Apr 082023

Aired May 10, 1994

Roseanne was a popular sitcom in the 1990s, built around the stand up comedy of Roseanne Barr.

Roseanne’s elderly mother suffers a minor hip injury and has to move into her daughter’s house to recover, causing friction with Roseanne and her family. Bev’s friend Jake from the retirement home drops by and reveals that Bev injured herself during sex with him. Roseanne struggles with talking about sexual topics with her mother, and Bev is equally uncomfortable, after a lifetime of sexual ignorance and bad experiences. Roseanne and Bev awkwardly talk it out.

Over the closing credits, in the retirement home, we hear (but don’t see) Bev and Jake talking after implied sex. Jake says she is more sexually confident now and Bev says after talking with her daughter she is not afraid to ask for what she wants. Bev says she left a light on in the living room, and she emerges into view, wearing a full leather outfit, including cap, sunglasses and high heels, and carrying a flogger. She picks up a pair of handcuffs (the archetypal symbol of BDSM), turns off the light and goes back into the bedroom. Cue laugh track.

The joke is that Bev goes from a lifetime of sexual repression to full dominatrix, of course. As portrayals go, it’s pretty positive, in that BDSM can be pleasurable and liberating, even for elderly women.

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