Review by Lauren Post, Staff Writer
The American television sitcom “Roseanne” returned to the air Tuesday, March 27, creating conversation and controversy.
Originally broadcast in the ’80s, “Roseanne” was lauded for its portrayal of a working-class American family and the struggles of working paycheck to paycheck. According to Vulture.com, since its return, the show has attracted massive amounts of viewers, totaling upwards of 18 million — 10 percent more than its original season finale in 1997.
This is due, in part, to the real-life Roseanne Barr, who has not been shy in discussing her own political views. Barr openly supported the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election, condemning those who disagreed with him and sharing affinities for those who supported him.
Previous to the season premiere of “Roseanne,” Barr made herself a political figure, openly criticizing the American political arena.
This was brought to light in episode one of the show’s latest season titled “Twenty Years to Life,” in which Roseanne Conner, her husband Dan Conner (John Goodman) and her sister, Jackie Harris (Laurie Metcalf), all contend with varying points of contention in gender roles, politics and reproductive rights.
In one of the first opening scenes, Roseanne and her husband are sitting at the breakfast table when their daughter’s son enters dressed in pink clothing. Both Roseanne and her husband show grave concern over their grandson’s clothing, and Dan openly prays his grandson is one day drawn to the “boy’s section” of the clothing store.
The show grows more intense as Roseanne’s sister, Jackie, enters the home sporting a “Nasty Woman” T-shirt in solidarity with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Jackie also causes tension by accusing Conner and her husband of “clinging to their guns.” Later at dinner, Roseanne, in prayer, hopes to “make America great again,” Trump’s slogan during his election campaign.
Within the first 10 minutes of the program, the family is divided into two polarized political dichotomies.
While addressing both far right and left political theaters, “Roseanne” does not provide any resolution to the hatred that stems from both sides when left unmet with criticism that is rooted in empathy and a mutual care for America.
Not to mention, “Roseanne” addresses a specific demographic, the white working class, but fails to shine light on other minorities of the same socioeconomic class.
In doing so, the show excludes and hushes the voices of millions. It is a program composed of the elite, attempting to speak on working-class struggles.
While the show concentrates on the white working class, it doesn’t even accurately represent that demographic. As a member of the working class, I don’t feel that the show accurately represents my life or my experiences, or the life experiences of anyone else I know.
The show hyper-focuses on a reality that negates the opinions of others, instead choosing to heighten extremist views and ignore any other ideologies.
The show’s negative atmosphere and one-sided representation make it difficult to watch, making it another disappointing attempt to revamp a family-favorite series.