When “Roseanne” returns to ABC in March, it returns with the revelation that the titular character voted for Donald Trump.
“I’ve always tried to have it be a true reflection of the society we live in. Half the people voted for Trump and half didn’t. It’s just realistic,” Barr said at ABC’s Television Critics Assn. press tour panel for her sitcom revival in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday.
Barr went on to note that the show in its original run always set out to explore working class people, and many working class people voted for Trump. Additionally, she said that she is not a “Trump apologist” and there are things he has done that she doesn’t agree with.
“No one is brainwashed into being in agreement 100% with [anyone],” Barr said.
Therefore, executive producer Bruce Helford noted the desire to represent all political views on the revival and said Dan (John Goodman) “didn’t necessarily” vote for Trump, (“I don’t think he voted,” he said.) while Jackie (Laurie Metcalf was pro-Hillary Clinton.
“We had a discussion in the beginning about all of our beliefs — all of the issues. We wanted to find a way for this family to represent a full cross-section of beliefs,” Helford said.
Helford went on to add that they “wanted to get that debate going in a very real way — a very honest way” and in a way that he feels no other show is doing — which he feels they can because they do have the history and trust of a large portion of the audience who fondly remembers the original run.
Executive producer Whitney Cummings said that sometimes you have to vote for what you think of the “lesser of two evils” when you’re poor. She cited some of her own family members who were on opposite sides of the election because they just needed jobs, and that was what Trump was promising.
The revival explores the idea of the Connor family voting for the same reason, immediately in the premiere episode.
“I did not want it to overshadow the show,” Barr said of her real life politics, which recently often presented as Tweets supporting Trump. Instead, she is just no longer on the social media platform, having had her password taken away by her son.
She did add that she thinks she would be a better president than Oprah Winfrey, Susan Sarandon — and possibly even Trump himself — and reminded critics she did run for office in 2012.
She also said the reason she did not vote for Clinton “was because of “Haiti.”
“I think it’s time to close ranks, and I would really like to see an end to hatred in this country,” Barr concluded.
However, politics aren’t the only discussion points in “Roseanne.” The first season has nine episodes to explore everything from where original characters now find themselves to introducing new characters in the children of Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and DJ (Michael Fishman) — as well as looking at similar issues like the healthcare, which Barr notes is the “whole arc” of the season, and opioid crisis from the original run with the new lens of today’s news and culture.
“Part of what’s going on is that people feel like they can’t disagree and still love each other or still talk to each other. So to me it was a great opportunity to have a family divided by politics but still full of a lot of love,” Gilbert said. “The working class has been underrepresented in politics and on television, and this just felt like a wonderful opportunity to give a voice to some of those people.”
“Roseanne” premieres Mar. 27 at 8pm on ABC.