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's writing has appeared in C Magazine, Canadian Art, GLQ, Cinema Scope, and numerous exhibition catalogues and critical anthologies. In 2009, Arsenal Pulp Press published his book on Paul Morrissey's 1970 film "Trash." He has curated many film/video screenings and exhibitions including Shary Boyle & Emily Vey Duke: The Illuminations Project and the traveling retrospective People Like Us: The Gossip of Colin Campbell, both for the Oakville Galleries, as well as Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever for The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (with Helena Reckitt). He is in the PhD Art History program at Stanford. More Jon Davies, click here.