7:00am PT by Jackie Strause
'Roseanne' Revival Will Never Mention Trump by Name (for Now)
Donald Trump was quick to take — partial — credit for the huge success of Roseanne, but it turns out that the ABC reboot won't be giving the president a call-out in the way he might have hoped.
While Roseanne Conner's (Roseanne Barr) support for Trump was a central storyline in the first episode of the March 27 premiere, the second episode quickly moved away from the political theme many viewers assumed would be a constant thread throughout the entire revival season.
In fact, Trump's name won't even be mentioned in any of the nine total episodes.
"The Conners aren't Trump supporters. Roseanne's character is a Trump supporter — she's the only one — and we never say his name, actually, in the show," series star Sara Gilbert, who also serves as an executive producer on the reboot, said Thursday on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live. (The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Gilbert's comment applies to all the remaining episodes, as well.)
During the first episode, Trump-backer Roseanne Conner argued with her "Nasty Woman"-branded sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), over her support for Hillary Clinton. But Trump is referred to as "him" and Clinton as "her"; in fact, Jill Stein's name is the one uttered once Jackie reveals that she ended up voting for the Green Party candidate in the end. "You did such a good job of making me doubt myself, and feel so stupid that I choked, which helped him get elected,” Jackie screamed at her sister.
The premiere skyrocketed to success, earning the network TV's best comedy launch in three-plus years with 18 million viewers tuning in, mainly from Middle America, and scoring a second season renewal from ABC. Whether the president will earn a mention in the follow-up season remains to be seen, as the scripts have not yet been written.
Trump, who is famously focused on the topic of TV ratings, personally telephoned Barr, who is a public supporter of his in real life, to congratulate her on the show's success. When recounting the conversation during his Ohio rally on Thursday, the president said he learned of the news from former Apprentice producer Mark Burnett, who told Trump about the show striking a chord: "It was about us!"
Donald Trump Jr. was also quick to take to Twitter to say that the ratings show that late-night TV could also use Barr's "alternate viewpoint." And Trump's pal and Fox News host Sean Hannity suggested Barr come on, and possibly host, his show.
But the comedy, according to the cast, will be tackling relevant and timely topics — not straight politics — as the season continues to unfold.
"The show is not about politics. It's not about anyone's position or a policy, it's really about what happens to a family when there's a political divide, which is something that I think the entire country can relate to and something we need to talk about," Gilbert, who plays daughter Darlene, said during her appearance on the Bravo late-night show. "So, with our show, it's never about 'doing an issue' or 'doing politics,' it's 'how do these things affect a family unit?'"
Gilbert had previously told THR that the show doesn't "really deal with politics after the first episode,” and fellow exec producer Whitney Cummings added, “We keep saying that the first episode is going to piss off liberals and the other eight are going to piss off conservatives."
Barr herself credited the show's relatable family dynamics when reflecting on the overnight success.
"I think the idea that people can agree to disagree is kind of missing from everything," Barr said Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America. "Conflict resolution and agreeing to disagree are important thinks that I like to talk about, and I haven't seen much of that anywhere. That's what we need to do as a country: Figure out what we don't like, talk to each other and discuss how we're going to get it changed or fixed."