I still have mixed feeling about the reboot of Roseanne. Roseanne was an important and relevant television show in the 1990s, but it was basically destroyed from within, plus there was a ton of outside pressure too. It was revolutionary at the time, to show a working-poor white family in the American mid-West, with all of the hot-button political and social issues swirling. There still aren’t many stories like that on television – even the few grittier stories about poor people are generally framed as dramas, not comedies. Name one sitcom in the past 30 years that was about working-class white families. Can you name one, other than Roseanne? So that’s a certain kind of artistic representation that’s been lacking for a while.
Anyway, the reboot premieres on March 27th. Roseanne Barr covers the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, and she and the cast/writers/producers discuss why now, and why these conversations are still important in Trump’s America. Which brings me back to my qualms: Roseanne Barr voted for Donald Trump and she hates Hillary Clinton. She wanted this reboot to be very political too. Some highlights:
Barr wanted the reboot to be political: While Barr’s vocal support of Trump (the self-described “radical” says she voted for him to “shake up the status quo”) and occasional alt-right Twitter rants have fanned flames, she insists she has “learned to control [her] anger a lot better.” The disagreements have been largely contained to the spirited writers room, where a politically diverse staff, led by co-showrunners Bruce Helford (who ran one season on the original) and Whitney Cummings (who was still in grade school when Roseanne premiered), has tackled controversial issues from immigration and health care to drugs and gender fluidity. If the show scores an additional season, Barr would like to lean more heavily into such third-rail topics as race and religion.