I always admired Roseanne Conner.
She was strong, smart, flawed and funny. Even as a mere teenager, I recognised she was a passionate, protective, and fiercely loving woman.
Which means that, as most people do, I equated the love of the character with love of the actor, Roseanne Barr.
Obviously, the character was based on her. Dan’s wife, and the mum of Becky, Darlene and D.J. was an expert at tough love, a total egalitarian, a feminist, and all heart. So Barr must have been, too, right?
Barr was certainly a trailblazer. She was one of the first female comics to get her own show. She was outspoken, via her show, about racism and social justice. There were storylines dedicated to domestic violence, alcoholism and financial struggles, all largely taboo at the time – all told with humour.
Barr and the show made millions of working class Americans feel represented. For all of these reasons, in the years it screened from 1988 – 1997, Roseanne became a cult classic. So it was an obvious choice for a reboot recently on the American ABC network.
The new show, which is coming to Australia later this month on Channel 10, sees the Conners in the era of Trump’s America. Roseanne is a supporter – which is, of course, because Barr herself is pro-Trump. The show reveals that Mrs Conner didn’t vote for the first ever female Presidential candidate, which is disappointing as those of us who know her thought that as a feminist she might have recognised the historical significance over the politics, but that’s the beauty of democracy: people can make choices.
And that’s also the magic of ageing twenty years – your perspectives change.