The first press panel for the ROSEANNE revival went about as well as one could have expected, given star and executive producer Roseanne Barr’s famous support of President Trump.
Things got off to a tense start and then never really let up as journalists pressed, re-worded and circled their way into trying to get Barr to talk about how her personal politics has affected the show. It’s not an entirely unfair subject matter, since Roseanne Conner, on the show, is revealed to have voted for Trump.
Still, Barr was very reluctant to engage, deferring to executive producer Bruce Helford time and again.
“The Roseanne show, I’ve always wanted it to be a true reflection of the society we live in,” she said finally. “Half the people voted for Trump and half didn’t. So it’s just realistic.”
Asked again whether her personal politics influenced the writing of the fictional character, she doubled down: “My show is a realistic portrayal of America and working class people. In fact, it was working class people who elected Trump. So I thought that was a very real thing and it needed to be discussed. The polarization in the country and people actually hating people for the way they voted, which I feel is not American.”
Barr’s colleagues attempted to assuage the situation.
Co-star Sara Gilbert, an executive producer and also the driving force behind the revival, called the debate on the show “a great opportunity to have a family that can be divided by politics and still be united by love;” and Michael Fishman, who was a child actor while playing DJ on the original series and is now a father himself, defended growing up on the set, saying it taught him to be “open-minded.”
Still, Barr, who said she could not support Hillary Clinton “because of Haiti,” cited a decreased black unemployment rate in the country and said “that’s your opinion” when asked how the fictional character could support a xenophobic president, made sure to close out the panel by making it weird again, saying, “I would really like to see an end to ‘hate-triotism’ in this country.”
Roseanne premieres March 27 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.