Season 2 of Roseanne may be a lot less political, after season 1 brought back the Conners as vocal Trump supporters. ABC's 2018 revival of popular '90s sitcom Roseanne got off to a roaring start in more ways than one. Before the premiere even aired, the show found itself embroiled in controversy thanks to star Roseanne Barr's incendiary Twitter comments and support of U.S. President Donald Trump. Roseanne's politics may have turned off a lot of potential viewers, but the show still exploded out of the gate, posting the biggest ratings for a network sitcom in several years.
Some - including Trump himself - attributed the Roseanne premiere's huge ratings directly to the show's political slant, as Trump booster Roseanne sparred with her sister Jackie, a Hillary Clinton supporter. However, politics have been less prominent in the weeks since the premiere as the show has returned to its familiar format, emphasizing family dynamics over button-pushing. And perhaps not coincidentally, the show's ratings have also tailed off since that huge debut.
Related: Roseanne Revival Character Guide
With Roseanne already renewed for season 2, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey has addressed the show's future and suggested it may continue to stay away from politics going forward. As reported by Variety, Dungey said, "I think that they’re going to stay on the path that they were on toward the end of last season, which is away from politics and toward family."
Another of Roseanne's early-season controversies erupted after a joke that saw Roseanne and Dan making fun of ABC's diverse programming in a way some viewed as dismissive. Dungey also addressed this flap, saying the writers never saw the joke as belittling but instead viewed it as a "tip of the hat" to ABC's shows about black and Asian families.
While it's true that Roseanne did come hard out of the gate with jokes positioning Roseanne and Dan as Trump supporters with a rather dim view of diversity, that element of the show has not been especially prominent throughout season 1 as a whole. Other episodes have seen Roseanne bonding with her Muslim neighbors after initially being paranoid about them, and also sticking up for her gender-fluid grandson Mark. If anything, Roseanne has been a bit all over the map in terms of how it wants us to view its characters and their politics.
Some have noted that on the original series, Roseanne and Dan were always fairly progressive for blue-collar folks from the Midwest, and have expressed the opinion that Roseanne's new conservative politics were actually a betrayal of the character as originally conceived. As the season has gone on, Roseanne has clearly veered back in that old direction, making the show's early stabs at right-skewing politics look a little like a stunt. Interestingly, it seems the early season ratings for Roseanne may have actually helped rescue another show with a political slant, Tim Allen's Last Man Standing, which has received a new order at FOX.
We'll have to see how things play out, but it definitely sounds like ABC wishes to leave the politics out of it, and let Roseanne just be the family show it always was.