May 21, 2019

Roseanne without Roseanne

“The Conners of Lanford, Illinois, have weathered just about every possible storm, literal and figurative. But on Tuesday night, the clan will face its biggest challenge: returning to television without its longtime matriarch, played by Roseanne Barr. In May, Barr was swiftly fired from ABC’s revived Roseanne when she published a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett. Months later, the network announced that it was moving forward with a new show called The Conners, featuring most of Roseanne’s original cast—minus Barr herself, who agreed to cede all creative and financial participation in the new show, and plans to skip town when it premieres. Even so, questions loom ahead of The Conners’s October 16 debut: has Barr’s tweet irrevocably tarnished her show, as well as those who used to work with her? How can a sitcom inextricably linked to a single person and her on-screen persona suddenly become an ensemble series, or swap in a new star? Is killing off Roseanne Conner, as the new show plans to do, really the right call?

These are thorny issues, even for those who know Roseanne and Roseanne best: writers who worked on the series during its groundbreaking original run. To some of them, The Conners is already a lost cause—but others believe it’s got potential.

Bob Nickman, who wrote for the first Roseanne for three years, believes that the series was at its best when it focused on real, topical issues, particularly the plight of the American working class. “If they can do that with the new one, that’s, to me, where it’s gonna be very successful,” he said in an interview. “There’s some really good actors on the show, and there’s some really good writers that are there that were on the original one.” Essentially, he thinks the success or failure of The Conners will come down to whether its audience believes the family is strong enough to carry the show on their own—“and that,” he said, “is something I could never predict.” ”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The biggest topic in British political circles on Monday wasn’t the country’s impending departure from the European Union. It was milkshakes..."

"I often disagree with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., but I've been disturbed by the idea that he should be run out of the Republican Party just because he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses."

"The Icelandic band Hatari, whose members are quite vocal in their animosity towards Israel, held up Palestinian flags... Madonna, likewise, had two of her performers wear Israeli and Palestinian flags on their costumes."

"To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, I turn to movie critic Roger Ebert's old review of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (Trust me on this one.)"

"The money is already here—and has been for years. In the midst of a housing crisis, an injection of cash into the superheated real-estate market seems likely to cause an uptick in evictions and displacement."

"Parents concerned about YouTube debate whether to let their children have their own channels; some forbid it, others send them to summer camp..."

"‘I Had Completely Lost the Knack for Staying Alive..." Warmer weather brings daffodils, rhubarb at the farmer’s market — and, for some, despair."

"With his new book, Howard Stern proves that his rightful place is among the prophets and moral visionaries, not the ‘shock jocks’"

"I’m terrified of parenting in the anti-vaxxer age: Anti-vaccine propaganda isn’t just harmful to children. It threatens to erode our entire sense of community."

"...doctors are starting to think more about specific nutrients that feed tumor cells. That is, how what we eat affects how cancers grow..."

" represents an impressive achievement: a victory of humankind against the chaos that pervades the universe."

"If trends continue, in 20 years the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. The United States will see a continuing decline in overall numbers, with a growing observant Jewish population..."