Sara Gilbert Reflects on the 2018 “Roseanne” Revival’s Unexpected Success

In 2018, the iconic sitcom “Roseanne” experienced a triumphant revival, drawing over 18 million viewers on its premiere night.

Sara Gilbert, one of the stars of the show and a driving force behind the revival, discussed her astonishment and appreciation in an interview with Variety back in 2018.

Gilbert expressed her surprise at the time by the overwhelming response to the show’s return, which had exceeded everyone’s expectations. She conveyed her gratitude to the fans for welcoming the show back into their homes and for the support they had shown. Gilbert, along with the entire cast and crew, was grateful for the warm reception and the show’s success.

She believed that one of the factors that contributed to the show’s success in 2018 was the timeless portrayal of the Conner family’s struggles. The show had always depicted a working-class family dealing with real-life issues, which resonated with the audience.

The first episode of the 2018 reboot explored the political divide in America, which was reflected in many families at the time. Gilbert thought that portraying a family dealing with differing political views, yet still managing to love each other, struck a chord with viewers.

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The 2018 season of “Roseanne” touched upon contemporary issues such as the high cost of healthcare and drug addiction. Gilbert and the creative team behind “Roseanne” aimed to tell stories that were both humorous and heartfelt, hoping to keep viewers engaged throughout the season.

Gilbert shared that the cast had been in constant communication during the revival’s premiere, celebrating the show’s success together. They were all thrilled to be a part of the reboot, which stemmed from their love for the show, the work, and each other.

In retrospect, the 2018 return of “Roseanne” received widespread acclaim, leaving both the cast and the audience in shock and awe. As the season unfolded, the show tackled relevant issues with humor and heart, proving that the Conner family’s story remained resonant and relevant even years after the original series had ended.

Roseanne Controversy

Despite the massive success of the 2018 “Roseanne” revival, the show was canceled after just one season. The premiere episode faced backlash on social media for its support of President Donald Trump, reflecting the main character, Roseanne Conner, who voted for Trump. Trump even took credit for the show’s success at an Ohio rally, boasting about the high ratings.

Co-showrunner Bruce Helford later stated that the show was not about politics or Trump and did not represent Roseanne Barr’s personal politics.

However, controversies continued to surround the show, including an apparent swipe at fellow ABC shows “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat” during the third episode, which sparked outrage. ABC boss Channing Dungey defended the network’s decision to air the joke.

A later episode featured Roseanne befriending her Muslim neighbors to use their wi-fi, with Roseanne initially fearful and paranoid about their presence. Co-executive producer Dave Caplan shared that the controversial episode exploring Roseanne’s xenophobia came from Barr herself, as she wanted to confront her character’s bias.

The ultimate controversy that led to the show’s cancellation came from Barr’s racist tweet about former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett.

Her controversial tweet led to significant consequences for both her and the reboot of her television show.

Barr apologized and announced she was quitting Twitter, later claiming she was on sedatives when she sent the tweet.

Despite her apology, the damage was already done. ABC decided to cancel the highly-rated revival of “Roseanne” as a result of Barr’s tweet, stating that it was “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.

Co-star Sara Gilbert condemned the tweet, and Wanda Sykes, who worked on the revival season, confirmed she wouldn’t return for season 11.

On May 29, 2018, ABC canceled “Roseanne,” citing Barr’s tweet as “abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values.”