Bob's Burgers writer Kelvin Yu took to social media to blast the Roseanne revival for "belittling" racially diverse TV shows in a joke from last week's episode. The Roseanne revival has been controversial since it first aired a few weeks back, but that was mainly due to the choice of having Roseanne be a staunch Donald Trump supporter. The show has since mellowed on its over-the-top support for the president, but a joke seems to have touched a nerve from certain members of the entertainment industry.
The latest episode of the Roseanne revival is entitled "Roseanne Gets the Chair" and features a joke about Dan and Roseanne missing some shows because they passed out on the couch. Many believe that the joke made fun of diverse television shows. Dan says, "We missed all the shows about black and Asian families," which is more than likely referring to ABC's Black-ish and Fresh off the Boat. Roseanne then replies, "They're just like us. There, now you're all caught up." The joke went past without much controversy until now.
Bob's Burgers writer Kelvin Yu and many people on social media took offense to the joke and sounded off accordingly. However, Yu channeled his thoughts into a lengthy and thoughtful statement about the Roseanne revival and its politics. He called the joke "reductive and belittling," before going more in-depth on the subject. Yu had this to say.
"At the very least, it's reductive and belittling, as if to say those shows are nothing more than Black and Asian in their existence. But the real kicker is when Roseanne says: They're just like us. There, now you're all caught up. Which implies that the point of any show about a minority family is simply to normalize them. That's it. The stories, the humor, the characters... not important."
Kelvin Yu went even further, correlating the Donald Trump support of the Roseanne revival series and its creator, Roseanne Barr. Yu makes the point that the characters of Roseanne and Dan probably wouldn't be watching those show to begin with, so why bring it up at all. He continues, adding that, "it's a big deal." Yu explains.
"Then you take alllll of that and put it in the mouth of an avowed Trump supporter (not the actress-the character of Roseanne) and you have one stinky little sh*t sandwich of a joke that ABC allowed to be served in their own restaurant. It's a big deal. Do I think the characters Roseanne and Dan watch Blackish or Fresh Off The Boat? Of course not. Do I think they'd say something PC about them? Probably not. But the point is, they didn't have to say anything. They didn't have to write that joke at all. It's not even a joke."
While the politics of the Roseanne revival have been a hot button topic lately, the show is still pulling in massive ratings and pretty much doing what it has always done, which is touch the nerves of its viewers. While the joke is offensive, that's a part of the show and Roseanne's career as a whole. She's not afraid to say something that she thinks will resonate with her audience or potentially make them think or get out of their comfort zones. But, Roseanne has also managed to go too far from time to time. You can read Kelvin Yun's full thoughts on the Roseanne revival's joke from last week at Indiewire.