'Roseanne' Showrunner on Roseanne Barr Dressed as Nazi: 'There's Parody Involved'

Roseanne co-executive producer Bruce Helford has weighed in on his star's inflammatory tweets and controversial politics, saying that "the show is not representing her personal politics."

Helford sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He discussed the show's massive success in ratings, which has carried on for two weeks now. He attributed this to the reboot's willingness to portray tough conversations that are happening all over America, but insisted that they're aiming for equal representation, not skewing to one side.

As for Roseanne Barr's personal support for President Donald Trump and her espousal of conspiracy theories, he told the interviewer that "people should just watch the show and judge it on its merits.

"The show is not representing her personal politics. The Conners were Bill Clinton voters back in the day. Those people have very heavily shifted toward Trump. We did our due diligence on what all that would be about."

"And the show, aside from the fact that Roseanne Barr and Roseanne Conner both happen to be Trump supporters, has been borne out to be pretty realistic, in terms of the demographics of that area [the Midwest]. But aside from that, there's a big difference between anyone's personal politics and what the show is about. They're not meant to be interrelated in any way."

For Helford, this extends even to the photos of Barr that surfaced recently, showing her dressed as Adolf Hitler and pulling a tray of burned gingerbread cookies from the oven.

"How do you feel seeing the star of your show dressed as a Nazi?" the interviewer asked bluntly.

"I know that Roseanne is a very staunch supporter of Israel and she has said as much," Helford began. "I imagine there's probably some amount of parody involved and all that. I don't know the context of that so I wouldn't make a comment on it. My feeling is that people should just watch the show and judge it on its merits. Watch the show without the accompanying background noise."

(Photo: Twitter/@EffieResists)

"Everybody, including Roseanne, wanted the show to be balanced," he continued. "When we talk about wanting to open a dialogue in America, that's something that the show does. We're not trying to perform brain surgery or cure cancer. We all hoped that this would open a dialogue where people would start laughing at themselves a little bit, get a little less polarized and realize that this is a universal conversation."

"Lots of families find themselves divided on these issues. There's got to be a way to talk and still love each other the way that Roseanne and Jackie made their peace [in the revival's premiere]. And that's really what we want to have come out of it."

The photos, which circulated widely after the success of the Roseanne reboot, are originally from a satirical magazine called Heeb. In the accompanying article, the journalist suggests that Barr believes herself to be the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, and that she herself requested to dress in the costume.


"As I wait for Barr to arrive, I contemplate the pop culture folklore that surrounds her: the alleged multiple personality disorder, the roller coaster relationship with Tom Arnold — which culminated in a bitter divorce — the theory (her own) that she may in fact be the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, whom she has requested to be dressed as for her Heeb photo shoot. 'Nervous' doesn't begin to describe my feelings about meeting this 5'4" Jewish grandmother."

Roseanne airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.