A working-class family struggles to get by on a limited income in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois.
Roseanne and Dan adjust to living under the same roof with Darlene and her two children, Harris and Mark, when Darlene loses her job. Meanwhile, Becky announces she is going to be a surrogate to make extra money; and Roseanne and Jackie are at odds with one another.
Darlene’s son, Mark, gets caught with a pocket knife after being bullied on the first day of his new school. Meanwhile, Becky invites Andrea over to meet the family and is nervous to bring her home.
Roseanne’s clash with Darlene over how she’s raising her kids – especially Harris – reaches a breaking point; while Dan tries to help Roseanne with her bad knee by getting her an elevator chair, which she refuses to use because she doesn’t want to admit getting old.
A crucial moment for Becky’s surrogacy arrangement forces her and Darlene to critically assess each other’s lives. Meanwhile, an animal rescue organization rejects Jackie’s application to adopt a puppy; and Roseanne makes a plan to change their mind.
David unexpectedly shows up for Harris’ birthday after being absent for years, forcing Darlene to re-examine their relationship and the rest of the family. Meanwhile, Roseanne and Jackie’s mother, Bev, temporarily moves into the Conner home after an incident at the nursing home prevents her from returning
After Beverly gets kicked out of the nursing home, Roseanne and Jackie fight over who will take care of their mother. Meanwhile, Mark's creative touch with building a birdhouse for Dan's customer is more than Dan can handle, but Darlene defends her son.
The Conners can't pay their Wi-Fi bill, so they befriend their new neighbors to use the Internet for Mary to Skype with mom Geena, who is stationed in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Dan loses an important job and D.J. admits post-military life has been hard, so they come up with a plan to make extra money.
After celebrating their 45th anniversary, Roseanne reveals to Dan a bigger problem with her bad knee. Meanwhile, Crystal announces her retirement as a waitress at the casino, and Becky and Darlene compete for the job, which has full-time benefits.
Roseanne's knee gets worse so Dan is forced to a make an important work decision; but when a major storm hits Lanford, their fortunes change for the better. Later, Darlene realizes she has to go back to her first passion, writing.