Brow Beat

A Ridiculous Amount of People Watched the Roseanne Reboot Premiere

Roseanne Barr and John Goodman smile at each other on the set of the rebooted Roseanne.
It’s good to be home!
ABC / Adam Rose

The latest trend of TV revivals has left some of us exhausted. If a popular show gets canned, it’s only a matter of time before Netflix or cable picks it back up for the Lazarus treatment, à la Full House, Arrested Development, or even Twin Peaks. Sometimes, this is a good move, when episodic auteurs have more and better things to say. Roseanne Barr’s new Roseanne revival is one such lucky case—and it looks like America agrees.

The working-class comedy returned on Tuesday to staggering numbers: According to Nielsen, the return drew 18.2 million same-day viewers, scoring an unprecedented 5.1 for ABC’s target group of adults under 50. As Vulture points out, the show’s overall figure of 18.2 million far surpasses that of both The Walking Dead (11.4 million watched its latest season opener) and Game of Thrones (whose summer finale drew in 12.1 million).

This marks an impressive achievement for any sitcom reboot as even the successful Will & Grace reboot premiere sported only 10.2 million viewers. This could be because the comedy speaks to white, working-class America with a strong enough voice to sway the popular vote. As Slate’s Willa Paskin pointed out in her review, while Roseanne operates overall on progressive politics, its button-pushing undercurrent (namely Barr’s real-life support of Trump) is there to complicate how we view the show.

Has ABC hit on the ultimate entertainment happy medium in a country torn apart by partisanship, or did we just cast another right-wing vote with our viewership? Only more irreverent episodes—and those pending ratings—will tell.