When 'Roseanne' Returns To ABC, Will We Recognize Where She Lives?
Say this much for ABC: At least they know there's a middle of the country out there.
And with the reboot of Roseanne planned for late March, we once again can entertain hopes that a major television network will treat the people, problems and pride of Flyover Country with dignity -- or at least with an empathetic sense of humor.
Roseanne redux will be set in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois, just like the original Roseanne Barr sitcom during its original run from 1988 to 1997. Comedian Barr gained stardom with the show that depicted the struggles, victories, foibles and routines of a working-class family in the heartland.
ABC has treated us to another such portrayal for the last several years with The Middle, the Patricia Heaton vehicle set in fictional Orson, Indiana. It casts the Heck Family and Flyover Country in a warm glow -- often with hilarious authenticity -- as it ultimately celebrates the very ordinariness of life here. Unfortunately, running out of plot lines and with the three Heck "kids" aging, this is the last season for The Middle.
Many in Flyover Country similarly celebrated another ABC sitcom, Last Man Standing. While the family was upscale and lived in the Denver area, where coastal sensibilities are a temptation, Tim Allen's character -- true to Tim Allen in real life -- was a diehard conservative who praised Reagan, guns, the military, football and traditional American values and loved to crack Hillary jokes.
But ABC unceremoniously yanked Last Man Standing last year after a six-year run that, by usual TV standards, was highly successful. Conservatives smelled a rat. So did Allen.
In Roseanne's new run, everyone in the Conner family has aged but the barbed dialogue hasn't faded, Barr promises. It'll be more outre and robust than Allen's or Heaton's tamer treatments of life, but Barr told Hollywood Reporter that the politics will even out.
As a Trump supporter personally, she was too smart to let Hollywood's progressive screenwriting corps railroad her into positioning for the new version of Roseanne that she knew wouldn't be appreciated by many in her target audience.
"I wanted to do it this way," Barr told the publication. "It's the conversation everybody is having. Families are not speaking to each other. People are still shocked and upset about it. It's the state of our country."