The much-anticipated return of 90’s sitcom ‘Roseanne’ has stirred the pot of the political world. The show centers around a blue-collar family, the Conners, who scrape by in a fictional small town in Illinois. They are overweight, overbearing, and some would say, overrated.
According to ratings data, the long-awaited ABC reboot was the most watched show on television during the night of it’s premiere. Over 18-million viewers across the country tuned in to watch Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, and the rest of their working-class bunch.
The episode’s storyline details the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, which caused a rift in the Conner family. Roseanne proudly voted for Trump, while her sister Jackie(Laurie Metcalf), was vocally opposed to the GOP candidate. A year later, the gap between the siblings remains wide, with Roseanne playing into Jackie’s sensitivity and insecurity, all for a few laugh tracks from the audience.
— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) March 31, 2018
Clearly, the polarizing premise made waves across Middle America, and made their way to Washington, D.C. The show’s stellar ratings prompter the POTUS to phone Barr, congratulating her on the successful reboot. He also vocalized his support for the 90’s-revival during a speech in Cleveland last week, stating:
“Over 18 million people. It was about us.”
The President wasn’t the only person in the country’s newly-formed monarchy that praised the actress. Trump’s love interest/daughter, Ivanka, started following Roseanne Barr on Twitter, and his estranged son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted out his support.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 28, 2018
Whatever side you fall on the political spectrum, there’s no denying that a political “celebrity gap” exists in Hollywood. Typically, mainstream network television, especially comedies, tend to have a more liberal perspective. But, the producers of ‘Roseanne’ chose to go in a different direction, and it actually worked.
One reason the show may have been successful is that the actress Roseanne and the “love-to-hate” character Roseanne, are pretty much the same person. In the television show, Barr’s character has stated that she voted for Trump because he “talked about jobs,” while in reality , the Emmy-winning actress has stated that she voted for trump to “shake things up.” She has even recently fallen under criticism for tweeting the Nazi salute at a Parkland survivor, perpetuating a false conspiracy theory, but that didn’t seem to hurt her cause.
— Slate (@Slate) March 31, 2018
So, what can we take away from this successful blue-collar comedy? Well, not as much as you think. The fact still is that this is a sitcom, and nothing more. The deepest the show goes into politics is a pussy hat and a “Nasty Woman” t-shirt.
Still, the humor in the half-hour comedy hits home for many closeted Trump supporters who have felt emotionally alienated since the election. The political rift is a prevalent topic in today’s society, and ABC chose to capitalize on the otherwise ignored subject.
Finally, the ‘Roseanne’ reboot is just one instance of the conservative media making a splash in the mainstream, in which they are under-represented. Don’t expect the show to shake things up too much, but you may see more programs straddling party lines to gain viewership in the future!