Roseanne Barr hopes to teach tolerance and compassion in the next installment of her ABC sitcom.
On Tuesday’s episode of Roseanne, a Muslim family living next door to the Conners elicits such fear in Roseanne that she starts to believe they’re about to build a bomb out of fertilizer piled near their garage.
“What if this is a sleeper cell full of terrorists getting ready to blow up our neighborhood?” she asks her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf). “Any time something bad happens, it’s always somebody who lives next door to somebody.”
Ultimately, Roseanne is forced to face her prejudice by approaching the neighbors and asking for their Wi-Fi code to help her granddaughter. What transpires over the episode is lots of ignorance covered up in punchlines, with Roseanne ultimately realizing there is more to the folks next door than a pile of stinky dirt.
And it was all Barr’s idea. In this interstitial released by ABC, Dave Caplan, co-executive producer, confirms that it was the star’s idea to do a story about Muslim neighbors. He says the writers didn’t need much convincing. (ABC would not make the executive producers available for further comment).
“She wanted to get a comeuppance for her own bias,” Caplan says in the interstitial, adding, “that was her idea.”
The episode was completed before the comedy’s March 27 premiere, but it comes at a time when the show could definitely use a buzz boost: The sitcom has lost 43 percent of its audience since its behemoth start; last week’s episode averaged 10.3 million viewers and a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49.
Meanwhile, Barr isn’t exactly fostering good will on social media. As a Trump supporter, the actress has come to the President’s defense with a nonsensical tweet about freeing children from bondage all over the world. And just last week, she sparred with Stormy Daniels.
The episode about the Muslim neighbors with all that fertilizer airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.