“Roseanne” reboot: Alex Aebly on episodes 10/1 and 10/2

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am nostalgic as hell for the 90s. Mostly, I love the sitcoms that came out of that era of television. I grew up on Roseanne. To be fair, I don’t remember when the original series aired. However, it was my shit when it was on Nick at Nite. Recently, Nathan and I rewatched the entire series. Well, we tried to watch the entire series. We actually watched Seasons 1-7 and the first few episodes of Season 8. That’s when Roseanne lost the magic that made the series what it was. The first seven seasons of the series approached taboo topics in ways that other shows on television were not, was legitimately funny, and was pretty well written. After Season 7, the quality of writing decreased, the characters that were left became uninteresting, and let’s be real, it got bizarre really quick.

I had major reservations about this revival, as I do about most. Don’t even get me started on the “Gilmore Girls” revival. I have a lot of feelings. Often times, revivals can’t capture the magic that the original series was able to create. Revivals are often self-serving and unnecessary. However, considering how the original series ended, Roseanne definitely deserved a revival. If you remember the last season of the original series, I hope you have found a way to cope with the pain. It was such an atrocious ending to such a great series, that I am not going to even spend time rehashing it. If you are interested in having your soul crushed, Google is a wonderful tool. Honestly, my biggest hesitation with this revival came from the fact that I knew beforehand that it had a political twist to it. We all know Roseanne Barr’s political leanings because she is not shy about sharing them. I was really worried that it was going to become all about our current political climate. As you will read further on though, I did not mind that plot decision as much as I thought I would.

So, here we go! I know I made the promise that I wasn’t going to talk about the original series finale. But, I lied, just like that series finale did. I am still bitter if you can’t tell. At the end of Season 9, it was revealed that Dan (John Goodman) had died. Becky (Lecy Goranson) ends up with David (Johnny Galecki). Darlene (Sarah Gilbert) ends up with Mark (Glenn Quinn). And Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is a lesbian. And Roseanne wrote a book Thankfully, the revival decided to rewrite history. The opening scene of the show obviously establishes that Dan is alive. This scene does a great job of setting the tone for the reboot. Thankfully, this show does not take itself too seriously. They have no problem poking fun at their mistakes.

OK, let’s get political. It was leaked very early on that Roseanne was going to be a Trump supporter on the show and Jackie was going to be a Hillary supporter. Honestly, I thought long and hard about whether or not I would watch the reboot given Roseanne’s real life political stance. However, the political story line was not too much. If anything, I think it adds an element to this show that makes it really relatable. This show is set in a small Midwestern town, much like the one I live in. The element of political tension in a family is probably something that we have all experienced. It is something we can relate to whether we have experienced it firsthand or we know someone that has. At the end of the first episode, Roseanne and Jackie forgive each other for their behaviors during the election. It is still apparent though that they aren’t going to agree. Again, this makes it relatable and serves as a reminder that as much as we may disagree with people in our lives, we still love them.Roseanne-Reboot-Cast.jpg

This series has not missed a beat with the characters that they have brought back. Jackie’s first line was, “Sup deplorable?” It was classic Jackie. Also, Jackie being a life coach was awesome. The entire original series established Jackie as a screw up. When she did get the chance at happiness, she messed it up. It was nice seeing her have her life together. I think the other character that really made these episodes what they were was Darlene. Sarah Gilbert was awesome. She is still witty, sarcastic, and mean like in the original series, but grown up. She moves back in with her parents claiming that she is doing it to take care of them. You learn though that she moves back to Lanford because she lost her job. She is a single mother just trying to care for her family. Again, it makes this show relatable. She is facing the struggle that many people have and are facing. I am calling it now, I think Laurie Metcalf and Sarah Gilbert will be Emmy nominated for this series.

I was also really nervous when I found out they were going to have a storyline about a gender nonconforming child. If you can’t tell, nervous is my default state. Mark, Darlene’s son, likes to dress in flashy, colorful, female clothing. As you can imagine, his grandparents have issues with this. I will say though, the issues were not as big as I thought they would be. Mostly, they were concerned for his safety. As someone who grew up in small town Northern Illinois, I can say that this concern was probably warranted. There are a few comments that are made by both Roseanne and Dan about his gender performance that were a bit unnecessary. Each deals with this in their own way. Dan gives Mark a pocket knife both for protection and because he was excited that Mark showed interest in it. Mark’s interest in the pocket knife to Dan was a display of masculinity. Roseanne deals with this by having one of her motherly talks with Mark about how difficult this may be for him and also visiting his class to have a chat with his classmates. Again, this is a display of classic aggressive Roseanne. Basically, she tells that they need to be nice to Mark or she will find them. All in all, this story line was handled much better than I anticipated in the beginning. It is probably the story line that I am most excited to see where it goes.

I don’t want to talk about Becky, but I feel like I have to talk about Becky. When Lecy Goranson briefly left the original series, they brought in Sarah Chalke as a replacement. In season 8, it got to a point where they were using them interchangeably. It was annoying and weird. Their approach to this situation in the new series is not any better in my opinion. Goranson is going to be a surrogate for Sarah Chalke’s character. It just felt like they had to use both Beckys in some way and this was the best idea they could come up with. Also, Goranson’s acting left a lot to be desired.

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Overall, I was rather impressed with the beginning of this reboot. From everything I have read so far, I believe it is only going to get better from here. What I enjoyed about this reboot was that the nostalgia factor was still there but it was a new show. They introduced new characters and new stories that made it interesting. For once, I am excited to see where a revival is going to go.

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