But The Conners might be better served if it were to engage directly with some of the thornier issues that prompted Barr’s firing, and that remain a key part of America’s current political realities. When the show premieres this fall, it will be in the biggest spotlight imaginable, and it could use that moment to ponder Roseanne’s broken facade: This is not just another family sitcom, it’s a show that became another flashpoint in U.S. culture. With the controversial matriarch gone, The Conners doesn’t have to obsess over finding trite explanations for the country’s divisions, but it could still ask challenging questions about them.
The new Roseanne had argued that the appeal of Trump’s candidacy could be traced to his promises of jobs for an embattled working class. Barr’s downfall, meanwhile, had nothing to do with economic anxiety, and everything to do with her racist comments. After the ugliness surrounding the revival’s cancelation, The Conners could find it hard to simply carry on with the same old message that America’s rifts are just like any family argument—one that can be had around the dinner table without any love lost.