The character of Roseanne Connor is said to be a vocal Trump supporter. The real-life Roseanne Barr apparently holds similar pro-Trump leanings. Tonight the show that was a cultural phenomenon twenty years ago is back on ABC.
Will millions of Trump supporters tune in?
“…Barr herself is a vocal Trump supporter, and has talked about how meaningful it felt to place one of TV’s quintessential working-class families in Year Two of the Trump administration. So I asked Helford, who also worked on the original show, about the producers’ intention. Was it to appeal to Trump voters, who might finally see themselves in sympathetic TV characters? To explain the Trump-voter mind-set to coastal elites? To bridge the gap between two sides?
Helford responded by talking about conversations. As ever-present as politics might be in people’s lives today, he notes, we often avoid tough discussions, in real life, with people on the opposite side.
“There are lots of families that are divided. It’s like a civil war,” Helford says, recounting some of his own family gatherings, where people steered away from political topics because they knew things would get too heated or cruel. “What’s really important to ‘Roseanne,’ and for all of us, is to put the whole discourse out in the open,” he says. “We’re hoping we can bring a kind of dialogue back.”
…But “Roseanne” isn’t just trying to explain the Conners’ perspective to outsiders. It’s also one of few TV series that has focused on the working-class white experience, allowing a demographic that’s psychologically distant from Hollywood to see itself in a positive, nonjudgmental light. “There’s something really important about visibility and representation, and we know that because we’ve heard it from minority groups for years,” Young says. At a time when viewership is fractured and even NFL football gets swept up into the partisan divide, this feels like a rare opportunity: a show that people of different perspectives might actually watch together.”
Therein lies the true appeal of the Connor family. It represents in so many ways the white working class in this country – those millions and millions of people who really do keep the entire American Machine running.
Will such a show still find an audience in 2018? Will the powers-that-be actually let it?
We’re about to find out.