Thursday, May 30, 2024

“Roseanne” Reboot Legacy: Child Abuse, Racist Comments About ABC Shows, Condescension to the Middle Class


As quickly as it came, it’s gone. The “Roseanne” reboot was a terrible experiment.

Maybe that’s because Roseanne Barr had one idea, and everyone else had another.

Where to begin?

The worst moment in the ten weeks was Roseanne making fun of ABC’s black and Asian shows. “Yeah, they’re just like us” is a phrase that will live in infamy. She was referring to the much awarded, highly regarded “Black-ish” and “Fresh off the Boat.”

Then there was Roseanne’s physical abuse of her teenage granddaughter. Roseanne grabbed her by the neck and shoved her head under the kitchen faucet, with running water. It was child abuse, fair and square.

And there was the constant condescending to what class Roseanne thought the Conners belonged to. Roseanne, who lives in mansions, has had many face lifts, was the only character with a designer haircut. Everyone else on the show wore garish clothes– not cheap, but purposely ugly. She wore nice things. Her sister Jackie, with a police pension, looked as though she couldn’t take care of herself.

What’s more, you could feel the tension on their stage. In the old “Roseanne,” there was a camaraderie. There was no ‘point.’ Here, the political tug of war stretched across the screen and threatened to break the whole thing wide open.

Even worse, John Goodman– a movie icon for his character work– looked as though he was asleep. After years of indie films, here was a chance to make money. So he took it– no can fault him — but the price was so high. Dan Conner became a prop, and John Goodman didn’t seem to mind. It was infuriating.

And Laurie Metcalf. Here is she now on Broadway in Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women.” She’s nominated for a Tony award. Last year she won a Tony for “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” She was nominated for an Oscar in “Lady Bird” and nearly won. All that great work was thrown out the window to play Roseanne’s foil. In ten episodes we learned nothing about Jackie. In the premiere she was anti-Trump. After that, she was just a punchline.

Thank god this thing is over.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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