New ‘Roseanne,’ old issues

Sometimes, you can’t go home again. Retreads, do-overs and remakes, for all their nostalgia, are risky investments at best, particularly when the initial entity was exactly on time — the perfect vehicle to capture the zeitgeist. Why screw up a good thing? Or in the case of the new “Roseanne” show, why resurrect a character (and a comic) whose edges were so razor sharp in the ‘80s that they could cut flesh. Time, technology and plastic surgery have literally and figuratively dulled those edges to the point of irrelevance. Whose bright idea was it to take what was an in your face, I don’t give a fuck, overweight in the age of heroin chic, caustic, subversive, woman comedian and repackage her in the age of a reality TV president as a unifier of divided Americans?

Partially, it was Whitney Cummings’ idea. A writer, director and comedian, Cummings is not a Trump supporter, but hopes the new show will help people like her escape a liberal echo chamber and allow maligned Trump supporters to “feel seen and heard.”

In a New York magazine article, Cummings praised the old “Roseanne” for its window into the hard-scuffle, working-class reality of Americans that viewers don’t see today. The new show, she wrote, is to make us laugh and be “nettled” by the characters and their conversations to prompt us to learn from each other. The show is supposed to be like “All in the Family,” with Rosanne as Archie Bunker. As Edith would say about that: “Ohhhhhhhhhh Archie.”

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