Roseanne reboot sparks controversy
Views 9 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 9 - 2018 | By: Nicci Carrasco
The reboot of Roseanne, a popular television show from the late eighties and nineties, had its new premier on March 27. Since airing, the show has sparked quite the controversy over whether it is a political statement meant to exonerate and normalize the plight of the average white working-class Trump supporter.
In its initial form, Roseanne was a sitcom that focused on the experience of the working-class family and received praise for the accuracy of its portrayal. The show’s reboot premier revealed that Roseanne Connors, like the actress who plays her, is a supporter of President Donald Trump. This development seems contradictory to her monologue in the show’s first finale where she refers to herself as “a modern wife” who “didn’t teach [her] daughters to sacrifice more than her sons… [and] walked a tightrope between tradition and progress.” To be fair, it is not improbable that some of the tragedies that fictional Roseanne faced could have swayed her vote in the controversial election of 2016. Along with the loss of her husband Dan, played by John Goodman, Roseanne also suffered the loss of the security accompanied by a dual income. Could this have led her to vote for Donald Trump?
While the first iteration of the show holds little relevance to millennials, it’s revival, if as successful as its predecessor, will likely challenge its more progressive counterparts on popular networks like ABC. Roseanne was previously known for addressing provocative and contemporary issues like poverty, addiction, abortion and contraception, obesity, race, and homosexuality. Another ABC show notorious for propelling similar, albeit more progressive, discussions is the popular medical show Grey’s Anatomy that features multiple characters that face similar tribulations.
With Roseanne Connor’s political views made clear, ABC might be paving the way for shows that express these current controversies from the perspective of conservatives. Fans of the network have criticized ABC for appearing to succumb to the pleas of the right that feel as though the white conservative identity has been under attack since Trump’s election. Whether or not that’s true, it is not the most concerning aspect of the whole reboot.
It appears that ABC is capitalizing on this politically tumultuous period in our country’s history almost as if it is a prop to maximize on ratings without any concern for potential consequences. Even if it were capable of normalizing the difficulty that white working-class Americans face, it could be adding fuel to the flame by producing more fodder for both sides of the political spectrum. Since the election, a lot of shows and networks have used this angle to increase viewership. Yet, aside from generating some laughs, how helpful is it to our society that is crippled by contempt? TV networks are not required to remove themselves from political and social conversations, but there is a lot of pressure on ABC to get this right as to not further demonize the 46.1% of Americans that voted for Trump.