The Roseanne reboot was not meant to be a political show, but ever since its March debut, the ABC revival of Roseanne Barr’s classic comedy series has spawned a debate about the state of the country. The pilot episode featured Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and her sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), at odds over the results of the 2016 presidential election. Now, in a new interview on Sunday Today with Willie Geist, Laurie Metcalf talked about the cultural reaction to the Conner family in today’s current political climate.
In a sneak peek of the interview posted by People, Metcalf questioned why Roseanne became labeled as a pro-Trump show, despite the fact that series star Roseanne Barr is a devout supporter of the current president and her character is. Still, the Roseanne star admitted that the nation’s deep political divide could not be ignored in the reboot set 20 years after fans last saw the Conner clan.
“We couldn’t not address it. I thought the writers did it really well. That it caused a rift in the family. They’re not consciously writing it for a certain political view.”
While political divides are nothing new in real-life families, Metcalf also pointed out that some of the topics on the Roseanne reboot would never have been addressed during the ABC sitcom’s original run in the 1980s and 90s.
“Some of the issues that are on these new shows, some are different like opioids addiction. And some are exactly the same of what they were 20 years ago,” Metcalf explained.
Laurie Metcalf is not the only star who has defended the political controversy surrounding the show.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Emma Kenney, who plays Darlene Conner’s daughter, Harris, on the show, said Roseanne is about “a family and family differences and how they bond together at the end of the day and end up having a nice family meal.”
The Roseanne star also revealed that there’s a lot more to the show than the political leanings of its characters.
“Something I want the viewers to know is we talk so much about things going on in [the] current day other than politics. There’s a whole lot of different storylines that are going on other than politics.”
Earlier this month, Sara Gilbert, who plays Kenney’s mom Darlene on the show, appeared on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live to issue a similar sentiment. While Gilbert explained that Barr’s character is a Trump supporter, she pointed out that during Roseanne’s exchange with Jackie over politics, the real-life president’s name isn’t even mentioned.
“The show is not about politics,” Gilbert said. “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.”
Series star Roseanne Barr has repeatedly weighed in on the politics of the ABC reboot. Barr previously told the Hollywood Reporter that while the topic would not dominate the new season of the ABC comedy, the Conner family’s political divide had to be addressed.
“It’s the conversation everybody is having,” Roseanne told THR of the political exchange featured in the pilot. “Families are not speaking to each other. People are still shocked and upset about it. It’s the state of our country.”
Roseanne airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC.