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In era of Trump, the 'Roseanne' revamp focused on a Midwestern family looks promising

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Roseanne Barr's reboot offers some hope of a portrayal of the Midwest that has depth and context. It's necessary because its residents are America's unheard. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Thirty years after Roseanne first hit the airwaves, the sitcom is slated for a comeback on ABC next year, where the network hopes the show's return will provide an honest representation of underrepresented voices.

Previewing what viewers should expect from the show when it hits the lineup next year, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said on Monday, "I don't know whether Roseanne [Barr] will speak about Trump by name. But she's going to speak very honestly."

Barr, the star of the eponymous show, insists she never endorsed the president in 2016, but did say last June that the country "would be lucky if he won." She ran for president herself in 2012 on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket and generally supports progressive causes, but from an anti-establishment perspective.

Speaking of her network's efforts to reach an audience that includes Trump voters, Dungey remarked, "Certainly, that's something in our development that we've been trying to look at more directly."

"What the election revealed was that there's parts of our country that didn't feel heard, that they didn't have a voice," Dungey explained. "When you look at how the polling data went in the run-up to the election, it was kind of a big surprise to many people that the election turned out as it did."

Regarding how the show will deal with national politics in the age of President Trump, Dungey said, "We're going to be tackling some of the topics that are in the conversation today. I'll leave it that."

Barr, for her part, clarified on Twitter Wednesday that the new show is "not about Trump," but, more broadly, "a Midwestern family."

In fact, I hope that characterization is accurate.

The sociological trends that contributed to Trump's victory long predated his election and mostly transcend party lines. Our appetite should not be for a reflexive and cartoonish defense of Trump voters, but for a show that brings people into a living room filled with characters that dimensionalize and contextualize real people in the Midwest, many of whom rightfully feel mocked, despised and forgotten by cultural elitists.

It is unrealistic, of course, to expect those cultural elitists to tune into an ABC sitcom when there are so many "30 Rock" reruns to be watched, but hopefully Barr's depiction will be reasonably accurate, and hopefully it will penetrate at least some bubbles.

ABC took serious heat this spring for canceling its popular sitcom "Last Man Standing," a show perceived as one of the only pro-Trump programs in Hollywood despite its solid ratings.

If anyone is capable of replicating Tim Allen's 1990's sitcom credentials, I suppose it's Roseanne.

Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.