Roseanne: A Modern Family in the Trump Administration

By Megan Lehman

“Roseanne” has found her way back to the big screen with the loveable and realistic cast from the original sitcom, which ran from 1988 to 1997. Like many families since the 2016 election, the Conner family has found itself embroiled in their political differences. In fact, we learn in this first episode that Roseanne and her sister, Jackie, have not talked since the presidential election when they learned they each supported different candidates.

This is a surprising norm of many families since the Oval Office became home to current President Trump. And this revival of a long-time favorite is an excellent display of what life can look like in Donald Trump’s America.

The Conner family, despite having rather progressive political points in the original sitcom, is geared towards supporting Trump. In fact, Roseanne Barr recently stated that it just made sense for a show about working-class American families to be Trump supporters. “I have always…attempted to portray a realistic portrait of the American people and working-class people,” Barr said. “And, in fact, it was working class people that elected Trump, so I felt that was very real and something that needed to be discussed.”

Even outside of her sitcom, Barr has made it clear that she supports the president. “I think it was time for us, as a country, to shake things up and try something different,” she said. And while she may support the president, she definitely does not agree with everything he says. “I’m not a Trump apologist,” she said. “There are a lot of things he has said and done that I don’t agree with.”

As the show takes on more political ideals, audiences are concerned that the show will turn in to a soap box for Barr, preaching the good news of Trump. Many fear that this new take on the classic could become tiresome quickly. The new show, however, has proven itself to be much more than a political spotlight. Barr is hoping to portray her character is the most realistic light possible; an aging, increasing frail woman who has the same concerns and worries as any woman would have.

The revival of “Roseanne” is not meant to be simply push Trump propaganda. The executive producer, Bruce Helford, explained they are seeking to tackle many different political views and start a dialogue in a productive way. “So whether you were pro-Trump or anti-Trump it was really about getting a dialogue going in an honest way,” Helford said.

While the show dares the viewers to join them on their foray into this political debate, it certainly does nothing to sway voters one way or the other. The show is not about winning the hearts of the anti-Trump to join rank. In fact, the show displays two characters who some would argue are not welcome in Trump’s America; DJ’s daughter, whose mother is a black woman currently, deployed with the military and a young boy whose gender identity seems to be in question.

Roseanne Barr and Roseanne Conner are Trump supporters. Do you have to be? No. But we do need to engage thoughtfully and productively on the topic. The revitalization of the classic “Roseanne” invites us to dig deeper into a family who is doing just that. Tune in.

About Megan Lehman 21 Articles
Megan Lehman is a graduate of the University of Iowa, where she studied Communications and Spanish. After an internship in the Senate in Washington D.C., Megan decided to pursue two of her passions: writing and politics. She currently works and lives in the Iowa City area, where she is a member of the young professionals leadership council and hopes to run for office.