June 22, 2018
Roseanne Barr has found herself at the center of controversy for decades. While she initially gained her notoriety as a standup comedian and actress, Barr has succeeded at making a name in politics, and was even the presidential candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party in 2012.
Barr has been swirling around the 24/7 news cycle a lot lately. She is a noteworthy instance of the intersection between popular culture and politics that seems to be a prevailing theme of present culture.
Barr’s enormously popular 1990 sitcom, Roseanne, painted the picture of a strong, motherly figure and the rest of the Connor family, living in a fictional small town in Illinois. The show presented the not so glamorous life of a blue-collar family’s interpersonal relationships and the struggles that come along with growing up and parenthood. For many, the show was pinnacle of 1990’s culture.
So, when Roseanne got rebooted recently, this time taking place in present day, its viewership was immense, with its season 10 premiere hitting records with the most total live viewers in network television history.
However, these results were fleeting, despite their initial triumph. Things went downhill very quickly for Ms. Barr when she shot herself in the strategic foot and posted a profane and racist tweet about Ms. Valerie Jarret, who served as an advisor to past president, Barrack Obama. The tweet received instantaneous criticisms and ultimately resulted in the Roseanne remake being cancelled.
Until now, that is. Last night ABC announced the continuation of the story, only without its namesake. This second attempt at a remake will be more like a spinoff, focused on the Connor family as a whole, without its usual protagonist. How writers will choose to orchestrate Roseanne’s exit remains unclear.
What is clear however, is the fact the Ms. Barr will no longer have any financial or creative involvement in the show’s creation. 200 jobs of the initial cast and crew of the reboot will be saved though.
While The Connors might read like the perfect compromise to recent controversies, it is tough to say whether the sitcom can truly redeem itself, given all of its entanglements with the media of late. One thing is for sure: it will be hard to top the recent buzz Roseanne made for herself. Of course, her actions were morally reprehensible, but as they say in the business, all publicity is good publicity. We will have to wait and see if viewers are willing to give the Connor family one more chance, or if producers find themselves just beating a dead horse.