I Watched The Premiere of Roseanne, And Here’s What I Thought

In this image released by ABC, Roseanne Barr, left, and John Goodman appear in a scene from the reboot of “Roseanne,” premiering on Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST. (Adam Rose/ABC via AP)

Usually I stick to geek culture topics on the blog, as that’s what my readers through views have told me they care about, but, nothing in the last 24 hours has quite captured the general entertainment news media like Roseanne.

The relaunch of the show garnered a 5.2 share of the 18-49 demographic, which Deadline reports Hollywood as “soul-searching” because of it. Talk about melodramatic. And of course, when they dig into the demographics, they see that, much like the election in 2016, audiences from “flyover states” tuned in en masse where they had tuned out before.

To me, it’s very simple. Normal people want a quality of their entertainment that isn’t dark and nihilistic. It’s why movies are down, it’s why most TV is down despite elites rumbling about quality being higher than ever before. Look at comedy the last few years. Because of the social justice police, they’ve moved everything to “dark” comedies, where there’s really no laughter. Gone are the days where The Office or Arrested Development could mock whatever they want, because the outrage brigade would come down on them like they do any other piece of culture and try to not only destroy the show, but destroy the lives of those making the show.

Roseanne, for better or worse, is part of that generation of 90s “I don’t give a f***” attitude where it comes across in the show. And this opening episode for the relaunch let us know that from the first several minutes. We were presented with awkward fat/old people sex, political topics were hit, hot button social topics were addressed, all without a care in the world or reverence for anything.

We see Rosanne in a typical sitcom make up. She lives in this house with Dan, and her daughters, despite being 40-50 themselves, still live there, complete with grandchildren.  It’s ridiculous, there’s a laugh track, it’s not intelligent humor, it’s just set up and joke. And the pace of the jokes through the first episode are frantic. There is never a moment you’re left without laughing.

The main conflict is in that there’s her sister Jackie who has become one of those pussy hat wearing crazies, and so she’s dead to Roseanne. Rossanne’s even made a shrine to her sister and wrote an obituary. While over the top, it makes us laugh because we all have seen the divide over politics in our own extended families. Where Roseanne differentiates from other shows, is they don’t just knock the right/conservatives/Christians — she mocks everyone. The Hillary supporter takes it a little harder than the Trump supporter, but not by a lot. The show highlights the ridiculous attitudes of both sides–and therefore, even in it’s “I don’t give a f***” attitude, it kind of feels safe for everyone to watch. They’re clear they don’t care who they’re offending, and in that, the show is therefore completely non-offensive.

It’s not a show for conservative values. As I mentioned, there’s sex jokes, there’s a surrogate mother storyline where they very poignantly say “she can do whatever she wants with her own body” and everyone–including the Trump supporters–agree. One of the grandchildren decides to dress like a girl (who they claim is 9 and making these decisions… which is a bit unrealistic without pushing from parents in that direction), and the conclusion is “well we’re family so we’ve got your back.”  That won’t sit well with a few folk, but that message to be honest is a good one (gotta love your kids no matter what!), even if the parenting aspect is missing. It makes sense with the characters that the parenting aspect is missing, however, because the group is dysfunctional.

What I found is that over the hour-long premier, I got a little bored of it during the 2nd half. I think sitcoms shouldn’t really be that long, especially ones set up like this where it’s all in one location in the house.  But overall, I was amused and laughed a lot. It’s not brilliant, but it is entertaining and didn’t piss me off as I didn’t feel like I was being lectured to to be politically correct. It wasn’t dark. No one was really presented as villainous as a class or group, and you know, it just went for light-hearted fun.

We need more of this, and I hope it is a shock to the Hollywood system. Nihilism is indeed pointless and dreary, and as Roseanne said in her prayer in the episode, “Thank you God for making America great again!” It’s a big step in the right direction for culture, and I’ll continue to watch and support this even if it’s not perfect, but because it’s not treating me like I’m a child to be lectured to.

If you like my thoughts on Roseanne, you’ll probably like my produced culture which I think is the next level better. Support people who don’t hate you making new art, like my new book, The Stars Entwined. Check it out.  

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