After two weeks of watching the return of the ‘90s sitcom giant “Roseanne,” there are many thoughts on what this show means for Americans. Are the conservative-leaning views of “Roseanne” an important view that hasn’t been represented in television or film? Or is it just another way that divides American’s through controversial viewpoints?
This conversation should really begin by talking about what “Roseanne” was. When the show aired in 1988, the country was coming off the end of President Ronald Reagan’s America and his idealistic American dream. “Roseanne” was a show that brought comfort with a message to lower income working class families across the country. That message was “we’re poor, but we are rich with family.”
Now in Trump’s America, that base of voters and Americans feel as though they have been forgotten about. The return of “Roseanne” made complete sense to ABC, this reboot is part of their plan to reach out to the Heartland of America.
This is the same company that has run shows that have received much praise for their representation of Americans who also feel forgotten, both “Black-ish” and “Fresh off the Boat.” After last week’s episode, “Roseanne” has come under fire for their joke about those shows.
“It’s 11 p.m. We slept from ‘Wheel’ to ‘Kimmel,’” Roseanne said referring to, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
“We missed all the shows about black and Asian families,” Dan said in reference to “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat,” which are on after” Roseanne.” “They’re just like us,” Roseanne said. “There, now you’re all caught up.”
A clear misrepresentation of those shows and in a very clear way belittling the importance of those two shows. The way this comes out in the end is that Roseanne is saying her show in some way is more important. This is just one of many missteps that the show has had out of the gate, yet ratings do not lie, Roseanne is a very popular sitcom.
The question now becomes, can we or should we forget what Roseanne Barr, the actress, has done in years past? For those who may not know, Barr is someone who is a very outspoken conservative and has been known to peddle conspiracy theories.
Barr is famous for the endorsement of “Pizzagate,” the conspiracy that the Clinton campaign was trafficking humans in the basements of restaurants around the country, one of the more outlandish conspiracies she helped peddle. That conspiracy was later diminished after its creator Alex Jones admitted he lied about the controversy that resulted in a restaurant in Virginia almost being attacked by a man with an AK-47.
There was also, of course, the controversy of Barr dressing up and posing as Adolf Hitler for a photoshoot. Barr is a far-right conspiracy theorist, who happens to have had a very popular show in the ‘90s.
Yes, the other side is of course represented. Laurie Metcalf who is coming off of her Oscar nomination and biggest moment in her acting career has reprised her role as Aunt Jackie. Sara Gilbert the creator and co-host of “The Talk,” returns as Darlene who now has a gender fluid son.
But no matter the topics the show tries to tackle it is met with Roseanne getting the last word, joke and laugh. Some of these topics have been concerning healthcare and gay rights, and there has been representation on both sides. It is important that both sides are represented, but when will Barr takes it too far and its viewers find her inevitably inappropriate joke okay, isn’t that a step back.
Tom Jenkins can be contacted at [email protected]