Roseanne Barr and the Connors made a triumphant return to ABC on Tuesday evening, pulling in 18.2 million viewers.
Some 20 years after the 65-year-old wrapped her family sitcom, two back-to-back episodes of the 30-minute revival scored a 5.1 rating in adults 18-49, according to Variety citing the Neilsen ratings agency.
It seems viewers missed the Connors more than the stars of other recent reboots of old TV favorites.
Hugging it out: Roseanne Barr and John Goodman, who plays husband Dan, made a triumphant return to TV on Tuesday evening, nabbing 18.2 million viewers for the ABC sitcom
By comparison, NBC’s revival of Will & Grace, which kicked off on March 15 after 11 years off screen, drew 10.2 million viewers.
Meanwhile, the launch of Big Bang Theory prequel Young Sheldon pulled in 17.2 million.
The only scripted show this season to outperform Roseanne was the post-SuperBowl episode of This Is Us, which drew 26.97 million viewers according to Variety.
Roseanne’s boost also pumped up ABC’s entire Tuesday lineup.
Signing up: The 65-year-old stopped to add her moniker to photos and books for fans as she left The Wendy Williams Show’s New York studio on Wednesday where she talked up Roseanne
Keeping cosy: Roseanne donned an ankle length black coat as she ventured out for the interview on a cold day
Quick getaway: The celebrity jumped into the back of a black SUV after leaving the studio
Black-ish more than doubled its performance from last week with 8.7 million viewers at 9pm, while the series debut of Splitting Up Together opened strong with 7.2 million viewers.
Freshman Shondaland legal drama For The People had its best performance to date with 3.6 million viewers at 10pm Variety reported.
Meanwhile, Roseanne reunites the original cast including John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Michael Fishman and Laurie Metcalf among others.
To the left, to the right: The Roseanne reboot – featuring Laurie Metcalf, 62, and Roseanne on opposite ends of the political spectrum – sparked plenty of social media feedback Tuesday, with politics at the heart of the debate
Roseanne popped into the Wendy Williams Show on Wednesday to talk about the sitcom’s first double episode.
The star wrapped up warm in a long black overcoat with her blue jeans and cowboy boots peeking out underneath.
And she stopped to sign autographs for fans as she got into a black SUV.
Reviews are in: The feedback for the rebooted program was fairly positive, as Dominic Patten of Deadline singled out Sara Gilbert for what he felt was an exceptional performance
The show didn’t shy away from joining in on the national discussion – and division – surrounding President Donald Trump, calling the commander-in-chief ‘he who must not be named.’
The division was a huge plot point as it was revealed that Roseanne’s character and her left-leaning sister Jackie, played by Laurie, had kept a stony silence since the 2016 election, with Roseanne proclaiming, ‘She’s dead to me.’
Other lightning rod topics referenced in the reboot included ‘fake news,’ the NFL take-a-knee protests originated by Colin Kaepernick, and Roseanne’s character thanking the lord for ‘Making America great again’ in a pre-dinner blessing,
Reality TV: Tom Gliatto of People wrote that the show continues to be ‘a realistic sitcom about a working-class American family’
Darlene, played by Sara Gilbert, who reportedly was the orchestrator behind the show’s return, also has a gender nonconforming son, Mark, played by Ames McNamara. The character identifies as a boy who likes to wear feminine clothing.
Reviews from professional critics were scattered, as some felt the show had succeeded in putting on a fresh coat of paint, while others said the nostalgia played too overbearing.
Dominic Patten of Deadline wrote that ‘with the glorious exception of Gilbert as the still acerbic but now cowered Darlene, most of the cast seem to be speed dialing in their performances.
Focused: Roseanne is the freshest revival of an old sitcom in years, the Boston Herald’s Mark Perigard wrote
‘As if this was a Roseanne tribute and not a reunion of the original band, eyelines and attention spans are all over the place as if looking for cue cards. Additionally, the pacing misses the beat repeatedly, and jokes are launched only to land far off target.’
He added that ‘were it not for the fact the scripts are so indomitable, Gilbert so good and [John] Goodman so beloved, swaths of this Roseanne come off more like a time-filling Saturday Night Live skit.’
Patten noted that ‘watching this revival [was] more chore than choice.’
People’s Tom Gliatto wrote that Barr was shrewd in recognizing and capitalizing on the current wave of political extremes in society – using the tried-and-true formula that made the show a hit 30 years ago.
He commended this version of a remake as more than a cheesy attempt to simply do the same thing, hoping its old audience had missed the show enough to watch the same thing, all over again.
