Two months ahead of the series’ revival on ABC, the cast and producers of Roseanne appeared at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Monday and, much like titular star Roseanne Barr, it was weird and amusing and confounding and frustrating. Here are some quick highlights:
* Barr maintained that Dan did not actually die in the series finale, despite the fact that he, um, did. “I think that you should rewatch it,” she challenged me, before adding inexplicably, “A lot of the reason that I did that was to add another layer of freshness for people who are going to watch the series over and over.” Huh?
* Roseanne — and Roseanne Barr’s — support of President Trump, which is touched upon in the premiere, led to several tense moments. Barr, as if warned not to address her polarizing political beliefs during the presser, initially deferred to exec producer Bruce Helford when POTUS was brought up. “We had a lot of discussions in the very beginning about all of our beliefs,” he said. “What we really wanted to do was find a way for this particular family…to get that debate going in a very honest way, a very real way. There’s no agenda on anybody’s part. … We wanted to get out there and do something that we felt would be valuable toward healing things.” Added star/EP Sara Gilbert: “We did have a wonderful opportunity to talk about this in the context of a family. People feel like they can’t disagree and still love each other and talk to each other.”
* When a reporter pressed Barr about why Trump’s xenophobia wasn’t a red line for the character, who in the original series’ run was a proponent of acceptance and inclusion, the comedienne harrumphed, “That’s your opinion. He says a lot of crazy s–t. I’m not a Trump apologist. There are a lot of things he has said and done I don’t agree with, just like there a lot of things Hilary Clinton has said and done that you don’t agree with. Nobody is brainwashed into agreeing with 100 percent of what anybody says, let alone a politician or a candidate.”
* The series will acknowledge the tragic death of cast member Glenn Quinn, who played the older brother of Johnny Galecki’s David, several times over the course of the nine-episode run. “We all missed Glenn so much because he was such a great part of the show,” said Barr, “and it wasn’t something we wanted to gloss over.”
* Regarding the absence of Roseanne’s son Jerry Garcia Conner, Barr said, “We do mention [him] in the first [episode]. He’s on a fishing boat in Alaska… We had so many stories to tell over the arc of these nine episodes.”
Roseanne will return with a special one-hour premiere on Tuesday, March 27 at 8/7c (watch teaser). It will then continue airing Tuesdays at 8, with current time slot occupant The Middle shifting to 8:30 pm as of April 3.