'Roseanne' Set in Illinois, but Where Exactly? Here Are Some Clues

Roseanne is set in a fictional Illinois town called Lanford. Fans have tried to figure out where exactly it could be located in the state. The original series gave some hints, but the writers didn't make it easy to find it on a map.

As The Chicago Tribune points out, hints about the town's location are often contradictory or do not reflect the real world.

In season one, episode 20, a weather report says there is a tornado watch in effect for Fulton County. Darlene (Sara Gilbert) yells, "Hey, that's us!" In the real world, Fulton County is west of Peoria.

However, in season eight, episode seven, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) tells Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) that Elgin is an hour away from Lanford. The trouble with that is, Elgin is located on the other side of the state, northwest of Chicago. It would take almost three hours to drive from Peoria to Elgin in reality.

It looks like over time, the show's writers ultimately moved Lanford from one side of Illinois to the other, ignoring the continuity established during the first season.

An ABC representative told the Tribune that Elgin was the reference for Lanford, both demographically and geographically. If that is true though, Roseanne is actually one of the few people who voted for President Donald Trump in her area. In the real-world Elgin, Hillary Clinton easily beat Trump. She grew up in the ara and her maternal grandfather is from Elgin, the Tribune notes.

Fans noted that there are other conflicting hints about where Lanford is located. It is clearly in the Chicago media market, but they talk about trips to Iowa instead of states closer to the Chicago area like Indiana. Dan is also seen reading a newspaper from DeKalb County, which is located west of Chicago.

To make matters even more confusing, the iconic exterior shot of the Conner household is not even in Illinois. It is actually in Evansville, Indiana.

The real location of Lanford does not really matter, as the idea of it being representative of a working class, blue collar town is more important.

"We're not talking about Mueller and Trump and Russia, we're talking about not having healthcare and just the circumstances of a heartland, blue collar family," executive producer Whitney Cummings told Variety in March. "Not having a 401(k), having a knee injury that you can't get fixed because you don't have health insurance and Roseanne is driving an Uber because she didn't have a retirement plan. Elgin is now primarily Mexican and dealing with undocumented workers and that complication because Dan is in construction. There's a Muslim family that moves in next door and for someone that watches Fox News that can be scary. It's very human problems that get politicized sometimes."


Photo credit: ABC