Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was the 16th episode of Season 5 of Roseanne, also the 113th overall series episode. Written by Amy Sherman, the episode was directed by Andrew D. Weyman. It originally aired on ABC-TV on February 9, 1993.
The news comes that Al Harris, Roseanne and Jackie's dad has died. Roseanne, who has very hostile feelings toward Al, is glad to plan his funeral.
But Jackie, who is unwilling to say anything negative about him or his mistress, Joan, often gives others the benefit of the doubt, and has suppressed the most painful memories of Al's abuse, is crying and crying. She sits gloomily at the kitchen table, crying and listening to Roseanne argue over the phone to the undertakers and winces as Roseanne asks if Al's body will come with the luggage.
Roseanne then suggests to Jackie that she get drunk to try to ease her pain, but Jackie's too upset to even drink and just keeps crying. Jackie's crying so much that her eyes are rapidly becoming bloodshot and swollen. Roseanne doesn't know how to stem Jackie's tears, so she suggests the next best thing: Jackie call up more relatives. Jackie weeps that she can't that she's too upset, but Roseanne insists.
Jackie dials her great-aunt and tries to tell her, but with disastrous results since Auntie Barbara is half-deaf and Jackie is crying. Roseanne rolls her eyes and sighs. Jackie then hugs Roseanne, blubbering about how much she loves her sister. Roseanne tells her, "I love you too...weirdo" and ruefully smiles at her sister's emotionalism.
The grief buffet is laid out on the kitchen counter and Darlene and Roseanne talk a little and Darlene confesses that she feels strange and wonders why she's not sad and crying like Jackie. They joke about all the food and wryly comment if the food makes anyone feel better. Roseanne sees the chocolate cake and instantly feels better and starts devouring it.
Meanwhile, Bev comes in and Jackie, relieved, runs to her and cries and cries in her arms. Bev strokes Jackie and offers her some tea and tries to comfort her. Jackie still can't stop crying, despite Bev's loving arms, which Jackie often craves more of. Jackie's feeling pretty beaten down by this point and is glad to have her mom's arms to cry in.
Roseanne then makes plans to invite Joan, Al's other woman to the house. Jackie's tears have slowed by then and she hears Roseanne's plans and is outraged; having Joan over would cause undue pain for Bev. Roseanne tries to insist, but Jackie urges her to think of Bev's feelings. Roseanne is adamant about having it out with Joan and wants to tell Joan a thing or two.
Roseanne still sees Joan as "the other woman" who facilitated their father's affair while Jackie sees Joan as a complex human being with feelings, fears, and needs just like them and Bev. They argue with Jackie becoming angry and telling Roseanne that she's selfish to have Joan over and to please not start an argument with Joan. Roseanne snaps back to Jackie that since allegedly Roseanne is "selfish" that Jackie should finish planning the funeral, to which Jackie takes on.
Dan accompanies Jackie to the funeral home where they meet with the undertaker. Dan is comforting Jackie, whose eyes are welling up with fresh tears again as they talk over the casket selection. Dan offers to take over, but Jackie insists on making the plans herself even through her tears.
The undertaker shows them an album of caskets. Jackie initially selects the white one, but it proves too expensive for Roseanne, Dan and Jackie, so they have to settle for something less expensive. Jackie becomes upset and wails, "Ohh, God..." and starts to cry again full force when the undertaker speaks of "the body." Meanwhile, Roseanne has thought of what Jackie said about thinking of Bev's feelings and changes the meeting place with Joan to the Lobo Lounge. Joan is almost an hour late; by then Roseanne is full of several bottles of beer and is angrier than ever.
Joan has a drink herself, then tells Roseanne that Al told her that he'd always regretted the relationship with his daughters. Roseanne's initially surprised, but then that surprise turns to outrage when Joan continues on the Al had claimed that his daughters were to blame and that his daughters "never appreciated" all he'd given them and that he'd regretted "spoiling" them. Roseanne is furious at this lie and hates Al worse than ever. She tells Joan that it is not true at all and stops just short of telling Joan about the brutal abuse that she and Jackie suffered at Al's hands and belt. Roseanne then storms out, leaving Joan shocked and thinking twice about what Al has told her.
The funeral is about to start and Bev is first to arrive. The Joan arrives and Bev is ready to tell her something that she's been wanting to tell her for a very long time...that she wants to sell her burial plot to Joan. "You love him so much...YOU spend eternity with him." Bev conveys her hurt and anger out in her short speech. Joan feels guilty and tries to tell Bev that she understands how Bev feels about her. Bev is still rather angry and shrugs off Joan's speech and sells the burial plot.
Roseanne, Jackie, and Dan come in and Roseanne, fearing a real fight between Bev and Joan, reminds Bev that they can only afford one coffin. Bev reassures Roseanne that there will be no fight, that they are just chatting. Jackie, swollen-eyed, silent, sad, and tired, watches all this nervously, silently hoping that the three of them won't wind up in a fight and wanting all this to just be over.
