The upcoming revival of the beloved sitcom “Roseanne” could fill a void on television left in the wake of the cancellation of “Last Man Standing,” starring Tim Allen.
Allen, who has identified as a political conservative many times, found success with his sitcom by appealing to Middle America and right-of-center audiences — crowds typically ignored by Hollywood. Allen’s character was a conservative treated not as a villain or a buffoon, but rather as a human being. “Standing” was one of the few shows in which cliched Donald Trump bashings weren’t inorganically peppered throughout the scripts.
Despite incredibly high ratings and a loyal following, ABC canceled the series . Many felt the cancellation was politically motivated because of Allen’s outspoken support of the president. Even the comedian himself expressed shock at the cancellation through Twitter.
It appears now that ABC has traded one Trump supporter for another, as Roseanne Barr is making her return to television with her revived sitcom, which originally ran for nine seasons from 1988 to 1997.
Barr has been outspoken in her support of the president. She tweeted in March, “Every single attack on @POTUS is really a disguised attack on American voters who rejected Obama-Clinton-Bush’s bleeding of R treasury.” Barr has been outspoken in her support for the president.
Follow @TheMacWire and M.A. Cassata on Facebook
While Trump was running for office, Barr told The Hollywood Reporter that America would be “lucky” to have him elected because then “it wouldn’t be Hillary [Clinton].”
Barr also praised Trump for financing his own campaign. “That’s the only way he could’ve gotten that nomination. Because nobody wants a president who isn’t from Yale and Harvard and in the club. ‘Cause it’s all about distribution. When you’re in the club, you’ve got people that you sell to. That’s how money changes hands; that’s how business works. If you’ve got friends there, they scratch your back and blah, blah.”
The 64-year-old comedian and actress has even spoken out against pro-Palestinian and Sharia law “feminist” Linda Sarsour. “Is it even possible to be a pro-Palestinian feminist?” Barr tweeted to her on Twitter.
Besides her recent comments, Barr’s politics are difficult to pin down. She actually ran for president herself in 2012 — an endeavor that led to over 100,000 votes and a documentary.
“Roseanne” was a show about a middle class, Middle American family. It was politically incorrect at times and its popularity came about because of its broad appeal. If it were to take a realistic look at such a family today, it would paint a very different picture — one that doesn’t feed so easily into a traditionally left-leaning sitcom that bashes the president.
Barr’s politics and the realities of today’s world are something that won’t be ignored, according to ABC’s president. “I don’t know whether Roseanne [Barr] will speak about Trump by name. But she’s going to speak very honestly,” said ABC president Channing Dungey in a keynote address to the Banff World Media Festival on Monday.
She continued, “We’re going to be tackling some of the topics that are in the conversation today. I’ll leave it that.” The revival will see the return of all of the original cast members, including actor and comedian John Goodman.
“Now we will have three generations — Roseanne, her kids and her kids have kids who are teenagers. So we’ll bring back a point of view that has really been missing on the air,” Dungey added.
The producer went further by saying “Roseanne” will tackle realities that appeal to the United States as a whole — and deal with a reality from which Hollywood is a bit disconnected. “What the election revealed was that there’s parts of our country that didn’t feel heard, that they didn’t have a voice. When you look at how the polling data went in the run-up to the election, it was kind of big surprise to many people that the election turned out as it did,” Dungey said.
While all of this sounds promising, and while it appears “Roseanne” will be something refreshingly honest and different from most modern sitcoms, it shouldn’t be taken at face value. Dungey already once talked up ABC’s efforts to appeal more to a Middle America crowd in the wake of Trump’s presidential victory.
With the cancellation of “Last Man Standing” and no reasonable explanation behind it, Barr could be navigating choppy waters. Or perhaps ABC learned from the controversy surrounding its “Last Man Standing” cancellation — and now wishes to win over some of the audience that it will lose with that show gone. Either way, a lot of curious eyeballs will be tuning into “Roseanne” when it makes its full return, especially after Dungey’s recent comments.