Reviews & Ratings for
"Roseanne" Hoi Polloi Meets Hoiti Toiti (1996)

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Phil Leeds in drag

Author: cem8877 from United States
31 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode is a must for any fan of Phil Leeds, the large-nosed weak-chinned Jewish character actor famous for being in virtually every sitcom since the beginning of time. You might recall Mr. Leeds as Buddy Sorrel's (Morey Amsterdam) black-sheep brother "Blackie" on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW. He showed up all the time on BARNEY MILLER. Trust me, for any classic sitcom fan, if you saw Phil Leeds's face, you'd know him instantly.

In this episode of ROSEANNE, the Conners already have won the lottery and are visiting the country estate of Astrid, a slightly mentally imbalanced woman Roseanne and Jackie have met at a fancy spa for rich people. In addition to Roseanne at her working-class finest in conflict with Astrid's rich, uptight family, the viewer is treated to one of Mr. Leeds's last performances, which is a whopper.

Mr. Leeds, in old-lady drag, plays the wheelchair-bound grand-dame matriarch of Astrid's family. Through most of the show, Mr. Leeds's "Grandmama Lily" is silent, explained away in the script by old age. In the climax scene, in which Roseanne teaches Astrid's mother Doris how to yell like a working class woman, Mr. Leeds enters the scene and eggs Roseanne on. Here, Mr. Leeds is allowed to display the kind of acting range he was rarely allowed in most of his sitcom work, and nails this old lady who has problems with her daughter to a T. His key line, "Eat the damn sandwich, Doris!," is the funniest line in an otherwise very funny episode.

This episode is highly recommended for any fan of Roseanne, Phil Leeds, and good comedy.

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