‘It’s ‘not so much a reboot as a dusting-off,’ Gliatto wrote, pointing out that ‘this new Roseanne is not an easy, cynical attempt to milk the original.’
He added: ‘When Roseanne started its run on ABC in 1988, it stood out as that rare thing: a realistic sitcom about a working-class American family. Now its star, Roseanne Barr, has revived the show – and once again it’s that rare thing: a realistic sitcom about a working-class American family.’
Perhaps the highest words of praise came from the Boston Herald’s Mark Perigard, who wrote that Roseanne compared favorably to the spate of other television programs that have been rebooted in recent years.
Culture war: The modern American political debate was well-reflected with Roseanne as a Trump supporter, and her sister Jackie leaning toward the left
Throwback Tuesday: The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson said that the program was ‘at its most comfortable’ in rehashing the key elements of comedy and family that made it a hit initially
We are family: The dynamic between relatives was one of the show’s key focal points
He wrote, ‘With so many networks digging up the corpses of old hits to keep viewers from Netflix, Roseanne bucks the odds and proves if you gather the right people and let them loose, the magic can be recaptured. Unlike Will & Grace, Roseanne doesn’t pretend time hasn’t passed for the Conners.’
Striking somewhat of the opposite chord, but still offering approval, The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson said that the program was ‘at its most comfortable when it’s playing the old notes.
‘The jokes are dry and scrape the surface of meanness, while never lacking warmth … it all comes together to make this a fine comedy in parts, even good at times, and it’s a relief in many ways that it doesn’t try to be more,’ Nicholson wrote.
Many Twitter users with conservative leanings took to the site to praise Roseanne for what they felt was a realistic portrayal of working class Americans.
‘What was depicted in tonight’s episode of #Roseanne is something Folks have heard me on the radio talk about numerous time,’ the user @CrazyAboutTrump tweeted.
‘You can’t put Trump supporters in a box, we’re a reflection of the American landscape. We respect people’s choices we just ask that people respect us too.’
Others on the left said that the sitcom normalized Trump’s aberrant presidency and beliefs he espouses.
Left out? Many people unhappy with the president didn’t seem keen on the rebooted show, in which Roseanne is an ardent supporter of Donald Trump and critic of Hillary Clinton
‘For the millionth time we don’t want an inside look at everyday Trump supporters,’ the user @adamcbest wrote. ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s a #Roseanne reboot or a mainstream media profile.
‘They let their hatred get the best of them, fell for Trump’s con and wrecked our country. There is no other story to tell.’
Another user, @maydaymindy9, tweeted that ‘Roseanne being a Trump supporter is a perfect example of a lower middle class, struggling family VOTING against their interest as they cash their $1.50 tax refund. To buy a candy bar at Walmart. Just sayin’.’
Right on: Many conservative users had praise for the reboot and felt it well represented the times
User @lauriecrosswell pointed out a decades-old controversy, referring to Roseanne’s controversial rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner in 1990 in San Diego, and the media firestorm that arose from it.
‘The same people who called #Roseanne vulgar and disrespectful for shooting the bird while singing the national anthem are watching her new show because she’s a Trump supporter,’ Twitter user @lauriecrosswell wrote.
Some said that the program worked because both sides were well-reflected between the characters of Roseanne and Jackie, illustrating the familial divisions that have ensued as a result of Trump’s rise to political prominence.
‘Can we all just take a moment and for once praise ABC for airing something that isn’t all about the left.. isn’t all about the right… #Roseanne is for those of us who live in the REAL world,’ user @andi_caine wrote.
Nonpartisan: Some people had the view that the show was really about the family dynamics surrounding the political disagreements as opposed to the politics themselves
Another user, @shellbelle1022, tweeted, ‘The whole point of this show is that ALL families have [people] in them that move in different directions in life. We don’t have control over it, but we can still LOVE them!! Some aren’t getting it. #Roseanne’
The user @PettyBettyBB wrote, ‘I thought #Roseanne was fascinating. They did an incredible job of family dynamics in regards to politics, health care, women’s issues, gender identity, bi-racial family & how, even with differing opinions, you can come together as family because THAT is what is truly important!’
Said @AlliePaoli: ‘I don’t care where you fall politically, I have friends and family members who have a different view point than mine on every agenda. That’s life. The #Roseanne reboot depicts exactly that! If you can’t see that maybe you’re the problem…’
For those wanting more, the show will continue to air on Tuesdays at 8pm Eastern (7pm Central) on ABC.
Exchange: After writer Nick Pappas was critical of some of Roseanne’s past views, she fired back with a terse response