Roseanne in Trump America
Since this blog encompasses all sides of Disney, I may occasionally write about shows appearing on its ABC Network. Today, I want to talk about the Roseanne revival which aired Tuesday evening.
When they announced the revival, I was extremely excited. I loved the original series in the 90s. I loved how Roseanne offered us a window into suburban blue collar America. Yet, at the same time, addressed some pretty progressive issues at the same time. I remember when Roseanne creator Roseanne Barr received so much flack for featuring a kiss between her character and her friend's girlfriend played by Mariel Hemingway. I was at that episode. For the time, she took a great risk. And the show was like that, balancing failing businesses and not being able to make ends meet with issues of abortion and same sex marriage.
So, when I heard that Roseanne was returning, but as a Trump supporter, more than one eyebrow raised. I am going to be honest. I am not a fan of Trump's. In fact, I can't stand the guy. I think he lies all the time and represents the very swamp he claims to want to drain. And it is hard for me to understand why anybody would ever vote for him. I did not know if I would appreciate this new series. I don't really like to be too political in this blog, but I am political, so its hard not to speak on this. But, bear with me on this one as it won't be as one sided as you as you might think.
Having seen the first two episodes which ran back to back, I can see why it is important to make the Connors Trump supporters because this is who they would be. Midwestern blue collar neighborhoods were, in fact, his base. So, it wouldn't be believable for them not to be Trump supporters.
In the series, Roseanne and her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) are at odds with each other. Roseanne and her husband Dan (John Goodman) voted for Trump, but Jackie, a Hillary supporter, voted for...well, Jill Stein because Roseanne filled her with self doubt on election day.
Jackie doesn't understand why Roseanne and Dan voted for Trump. Roseanne replies,
"He talked about jobs, Jackie. He said he'd fix things up. This might come as a complete shock to you, but we almost lost our house the way things are going."
And there was something about her saying this that struck a chord. Now, I don't think you'll ever convince me to ever vote for or support Trump, but I could understand the fear.
Being on disability and having 5 different specialists and 20 types of medication as well as clinical and physical therapy and not to mention impending dialysis, most of my money will go to medical bills. When Dan jokes, "Our insurance don’t cover what it used to so I got half the drugs for twice the price." I felt that. The struggle is real.
I often lie in bed stressing about money. Thankfully, being in California, there are resources to keep me off the streets. But that does not address all the bills I have to pay. So, I can imagine in a place like Lanford, Illinois, this fear can feel tenfold. So, I can understand the fear, even though I don't agree with the choices.
But, despite the discussion about Trump and the election, the series is not about the politicians themselves. It always boils down to what is in front of them and telling a story from a personal level.
I'm also happy to see Roseanne trying to address the progressive issues of our time as well. In one story line, Darlene's (Sarah Gilbert) son Mark (Ames McNamara) is expresses gender fluidity in his manner of dress. His style is what is traditionally known as feminine. And, you can imagine that Dan would have a little bit of an issue with this and worries for his safety in school. Mark admits to being bullied, but Darlene instills him with confidence to ignore the bullies and be himself. When Dan sees Mark being confident in his own right, Dan feels a level of pride and respect. It's a very touching storyline.
So, I have faith that this revival will do what the original series did, but in a more contemporary setting. And using one of the most polarizing figures of our time to try to bridge the divide might be, I believe, more inspired than scary. And, if anything, we, no matter where we stand politically, can all laugh together for a moment.