Surprising celebrity appearances on the original 'Roseanne'
There was never a shortage of stars in the original Roseanne galaxy. Some, like Joan Collins and Morgan Fairchild, were already famous — so well known they were practically their own constellations — by the time they passed through Lanford, and some, like George Clooney and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, were already ascending to stardom, and their roles on Roseanne were just what they needed to launch their careers into permanent orbit. While most Roseanne fans can easily rattle off the bigger celebs credited in memorable roles, do you remember these single-episode appearances?
Ellen guested in season 7 as Dr. Whitman, a quirky marriage counselor who Jackie forced unflappable, laconic Fred to see in order to help him with his “mashed anger.” Dr. Whitman joked about recording their session order to play it for her friends later, but the joke was on her when she realized the tape recorder wasn’t working. It was almost as if Dr. Whitman suffered from short-term memory loss. She should’ve just kept recording, just kept recording.
Neil Patrick Harris
When it’s 1992 and you air on the same network as the most famous teen TV doctor, why not invite Neil Patrick Harris to crossover to your series in a dream sequence? Because she long suffered from back pain, Roseanne decided during season 4 to get a breast reduction. Once she was under anesthesia, Roseanne imagined that her surgeon screwed up and gave her a breast enlargement instead, prompting Roseanne to demand to see her doctor. In walked Doogie Howser, M.D., as he deadpanned, “What’s wrong? Not big enough?” Legen — wait for it — dary!
After Mark and Becky moved out of Roseanne and Dan’s house and into a trailer in 1995, Sharon Stone played the park “welcome wagon” by slipping into a trashy pink robe and slippers to match her garbage southern accent. If they were looking for an otherwise good-looking blonde actress to convincingly portray trailer trash, perhaps they should’ve gone with Kim Basinger.
This one time at Rodbell’s in season 3 when Roseanne started working as a waitress, Becky was, like, totally mortified by her mom’s new job. Still, she inexplicably decided to meet her friends Dana (Lindsay Fisher) and Jan (Alyson Hannigan) there for burgers. When Roseanne unsurprisingly served the girls her usual mom snark, our favorite band geek put Becky in her place like only a teenager can with an impeccably delivered “well, duh.”
While this web-slinger continued to play high school students well into his twenties, Tobey Maguire was actually a teenager in 1991 when he played Jeff, one of two varsity jacket-wearing buddies of Barry, the object of Darlene’s affection in season 3. With only a couple of lines to deliver, Maguire made the most of his itsy bitsy role and his middle-part bowl cut, clearly understanding that in the ’90s with great hair came great responsibility.
Before he was McSteamy, Eric Dane was just an unnamed bellhop who, in season 8, showed the Conners how to call down for room service and housekeeping. Wearing a dorky bellboy hat, in 1996 Dane looked more like a tall pubescent Leonardo DiCaprio than the McSteamy we would eventually come to drool over and then mourn after his plane crash. On second thought, perhaps he should’ve stayed in the hospitality industry.
When Leo appeared in season 3 next to Darlene in her home-ec class as a gum chewing, plaid-wearing classmate, he was nowhere near becoming the King of the World, or, at least the prince of the ’90s. In fact, with no lines whatsoever, he was more like someone who wouldn’t even get to share the life-saving door in the middle of the Atlantic after a luxury liner crashed into an iceberg.