Named after its producer and leading lady, Roseanne was one of the most ground-breaking shows of its generation. Now returning to our screens 20 years after its divisive finale, the ABC sitcom doesn’t appear to have mellowed with age. Here’s why the Roseanne reboot is already causing controversy before a single episode has even aired.
Based on the exploits of the Conners, a working-class family residing in the fictional Illinois town known as Lanford, Roseanne premiered on ABC in October 1988. The show instantly separated itself from other family sitcoms thanks to Roseanne Barr’s central role as a working mother. It also earned near-universal critical praise for its pioneering portrayal of blue-collar Americana.
Mom Roseanne, husband Dan and their three kids, Becky, Darlene and DJ, soon became America’s most-watched family. Indeed, its first season pulled in an astonishing 23.8 million viewers. By the beginning of the second season, Roseanne was beating The Cosby Show at the top of the Nielsen ratings.