Bruce Helford Interview: ‘Roseanne’ producer
“People are ready for a show that’s a bit more honest and a little more natural,” reveals writer/producer Bruce Helford in our exclusive webcam interview (watch the video above). Helford, who serves as executive producer and head writer for the highly anticipated smash hit “Roseanne” revival on ABC, genuinely believes that the show has come back at just the right time. “To see something that is a little more gritty and substantial, I think people are ready for it and I couldn’t be more pleased,” he says, adding that “we don’t pull punches, and that’s the legacy of what the show always was, a ground breaking show.”
Much of the discussion around the revival has been about the show’s often controversial political commentary. Helford has welcomed this with open arms. “We were interested in encouraging a discussion so that both sides are represented, and it’s really even-handed,” he explains. “If you read the reviews of the show, regardless of the position they took, I’ve never read more intelligent, intellectually stimulating reviews than about this show. Again, regardless of position you took, people are writing about something.
“It’s really wonderful to see the level of discussion that’s going on about politics in America, and I like that kids are getting more informed about politics, so if you’re talking about the President, and what you don’t like or do like about the President, the most important thing going on is intelligent discussion. It makes me really happy. It’s like the old days with Norman Lear and ‘All in the Family,'” he adds. “Hopefully people can laugh at themselves a little bit. People have taken this so seriously and obviously for matters of the heart and matters that touch them personally they should but every once in a while you have to step back and laugh at yourself.”
The “Roseanne” revival starring Roseanne Barr, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf has exceeded all expectations, returning to giant ratings and critical buzz, as a whopping 18 million Americans tuned in for the show’s double-episode premiere a few weeks ago. Helford is understandably relieved, as he explains the pressure was on to deliver. “One thing a bout bringing a show back that was so popular back in the day is you want to keep that level up to what it was. You don’t want to tarnish that legacy. So we were very intense, right up to the [first] table read,” he reveals. “When we came to the table and all the actors were there, and they started reading, and everybody started laughing, we were like, OK, we are surrounded by the sets, we are back home.”