At the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this month, Roseanne Barr stirred both concern and excitement about the revival of Roseanne by admitting that her character — like Barr herself — would be playing a Trump supporter on the series. She noted that it was “working-class people who elected” Donald Trump as president, so to have Roseanne play a Trump supporter seemed “realistic.”
Not everyone was enthusiastic about this development, though showrunner Bruce Helford noted that the show did not have a political agenda. However, the revival’s co-showrunner, Whitney Cummings, defended the decision to adapt Roseanne for the Trump era, telling Vulture that viewers would invariably be “nettled” by something on the show:
It’s not that our goal was specifically to piss anyone off, but the Roseanne writers have a commitment to the truth that I have not seen on other network shows. There’s no agenda, no judgment of the characters, just a deep devotion to the Conners’ fiscal and emotional reality. That, and a bravery around incendiary, progressive-themed stories.
Cummings also suggested that she’d get “arrested” if she revealed the plot of any of the episodes, but Laurie Metcalf — who plays Roseanne’s sister, Jackie Harris — shared one Trump-related detail about the upcoming series on this week’s WTF with Marc Maron. While Metcalf conceded that Roseanne is a Trump supporter on the show, she doesn’t know the political affiliation of any of the other characters except her own, because the show doesn’t get into the other characters’ politics.
In fact, the first episode of the revival will revolve around a difference of political opinion between the two sisters, Roseanne and Jackie. “She and I have a conflict over it, but we only deal with it in the first show.” She insists that the show remains about “the family … even though we’re talking politics in that first show.”
“The rift that it has caused between the sisters, as it has in other families, goes even deeper than how they voted. It makes [the sisters] go way down and see where their weird power struggle has always been. The voting highlighted these other deeper problems that have always been there.”
Metcalf insists that it is in keeping with the themes of the Roseanne, a rare sitcom that can naturally handle sensitive or dramatic issues.
In other words, the revival will not have a pro or anti-Trump agenda but rather — in a realistic fashion — explore how the decision to vote for Trump has divided members of the family, as it has with many families in the last year and a half.
Also noteworthy for TV junkies who didn’t already know: Metcalf — who was just nominated for an Oscar for her supporting role in Lady Bird — is the mother of Zoe Perry (above, who plays the mom on Young Sheldon), while Zoe Perry’s father is Jeff Perry, who plays Cyrus Beene in Scandal.
(Via WTF with Marc Maron)