ABC has shown subtle signs that it’s slowly regressing when it comes to diverse content. The ever-growing frustration surrounding the Roseanne reboot that continues to grow by the minute is a key factor. From its leading star’s candid disclosure of voting for Donald Trump to the show’s controversial handling on race, ABC network also incurred backlash with the Roseanne reboot when the show took an unnecessary jab at fellow sitcoms Fresh Off the Boat and black-ish in the episode “Roseanne Gets the Chair.” The reboot, which has been a ratings juggernaut since its March 27 premiere, leaves many pondering if more stories centering on “middle America” potentially phase out stories that chronicle the plight and joy of black and brown families on ABC. Now, Channing Dungey, the entertainment chief at ABC, has given her two cents on the controversy.
While on a conference call with reporters, Dungey expressed her shock regarding the reaction to the joke. “I was a little surprised, to be honest, by the reaction to that line,” Dungey said of the controversy surrounding the joke. “We felt writers were looking to tip a hat to those shows. It certainly wasn’t meant to offend. I do stand by the Roseanne writers. I think they were expressing the point of view of the Connors, and what they would have actually said. We do similar things on our other shows. We’re very clear on black-ish about how many opinions are voiced by Dre Johnson.”
While Dungey stated that the joke was not made to offend people, it could certainly be argued that its intention is vastly different from its impact. Regardless of its intention, the joke inadvertently made a crass and feeble attempt to minimize the experiences of black and Asian families across America, which may have similar elements to the Connor family but a vastly different one due to skin color.