"Coming at the end of the Reagan era, the Conners were a revelation, a deft subversion of the Ozzy and Harrietstyle family dynamics that sitcoms tended to depict in t.v.’s first three decades. When viewers tuned in to watch Roseanne, Dan, and their family, they saw characters that looked and acted a lot more like a regular folks than any fictional family this side of the Evanses."--JD Holler at Kentucky Sports Radio
Note: because the Evanses were black they could never be perceived as being "like us" because as a nation, we, like Santa, are white. Ask Megyn Kelly.
Rosanne began its groundbreaking view of a real American family on October 18, 1988. Married With Children did the same thing beginning April 5, 1987.
And I know what you're thinking, but they were white too!
The show was always over-the-top but it brought a refreshingly coarse humor to television. Do you remember Kate & Allie? My Two Dads? Full House! That was the ground MWC broke. And then 18 months later Rosanne showed up and got all the credit.
An important part of my esteem for the show was their second season Christmas episode with an O Henry-esque story. Al's work situation is more miserable than normal because the nearby new mall is taking all his customers. The new mall's Christmas promotion, including Santa skydiving into the mall's atrium with a backpack full of mall gift certificates, makes things worse somehow (it's been a lot of years, the specifics there aren't important). Then Santa's parachute fails to open, landing him in the Bundy's backyard. Rather than crush a group of neighbor kids Al dons the dead Santa's clothes to spread some cheer (it's okay, he's white so no one suspected a thing). Once the representative from the mall realizes he doesn't need to pay a penny to the Bundy's for the inconvenience of their day (which was still actionable in civil court) the Bundy's are left with a ruined Christmas. And a backpack filled with thousands of $10 gift certificates for the new mall.