Despite Roseanne Barr's personal politics, Abdul-Jabbar has a different take on the revival

By Nick Romano
April 03, 2018 at 01:58 PM EDT

Roseanne Barr openly supported President Trump and defended her vote in the 2016 election. She further promised the Roseanne revival would tackle the lives of everyday American families and was later thanked by Trump himself during a phone call after the show’s massive premiere ratings. Despite all of that, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar argues in his latest column for The Hollywood Reporter that Roseanne is actually one of the most anti-Trump shows on television at the moment.

“Unfortunately for Trump supporters, Roseanne is like that cinnamon roll in which some people claim to see the face of Jesus,” he writes. “If you’re looking for saviors in your pastry, you’ll eventually find them. If you’re looking for pro-Trump proselytizing in Roseanne, you’ll be feasting on your own imagination. Because when you look at the actual content of the first three [episodes], you see a deliberate lack of any substantive arguments, facts, statistics, or credible authorities that generally are the tools of forming educated opinions. It’s not there, nor should we expect it. It’s a sitcom, folks, not a poli-sci lecture.”

Abdul-Jabbar made note of Barr’s character, Roseanne Conner, as being a Trump supporter, but posits the show “is more subversive” than shows like Will & Grace “in its presentation of class struggles, health care, gender identity, and other issues that reflect the failures of the Trump administration.”

Steve Granitz/WireImage; Robert Trachtenberg/ABC

As examples, he writes, “Trump’s attacks on health care, including Medicaid, have worsened the Conners’ ability to afford necessary medication. Trump’s support of legislation targeting the LGBTQ community will affect the Conners’ gender-fluid grandson, not just regarding clothing choices but in legitimizing public animosity against him. Administration rollbacks on social welfare programs could impact the Conner children fighting to make ends meet.”

“Basically, Roseanne Conner is like a student at Trump University during the investigation of fraud, still hoping her degree will mean something,” he adds.

Read Abdul-Jabbar’s full column in The Hollywood Reporter.

Roseanne has already been renewed for a second season (technically an 11th season), after garnering 18.2 million viewers with its Tuesday night premiere. One of the challenges, co-executive producer Bruce Rasmussen told EW, was getting the writers and producers to separate their political beliefs from their characters.

“We are all pretty liberal people so you have to step back and say, let’s not be mouthpieces for what we believe,” he said. “Let’s deal with who these characters are as people, whether we agree with who she voted for or not.”