Most of us remember the phenomena that was “Roseanne,” one of the top-rated sitcoms, airing from 1988 to 1997. Hailed as an honest portrayal of a working-class family, the Conners, the show introduced many real-life blue-collar problems of the day including two parents having to work outside of the home. Often edgy, the show remained popular throughout its run and is ranked on many lists as one of the best situation comedies of all time.

The premier updates the past

The reboot of “Roseanne” started with a double episode dose of Politics, social issues, and catching up with the characters after the twenty plus year gap between the original show and today.

Of course, the most glaring reversal is that husband Dan Conner, reprised by John Goodman, is not dead. He is working in the drywall business, and Roseanne is now driving for Uber.

As for the rest of the family, their youngest child, Jerry Garcia Conner is working on a fishing boat in Alaska, D.J. is married to a woman in the military who is currently deployed, Becky is struggling with finances and trying to make money by becoming a surrogate mother, Darlene lost her job and is living back at home with her two kids, and sister Jackie is a life coach, and on the opposite political spectrum from her sister.

A view from Trump country

Roseanne Barr has stated in numerous interviews leading up to the premier, that her character is someone that voted for Trump, and that the election would be touched on in the premiere episode.

We learn that Jackie was a Hillary supporter and she has not spoken with her sister since the election. Enter Darlene, to patch things up by inviting Jackie to dinner. Jackie and Roseanne trade barbs about each other’s candidate without naming them. Roseanne states flatly, that her candidate talked about jobs and the economy.

Jackie counters that things are even worse now, with her sister responding that in the “real” news, things are better.

In one of the funnier and true to life moments of the political back and forth, Jackie admits that she had enough doubts about her own candidate that she actually voted for Jill Stein. Roseanne responds in her best deadpan, with “Who’s Jill Stein?” The episode’s main theme kicks in that the bonds of family trump political differences and the sisters make up.

In the second of the two episodes, politics takes a back seat to the typical Conner family problems. Becky is trying to make her family look “normal” to the woman that she is trying to become a surrogate mother for, with predictable hilarity.

On the more serious side, the episode addresses gender norms. Darlene’s son, Mark, likes to dress in clothes that are considered as more identified with girls.

Darlene is fine with it, but Dan and Roseanne worry about how he will be treated at school. Mark says that he dresses the way he does because he likes it and that kids at school will eventually get tired of making fun of him or bullying him. The family airs their feelings on the matter, but in the end, they accept his fashion choices. They agree that Mark should stand firm until people accept him for who he is as a person.

Impressive ratings

Reportedly, ABC executives were hoping for modest ratings and were stunned that more than 18 million viewers tuned in to catch up with the Conners. In the coveted demographic of adults 18-49, a 3.0 share would have been deemed a success, but the premiere garnered a 5.2 share, something that no one predicted. The question now is whether viewers will continue to tune in or was it a one-time curiosity for how the show was going to handle today’s politics.