Kathy Bowman (played by Meagan Fay) was the wife of Jerry Bowman and mother to Todd Bowman. She and her family moved to Lanford from Chicago in 1991 when her husband accepted a new job at Wellman Plastics in management. Whilst Jerry and Todd enjoyed living in Lanford and the change from living in a big city, Kathy didn't take the move so well and didn't particularly like living next door to the Conners.
Roseanne Conner felt particularly offended by Kathy's stand-offish behaviour and took it extremely personally, going so far as accusing her of being "stuck-up" and gave her the nickname of needle-butt, derived from her saying "[Kathy] is so uptight, you couldn't drag a needle from her butt with a tractor." However, Roseanne realised that she was being just as badly behaved as Kathy because it prevented DJ from being friends with Todd so she apologised with the two women maintaining an uneasy peace.
The relationship soon soured when Roseanne and Dan watched as the Bowman's house was robbed one Saturday afternoon, believing the robbers to be charity collectors. They even bought the Bowman's umbrella stand which was in the shape of a Dalmatian dog believing it to be a piece of art. Kathy was furious that Roseanne could think that the robbers were not obviously robbing their house and launched into a tirade about how she hated Lanford. Roseanne responded that her husband and son seemed to like it fine and eventually Kathy would cave in, becoming one of the Lanford Wives (think Stepford Wife) where she'd go bowling and to bingo and love it.
DJ and Todd often had sleepovers, one of which left the two boys up all night fooling around. Kathy tracked Roseanne down to the Luncheonette and told her off but Roseanne got her own back by suggesting Kathy host a sleepover that night so she could "watch the sun rise".
Kathy's unhappiness with Lanford continued to grow and she begrugingly attended the Halloween Party at the Lodge with her husband where they dressed as brightly attired clowns but Kathy didn't smile once all night. Roseanne watched Kathy like a hawk at that party because she assumed her neighbour was going to get revenge for a crude prank earlier that day. Kathy wasn't interested in playing along and the two had a confrontation by the buffet.
Not long afterwards, Kathy and Jerry had a huge fight which the whole neighbourhood could hear where Kathy demanded to return to Chicago and Jerry refused. However, Wellman Plastics was in serious trouble at the time and let him go. Fortunately for the family, there was a job available back in Chicago which he agreed to take. Todd wasn't happy with the situation but put on a brave face and insulted Lanford in front of DJ. The two boys then argued with DJ revealing that the only reason the Bowmans were returning to Chicago was so that his mother could a have an operation to have a stick removed from her butt as Roseanne had told him.
Word naturally got back to Kathy and when she brought Todd over to say good-bye, she and Roseanne finally made their peace, both of which wishing perhaps they'd made more of an effort to be friends rather than in a cold-war situation. The Bowman house remained empty for a few months before the Tilden's moved in.
In A Kiss Is Just A Kiss, Meagan Fay plays Austin's homophobic grandmother. It isn't mentioned whether she is Kathy or another character, but it's implied she isn't because she refers to Austin's mother as her daughter.