Earlier this week, around 18 million people tuned in to watch the first episodes of the classic ABC sitcom Roseanne to air in more than 20 years. On top of making it the most watched comedy airing in four years, the hype surrounding the newest episodes pleased both president Donald Trump and his supporters from all over the country. Why? Mirroring Roseanne Barr’s real-life politics, the show’s matriarch and titular character is now being written as a Trump supporter.
“Look at her ratings,” Trump said while speaking about the show during a speech in Ohio. “They were unbelievable, over 18 million people and it was about us. The fake news hasn’t figured it out yet, and when they do, they’ll become much less fake. It may take a while, but it’s happening.”
Roseanne was originally praised for being an honest depiction of a working-class American family, whatever that might mean to the average viewer. The pro-Trump views now expressed by the show’s main character, Roseanne Conner, seem to represent the latest evolution of the term “working-class.”
One thing that is notable about show-Roseanne’s Trump support is that it’s pretty clearly a matter of economics, not social politics; think of the show less as “Mexicans are bad hombres” and more “Mexicans are taking our jobs.” “He talked about jobs, he said he’d shake things up,” Barr says in the episode. “I mean, this might come as a complete shock to you, but we almost lost our house, the way things are going.”
When her Hillary supporter sister, Jackie, asked her if she’d been watching the news in the wake of Trump presidency, Roseanne, in true Trump supporter fashion, replied, “Not on the real news.”
It’s not surprising that Trump didn’t pass up a chance to be associated with a piece of mainstream media as popular as Roseanne. It’s simply too rare of an opportunity for him. While the season premiere was markedly unpopular in Los Angeles and New York, viewers in places like Kansas City and Tulsa — so-called “Trump country” — watched in droves.
For viewers who don’t want to be hammered over the head with Trump, there are some good news: Roseanne‘s new season will also tackle issues of sexuality and socioeconomic hardships, so, while the haze of Trump will sit over the entire season, it will likely be less pronounced than in the premiere.