Roseanne bosses explain why they wanted to do controversial Muslim episode

This article contains spoilers for Roseanne episode ‘Go Cubs!’, which aired in the US last night (May 8).

The Roseanne revival is two months in and going strong, even with all of the controversy it tends to create with each episode airing.

Last night’s (May 8) episode was no different either, as ‘Go Cubs!’ saw Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) talk openly about her fear of Muslims as she was forced to confront her Islamophobia and her bias in a bid to help her granddaughter Mary.

In the episode, Roseanne needed to befriend her new neighbours, who happen to be Muslim, in order to use their Wi-Fi so that Mary could Skype her mum in Afghanistan.

With Roseanne initially scared and paranoid about the new residents and what they’re doing in Lanford, the episode ultimately sees Roseanne recognise her own ignorance and later even comes to her neighbours’ defence after Fatima (Anne Bedian) is subjected to offensive comments.

And now, speaking about the decision to explore Roseanne’s xenophobic views on the show in a new featurette, co-executive producer Dave Caplan has confirmed that the idea came from Barr herself – and that the actress was keen for her character to get her “comeuppance” too.

“Roseanne said, ‘What if a Muslim family lives next door?’ And all of the writers looked at each other for about five seconds and went, ‘Yeah, we’re doing that’,” Caplan said.

“She starts from being very fearful from this family that moved in next door that she doesn’t know and once she gets to know them she realises there’s probably more similarities than differences.

“And she was pretty clear about that she wanted to get a comeuppance for her own bias. That was her idea.”

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#Roseanne’s not sure about the new neighbors…

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As for Roseanne herself, she added that she felt it would be a “relevant” topic to discuss, and that she wanted to “cut to the humanity” at the heart of the bigger issues.

“I want people to laugh. That’s my main focus, is that it’s funny,” she added. “And in the funny, it’s kind of heartwarming.

“I just thought it would be really relevant for a show about immigrants and prejudice. So we find a way to cut to the humanity of each other.”

It’s a sentiment Roseanne echoed on her Twitter account yesterday too, sharing that her focus is on real issues and real people.

“i like to do TV episodes about REAL ISSUES & REAL PEOPLE,” she wrote. “That’s what I do. Next season will be even more current events-I will challenge every sacred cow in USA.”

Roseanne airs on Tuesdays on ABC in the US. A UK broadcaster has yet to be confirmed for the revival series.

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