Television's leading blue collar lady is back. And now, it has nothing to do with nuts.
Fourteen years after her all-time successful sitcom "Roseanne" wrapped its final season, Roseanne Barr has just sold a new scripted comedy to NBC. Called "Downwardly Mobile," it will feature Barr as a member of a mobile home community, emphasizing once again her working class roots in what the network hopes is as successful a formula as it was the last time. Her first show unseated "The Cosby Show" from the top spot in the Nielsen ratings in March, 1989, and went on to years of ratings dominance.
The new show, which was first announced to be in development in August, presented a working class ethic could resonate with viewers in difficult economic times. Representing the true core of America's struggling citizenry has long been Barr's creative goal.
"I wanted to do a realistic show about a strong mother who was not a victim of Patriarchal Consumerist Bulls*it," she wrote this spring in an article for NY Magazine chronicling her struggles for power with ABC over her first show. "In other words, the persona I had carefully crafted over eight previous years in dive clubs and biker bars: a fierce working-class Domestic Goddess. It was 1987, and it seemed people were primed and ready to watch a sitcom that didn't have anything like the rosy glow of middle-class confidence and comfort, and didn't try to fake it."
Even today, there are few television shows that competently represent that demographic; those that do feature characters in blue collar America often descend into stereotype and camp. Fox's "Raising Hope," for example, features a working class family that is amazed by lobster and a rich man's amazing toilet.
"Call me immodest--moi?--but I honestly think 'Roseanne' is even more ahead of its time today, when Americans are, to use a technical term from classical economics, screwed," Barr wrote in that NY Magazine column. "I and the mostly great writers in charge of crafting the show every week never forgot that we needed to make people laugh, but the struggle to survive, and to break taboos, was equally important. And that was my goal from the beginning."
Presumably, this show will go better for Barr than did her last show, the one season reality series, "Roseanne's Nuts," which featured her macadamia nut farm in Hawaii. And given her major star power, she'll have a "created by" credit power from the beginning.
For more, click over to The Hollywood Reporter.