It’s official: The new season of Roseanne, the groundbreaking ’90s sitcom, will air this March.
A few months ago, there was a casting call for a “gender-creative child” to join the show — and it appears someone has been cast as a new Conner grandchild as a way to “represent the world” we live in, according to Entertainment Weekly.
— Roseanne on ABC (@RoseanneOnABC) January 9, 2018
Darlene and David’s 9-year-old nonbinary son, Mark, is played by Ames McNamara. In the eight-episode reboot, Mark wears girls’ clothes but doesn’t identify as gay or transgender. That was deliberate, in order to start a dialogue around what being gender non-conforming is, according to writer and star Sara Gilbert (Darlene). As she told Cosmopolitan:
He happens to dress that way [and] he’s an amazing, creative, brilliant kid, which you will see… I don’t want to pigeonhole him and say just because he dresses this way that’s the only thing about him.
[Roseanne] is a show that’s always been able to represent the world and talk about it without being so issue-heavy. We can do it through the dynamics of the family. I know kids like that and it seemed like a great character.
This choice surprised many people, considering Roseanne Barr’s own political beliefs — and past comments about transgender people.
Of course, Barr — who was raised in a working-class Jewish family in Salt Lake City — has also been outspoken about her support of Trump, which is also why the inclusion of a nonbinary child has caused some confusion.
On the show, Barr’s alter-ego and spouse — Roseanne and Dan Conner — are Trump supporters. Barr also recently explained this decision:
I said it, and I’ll say again … I’ve always attempted to portray a realistic portrait of the American people and of working class people.
And in fact, it was working class people who elected Trump, so I felt like that was very real and something that needed to be discussed especially about polarization in the family and actually hating people for the way they voted, which I feel like is not American. … There was a lot of thought in it.
Still, no matter what you think of Barr’s beliefs, her dedication to creating a realistic portrait of the heartland is admirable — and steeped in tradition, given the show’s groundbreaking past in portraying a working-class American family.
I am extremely proud and excited for the world to see ROSEANNE on ABC! I’m fully committed to its artistic success & I loved working with all of the amazing people that made Season 10 ONE OF THE BEST EVER!! I honestly hope 2018 is a year where people come together. Thank you!
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) December 31, 2017
We’ll be watching. Will you?