Free Association

Posted in Making Magic on February 5, 2004

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

In case you somehow never read my articles, I used to be on the staff of “Roseanne”. Before I became a game designer, I was a sitcom writer. My “Roseanne” gig has become a running joke as I mentioned it in a few columns and got the rep for dropping it into every fourth paragraph. That said, I felt it was finally time to answer a few often asked questions about my “Roseanne” days.

What episodes did you write?

I have a story credit on “Why Jackie Becomes a Trucker” and a shared teleplay credit on “Vegas Vegas”, the second part of the two Vegas episodes. A story credit means I came up with the story while a shared teleplay credit means I wrote the script with another writer.

Be aware that the only story I wrote in “Why Jackie Becomes a Trucker” was the DJ story (what we'd call the C-story in the sitcom world). Although I did come up with the reason for why Jackie does the awful thing she does in the episode. In the pitch that got me a job, I pitched a number of ideas. Bits and pieces of my ideas were used in numerous shows, so the show's executive producer gave me a story credit on one of the episodes to use one of my story ideas.

The one interesting tidbit about “Why Jackie Becomes a Trucker”, my first screen credit, is that this was the #1 rated show of the week it aired.

The interesting tidbit about the “Vegas Vegas” script is that the very first professional scene I ever wrote was for Roseanne, John Goodman, Tom Arnold, Sandra Bernhard, an Elvis impersonator, a Wayne Newton impersonator and Wayne Newton. (Due to scheduling conflicts, I never got a chance to personally meet Wayne Newton.)

What was Roseanne like?

I was instructed the first day that the less I spoke to Roseanne the better. I had only one one-on-one conversation with her. This is as verbatim as my memory allows:

Roseanne: So you're the new writer?
Me: Yeah.
Roseanne: How old are you?
Me: Twenty four.
Roseanne: That's pretty young.
Me: Yeah.

What was she like? Moody! She had the ability to change her mood at mach speed. And there are numerous stories of people who were simply near her at the wrong time.

Was it fun?

You bet. While my current job is the best job of my life, my “Roseanne” gig is probably #2.

Enough about “Roseanne”. Let's get back to some Magic-related topics.

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