The episode ends with Roseanne reading a letter that she wrote to Al to be buried with his body. In it, Roseanne admit that a part of her loved him, but that she's still very angry about the abuse she and Jackie suffered from, about the lies Al told the whole family for so many years, about the stinging criticism that she and Jackie endured. Roseanne feels less angry once she places the letter in his casket and walks out.
- Roseanne Arnold as Roseanne Conner
- John Goodman as Dan Conner
- Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris
- Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner
- Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner
- Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner (credit only)
- Roseanne won an Emmy for her performance in this episode, but was home sick with the flu, so she could not accept it.
- Roseanne says that her father was in the navy in 1944, but in the episode Thanksgiving 1991, it is revealed that her father is 60. Her father must have been born in 1931, but he would have only been 13 years old in 1944 which is too young to have been in the Navy.
- The scene in which Jackie calls her hard of hearing aunt to pass along the news of her father's passing, aired on a 2007 Fox Special called "TV's Funniest Moments."
- Kay Arnold makes her second and final appearance as Joan Crinshaw (Al Harris' mistress), she previously appeared in the Season 4 episode "Kansas City, Here We Come". Kay Arnold is also Tom Arnold's aunt.
- Despite being credited, Lecy Goranson (Becky Conner) does not appear.
- The title of this episode matches the name of an animated programme aired in the early 1970s.
- Jackie: (on phone with her aunt) Auntie Barbara? It's Jackie...Jackie!...I'm fine...Fine!...I'm fine! I have some bad news. Dad is not with us anymore... I said, Dad has passed away!...He's passed away!!...Dad is gone!!...Dad's dead!!...He's dead!!...No, DEAD!!!...DEAD!!!!...He's fine! He sends his love! Bye! (turns to Roseanne) I am not going to do that again-- you can't make me! (hangs up the phone)
- Jackie: I loved him.
- Roseanne: Oh really, Jackie? When'd you love him more? When he'd come home and beat us with a belt? Or when he wouldn't come home at all?
- Roseanne: His tie will be perfect, mother, I’ll make sure of it myself. The man will not be buried under six feet of rocks, dirt, and crap until his tie is perfect!
- Jackie: (to the undertaker through her tears): I'm feeling pretty irrational right now, so I'm likely to buy anything you show me...but if I feel you're taking advantage of me, I'm likely to take out a gun and blow your head off...so I would play me very carefully.
- DJ: Mom lied to me!
- Dan: Well, you're lucky, Deej. There are kids in China whose mothers don't have lies to give them.
- Jackie: (weepy, with Dan at the mortuary) Why do I have to pick out a casket now, when my dad just died?!?
- Roseanne: (to Al) Dad, i'm really sorry you die before i got to tell you some stuff. Ok. (reading a letter) I'm angry at you for lying to me my whole life. I'm angry that i didn't ever know who you really were. I'm mad that when i was a kid, you ignored me, and when you did give me any attention, it was usually violent. I'm mad that you left us alone with a crazy mother. I'm mad that, because of you, i grew up distrustful of men, and i couldn't even trust my own husband for the first 5 years we were married. I'm mad at you, because you did all the same stuff to Jackie, and because you made us feel like we were never good enough. But now, i just need it to end. So dad, i am forgiving you, just because i need to move on with my life. And i forgive myself for being so damn angry..........(heads for the door, but looks back) Thank you for your humor, I love you, goodbye.
- Darlene: (putting away food that friends have dropped off at the Conner home because Roseanne's father has passed away) It's so bizarre how people bring over all this food when someone dies.
- Roseanne: Yeah, like it's gonna make you feel any better... HEY, CHOCOLATE CAKE!!! When did that get here?!?
- Jackie: (winding down with Roseanne after spending the day at their father's funeral) Wanna watch TV?
- Roseanne: God, yes-- what's on?
- Jackie: I dunno. It's 9:30.
- Roseanne: Oh, hey! it's time for my favorite show!
- Jackie: What?
- Roseanne: You know, that guy-- that Jackie Thomas guy! Did you see that one with the monkeys?
- Jackie: Oh, that guy! Yeah, did you see the episode where he had that woman stalker on? Man, she was scary!
- Roseanne: I didn't see that one.
- Bev: (to her husband's mistress who she is meeting for the first time) What a shame we don't have some sort of flavored coffee to celebrate this moment in our lives.
- Roseanne: (to DJ who wants to hire a lawyer so he can "divorce" his parents) Oh, yeah? Well, you know that little boy who divorced his parents? Ya know what he's doing now? Every night he goes out cruising the bars looking for new parents, and, I can't tell ya the kinda garbage that's out there.
- Dan: (to the undertaker as Jackie struggles to pick out a casket for her father) So, what you're saying is that if she really loved him, she'd get the White Rose, and if she doesn't, she'd get something with a twist-tie and the word "Hefty" written on the side.
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