If you were worried that the resurgence of 90’s smash-hit Roseanne would provide an outlet for MAGA-heads to see themselves portrayed in a positive light, rest assured, they are leaving the political commentary to the pilot.
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Sara Gilbert, who plays angst-ridden teen turned angst-ridden adult Darlene Conner on the show, recently taped a segment with Bravos’ Watch What Happens Live and attempted to clear the air on the reboot’s controversial support of the pussy-grabbing president.
“The Conners aren’t Trump supporters,” Gilbert corrected host Andy Cohen. “Roseanne’s character is a Trump supporter — she’s the only one — and we never say his name, actually, in the show,” she continued.
Roseanne ran initially from 1988-1997 and received critical and commercial acclaim for their portrayal of working-class family life in the American midwest. The show tackled a myriad of controversial topics from the minimum wage to workers rights to marijuana use.
Millions tuned in every week to see themselves reflected in the average American family, and it seems those fans clung hard to nostalgia as the reboot’s pilot episode pulled in almost 22 million viewers.
That’s no easy task in the era of digital streaming, and the huge number scared many on the left – for good reason. It seemed the portrayal of the Conner family was nothing more than a conduit to normalize Trump’s erratic behavior and validate the “everyman” who voted for Trump in 2016 because of “economic anxieties.”
Since the election in 2016, the ACLU has noted an increase in both hate groups and hate crimes as white supremacists and the like, formerly relegated to the shadows, feel empowered by Trump to come forward and “tell it like it is.” Liberals and progressives feared the Conner family’s apparent embrace of Trump’s radical rhetoric would only further fuel the fire and make life more difficult for minorities (in this case, anyone who is not a wealthy white male).
The concern certainly wasn’t unfounded, considering that the ratings-obsessed president called Barr to congratulate her on the ratings the day after the show’s premier.
Barr herself was elated. Somehow, the former champion of the working class allowed the fame and money to get to her head, and in the first two decades of this millennium, she emerged as a vocal conservative with some controversial positions. Most unsettling are the Nazi “jokes” she has made (and since deleted) on Twitter, including a baffling photoshoot featuring Barr dressed as Hitler eating burnt gingerbread men, standing beside an oven.
Chrissy Teigen grabbed a screenshot of one of Barr’s Nazi tweets and had this to say after the reboot’s ratings came in:
Argh. Hit show on ABC. we have reached peak normalization. pic.twitter.com/OnEmeh3oxW
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 29, 2018
Thankfully, it seems Barr’s crew is taking note from Laura Ingraham’s fall from grace and listening to concerned fans. At least, that’s what Sara Gilbert claims:
“It’s not about anyone’s position or a policy, it’s really about what happens to a family when there’s a political divide, which is something that I think the entire country can relate to and something we need to talk about. With our show, it’s never about ‘doing an issue’ or ‘doing politics.’ It’s, ‘How do these things affect a family unit?’”
It’s worth noting that Gilbert herself is a lesbian. She has been married to her wife since 2014 and gave birth via artificial insemination in 2015. Ostensibly, Gilbert and her family have much to lose from the normalization of Trump and his anti-gay Vice President. It’s likely she is a trustworthy source regarding the future of the program, which was renewed for a second season almost immediately after the premier.
Still, if we’ve learned anything from the Parkland kids, we must remain vigilant when the right tries to normalize their rhetoric. For now, we’ll accept that Roseanne will supposedly listen to its fans and not aggrandize the Sexual-Predator-in-Chief, but we’ll surely be keeping a close watch.