Jon Davies

Haikus For Aunt Jackie

Prose seems to fall short in conveying my adoration for and identification with Aunt Jackie, Roseanne’s much-maligned younger sister from the pioneering blue-collar, feminist sitcom “Roseanne.” Thankfully the profound simplicity of the haiku poetic form captures the essence of my emotions, and acts as the perfect balm to Jackie Harris’s frazzled disposition.

Aunt Jackie was brilliantly brought to life by actress Laurie Metcalf (formerly of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago), who earned three consecutive Emmy awards for her glorious performance. Where Roseanne is always in control — the large-and-in-charge domestic goddess with a knowing quip always at the ready — gangly Jackie was a volatile bundle of neuroses, barely able to keep it all together. Known for her striking outfits and her persistent relationship and occupational troubles, Jackie mirrored the delirious mess we each carry within us (better hidden perhaps but not any tidier than hers). With her crying jags and wiry physicality, Jackie cut a potent tragicomic figure.


Roseanne Barr, “Roseanne: A Stash from the Past” (S6E04, 1994)

Plastics factory

Cop, trucker, restaurateur

Who are you today?

*

The men in your life

Booker, Fisher, Fred, Andy

Love is not enough


Roseanne Barr, “Roseanne” (1988-97)


Roseanne Barr, “Roseanne: Past Imperfect” (S6E20, 1994)

Sixty guys or so

“I didn’t know all of them”

Doomed to spinsterhood

*

Bruises on your back

Very special episode

Domestic violence


Roseanne Barr, “Roseanne: Crime and Punishment” (S5E13, 1993)

They dominate you

Vulnerable, unstable

Youngest sister’s lot

*

There to do laundry

All you want is some respect

Get lecture instead


Roseanne Barr, “Roseanne: The Little Sister” (S2E2, 1989)

Navajo sweater

Fringed jackets, jumpsuits, mom jeans

A fashion icon

*

Neck muscles straining

No one does hysterical

Quite like you do, friend


Roseanne Barr, “Roseanne: Skeleton In The Closet” (S7E6, 1994)

36 years old

Flabby arm, pelican neck

And no one loves me


Roseanne Barr, “Thats Our Rosey (The Best of Jackie) Volume 1″ (2010)

“Roseanne” is available on YouTube and on DVD. Jackie highlights include “Little Sister” and “Why Jackie Becomes a Trucker.”

- Jon Davies

Ryeberg Curator Bio

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Jon is a writer and curator based in Toronto. His writing has appeared in C Magazine, Canadian Art, GLQ, Cinema Scope, and a number of exhibition catalogues and critical anthologies. In 2009 Arsenal Pulp Press published his book on Paul Morrissey's 1970 film "Trash." He has curated numerous film/video screenings and exhibitions including the traveling retrospective People Like Us: The Gossip of Colin Campbell for the Oakville Galleries and Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (with Helena Reckitt). He is currently working at the Oakville Galleries. For more Jon Davies, click here.