By Judy Shields
Pasadena, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/6/18 – Loyal fans of the family comedy ROSEANNE, which ran from 1988 to 1997, will be glad to hear that the hilarious Conner clan will soon be back with a complete original cast, returning guest stars, and some new series regulars on ABC! Roseanne Barr herself took center stage along with executive producers Tom Werner, Bruce Helford, and Whitney Cummings and co-stars John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson, Sarah Chalke, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamera, and Jayden Rey at a TCA Winter 2018 Press Tour panel held on Monday, January 8th, 2018 at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena.
Roseanne and Dan Conner will turn out to be Trump supporters. How does the cast in the new series think this will be received?
“I think this is a time, as we all know, where our country is very divided,” said Sara Gilbert, who plays rebellious younger daughter Darlene on ROSEANNE. “And we did have a wonderful opportunity to talk about this in the context of a family, and I think 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 that can be divided by politics, but still is filled with love. And what a great thing that is to bring into this country right now!”
Roseanne Barr is known for defending President Trump on social media. How might that have affected her portrayal of Roseanne Conner on the show? “Half the people voted for Trump, and half didn’t, so it’s just realistic,” Barr said.
ROSEANNE has always gotten applause (and awards) for being an accurate portrayal of the American working class, and it was the working class (by and large) who elected Trump. This viewpoint has, admittedly, not been well represented in uber-liberal Hollywood.
Michael Fishman, who plays cute and cheeky Conner son DJ on the show, is pleased not to be the youngest actor on set any more so he can add more to the dialogue as an adult. “You can have those arguments and those fights and those different positions, and that’s what makes not only the show, but the country amazing!” Fishman exclaimed.
Another thing contributing to the original show’s huge success was its genuine sense of family feeling that was so easy for its viewers to understand. The new show’s many stars showed no hesitancy to jump on board as soon as they heard about it, according to John Goodman (one of television’s all-time favorite fathers!)
“This was a show about people speaking their minds,” said executive producer Tom Werner. “So it was very important for us to come back and honor that.”
Initially Sara Gilbert was concerned that ROSEANNE’S original cast might want to rest on their laurels and not take any more risks, but that proved not to be the case. If politics are to play a central role, what about Oprah or Susan Sarandon for President?
“Actually, I think I would be a better president than Oprah and Susan Sarandon, possibly even President Trump,” said Roseanne Barr, who has never been known to lack confidence in the public sphere. She does admit to having mellowed at the age of 65 with six grandchildren!
Laurie Metcalf pointed out that the fact that daughter Darlene was parenting her kids in the same house where she grew up on ROSEANNE would give Barr’s character some perspective on her own successes and failures as a parent. The Emmy- and Oscar-winning actress plays Roseanne’s endearingly scattered sister Jackie on the show.
Oddly, Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke, who both played oldest daughter Becky Conner on the original ROSEANNE series, did a stint on AMY SCHUMER where Sarah replaced Amy and Lecy replaced Sarah! “We all play the same person,” Goranson joked. “So maybe Amy will replace me next!”
Sarah Chalke’s part on the new ROSEANNE show will be all new for those who wish to keep a scorecard. And there will be other significant shifts in reality courtesy of Roseanne’s writing room built by Dan the Construction Man many years ago. (Hmmm. . .didn’t he die once?)
“I think our show has a depth to it that’s kind of unusual,” mused Lecy Goranson. “It comes from a deep place, and I think that people want a meal and not a snack and they’ve had a lot of snacks over the past 20 years. That’s my small opinion.”
Looping back to the Trump question, executive producer Whitney Cummings has heard even from family members that sometimes you have to vote for someone you disagree with when they say magic words like ‘jobs’ to the working poor. “But I think it’s time to close ranks, and I would really like to see an end to hate triotism in this country,” said Roseanne Barr in closing. How about by the time ROSEANNE reboots on March 27th?
By Judy Shields