The Roseanne revival will officially roll on, as ABC has ordered up a second season of the sitcom. Roseanne returned to TV this week after a 20 year absence, and shockingly garnered immense ratings. The giant numbers for the sitcom even caught the attention of President Trump, who called Roseanne Barr to personally congratulate her.
The working-class sitcom Roseanne was massively popular in its original run from 1988-1997, but even so, no one knew if its formula would still work in today's very different world. It turns out, America still loves the Conner family. Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman) are of course back, still living in the same house and still dealing with many of the same issues. In addition to the familiar family conflicts the show has always tackled, the new incarnation adds a political element, with Trump supporter Roseanne pitted against her liberal sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf).
Some wondered if the political element would turn off viewers, but it appears the exact opposite has happened. After the monster ratings for the season premiere, ABC has officially renewed Roseanne for a second season (via EW). ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement:
“We’re thrilled that America has welcomed the Conner family back into their homes. The show is as fresh and relevant today as it was when it left the air 21 years ago. We can’t wait to see what the Roseanne team has in store for next year.”
Premiere ratings for Roseanne were initially reported at 18 million viewers, but after delayed viewers were counted, that number was bumped to 21.8 million. Not only did viewers welcome Roseanne back with open arms, they embraced it in a way no one was expecting. Some have rushed to read this development as proof that there exists in America a huge, under-served audience thirsting for entertainment with more of a conservative political bent. Some have even gone so far as to call Roseanne the new Archie Bunker.
The truth is, Roseanne has always been a fairly radical show in its willingness to tackle sensitive topics head on. And things have not changed on that front. The new season has already seen Roseanne diving into the issue of gender identity, with an episode about Darlene's gender fluid son Mark dealing with school bullies. In classic Roseanne fashion, the family humorously expresses their discomfort over the whole situation. But of course everyone embraces Mark and his eccentric personal style, and encourages him to continue being himself. And the issue of Roseanne's specific political opinions never really enters into that particular dynamic. Ultimately, Roseanne is about a family that manages to stay together no matter what. And the political animosity, finally, is just one more obstacle they must overcome in order to maintain that unity.
With Roseanne now officially returning for season 2, we can look forward to many more sensitive and hilarious - and probably controversial - moments with the Conner family. However, here's hoping Roseanne Barr herself doesn't gain too much creative control over the series. The last time Barr took the reins, it resulted in an entire season that needed to be retconned out of existence.