I just scared the shit out of myself.
No, really — absolutely terrified myself.
Did I suddenly evince a passion for cannibalism? Find evidence of some vile Lovecraftian entity possessing me? Feel an urge to do something evil? Stroke a white cat while laughing maniacally?
Nope…none of the above. It’s worse than that: I figured out I’m kinda looking forward to the coming reboot of Roseanne.
It scares me because, well, I don’t actually watch “regular” TV…I just stream (and binge-watch) shows and movies that interest me at any given time. Even worse, I didn’t particularly like the previous incarnation of the show in the first place.
Well, that’s not quite accurate — the show itself was both clever and effective in its humorous insights into life for “everyone else,” I just couldn’t deal with Roseanne herself…or, more accurately, her over-the-top antics and behavior off the show.
I was also young(ish) at the time, and far more given to Married…With Children and The Simpsons. Al Bundy and Homer Simpson are still my heroes, as a matter of fact…
So why am I intrigued this time around? A few reasons…
If the show can continue its tradition of cleverness, and honest insights into the real world, it will be a very welcome change from what passes for funny and intelligent on most nights right now. Aside from the weird-as-hell ending, even my younger-self knew Roseanne had some seriously good writing* going on behind the scenes. Nowadays, my older, writer-self is excited to (hopefully) see that same level of talent.
*If you don’t know, the list of contributors includes some impressive (and surprising) names…including Carrie Fisher and Joss Whedon.
The new show is also apparently continuing to do something the original did: tackle subjects that are “challenging” and “controversial” to those who live behind ivory-tower visions of the world, but are the honest reality of friends and families and loved-ones for the rest of us.
Now for the elephant in the room: the politics of it. I don’t give a shit. Honestly, I’m not one of those people who thinks someone’s views — let alone who they voted for — defines them as a person, let alone as an artist.*
*Well…mostly. You support or vote for the truly despicable and evil — for a David Duke or a Roy Moore or a Louis Farrakhan — and it DOES say something about you…
At this point, Roseanne Barr (as well as her character on the show) is a Trump supporter. That alone has a good chunk of Hollywood twisted into knots, especially given her roots as a Clinton friend and supporter. And I don’t care. Just as I wouldn’t care if she had been an open and avid Hillary supporter. To each their own.
The writer in me says the Conner’s midwest, blue collar household — if the show wants to be honest — would have to have a Trump voter, anyway. Just as the show itself has to represent the tension that politics can (and does) bring within families that have differing views.
If the writing does continue to be top-notch, however, tension and conflict about politics can be a wonderful vehicle to highlight the strengths and weaknesses all families share…as well as being a great way to shine an occasionally-uncomfortable light onto aspects of our society itself.
Just like the original did.
Look, back then — 20-30 years ago, lest you forget! — the original Roseanne had gay and lesbian characters, TV’s first (I think) gay wedding, insights into drinking and drugs that had far more to do with people and reality than with Reefer Madness…
The new iteration has characters that highlight the political extremes (Roseanne and her sister), a gender-fluid kid, and the same blue collar family, still struggling to survive, and still needing each other. Well, all of that, and a writing/producing team that gives me hope they can make it all work.
By the way, what got me to thinking about this enough to write this post at this particular time? An honest, positive review of the new Roseanne by the last person you’d think: read it here.