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The Roseanne Revival is Must-Watch TV for the Trump Era

The Roseanne Revival is Must-Watch TV for the Trump Era

ABC / Adam Rose
ABC / Adam Rose

This season’s most controversial show isn’t afraid of tackling tough conversations. 

Much discussion about the new season of Roseanne has revolved around the political beliefs of its title character -- and those of Roseanne Barr, who played her for nine seasons and reprises the role for ABC's new reboot.

A blue-collar grandmother still struggling to make ends meet in small-town Illinois, Roseanne Conner is a Trump supporter, and Barr asserts she wouldn't have it any other way. Whether or not that's a deal-breaker for you will depend on how much you loved the show in its '90s heyday (or how much you loathe POTUS), but know this: Few half-hour sitcoms in recent memory have packed in as much topical humor, empathy, and heart as this one.

Related | Roseanne Barr Defends Trump Support to Jimmy Kimmel

A powerful early episode focuses on Roseanne's unemployed daughter Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and her 9-year-old son Mark, who prefers to wear skirts to school. Darlene wants to let him explore; Roseanne and her husband, Dan (John Goodman), fear for his safety. But the richest plotline tackles the rift between Roseanne and her sister Jackie (the always glorious Laurie Metcalf).

A pink-pussy-hat-wearing life coach, Jackie is a manic caricature of liberal wokeness, while Roseanne helped put "him" in office. During a heated row in the Conners' perfectly replicated kitchen, it becomes crystal clear why they haven't spoken in a year. "I shoulda tried to understand why you voted the crazy way that you did," Jackie concludes. It's a simple sentiment, but in an era defined by its insularity and raging ideologies, a brave one. Three decades after it premiered, does Roseanne have a place on television? Maybe now more than ever.

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Jason Lamphier