While the “Roseanne” reboot has made headlines for its political premise, with star Roseanne Barr as a vocal Donald Trump supporter both on and off screen, the cast says there’s much more to the new season than the president.
“It’s about the circumstances that led to the current administration, not the current administration,” executive producer Whitney Cummings told Variety at the show’s Friday premiere. “We’re not talking about Mueller and Trump and Russia, we’re talking about not having healthcare and just the circumstances of a heartland, blue collar family.”
She further explained, “Not having a 401(k), having a knee injury that you can’t get fixed because you don’t have health insurance and Roseanne is driving an Uber because she didn’t have a retirement plan. Elgin [Illinois, where the show takes place] is now primarily Mexican and dealing with undocumented workers and that complication because Dan is in construction. There’s a Muslim family that moves in next door and for someone that watches Fox News that can be scary. It’s very human problems that get politicized sometimes.”
The “Roseanne” premiere, held on the Walt Disney Studio lot in Burbank, Calif., brought together original cast members Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Sarah Chalke and Michael Fishman, along with newcomers Emma Kenney and Jayden Rey. While Barr said that the show “says a lot about our healthcare system, which is what I wanted to do in this season,” Gilbert, who plays Darleen on the series and is now an executive producer as well, echoed that the show means more than its political plots.
“There’s a lot of blue collar families and not a lot of blue collar shows,” she said. “I think people who end up in writing rooms sometimes don’t come from that background or they lose touch with that background and write stories that tell of more privilege. I think there’s a lot of people who don’t feel represented on television.”
Almost 20 years after the acclaimed comedy series ended, Chalke, who played the second Becky on the original series, says that today the lives and daily struggles of the Conner family feel more relevant than ever.
“I think it’s the perfect time for the show to come back,” she said. “I think where we are in our country right now and what everyone is dealing with, the show never shied away from any issues that were topical at the time and it certainly doesn’t now.”
“Roseanne” returns to ABC on March 27.