Rebooted Roseanne to turn from politics
ABC chief says next season will concentrate more on the family
On Wednesday, US TV network ABC held a conference call to announce its new schedule and boast about all the exciting shows in the works. But guess what reporters really wanted to know about?
If you assumed you are correct. The rebooted sitcom garnered a huge audience and controversy in its first seven weeks, with Roseanne Barr’s conspiracy theory tweets and one episode’s polarising dig at ABC comedies
I was a little bit surprised to the reaction to that line. Channing Dungey, ABC entertainment president
which stars Barr as a Donald Trump supporter (as she is in real life), earned 18 million overnight viewers after its premiere in March and became a political flashpoint as President Trump endorsed — and took credit for — the show’s success. Though on the call, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey pointed out that the pilot featured the most politics, as Roseanne faced off with her liberal sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf). In subsequent episodes, it delved much more on the “everyday trials and tribulations” of the Conner family.
So, for those who are wondering, the second season will move “away from politics and more focused on family”, Dungey said.
And about that and
joke: In one episode, Roseanne and Dan (John Goodman) fell asleep in front of the TV during ABC’s prime-time lineup. “We missed all the shows about black and Asian families,” Dan said, referencing the two shows. Roseanne sarcastically responded, “They’re just like us. There, now you’re all caught up.”
That line caught backlash from many on social media, including television writer Kelvin Yu, who wrote in part, “Consider what exactly the audience is laughing at. What exactly is the punchline here? I’ll tell you what it is: it’s an endorsement of dismissiveness and disregard. It’s a familiarity and comfort with the culture of objectifying and demeaning people of colour.”
Dungey defended the writers and said they were just expressing the title character’s views. “I was a little bit surprised to the reaction to that line,” Dungey said. “We felt like the writers were simply tipping the hat to those shows, and it certainly wasn’t meant to offend.”
Dungey was asked if he thought Barr’s outside political opinions are colouring how people perceive the content of the show? “I do think there’s a little bit of that, yes,” he said.
Also, it seems ABC does not regret letting go of Tim Allen’s
(another comedy starring a 1990s sitcom star as a conservative clashing with a liberal family). The show’s fate repeatedly “came down to the wire” as the network tried to negotiate with the studio, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Dungey said. Incidentally, just picked up by Fox for a new season.
Dungey reiterated that the network tried to be “as diverse and inclusive as possible”. “she said, is “focusing on a family who is in different economic circumstances than some of our other comedies on the air”.
starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman, has drawn huge numbers of viewers on its return.