Bill Cosby, ‘Roseanne’ And The Complications Of ’80s Nostalgia

In an interview timed to its 30th anniversary, “Married … With Children” star Katey Sagal discussed the Fox comedy’s misogynistic aspects. Stand-up comics regularly indulged in gay jokes and racial humor that would cause an uproar now. Even “Seinfeld’s” famous episode from 25 years ago where Jerry and George fret about people thinking they’re gay — constantly repeating “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” — is rooted in their underlying fear that someone might think they are.
Producers have consistently sought to update their reboots, bringing them into the modern age. The wrinkles range from Netflix’s Hispanic version of “One Day at a Time” to more multicultural casting in the CW’s “Dynasty.”
The lure of such name recognition remains a powerful draw, with “Murphy Brown” among the other ’80s artifacts destined to return next season, and various others being considered, among them “Cagney & Lacey” and “Magnum P.I.”
Invariably, there are those who pine for the “good old days,” especially the Reagan era that overlapped with shows like “Cosby,” “Family Ties” and (if only briefly) “Roseanne” and “Murphy Brown.” That was a part of the appeal in President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
But it shouldn’t come as a news flash that rosy views of the past aren’t universally shared. The genius of “Mad Men,” in fact, was that it allowed us to consider the present-day culture wars through another prism into the 1960s, and a family that wouldn’t have looked out of place on “Leave It To Beaver.”
Under the surface, life with the Drapers was considerably more complicated. As we’ve seen three decades later, the same can go for revisiting the ’80s, which, from an entertainment standpoint, has far more hues to it than simply black and white.


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