Anyone that watched television in the late-’80s and ’90s would be more than familiar with Roseanne, a sitcom that followed the working-class Conner family in Illinois, airing from 1988 to 1997. Now the series is getting a reboot and will be tackling one of the biggest issues in modern-day society — Gender.
The series is due to return next year and will have two new characters, nine-year-old Mark and 14-year-old Harris, the son and daughter of Darlene and David. For fans of the show, this may be a little confusing as there was already a character named Mark, the husband of Darlene’s sister, Becky. The actor who played Mark in the original series, Glenn Quinn, died in 2002 from an opioid overdose, so the child is named after Becky’s late husband, but that’s only where things begin to get complicated.
While Darlene and David’s teenage daughter, Harris, is supposed to be big-hearted, upwardly mobile, and with huge aspirations to do better than her parents while not being snotty about it, it’s her brother, Mark, that’s going to be interesting. The nine-year-old has been described as “gender creative,” with the show’s casting directors reaching out for “a sensitive and effeminate kid” that “displays qualities of both young female and male traits.”
In the original series of Roseanne, Darlene, played by Sara Gilbert, later married David Healy, played by Johnny Galecki, whose character was also the younger brother of Darlene’s brother-in-law, Mark. The premature birth of their daughter, Harris, was covered in the original series as well, so there is also somewhat of a continuity problem in the reboot having a 14-year-old character that also appeared in the program 20 years ago.
It is still unclear whether Galecki will be available for the Roseanne reboot as he has been busy playing the character of Dr. Leonard Hofstadter in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory since 2007. Galecki’s potential absence has reignited the rumor that the character of Darlene may be lesbian, a common fan theory from the show’s original run and a possible reason for their resulting divorce and Galecki’s potential nonappearance.
The Roseanne revival is slated for an eight-episode run early in 2018 on ABC, which makes this news even more interesting. ABC tends to steer clear of controversy, but any program that contains a “gender-neutral” nine-year-old boy with a possibly-lesbian mother is going to attract plenty of that.