TV & Showbiz

Everyone’s Raving Over ‘Roseanne’ Reboot

If you’re like me, you’re delighted the ‘Roseanne’ reboot kickoff finally happened…just so you no longer have to hear about the premiere episode!

I saw one of the promos about the Roseanne reboot I saw Tuesday morning while I was in the dentist’s chair.

It was bad enough that I was at the dentist. I certainly didn’t need a mention of Roseanne on top of it. This promo, however, called the show “one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.”

I nearly fell out of the chair.

If you happen to believe that Roseanne was, in fact, one of the greatest sitcoms ever, I’ll respect your opinion. But I’ll respectfully disagree.

You know what they say about opinions.

Roseanne starred Roseanne Barr and John Goodman as Roseanne and Dan Conner. They had a son and two daughters, then added a fourth child late in the series.

The original run of the show went off the air in 1997. I never watched it but I was curious enough to see how the finale was handled. I was perplexed: suddenly, Dan, the patriarch of the family, was revealed to have died from a heart attack he suffered earlier in the series. The family had supposedly won the lottery, which changed their life. This, too, was an extended dream sequence manufactured by Roseanne, the author.

It reminded me of that episode of Dallas where Bobby Ewing, who’d died the year before, greeted his wife one morning after she woke up, apparently having dreamed the previous season.

The difference was that Dallas was trying to continue and fix a horrible series of plot blunders. Roseanne was going off the air and could do whatever it wanted.

The Roseanne reboot essentially ignored the finale. Dan wasn’t dead but there was still no lottery win. It managed to score more than 18.4 million viewers and a congratulatory phone call from President Donald Trump to Barr. To put those viewers in perspective, the reboot’s debut had an audience 10% higher than the original run’s finale.

Maybe it’s just me.

I don’t know what it is about this series that I’m missing. Apparently, there’s definitely something.

I read Wikipedia’s listing on it and I saw a reminder of a common description. The sentence began, “Lauded for its realistic portrayal of a working-class American family….”

So Roseanne portrayed a working-class American family realistically? It didn’t in my book. The level of crassness may well be typical of an average working-class family. But it wasn’t that way in my family. It wasn’t that way in the plenty of working-class families I grew up around.

In 2002, TV Guide ranked the series 35th place in its list of the “50 Best Shows of All Time.”

Somehow, TV historians want to equate Roseanne with shows like M*A*S*H and All in the Family. They call Roseanne “groundbreaking.” 

I still don’t know how it supposedly broke so much ground. I didn’t even realize you could break ground by appealing to what feels like the lowest-common-denominator. It’s not like there hasn’t been opportunities for me to watch it and figure out what so many others see. After all, TV Land runs it all day Saturday, as if it’s the only show that ever existed. And the past few weekends, they’ve been running marathons ahead of ABC’s debut reboot episode.

For a cable network devoted to classic television, you’d think they could find a few more classics just to break things up.

Reboots are the rage right now.

I get it. Everything old, in a manner of speaking, is new again. Maybe Hollywood executives truly are running out of ideas and they think the best way to hide that fact is to bring back old shows.

Aren’t there better options for reboots?

Some shows probably can’t be rebooted. Friends would have a hard time as a reboot because cellphones keep us connected without requiring that we spend our lives in the neighborhood coffee shop. I Love Lucy is so associated with Lucille Ball that a recast couldn’t work, although Fran Drescher certainly did her best in The Nanny. No one would buy new actors bringing back the classic characters of The Andy Griffith Show.

Some really good writers, surely, could make a Twilight Zone work.

Roseanne’s appeal now — at least part of it — is that it’s taking on the political quagmire in which we live. That’s something it’s always sort of done, but now the battle over Trump is front and center. Apparently, the Conner family has suffered a big split because of how people voted in the election. So it’s Trump vs. Clinton all over again.

That’s what was missing in our lives!

But the premiere is also being celebrated as a win for broadcast television since many viewers are moving toward other channels. On-demand channels like Netflix and Hulu are attracting large numbers of viewers, so any big ratings success on broadcast is a win.

Even if the show that prompted the ratings victory happens not to be your particular cup of tea.

Am I too hard on this show? Maybe.

Tell me what I’m missing! I’d love to know!

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.