It was probably inevitable, but we were a little surprised that "Roseanne" reached the apparent conclusion of Becky's (Lecy Goranson) surrogacy storyline so quickly. It came together in an episode that was all about the challenges of growing older, and perhaps more importantly in this day and age, growing up.
Everyone on the show is doing one of those things, but Becky is having difficulty with the other. Through the course of the episode, we got a sense of why Becky is hanging onto her fleeting youth so fiercely, even as her body is betraying the truth, but she's certainly not the only one in this day and age who is taking longer and longer to embrace genuine adulthood.
It doesn't help that the economy and the world isn't making it easier for them to achieve true adult independence -- Darlene (Sara Gilbert) moving back in with Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman) is our fictional example of that struggle -- but it's not just about money. It's also about making responsible choices, and apparently Becky hasn't learned this skill yet.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, this episode dabbled in the challenges faced by the older generations in this modern world. Not only does technology confuse and overwhelm them, but their value is undermined by other people on an almost daily basis. Maybe part of why we fight getting older so much is because we don't respect or value people who have done so.
I WANT IT NOW
One of the biggest challenges children have to learn to overcome is impulse control, and learning patience. The staggering amount of credit card debt in this country shows how difficult that challenge can be. More and more, we look for ways to satisfy our wants now, without really thinking through the consequences. Becky getting a dog this week illustrates this disconnect between desire for the future and the reality of now beautifully.
"So a dog, why?" Darlene asked her when she brought it in.
"Because today I'm going to Andrea's fancy fertility doctor, he's gonna give us a calendar for my embryo transfer and then I'm gonna have a baby and then I'm gonna get $50,000 and then I'm gonna get a house with a yard and since I'm getting a yard, I can finally get a dog like I always dreamed of."
"Okay, so you did the last part first. Well you've inspired me. I'm gonna go dive into a swimming pool and then fill it with water."
Whether its an active decision to defy society's demands that we all grow up and take responsibility for ourselves, or some traumatic experience stunts our emotional development as the death of Mark did to Becky, growing up is still something that we all have to do. Neverland isn't real.
"You still act like you're in your 20s," Darlene chastised her older sister. "You go out and get lit. You've been shopping at Forever 21 for at least two 21s. You take bathroom selfies."
"Ooh, let's take one! I can put whiskers on you and make you look like a cat. Ready?"
Becky blocked the shot with her drink. "Now your drink looks like a cat. Aw, it's a meow-garita."
As the sisters got into the headier discussion about the loss of Mark, it came with some unfortunately stiff acting from both Goranson and Gilbert. Maybe they played it that way because their characters were drunk, but it was even stiffer than Barr delivers most of her lines.
"I just never met anybody as good. I have high standards," Becky said, explaining why she never remarried and had kids after Mark died.
"Really? How many people that work here have you had a one-night stand with?" Darlene countered.
"Jeez, you sound like my manager. So what if I have a little fun. I'm young!"
"Mmmm. You're like a young old person. Or like an old young person. You're kind of stuck in the middle. I don't know if you can see yourself frozen in the same place since Mark died, but everyone else can. Becky, it's not betraying Mark to move on."
The real problem is that time does move forward, even if we're actively trying not to progress with it. Becky was deluding herself that her 43-year-old body would be just as healthy and capable of having a baby as when she was 33 years old. Just because she has remained in some kind of emotional stasis, doesn't mean time hasn't continued marching inexorably forward.
She kept saying she didn't want kids; telling herself there was still time to have a baby, to grow up, settle down and start a family, but there wasn't. With one doctor's appointment, she learned that time had taken her best child-bearing years and left her with less than a five percent chance of conceiving.
"I thought I had more time," she lamented to Roseanne.
"Well, maybe the doctor's wrong. I had a kid in my 40s. It usually happens when you least expect it and when you're least prepared for it. That happened to me every single time."
On the other end of the spectrum are Roseanne, Dan and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf). Now in their senior years, they're learning just how little they are valued in a world that glorifies and obsesses over eternal youth. If we won't let ourselves grow older, no wonder we don't respect those who have.
After the beginning of her grand dog plan fell apart, Becky gave him up to an animal shelter. So Jackie, at Roseanne's urging, decided to go and adopt the dog and hold onto him until Becky was ready to take him in.
"They'd rather put Armani down than let me love him," Jackie told Roseanne after returning empty-handed. "They said I wasn't fit to rescue him."
"What? Why would they say that? You're the perfect match. You have no one to love and no one to love you."
"Right! And then they said I was too old and I should get a senior dog so he wouldn't have to go through the trauma of grieving my death." For the record, Laurie Metcalf is 62 years old.
"I was gonna keep him for Becky and they rejected me," Jackie explained to Darlene a few moments later.
"Why? You'd be perfect. You're so lonely, you've got so much free time on your hands, your house is empty, sometimes you don't talk to people for days."
"Don't bother, Darlene. I already comforted her."
Roseanne marched down to the shelter with Jackie to demand justice, only to find that just because it feels right doesn't mean you'll get your way. "This woman wants a dog and that dog needs a home. How hard is that for you to figure out?" she asked the young woman working there.
"I'm sorry but there are restrictions on who can get a dog," she countered calmly.
So Roseanne and Jackie did the only thing left to do. Roseanne begged for Jackie to be able to hold him one last time to say goodbye ... and then they stole him.
"Roseanne" continues to lay open the world we live in and the issues we face every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.