ABC is ramping up its marketing for the revival of the popular ’90s sitcom Roseanne with three brand new promos that sees the stars poking fun at their imminent return. Perhaps one of the unlikeliest candidates for a revival – at least until serious talks emerged about bringing back The Office and Mad About You – Roseanne quickly went from rumor to confirmation. Soon after, the network assembled the original cast – including both Becky’s and Johnny Galecki – and filmed the new episodes with a premiere date set for the spring of 2018. It was such a fast turnaround on the project, vocal opponents to television revivals hardly had time to object.
Perhaps the lack of overwhelming objection is due in part to the show’s age, and because there’s some level of genuine curiosity in seeing the cast get back together, especially after the series’ divisive finale killed off John Goodman’s Dan Conner. However, as you can see, he’s alive and well in the new promos. The decision to ignore the series finale is not unlike another recent successful revival’s decision to do the same. Like Roseanne, Will & Grace ended back when people naively thought when a show ended it that was indeed the end. It was a much simpler time before zombie shows (and we’re not talking about The Walking Dead) started making their way back to TV screens everywhere. As such, some upcoming revivals have had to do a little retconning in order to bring the series back.
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That means you can look at the first of the three promos two different ways. Titled ‘Bulls,’ the 15-second ad sees Roseanne ask Dan and Original Becky about the basketball game they’re watching. Dan replies with a wistful remark about the ’96-97 Chicago Bulls, to which Roseanne remarks, “You can’t live in the past, Dan. When things are gone, they’re gone forever.” ABC likely wants you to read it as a meta-joke on the television revival trend as a whole, but it can also be read as a remark on Dan’s place among the living.
The other two promos are equally brief and geared toward ABC’s holiday coverage of the NBA. The first brings back Sara Gilbert as Darlene, as she and her dad bond over some basketball while Roseanne asks questions about what’s going on. The final promo, titled ‘Concussion’, takes a jab at the NFL’s ongoing problems with brain injuries by having Dan wistfully (again) recall when football players played through the pain of a concussion, before his wife reminds him he’s watching a different sport.
If you take a look at ABC’s ratings during the Christmas holiday, the network made the right choice to air these new promos along with its coverage of the NBA. Although the jokes were hindered by the relative brevity of the ads, if nothing else, the tagline “Same Cast. New Episodes.” and Barr’s signature laugh got the word out to those unaware the series was set for a revival. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if the new episodes are any good.
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Roseanne is expected in 2018 on ABC.