I've always been a fan of Roseanne Barr. From her first appearance on "The Tonight Show" when she declared she would do housework when Sears came out with a riding vacuum cleaner, I knew she was going to be a star. But her career and her personal life have been up and down and she's lost a lot of fans through her antics. When ABC announced they were rebooting the old show (because apparently Hollywood has completely run out of NEW ideas) I was nervous. Could the recapture the old magic? Do we really WANT to see more of the Conners? My prayer tonight was "Please, don't let this suck."
They did not disappoint. Roseanne and the gang are back and not much has changed (including the afghan on the back of the couch.) They're still living in the same house. They're still poor. They're still bickering. It's hard to believe it's been 21 years since this show went off the air. Unbelievable. The best decision they made was to erase the last year of the original show. Dan's not dead. They didn't win the lottery. Roseanne's reference to the book she had been writing "You know what really would have helped? More bondage and a wizard school." serves as a reminder of just how much culture has come and gone in the last 2 decades.
In some ways, it felt like they were trying to hit all the cultural hot spots for the sake of hitting them. Darlene's a single mom. Her son is "exploring" his sexuality (wearing nail polish and a tutu.) DJ is a veteran with a black wife and daughter. But despite the newcomers, they're still a family. Roseanne drives for Uber. Darlene claims to be home to take care of her parents, but was really laid off from her job. Dan and Roseanne are apparently feeling the effects of Obamacare as they sit down with their little plastic pill dispensers and trade off meds. ("Where are the anti depressants?" asks Roseanne. "They're all yours," replies Dan "Because if your'e not happy, I don't stand a chance at being happy.") The show is taking on a lot of our current societal issues. Let's hope they handle them as well as they did in this first episode.
The biggest one of course is "How do you deal with relatives who voted for Trump/Hillary?" Maybe you're fortunate enough to still be speaking to everybody in YOUR family. But a lot of us still have rifts that haven't healed. The real Roseanne can relate. She told Kimmell there were Trump supporters in her family that were mad at the Hillary voters and vice versa. The night of the election, her daughter was worried that Trump was going to "deport all our gays." On the show, Roseanne is a proud Trump supoorter while her sister Jackie is a distraught, pussy hat wearing "Nasty Woman." They haven't spoken in over a year. And Jackie's first line upon entrance is "What's up, deplorable?"
In the end, the sisters hug despite still disagreeing. There's a profound lesson that our opponents are not our enemies. They're our friends and often, our relatives with whom we have disagreements on how to make America better. Or, as Roseanne tells Jackie: “You wanted the government to give everybody free health care because you’re a good-hearted person. Who can’t do simple math.”
The second episode dealt with Becky's plan to become a surrogate and Darlene's son's first day at school. Future episodes will hit the opioid crisis.
So, welcome back Roseanne! Thank you for bringing this country what it needed most: a good laugh and a realistic TV portrayal of Trump supporters.