When ABC announced that Roseanne Barr would once again be live-tweeting the latest episode of her eponymous sitcom’s wildly successful reboot, the Internet braced itself for another round of politically twinged musings from the comedian who is pals with President Trump.
Turns out that the fourth episode of “Roseanne” dug deep into the show’s crates as a family sitcom that leaned more on punchlines than it ever did politics. In “Eggs Over, Not Easy,” the Conners’ oldest child, Becky, learns that she can’t conceive children, completely derailing her “moving on up” plans to become a surrogate and cash a check for $50,000.
Gone were the debates about women’s bodies (of course it’s Dan who tells Roseanne that they can’t interfere in Becky’s decision) or the exposed class rifts between Becky and the well-off woman she planned to have a baby for. In its place was the relatable story of a girl (albeit a 43-year-old one) going nowhere fast in a town she can’t put in her rear view — and the parents who wished they could do more to pull their kids out of economic quicksand.
With the conservatives versus liberals plotlines put away, the fourth episode seemed like the first real throwback to the old “Roseanne,” and critics apparently agreed.
“In its first three episodes, the ‘Roseanne’ revival has often felt more like a megaphone for Roseanne Barr and conservative talking points than an organic continuation of the Conner clan’s story,” observed Vanity Fair. The magazine called Tuesday’s episode the show’s best thus far.
The Daily Beast called the episode the season’s “strongest,” describing the story as “salty, sweet, cohesive, and true to the characters as we knew them 20 years ago and yet believable in their advancement today.” And Vulture pointed out that “Mama Roseanne, in the surprise of all surprises, is evolving.”
While it remains difficult to separate the show from the politics of its star, episodes like Tuesday’s should remind folks of why “Roseanne” got the green light in the first place. The decision seems to be less about the lack of ideological diversity on the small screen and more about laughing through tough times.