Roseanne has already taken on controversial topics during its whirlwind reboot run, with jokes about politics, healthcare, and more. But the upcoming episode, “Go Cubs,” could prove to be the show’s most talked-about 22 minutes yet. According to The Wrap, in an interview for ABC’s sneak peek behind-the-scenes video about the episode, Roseanne co-executive producer Dave Caplan revealed that series star Roseanne Barr came up with a story idea about the Conners being fearful of their new Muslim neighbors, and producers jumped on it.
Barr explained that her character is frightened of living next door to a Muslim family because she has “heard so many things on the news, and so she has a lot of pre-conceived notions.” Presumably, the episode will end with Roseanne making nice with her neighbors, Fatima (Anne Bedian) and Samir (Alain Washnevsky), and they will all live happily ever after on Delaware Street.
“I just thought it would be really relevant for a show about immigrants and prejudice, so we find a way to cut to the humanity of each other,” Barr said. “I want people to laugh, that’s my main focus, is that it’s funny. And in the funny, it’s kind of heartwarming.”
But not everybody is laughing about the Muslim stereotype depicted in the episode, which has Roseanne asking her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) of their new, fertilizer-buying neighbors, “What if this is a sleeper cell full of terrorists getting ready to blow up our neighborhood?”
Ahead of the premiere of the “Go Cubs” episode, social media reaction is already fierce as fired up fans take to Twitter to post their opinion on the latest Roseanne subject matter. Some viewers have already announced they will not be watching the upcoming Roseanne episode, while others hope the episode will pave the way for more empathy and acceptance in the country. Some viewers think the episode will anger Barr’s fanbase.
You can see viewer reaction to the Roseanne episode featuring the Conner clan’s Muslim neighbors below.
I just saw an ad for Roseanne and they were scared to meet their Muslim neighbors... is this supposed to be funny?— jordan milam (@jordanmilam13) May 4, 2018
People in real life, who are like Roseanne do not see a difference. They think THAT is how they will react to a muslim neighbor, make a silly assumption then LOL laugh it off and we will be friends/better understanding each other.— Kiki Roché (@OnionsAndWine) May 7, 2018
So #Roseanne is having an episode about muslim neighbors, supposedly. I'm sure it will be handled in a mature way with no references to terrorism, but I won't know because I'm not watching anyway.— Wesley Miller for POTUS (@wesleymillerlaw) May 7, 2018
But if Darlene were killed by an AR-carrying gun-nut, THAT would be worthy.
Kudos to "Roseanne" for integrating Muslims in the show, with major credit to @therealroseanne for engaging in a radically honest conversation. We are all part of a national community, so having Muslim neighbors and being open about bias is brilliant way to break stereotypes ???? https://t.co/Gc7DYZ3Fu3— SHIREEN QUDOSI (@ShireenQudosi) May 7, 2018
oh wow next week's roseanne is about muslim-americans. for a tr*mp supporter she's really crushing basically everything he stands for.— so's your face ???? (@cucumberylee) May 3, 2018
Oh look. “Roseanne” is doing a “Muslims move in next-door” episode. Man, I miss “The Carmichael Show."— Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) May 7, 2018
It’s no surprise that not all viewers find the idea of the Muslim stereotype storyline to be funny. Barr herself has made many headlines for some of her own controversial comments about politics and more but with “Go Cubs,” her sitcom is entering new territory.
You can see the sneak peek preview for the “Go Cubs” episode below.
Roseanne airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC. The “Go Cubs” episode premieres Tuesday, May 8.