The new reboot of Roseanne has been mired in controversy since it premiered last week. Back in the 90’s, the original run of the show was my favorite. It was funny, it was relatable, and it was so different from other cookie-cutter sitcom families. But separating the show from its star has proved to be difficult for many, many people. Roseanne Barr has long been a contentious figure. But in the last few years, she’s revealed herself to be more than just someone who “tells it like it is.”
She’s racist, homophobic, transphobic, and has some pretty out-there conspiracy theories.
A collection of Tweets from Roseanne Barr. pic.twitter.com/IECr59yo70
— Gus Ironic Conquistador™ (@Gus_802) March 28, 2018
Hey @ABCNetwork, r u ok with @RoseanneOnABC dressing as Hitler for a photo shoot and also calling shooting survivor David Hogg a Nazi in a tweet that you made her delete? How low will you stoop for ratings? Do you have no shame? #BoycottABC #ABC #Roseanne pic.twitter.com/tcDkTeVRNl
— StrictlyCovfefè 📻 (@christoq) March 30, 2018
So plenty of people find it impossible to separate Roseanne the woman from the show (myself included, I will not support her in any way). However, the show has so far done well. But the last episode upset a lot of people, and seemed to deviate from what the show has always been about.
In the episode that aired last night, titled “Roseanne Gets the Chair”, one particular scene didn’t sit well with viewers. Darlene’s daughter Harris makes a comment about how she’s better than her “hillbilly” relatives. So Roseanne calls her an “entitled little bitch”, then grabs her head and shoves it under the faucet.
She calls her granddaughter a bitch and shoves her head under running water. Sure, the show has always been somewhat controversial in the way it addresses parenting, but for many people, this crossed a line.
#Roseanne took a dark turn tonight when she called her granddaughter a bitch and put her head under a running faucet. Reflecting that she thinks parenting involves swearing and physical violence. Awful. #RoseanneBarr @RoseanneOnABC @therealroseanne
— John Weicher (@John_Weicher) April 4, 2018
On the old #Roseanne they did an ep where she spanked DJ, then felt awful & talked to him about how her Dad used to abuse her & she didn’t want to do that to him. It was so sweet. On last night’s ep she talks about how parents should spank their kids. Makes no sense.
— Zoe Whittall (@zoewhittall) April 4, 2018
So week 2 didn’t impress as much. #Roseanne talked about spanking kids when in the original she swore she’d never do it due to her and Jackie’s horrible upbringing. Also took a weird turn when she called her granddaughter a bitch.
— Melissa V. 🤶🏻 (@mrsmelissa99) April 4, 2018
I distinctly remember the episode from the original show where Roseanne spanks DJ. My own parents were spankers, and I hated it. Their justification was that their parents hit them, and they turned out fine (ironic). I remember watching it together, and feeling very tense during the scene when she talks to DJ about her own upbringing.
I’m sure there is an entire contingent of people who watched the episode and found nothing wrong with what she did. “It’s only TV!” Which is true. But it’s also a reality that far too many kids and young adults live with everyday. Courting controversy is one thing, but normalizing parental abuse is quite another.