'Roseanne' star says hit sitcom returning to screens to hold a mirror up to Donald Trump's America

'It was the working-class people who elected Trump... I felt that was very real and something that needed to be discussed'

Lisa Richwine
Tuesday 09 January 2018 10:40
Roseanne Barr attending the Golden Globe awards on Sunday night
Roseanne Barr attending the Golden Globe awards on Sunday night

The March revival of hit 1990s television comedy Roseanne will show how a politically divided, working-class American family grapples with daily life and challenges after the election of US President Donald Trump, the show's stars said on Monday.

Walt Disney Co's ABC broadcast network is bringing back Roseanne, starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman, for nine episodes starting 27 March.

In the new episodes, the titular Roseanne, played by Barr, is now a grandmother who voted for Trump and at times clashes with family members and friends with opposing views, the show's cast and producers said at a Television Critics Association event.

The original Roseanne aired from 1988 to 1997 and was the most-watched show on US television in 1989 and 1990. It featured a blue-collar family, the Conners, with overweight parents struggling to get by in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois.

The series was praised for its realistic portrayal of a working-class family in the United States, and Barr said she wanted the revival to also present a true-to-life portrait of a country in which half the voters chose Trump.

“It was the working-class people who elected Trump,” Barr said. “I felt that was very real and something that needed to be discussed.”

Barr herself has spoken in support of Trump, but the show's producers said the series does not advocate a political stance.

“There is no agenda on anybody's part but to get honest feelings out there within a family that's relatable,” executive producer Bruce Helford said.

Many original cast members returned for the revival including Goodman, who plays Roseanne's husband Dan, and Sara Gilbert, who portrays daughter Darlene.

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Gilbert said the new episodes show a family “that is divided by politics but still filled with love.”

The revival will also deal with topical issues such as opioid addiction and access to healthcare, Helford said.

Michael Fishman, who plays Roseanne's son DJ, said the show lets the characters debate important issues in a way that does not always happen in today's real-life society.

“We have the conversation about why we don't agree,” Fishman said. “That dialogue is kind of missing.”

Roseanne is the latest hit show from the 1980s and 1990s to be revived, on the heels of comedy Will & Grace and supernatural crime drama Twin Peaks, both of which returned to television in 2017.


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