The ‘Roseanne’ Revival Cut an Insanely Dark Gun Storyline
The hoopla surrounding ABC’s Roseanne revival has largely died down, even as the series continues pushing hot-button topics. That said, producer Whitney Cummings now reveals a cut gun control story written before the Parkland shootings, but considered too dark for TV.
Cummings participated in The Hollywood Reporter’s showrunner roundtable, discussing a number of topics related to pay parity, inclusion and the charged political landscape. One particular exchange saw the Roseanne producer and writer recounting a pitched story of the Conner household gun going missing, only to wind up in the hands of Jayden Rey’s young Mary Conner. Cummings explained that the network considered the story too dark, and refused to shoot it:
A big part of my involvement [on Roseanne], because it stars a character and person who voted for Trump, is that I was the progressive lib-tard in the room, and I really wanted to dig into the hypocrisies and all the hot-button issues that we’re all talking about. So, [the Conners] have a gun in the house, and the story was about how they can’t find it, and I really wanted the 5-year-old kid to find it. She was gonna come out and be holding it, and it made everyone very uncomfortable, which is why I wanted to do it. I thought for a multicam, this could be incendiary and interesting and start a conversation and show the dangers inside the home of these kinds of choices. And the network — well, everyone was pretty freaked out about it. And I fought really hard, and it was a hill that I died on. We didn’t end up shooting that, and then Parkland happened and I was like, I …
Notably, the assembled showrunners of Justin Simien (Dear White People), Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Pamela Adlon (Better Things) all chimed in that Cummings “absolutely” should have done the scene, though the network would likely cut or delay it regardless. Cummings also addressed other controversies of the revival – including the real-life Roseanne Barr’s support for Donald Trump dominating discussion of the series:
For us, there was all this feedback of like, ‘This show is part of the problem.’ And I’m just like, ‘[Trump] got elected before this show came back.’ Like, [Roseanne Barr’s] Twitter feed is her Twitter feed. But everyone just needs something to blame right now.
It’s possible Cummings will revisit the gun safety storyline in the next Roseanne revival season, but was the network right to balk?
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