We’re strong into the era of the ‘reboot’ where the feelings of days gone by nostalgia is breathing new life into shows long forgotten. Sometimes it works a treat and sometimes it leaves us with a nasty sour taste in our mouths. Will & Grace came back with a force, molding itself into modern era culture and The X-Files continues it’s bumpy sci-fi ride traipsing through aliens and government conspiracies. 2009’s Melrose Place reboot lost viewers the moment anything relating to the original series was thrown out the window while Gilmore Girls Netflix revival seemed to have lost it’s quip and heart.
So where does Roseanne sit on the reboot/revival scale?
Well, the ‘working class’ family comedy that debuted 30 years ago was biting in its humorous take on the less than glamorous, shining a light on everyday family problems from teenagers to low income, unemployment and health care though its final season embraced ‘jumping the shark’ culture with the Connor family winning millions in the state lottery and killing off Roseanne’s husband Dan (John Goodman) with a heart attack.
This Roseanne revisit needed to fix the wrongs of the past and does so using familiar techniques as seen very recently with Will & Grace, using one line quick quips to glaze over what we knew and wipe the slate clean for those old enough to remember how things left off.
This cleanse leaves us with a Connor family at war within itself in 2018, some of which being the result of the diabolical political state America is currently enveloped in. Jackie (Laurie Metcalfe) has been pushed aside after a voting clash with Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), Darlene (Sara Gilbert) has moved back home as a recently divorced mother of two, DJ (Michael Fishman) has returned home after a stint in the army over in Syria and brings with him his young daughter and Becky (Lecy Goranson) is a struggling single who can’t seem to keep away from her childhood home.
In general, almost everything looks the same about Roseanne from when we last saw them (albeit older and including a sweet nod to ‘other Becky’ Sarah Chalke, who guests in the first few episodes) though there are some minor ‘token’ attempts to pull the show into current times with DJ’s bi-racial daughter and Darlene’s gender fluid son Mark, who takes center stage in the revivals’ second episode that features some semi-touching moments pinched between some grimacing looks from Dan early on in the piece.
In a move similar to that of the Will & Grace revival, Roseanne’s first episode back is a very politically charged episode, commenting on the current landscape with Trump in charge but unlike Will & Grace, Roseanne proudly voted for Trump and plays as the reason why she and Jackie have had a falling out. Thankfully though, politics seem to take a back seat for the next few episodes and putting that topic in the hip pocket allows the show finds that magical stride, balancing brutal cutting humor with heart warming touching moments the show was known for.
So again, where does the Roseanne reboot sit on the scale?
After a heated first episode that feels unfamiliar and a questionable second episode, Roseanne settles in nicely to produce one of the more welcome returns to television after being revived from the crypt.
The Roseanne revival begins with a double episode starting Sunday April 30th on Channel 10.