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‘Roseanne’ Criticized for ‘Reductive and Belittling’ Joke About Diverse Shows

"Bob's Burgers" writer Kelvin Yu is none too pleased.

ROSEANNE - "Roseanne Gets the Chair" - Roseanne's clash with Darlene over how she's raising her kids - especially Harris - reaches a breaking point; while Dan tries to help Roseanne with her bad knee by getting her an elevator chair, which she refuses to use because she doesn't want to admit getting old, on the second episode of the revival of "Roseanne," TUESDAY, APRIL 3 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Adam Rose)ROSEANNE BARR, JOHN GOODMAN



This week’s episode of “Roseanne” has been criticized for an off-color joke about shows with diverse casts, with “Bob’s Burgers” writer Kelvin Yu calling the gag “reductive and belittling.” The bit in question finds Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman) waking up after falling asleep while watching TV sometime between “‘Wheel’ to Kimmel,” both of which also air on ABC.

“We missed all the shows about black and Asian families,” says Dan, an apparent reference to fellow ABC sitcoms “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Black-ish,” prompting Roseanne to respond, “They’re just like us. There, now you’re all caught up.”

“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,” Yu wrote on Twitter. “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.”

His tweet thread continues:

“Then you take ALLLLLL 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 shit 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.”

“Roseanne” has become the most debated show of the year, owing in large part to its high ratings and its title character’s avowed support of Donald Trump.

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