Scott Hardie | March 29, 2018
Is anyone else here watching the Roseanne revival that had a two-episode premiere this week? Considering how many people tuned in, I'm guessing I'm not the only one. What did you think? (It's on Hulu now if you missed it.)

I'm surprised at how many people (online and off) I've heard asking about Dan or expressing confusion about Dan. "Didn't he die in the original series?" Well, no, not quite. He survived a heart attack late in season eight, and Roseanne left him when he wouldn't take care of himself afterwards, at a time when John Goodman was planning to exit the series. Then it was announced that season nine would be the show's last, and Goodman signed on for one more year, which turned out to be a bizarre and surreal season where the family won the lottery. The final scene of the series reveals that the entire nine-year show had been a (very long) story that the "real" Roseanne wrote about her life, fictionalizing the details that she didn't like about her sister and her daughters' boyfriends. In "reality," Dan died of a heart attack, and Roseanne tried writing about it, but it was just too painful, so she kept his character alive and wrote the cartoonish lottery twist instead to liven up the tale, but acknowledged that the lottery storyline wasn't very good. 2018's new revival series shows Dan alive and well, and there are jokes about him dying in a manuscript that Roseanne wrote, and the family clearly never won the lottery. So if I understand all of that correctly, either A) this new show takes place in the same fictionalized canon that the "real" Roseanne wrote for nine years, continuing on the story after editing out the lottery nonsense like a good writer would, or B) this new show takes place in some new other reality that isn't beholden to the continuity of the other show, or C) nobody gives a shit. And in any of those three scenarios, Dan isn't dead.

(Side-tangent: I normally try not to care at all about canonicity, because it's a useless distraction; you should enjoy each production on its own terms and not worry about whether it's "actual canon" or not. Legend of Zelda fans have twisted the games into knots trying to tie the whole series together into one storyline when it's very clearly not one; each game just makes up whatever new version of Link's adventures that it wants to be and ignores most previous titles. Star Wars fans have suffered countless arguments over the canonicity of its many publications and spinoffs and George Lucas's retcons, and I like those movies fine but not anywhere near enough to wade into that war. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine once did an episode where the main character Sisko, a black space-station commander, dreamed that he was a 1950s science-fiction writer whose fictional short story about a black space-station commander named Sisko was rejected out of racism, and the episode (which was pretty good) never definitively said which man is "real" and which man is "fictional;" the producers even considered ending the series with a shot of the same 1950s writer on a TV sound stage holding a teleplay titled "Deep Space Nine," implying that the entire series was his imagination. This would have pissed off Trekkies in the extreme, with the implication that all of Star Trek (since the shows are all inter-connected) was canonically dreamt up by this minor character, but I just laugh because c'mon, you shouldn't take the canon any more seriously than the people making the show do, and canonicity should never stand in the way of a really good story.)

Anyway: New Roseanne. Thoughts? :-)

Scott Hardie | March 30, 2018
I guess this is a better way of putting the Dan thing: People are confused/surprised that Dan is back because he was "killed off." But he was only dead in the version of "reality" revealed in the final ten minutes of the final episode; not in the main reality where the entire rest of the series took place. Which setting did people expect the 2018 revival to take place in, the one we saw for nine years or the one we saw for ten minutes?

Samir Mehta | March 31, 2018
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Scott Hardie | April 1, 2018
As much as I can't stand the political fighting everywhere else, I didn't mind a little bit of it in the first episode of this revival, and from what I hear it's not going to be repeated. It would have seemed strange for this family not to argue a little over Trump and Clinton. But that small dose is all that I want to hear. :-)

I enjoyed the two episodes quite a bit. It's a little jarring in this golden age of television to revert back to the setup-punchline-laughter, setup-punchline-laughter rhythm of a traditional sitcom, but once you get used to that, the writing is still sharp. I laughed a few times. I don't know if I'll stick with it long term if the writing quality slips or if the show falls into some old bad habits (overindulging in plot twists when they can't think of new material), but for now it's pleasant enough to keep watching.

Samir Mehta | April 1, 2018
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Scott Hardie | April 1, 2018
I avoided the new One Day at a TIme for a while because the first trailer was so weak, but I kept hearing so many great things about it that I have decided to watch it, after I finish a few other titles at least.

Roseanne makes a point of saying that it's filmed in front of a real studio audience, but other than audible excitement when certain favorite old characters showed up, it was indistinguishable from a canned laugh track. I guess that's why the show made the point of saying it.

Erik Bates | April 5, 2018
We've been binge watching the old series, and are now partway through season 2. We also started watching the new revival, and honestly, I think they're on par with their first run as far as writing goes. I do hope that the first episode was the first and last time we'll get into political waters. Roseanne's support of Trump aside, it's a great show, and I'm trying to not let that cloud my opinion of her.

Samir Mehta | May 23, 2018
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Scott Hardie | May 27, 2018
I buy her transition. I've known numerous outspoken liberals who became conservative later in life. It's quite common. Given Trump's appeal to working-class white Americans who feel downtrodden and economically left behind, I would be surprised if the Connors weren't Trump supporters. :-\

For whatever it's worth, the politics are only mentioned in the first episode. Trump is not mentioned again in the current season. (I have no idea if that will change with the renewal, after the show's success in red-state America.)

Samir Mehta | May 29, 2018
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Scott Hardie | May 29, 2018
Well, I'd rather have a fake apology from Roseanne than a complete refusal ever to apologize from Trump.

I too wondered whether ABC was regretful over the timing of its renewal of the series. The first episode was a smash hit, they renewed the next day, and then ratings tapered off. I bet ABC lost money in the negotiation, but maybe the company that owned the show would have exercised its option to walk away to another network if ABC didn't make an offer quickly. Anyway, I too wonder how much the show's cancellation today has to do with the decline in ratings. If every episode pulled in the same massive numbers as the premiere, would ABC have kept the show and tried to smooth over today's Twitter controversy? We'll never know.

I do know this though: Every actor in Hollywood who doesn't already have a social media conduct clause in their contract is sure as hell going to get one now.

Scott Hardie | May 29, 2018
I don't know whether this matters, but I realized today that I would still watch the show after Roseanne's awful Twitter comments. I will still finish whatever episodes remain in the current season that I haven't watched yet. I find the real Roseanne Barr appalling, and I would want nothing to do with her. But I can appreciate that the TV show is a different entity and still enjoy it; it's merely entertainment. Barr was heavily involved in the creative aspects of the original series, but in the new show she has not been allowed to participate in the writing or creative direction of the series; I read somewhere that it was one of the showrunner's contractual conditions for the new series, given her tendency to usurp control. I have no doubt that people with awful opinions make some of my meals at restaurants and stock shelves at some stores where I shop and so on, and it doesn't stop me from partaking of their work, so I can separate Roseanne Barr the shitty person from her work on screen.

Scott Hardie | May 29, 2018
Pet peeve: People are saying that now that Roseanne is cancelled, the entire cast besides John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf can go back to obscurity. "No one had heard of them before, and no one will ever hear of them again."

What?

Sarah Chalke, the second Becky, spent eight years starring in Scrubs, currently stars in Rick and Morty, and has had recurring roles in everything from Cougar Town to How I Met Your Mother.

Emma Kenney, Darlene's teenaged daughter, has spent the last seven years starring in Shameless.

Lecy Goranson has popped up in successful indie movies like Boys Don't Cry and The Extra Man.

Sara Gilbert co-hosts The Talk.

And Johnny Galecki has enjoyed just a little bit of success too.


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