Could ‘Roseanne’ Reboot Pick Up Where ‘Last Man Standing’ Fell Off?

Could ‘Roseanne’ Reboot Pick Up Where ‘Last Man Standing’ Fell Off?


By: Paul Meekin

“Excuse the mess, but we live here.” – Roseanne Barr

The cancellation of ABC’s “Last Man Standing” delivered a shockwave in many circles, primarily because it was a popular show with good ratings and a well-intentioned messaged regarding politics and family values – leading many to believe the show was cancelled for its conservative protagonist and Tim Allen’s openness about his own political views.

Around the same time the news of the cancellation broke, the news of a shocking resurrection hit the wire; “Roseanne” was coming back on the very same network, ABC.

For the uninformed, “Roseanne” was a bar-setting sitcom about a blue-collar, working class family in fictional Lanford, Illinois. They weren’t quite ‘white-trash’, but it’s possible the garbage man got confused once or twice.

The legacy of “Roseanne” is that it was timeless and timely. Speaking to universal truths of family life, from bickering to bills to an ever-changing social climate. Roseanne herself was anything but a ‘typical’ sitcom mom, but I think most everyone knew a mom like her, in real life. Just like we knew a “Becky” and a “Dan.” We knew and liked and laughed with the Connors because they were like us – or at least reminded us of someone we knew.

Now, think about these people – suburban, blue collar, layed off from now-closed factories or motorcycle shops or owning small businesses, and tell me what you think their politics will be in 2017.

I’ll give you a hint. Roseanne was a #NeverHillary-er. 

I’ll give you another hint – in 2009 Roseanne Barr postulated where the characters in the show would be in modern times; Roseanne and Jackie would own a Marijuana dispensary. Mark would have died in Iraq. Darlene would be a lesbian, Becky at Wal-Mart, and Arnie was said to be going in politics.

Yeah, I’m excited too.

Ladies, gentlemen, libertarians, and understandably butt-hurt “Last Man Standing” fans, there is hope yet. And, believe it or not, it might just sit better with ‘liberal’ Hollywood, too. If Becky is a lesbian, Mark a deceased veteran, and you get a minority character or two in there – the show has all the bases “Last Man Standing” left open to criticism, covered. Strong female protagonist – and show runner, LGBTQ characters, and minorities.

You get that house in order and this show can really explore what middle-America is really like. What a depressed factory town would be like in 2017. What the people would be like (probably Trump voters).

When Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama both said we need to reach across the aisle and go to the people who voted for Trump to try to understand them, the populace didn’t heed that advice, instead opting to ‘resist’ and protest and demonize.

If the new Roseanne does it right, they’ll come to liberals via the magic of telecommunication. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll achieve a bit of…understanding regarding one another via the power of the contemporary situation comedy.

Of course, this is all just postulation from a man with a Television Writing and Producing Degree who has seen every episode of Roseanne at least three times (save for the terrible final season). It’s possible the show avoids politics entirely, or the Connors have a giant #Resist banner hanging in their iconic living room.

But I doubt it. In my mind the new Roseanne will do what the old Roseanne did best; be political without appearing to be. Roseanne had a lesbian kiss, an openly gay couple, and tackled issues of domestic abuse, parental neglect, breast reduction surgery, PMS, and many other ‘issues’ in a way that funny first, human second, and political a distant third – and most importantly, from distinct points of view.

Imagine the arguments a ‘Liberal’ Becky and ‘Conservative’ Roseanne could have over a family dinner. Imagine just how true-to-life that will be for some viewers. Imagine its catharsis.

My favorite Roseanne moment is the final moments of the show’s finale. It was the high point of a terrible season of television that will be ret-conned. But in the final monologue, Rosanne outlined a worldview I put in my high school year book.

“I learned that dreams don’t work without action; I learned that no one could stop me but me. I learned that love is stronger than hate. And most important, I learned that God does exist. He and/or She is right inside you, underneath the pain, the sorrow, and the shame.”

We could all use a bit of that right about now. 2018’s mid-season can’t come soon enough.


Bonus: Wanna know who did the theme song for Roseanne’s final season?

Libertarian gun nut, and Blues Traveler front man John Popper.

EDITOR’s NOTE: The views expressed are those of the author, they are not representative of The Libertarian Republic or its sponsors.



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  • I Don’t Like Mondays

    Kinda of shocked not to see mention of Roseanne Barr’s known political leanings other than the #NeverHillary nod. Yes, Roseanne is team #NeverHillary but sometimes the enemies of your enemies aren’t your friends.

    Then again, a Breitbart and other conservative news sources are lauding Barr’s comments that are Trump (and Trump supporter) friendly while gingerly side-stepping what is known about her leanings. The sliver pro-Trump sells well there so why bring up all the rest of the socialist free everything nonsense she spouts.

    She’s buddies with Michael Moore (he and Rosie O’Donnell are both interviewed in her political documentary). She ran as a Green Party candidate, and then jumped to the Peace and Prosperity Party (self titled as California’s Feminist Socialist Political Party) with Cindy Sheehan as her running mate once she lost the primaries for the Greenies.

    She believes all student loan debt should be forgiven, that the rich are waging war against, she wants more federal funding for healthcare, etc…

    If she subscribes to half of the Peace and Freedom Party platform then she is worse than Bernie Sanders. (Double minimum wage, universal basic incomes, 30 hour work week for 40 hours pay, “rank and file socialist-oriented labor movement to mobilize working-class people to assume ownership and control of the economy”, free abortion on demand, “retired workers must be guaranteed a decent living at union wage levels”, schools must “teach history of workers’ struggles and labor’s creation of society’s wealth and progress”, full free public education from pre-k through graduate school with lifelong learning and retraining, voting rights for non-citizens, free and equal access for all candidates, free healthcare for all/elimination of for profit care, “Cancellation of all debts found to be illegitimate and unjust to the working class through an open and democratic process not controlled by the creditors”, progressive uncapped social security taxes to place burden on the wealthy, etc.)

    She does side with libertarians on some issues but she has a history in politics and she isn’t shy about her opinions, so suggesting she is any sort hope for libertarians as a way to convert liberals is a stretch.

  • Paul Meekin

    I think it’ll make for a show rife for quality discussion about these issues in a hopefully honest way – making the Connors all liberals or staunch democrats would be insane and narratively untrue.

  • I Don’t Like Mondays

    Maybe I’m remembering the show differently. They we working class people but they just because they had jobs and bills to pay didn’t mean they were conservatives.

    And how exactly can they do something more insane or less true to the narrative than how the show ended? Jump every shark there ever was, then tie them all together so they can transform into Megasharkazord and then jump that by claiming that most of the story was a therapeutic fictional alternate universe written by a grief stricken widow… Portraying a blue collar family in Illinois that happens to also be liberal seems like a much easier sell, especially considering the socio-political things that did crop up during the original show.

  • Lizzy

    Many of us watched LMS precisely because there was a conservative view included on the show. I think you are equating conservative with blue collar which isn’t reality. I loved LMS and I will miss it. I won’t be watching Roseanne for the same reason I loved LMS – the characters will in no way represent a loving middle class family successfully living a normal life with average suburban concerns and an underlying moral base.

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