Roseanne, Dan and Jackie are back and it’s almost like they never left.
BQB here with a review of the “Roseanne” reboot…return? I guess it’s a return.
There was a time when sitcom families lived idyllic lives, akin to the Cleavers, where Ward would come home to a perfectly clean house, a hot dinner, and a pair of slippers courtesy of doting wife June.
But by 1988, that was in the past and America was waiting for a family that looked more like the blue collar families that were struggling all over the country.
Enter Roseanne Barr, an overweight, loudmouthed comedian who got famous through a comedy routine where she’d complain about her dishes, her husband, housework, and so on. Add John Goodman as husband Dan and typically bratty kids Becky, Darlene and DJ and of course, nosey aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and you had the Connors, a working class, mid-west family working hard to make ends meet, barely keeping a roof over their head, food on the table and somehow finding the time to keep kids out of trouble…or at least, less trouble.
Roseanne was liberal for her day. She’d advise her daughters to use birth control because she figured that she couldn’t stop them from engaging in hanky panky. She was one of the first comedians to have recurring gay characters join the cast and there was always one social issue or another being discussed.
The formula was typical. Chronically unemployed Dan would lose another job and question his manhood. Roseanne would have to get a job and that would make him feel less manly. The kids would act up and Dan would try to intervene only for Jackie to butt in and then Dan would go drink in the garage because he felt henpecked at every turn, whether it be from his wife or sister in law. Ultimately, Roseanne and her big mouth would be the final arbiter and put the fear of God into everyone to obey and more often than not her big mouth led her family members to more or less a good path.
Twenty years later, the formula is still there and as I watched the two return episodes, it’s like the Connors haven’t changed. If anything, though older, Dan and Roseanne actually look a little better since both have had serious weight loss since their younger days. Darlene, Becky and DJ just look like older versions of themselves but it’s bittersweet as I grew up watching them grow up and now it’s like my TV siblings are old.
A point of controversy is that Roseanne and Jackie are at war in the first episode. Roseanne, a paragon of liberalism on TV in the 1990s, has gone full blown MAGA, boasting of her love of one Mr. Donald J. Trump, whereas Jackie arrives in a “Nasty Woman” shirt and pink pussy hat, ready to protest in the name of keeping her rights over her uterus intact (is it filled with cobwebs at this point?)
Speaking of uteruses (uteri?) – huh, it must be uteri as the spellchecker didn’t go off so you learn something new everyday, Becky is attempting to become a surrogate mother at age 43, the wannabe mother employing her is noneother than Sarah Chalke, the other girl who played Becky as a kid when the girl whose name I can’t remember wasn’t playing her.
I’ve kept my eye on Twitter and Roseanne as a Trump supporter is catching a lot of heat, ironically from both sides. Liberals pretty much want the show to be cancelled and all prints burned in a tire fire and Roseanne flogged in the public square for daring to portray a Trump supporter on national television as anything more than a fire breathing goblin.
Meanwhile, some conservatives say MAGA Roseanne is a sign they are winning the culture war while others say that Roseanne is only a conservative in name only and the show is still pushing liberalism (a grandson who dons girls’ clothing to go to school has ginned up some controversy.)
Personally, I enjoyed the first episode because I felt maybe it was something the country needed. As the plot goes, Roseanne and Jackie, once close sisters and friends, haven’t spoken for a year over the 2016 election results. They come together due to some wrangling by Darlene and talk it out. Both view the other as having done something awful – voting for a candidate the other finds intolerable. They joke about each others’ political leanings and then finally, agree to disagree and hug it out. Soon, they are friends again.
Perhaps that is what this country needs more of. Enough of the political rhetoric that is thrown way too easily on social media. The point of America is that a whole bunch of people from all different countries, religions, backgrounds, etc came to a land where they could be free to be themselves while living alongside others who are different and in that spirit, we should remember that people who didn’t vote the way we want, regardless of which side you voted for, aren’t “the other,” aren’t all bad people, they just see the world a different way. Find common ground where you can, agree to disagree where you can’t, nothing stops you from continuing to be friends.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy….though it made me feel very old.