Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Adam Rose (ABC)

Probably more than anyone else in the entertainment industry, Tom Arnold has a weird relationship with Roseanne. He was the guy who warmed up the audience before live tapings when the series first started, and he gradually worked his way up to being a writer, producer, and the former husband of Roseanne Barr herself—he even wrote himself into the show as “Arnie Thomas.” Naturally, then, The Hollywood Reporter decided to have him review the first episode of ABC’s Roseanne revival.

In his write-up, Arnold acknowledges that it was hard for him to come through on his promise of “objectivity,” but he actually likes the new version of the show a lot more than you’d think. “Once my eyes adjusted a bit, the cold open could be from the ‘90s,” Arnold says, noting that John Goodman and Barr “haven’t skipped a beat” despite the decades since the original series finale. He’s also impressed that the show still does a good job tackling hot-button issues in a relatable way, but his favorite thing about the new show is that “Jackie is in the house.”


Arnold says he’s a huge fan of Laurie Metcalf and apparently considered dating her back in the ‘80s, but Barr told him that it was a “rule of show business” that writers can’t date their actors. He says Metcalf could not only “carry this show” but “every show ever,” and he says he can handle all of the “past pain and humiliation” that the show brings up for him because “Laurie Metcalf walks this earth.”

That all being said, Arnold has some issues with the way Barr’s politics have infected her iconic sitcom character. He notes that Barr used to be a “feminist-pacifist voice for the working folks” who has now become a “far-right Trump-loving troll.” He can understand the plot reasons why the show’s Roseanne Conner would support Trump, but he thinks the real Roseanne—who knows Trump “and saw how he treated women”—should know better. “Roseanne Barr made $200 million off Roseanne Conner,” Arnold says, “so I’m a little disappointed she doesn’t have her back.”

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