problem is.

Roseanne’s in an incredible amount of pain — the previous night’s extra doses have worn off — and she tells Dan this is her way of coping. She needs surgery, but they don’t have the $3,000 deductible needed to schedule it, and that’s how the thing she used to deal with her problem has become another problem. When Dan tries to sympathize by mentioning his back pain, Roseanne tells him it’s not the same.

“I got these pills because I’m going to be dealing with this for a long time,” Roseanne says. “And when your back goes out, you lay on the couch for two weeks, and I wait on you hand and foot. You know what happens when my knee hurts? I do the cleaning, the shopping, the cooking …”

He says he’ll take care of the household chores. And he’ll do whatever he has to do to get that $3,000. Anything is better than his wife of 45 years overdosing. Dan goes for a walk to clear his head, pill bottles in his pocket. He tells Roseanne he’ll dole out to her one pill every six hours, as the prescriptions (for other people) were written.

When he leaves, Roseanne goes for her own relief, an ice bag from the freezer. She puts it on her knee, then opens it up, to make sure her last secret stash of pain meds is still tucked away in a plastic bag inside.

Couch Surfing

• None of the Conner siblings can afford to treat their parents to dinner, but things might be looking up for Darlene and Becky. Family friend Crystal is retiring from her job as a cocktail waitress at the local casino, and she can choose her replacement. Becky wants the job; Darlene doesn’t. But Dan points out that, because it includes full benefits, Darlene owes it to her kids to take it. That means Becky’s still stuck at La Casita Bonita, but Darlene pays her back for allowing Darlene to take the gig: She does the research to find a nearby college where Becky can get financial aid to earn a degree in hotel and restaurant management at night or online, and Darlene gives her sister the first peek at her in her embarrassing, skimpy casino waitress costume.

• Darlene offers to babysit the kids while Dan and Roseanne have their hotel night. “It’s not babysitting when they’re yours!” Roseanne reminds her.

• Darlene, looking at the themed waitress outfits Becky and Crystal have to wear: “I didn’t know exactly when the women’s movement would end, but now seems like a pretty good time to call it.”

• Darlene objects to the “riverboat whore vibe” of Crystal’s uniform. Dan: “You know who wasn’t too good to wear that dress? One Mr. Bugs Bunny.”

• Yet another example of the comedy brilliance of Laurie Metcalf: Becky calls Mark and Mary baby birds when she has them open their mouths for a helping from the Reddi-wip can. When she turns to her aunt, Jackie has her head back, her mouth wide open, and is flapping her arms at her side.

• Radford is a nod to the address where Roseanne is filmed in Los Angeles.

Roseanne Recap: A Bitter Pill