Even if you’re tired of the reboot trend in television right now, Roseanne is the one revival you need. The show first aired in 1988 and started out by focusing on a true blue-collar family. By the time the last episode aired in 1997, Roseanne had taken mental illness, abortion, birth control and LGBTQ and racial issues way more seriously than other sitcoms of its day.
Unlike other shows, where the storylines and characters feel a bit dated (cough, cough, Will & Grace), Roseanne and the rest of the Conner family are exactly where you expect them to be — still working hard to achieve the American dream that’s often fraught with trials and tribulations. That’s also where the United States is right now — the working class feels underrepresented and many people are looking to President Trump to “make America great again.”
Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, it’s a valid point of view in different regions of the U.S. And that all becomes apparent when it’s revealed that Roseanne voted for Trump — on the show and in real life — while Jackie, played by Laurie Metcalf, voted for Jill Stein. Their opposing views cause a rift in the family, just as it has for many American families.
But don’t worry, only the first episode gets into the Trump drama. The show moves on to other important issues, including gender fluidity and a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body, no matter what stage of life she’s in.
Of course, one of the most important voices in the series is Roseanne herself. In the 1980s and 1990s, she was a full-blown liberal. Her character believed in every social cause and issue. Now that she’s in her mid-60s, her views have become more conservative. She still supports women, but her American dream has shifted in scope, which is interesting to watch and explains a little about why a white woman would cast a vote for Donald Trump.
Even more, Metcalf’s character (we can never get enough Metcalf!) provides the foil for all of these beliefs and consistently challenges Roseanne, asking her what caused her to alter some of her beliefs. She reminds her sister of what she used to stand for and shares her confusion as to why they are no longer aligned politically. It’s the perfect representation of so many families in America.
And that, my friends, is why this reboot makes complete sense. Nothing feels forced, and everything is on the table and up for discussion.
So, the real question is, could Roseanne be a uniting force in a very divisive political landscape? It’s certainly worth giving discourse a sense of civility again.