Roseanne Barr & MPD
In the world of American television, it is rare that one comes across a story quite
like Roseanne. Set in the Mid-West, the show tells the tale of a working-class family battling the
rough waters of consumerism. From its launch in the late 1980’s, Roseanne courageously
addressed controversial topics, like obesity, teen pregnancy, sexuality, and childhood trauma.
Writer, director, and producer Roseanne Barr crafted the narrative, which successfully
confronted relatable issues in Americans’ lives rather than tiptoeing around them. Starting a
revolution in the TV industry, Barr won both a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy for her
performance as the leading protagonist. (Barr, Roseanne) However, unbeknown to her coworkers
and millions of viewers, Roseanne was struggling with a deep and rather complex personal
matter of her own. She had been fighting with multiple personality disorder throughout her
career and most of her life. In 1994, Roseanne made a public announcement informing the world
she has the disorder. (“Roseanne Says”)
Also known as dissociative identity disorder, multiple personality disorder (MPD) is
defined as the presence of two or more personality states or distinct identities within one person.
(Diagnostic) According to Roseanne, she has been cycling between through twenty-one
distinctly different personas, including: “Baby, Cindy, Susan, Joey, Heather, Piggy, Bambi, and
Fucker.” (Ococella) Each personality has its own different gender, race, age, and temperament
level. The identities also vary in gestures, postures, and develop their own unique style of
talking. (Diagnostic) In a 2001 interview on Larry King Live, Roseanne was questioned, “how
many different people could you be in a week?” After a brief moment of recollection, she
responded, “well in a week? Well it’s, you know…it’s infinite. I think what I am is a mirror. And
when I’m around people, I pick them up and then I mirror them back.” (“Roseanne...