Roseanne Barr scoffs at New Yorker criticism, saying writer of controversial 'Roseanne' joke has been 'sent to the gulag'

ABC
  • The New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum criticised the “Roseanne” reboot for the joke it made about ABC’s minority-led comedies “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.”
  • Roseanne Barr replied to a tweet about the article, and said the writer of the joke had been “sent to the gulag.”
  • Nussbaum said the “Roseanne” reboot doesn’t represent what made the original show so refreshing compared to the family sitcoms that were popular when it premiered in the 1980s.

ABC’s reboot of the beloved sitcom “Roseanne” has generated a plethora of controversy in just a few episodes.

In episode three, a joke about ABC’s minority-led sitcoms, “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat,” upset a lot of people including The New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum, who wrote a piece criticising the joke and the reboot.

In the episode, Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) and her husband Dan Conner (John Goodman) are sleeping on the couch, and the TV is on. Roseanne and Dan wake up.

“What time is it?” Dan says. “Did we miss dinner?”

“It’s 11 o’clock,” Roseanne says. “We slept from ‘Wheel’ to ‘Kimmel.'”

“We missed all the shows about black and Asian families,” Dan says.

“They’re just like us,” Roseanne responds.

On Tuesday, Barr replied to a tweet linking to Nussbaum’s piece in The New Yorker (titled “How One Joke on ‘Roseanne’ Explains the Show”), scoffing that “the writer who wrote that joke has been sent to the gulag.”

Shortly after, Barr tweeted again, and seemed to describe the criticism from The New Yorker and many other outlets since the premiere in March as dogs barking:

Why did Nussbaum (and others) take issue with the joke?

In her piece, Nussbaum writes that the joke diminishes the significance of “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.”

“The ABC Tuesday-night ‘black and Asian’ family sitcoms aren’t ‘they’re just like us!’ stories,” Nussbaum writes. “To the contrary, they’re downright gonzo in their cultural specificity, spiked with in-jokes. Ironically, these are the shows that most directly carry on the legacy of the original, deeply autobiographical ‘Roseanne,’ which was a truth serum in a medium devoted to reassuring lies.”

Nussbaum also points out that “Roseanne” is not the only show about a white middle to lower class family on ABC.

“The Middle,” now in its ninth and final season, portrays a working-class family in Indiana. They struggle to pay the bills, can’t afford to fix their house, often have to scrap money together, and have a son with Asperger’s. “Speechless” follows the struggles of a family with a son who has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak.

“Roseanne” seems to stir up controversy with every episode, and it airs Tuesday nights on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

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