Roseanne and riot grrrls

My mom raised me right. Roseanne was required family viewing when I was a kid. I remember watching season eight’s “The Getaway, Almost” with her — I was in seventh grade. In it, Roseanne and Jackie pick up a musician named Garland who’s involved with riot grrrl and then get righteously, proactively pissed about sexism and dumb boy shit.

I’m gonna co-teach a Music History class for Girls Rock Camp Austin in two weeks, and, in thinking about curriculum and how to go about discussing riot grrrl, I was like, “dude, I gotta watch that again.”

Now, I know there’s some weirdness. For one, Jenna Elfman is a riot grrrl? Dharma? Whatever, that’s cool, even if she’s a Scientologist (she’s also in the music video for Depeche Mode’s “Halo”). For another, the episode aired in November 1995. By that point, riot grrrl was already co-opted, commodified, and compromised by the mainstream media.

Some may argue that the discussion itself may be a little on-the-nose, but I’m so thrilled that ABC devoted eight minutes (roughly 1/3 of an episode) to a discussion about riot grrrl, sexism, and feminism! And they played Bikini Kill’s “Don’t Need You”! WHAT?!?!?!? I know that their rawkus sound is played for laughs, but you can’t beat the look on  Roseanne’s face when she starts absorbing the sound and message. 

Man, I really miss this show.


  1. notcontent

    i’ve been watching tons of roseanne lately. i never appreciated it back in the day, though. what resonates the most with me now is what a warm and honest portrayal it is of working class americans. that shit just isn’t happening lately.

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