Yes, Roseanne Conner is still lovable.

Make no mistake; what you are about to read is the opinion of a self-professed Roseanne fan. When I say Roseanne, I mean the sitcom, though. Roseanne was one of the most innovative and necessary sitcoms on television from 1988 until the end of it’s eighth season in 1996 (I won’t bother trying to defend season nine). When, 30 years after its debut and 20 years after its end, its revival was announced, I was elated, albeit, worried.

In the late 80s and 90s, Roseanne was spearheaded by its namesake star Roseanne Barr. She originally created the character, “the Domestic Goddess,” during her standup comedy act before turning the Goddess into Roseanne Conner, a full-fledged matriarch, anchoring the show Roseanne. Throughout its nine years on the air, the sitcom tackled a number of topics never before touched on network television. By all accounts, based on the beliefs portrayed by the Domestic Goddess, Roseanne Barr and Roseanne Conner both appeared to be leftist liberals, causing conservatives to cringe during its nine years on the air.

In the 21 years since the show went off the air, many its stars have gone on to be quite successful – more so than can be said for the stars of its competitors. Barr’s on-screen counterpart John Goodman, the show’s patriarch, continued to have a successful career outside of Roseanne, during and after its run. He has starred in a number of successful films, series, and in animated films as a voice actor. Laurie Metcalf, who played Roseanne’s wacky sister Jackie, has recently gained substantial acclaim as an actress thanks to a Tony award winning performance in Broadway’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, as well as an Oscar nominated performance in the film Ladybird. Sara Gilbert, who played the Conner’s middle daughter Darlene, went on to have a successful career as producer and co-host of the daytime talk show, The Talk. Meanwhile, Darlene’s boyfriend David was played by Johnny Galecki, who has starred in all eleven seasons of the wildly successful The Big Bang Theory. The show featured guest appearances from Roseanne co-stars Gilbert and Metcalf, as well, which helped stir the rumblings for a Roseanne reunion. Sarah Chalke, who played Becky #2, had a successful starring roles on Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother.

Ironically, the show’s biggest star, Roseanne Barr, did not find similar success post-Roseanne. From 1998-2000, she hosted her own talk show, but since then has only had a few stand-up specials, a strange reality show about her Macademia nut farm, and, most recently, a stint as a judge on Last Comic Standing. Oh, she also ran for President in 2012.

That event was sort of the catalyst that changed the public perception of Roseanne and revealed, in a big way, how much she had changed since her sitcom days. Actually, it really started in the mid-2000s, when she started doing comedy again, hosting radio shows, and eventually, running rampant on Twitter with her rather outlandish, controversial and often times offensive views.

Throughout the 2016 Presidential election cycle, Barr expressed support for Donald Trump to the shock of many. Coming from the pioneering woman who changed television via the Conner family, largely due to the show’s liberal themes, it was quite a shock. Here is a woman whose show delved into topics like a woman’s right to choose, social welfare programs, birth control, gay marriage, domestic abuse, racism/stereotyping, privilege, gender roles, and all-around feminism, all with a liberal tone, it was indeed quite a 180.

So, last year when Barr voiced her support of President Trump amidst the news of the Roseanne revival, people naturally responded with concern. It became even more concerning when it was revealed that they would make Roseanne Conner a Trump supporter in the show, and deal with the issue head-on, because it didn’t really make sense.

And it still doesn’t. Perhaps that is the intention – and brilliance – of it. The Roseanne Barr of 2018 supporting Trump is not shocking. But the character Roseanne Conner? That is shocking. She, like other Americans, seemingly fell into his web of lies and became a believer in them. More believable would have been Conner as a supporter of a third party candidate, but the choice of the show’s writers and producers (which includes both Barr, Sara Gilbert and comedian Wanda Sykes) allowed for there to be a divide within the Conner family akin to the divide that now exists in many American families.

*ALERT: Spoilers Below*

That is what Roseanne has always been about, after all… it has (with the exception of season nine) always been a reflection of a real, working class American family. The press made a spectacle of the fact that Roseanne Conner is a Trump supporter, but that was hardly the main focus of the revival’s debut episode. It continued to reflect American families in 2018 with its inclusion of a mixed race family (son DJ has a daughter with a Black woman), and a gender fluid boy (Gilbert’s Darlene has a son who dresses in stereotypically “female” clothing). The Conners are still poor. Darlene is unemployed and living with her parents again. DJ just returned from serving in the military. Becky is widowed, works as a waitress, and is considering being a surrogate to make ends meet. Jerry (the youngest Conner, born in season eight) is the rogue sibling, away at sea. Jackie is still changing jobs (she’s a life coach now). Dan seems to still be drywalling despite his age, Roseanne may or may not be an Uber driver, and they both are struggling to pay for their prescriptions. Then, there is the new character Andrea (played by Becky #2, Sarah Chalke) who is your typical nauseatingly oblivious and “health conscious,” Whole Foods shopping hipster who doesn’t understand the Conners at all. In an interview on The View, Gilbert explained that she and the other producers researched how the Illinois town that inspired Roseanne had changed since they went off the air, and tried to reflect that in the reboot, and the effort shows.

Despite being a Trump supporter, Roseanne Conner is indeed still lovable and progressive. In response to her grandson’s choice to wear girls’ clothing, she is supportive and nurturing. She even goes down to his school and lets his entire class know that if they mess with Mark, they will be hearing from her. In response to Becky’s decision to be a surrogate for Andrea, Roseanne is not supportive of the idea that Becky will essentially be putting their grandchild up for adoption, but recognizes and supports the fact that is ultimately Becky’s choice, because it is her body. Neither of these viewpoints fall in line with what one would expect from a “Trump supporter,” were a breath of fresh air, and show that in its revival, Roseanne will continue to tackle topics other shows would avoid. And, apparently, there is more to come.

In short, even though Roseanne Barr can be an attention-seeking instigator, Roseanne Conner still deserves our attention; in fact, she and the entire Conner family commands it: the revival garnered massive ratings and as a result has been renewed for another season!

There are seven more episodes of season ten on the way; tune into ABC on Tuesdays at 8 P.M. Feeling nostalgic? Rewatch seasons 1-9 on Amazon Prime.

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