‘Roseanne’ series reboot entertaining, but problematic


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By Ariana Portalatin

While the “Roseanne” reboot is entertaining to watch and brings back nostalgic memories of the iconic Conner family for many, actress Roseanne Barr and her character’s identification as a Trump supporter cause some problematic issues. 

The back-to-back episodes of the long-awaited reboot premiered March 27 to a whopping 18.2 million viewers, a number ABC says makes this its highest-rated comedy telecast on any network in nearly four years. The premiere also beat out its own 1997 series finale. 

The support for the show doesn’t stop at numbers. One fan of the show called Barr to congratulate her on the reboot: President Donald Trump. Trump’s phone call is not a surprise considering Barr’s reciprocal support for Trump, in real life and on the show. “Roseanne” has always been easily loved by many, but the reboot is questionable.

Longtime fans of “Roseanne” remember the controversial and taboo topics tackled in the original hit 1980s series, including domestic abuse, poverty,  substance abuse, LGBTQ relationships and racism. The show has been praised for its ability to confront these issues effortlessly, so is it surprising that the reboot would tackle these topics as well? Not really, but it’s hard to ignore the Trump support in the show’s premiere. Not because it’s painfully obvious, but because making Trump a working-class hero belies reality. 

For example, Roseanne Conner said she voted for Trump in the first episode because of jobs, and Barr has previously explained the working-class’s support for Trump. However, according to a March 29 New York Times article, 41 percent of voters earning less than $50,000 voted for Trump while 53 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. Forty-nine percent of voters earning between $50,000 and $100,000 voted for Trump while 47 percent voted for Clinton. The median income of Trump voters was $72,000, while the median income of Clinton voters was $61,000. Overall, it was the middle class and wealthy who contributed to Trump’s election, contradicting Barr’s viewpoint of how the working class supports Trump.

A major standout of the premiere is the diversity of the reboot’s characters. Roseanne is at odds with her more liberal sister, Jackie, and also has a gender-nonconforming grandson as well as a black granddaughter. 

While the representation in the show is great and should be encouraged and continued, it’s also hard to forget that Trump marginalizes these groups every day with no end in sight. Trump is constantly displaying signs of racism and bigotry, most recently with the announcement that the White House would ban most transgender people from the military.

Barr’s character has never come off as a discriminatory person, as seen in the original series and reboot. However, it’s hard to understand any amount of support for an administration that displays discrimination on a regular basis. The character’s simple reason for her support—jobs—makes it seem as if that is the only reason, and this one reason should not easily override the questionable acts of the president. 

Despite the unrealistic viewpoints of the reboot, I do support different opinions being discussed in a show that has historically tackled important topics. While Trump may figure less in the remainder of the seven episodes, his support is important to keep in mind while watching how the Conner family handles obstacles and storylines.