‘Roseanne’ Revival Will Feature Character Who Defies Gender Norms


The upcoming revival of the 1990s hit sitcom “Roseanne” promises to address many issues affecting working-class American families today, including how families react when kids dress in clothes not traditionally associated with the gender they were assigned at birth.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Sara Gilbert revealed more about Roseanne Conner’s grandson Mark, played by the young actor Ames McNamara. Mark is a sweet, funny, charming kid who likes to dress in clothing traditionally worn by girls. 

However, it would be incorrect to assume that Mark’s taste in clothing means that the character is transgender or gay, Gilbert said. The character simply “likes wearing that kind of clothing.” 

“I don’t want to pigeonhole him and say just because he dresses this way, that’s the only thing about him,” Gilbert told EW. “He happens to dress that way but he’s an amazing, creative, brilliant kid, which you will see, and so is the kid, Ames, who plays him.”

Gilbert ― who also plays Darlene, Roseanne’s daughter and Mark’s mom ― said that the young character is based on real children she knows who also choose to dress in clothes not traditionally associated with the gender they were assigned. She said she wanted to create this kind of character because “it represents the world.”

“This is a show that’s always been able to represent the world and talk about it without being so issue-heavy. We can do it through the dynamics of the family,” Gilbert said.

There will be one episode in the nine-episode revival that will focus more heavily on the way Mark dresses. 

“We did a lot of research because we wanted to make sure and do it properly,” Gilbert said. 

“Roseanne” originally aired from 1988 to 1997 and was praised for its honest portrayal of a white, blue-collar American family. The show returns to television March 27 on ABC.

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