by Billy Nilles | Tue., Mar. 27, 2018 4:00 AM
It's finally time to return to Lanford.
20 years and one questionable series finale later, the Conners are making their way back to ABC with the one-hour Roseanne premiere on Tuesday, March 27, and the timing for the beloved sitcom's revival couldn't be more perfect. Roseanne Barr and her unmistakable laugh are back as Roseanne Conner, bringing with her original series regulars John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson, and Sarah Chalkeyes, both Beckys!—to let us in on what the Conner clan is up to all these years later.
With just a few hours to go before everyone starts arguing around that iconic brown couch, let's take a look at all the reasons why we're more than ready to revisit the Conner household.
1. Queen Laurie
Hot off her first Academy Award nomination for her sublime work in Lady Bird, Metcalf returns to the role of Roseanne's sister Jackie, a role that earned the actress three Emmys during the sitcom's original run. And frankly, her inclusion here is worth the price of admission alone. The show may be called Roseanne, but every scene comes alive once Metcalf enters the stage. She should never not be on TV and we should consider ourselves lucky that she was keen to return to the role that made her a star.
2. The Subject Matter
There are few sitcoms that show a willingness and ability to serious subject matter in an honest way while still making you laugh hysterically. But the ones that do are worth writing home about. Roseanne is one of those shows. When the series premiered in 1988, it was groundbreaking in its unflinching portrayal of a working class family dealing with issues that everyone watching at home was all too familiar with. Here we are 30 years later and the issues the Conners struggle with—namely, just making ends meet—are remarkably topical yet again. And Roseanne remains one of the very few shows in the TV landscape seeking to tell a story that's not glossy and "aspirational" and, ultimately, unrelatable.
3. A Chance to Revisit That Original Ending
When Roseanne signed off for good in 1997, at the end of a much-maligned ninth season that saw the Conners win the lottery, suddenly becoming nouveau riche, while Roseanne and Dan's usually unflappable marriage coming to a bitter end, Roseanne revealed that the entire season had been a work of fiction the aspiring writer had crafted up as a way to deal with Dan's death. Apparently, that heart attack he'd suffered at Darlene and David's wedding had been a widow-maker. Not only that, but Roseanne revealed that Jackie was actually gay, Darlene was actually with Mark, and Becky was with David. To say that it was not received well would be an understatement. With 20 years between us and that disastrous departure from the airwaves, the opportunity to undo what had previously been undone by some bizarre choices is a rare gift.
4. Time to Show the New Kids How It's Done
In the two decades since Roseanne went off the air, a small crop of comedies have attempted to either tackle working-class America or heady social issues—and an even smaller few have attempted both. Despite their valiant efforts at taking up Roseanne's mantle, few have managed to pull it off in quite the way that the Peabody Award-winning made look easy. With all due respect to shows like The Middle, One Day at a Time and Black-ish, to name a few, it's time to let the master remind us how it's done.
5. A Call for Representation
Now, hear us out on this one. While a lot of chatter surrounding the return of the show heralding a return of the "real America" on TV is patently absurd because what is the "real America" but a diverse smattering of all disparate walks of life, the revival does provide representation to a demographic that rarely gets a starring vehicle on TV. After all, when was the last time you saw a TV show put three actors over the age of 60 in starring roles while also concerning itself with the many issues facing the their generation? It's almost unheard of in this day and age, making the adventures of Roseanne, Dan and Jackie a true breath of fresh air.
6. Another Chance to Finally Earn John Goodman an Emmy
While Barr's Roseanne was always the sun with which the series revolved around and Metcalf's Jackie was the spark of energy each episode needed, Goodman's Dan was the beating heart of Roseanne. The actor's performance as the beloved patriarch over nine seasons was nothing short of sublime and earned him seven Emmy nominations. Shockingly, he went home empty handed each and every year. (He did win one in 2007 for his guest work on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, though.) The revival is a chance for the Academy to finally rectify their shameful mistake.
Roseanne returns with a special one-hour premiere on Tuesday, March 27 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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