'Roseanne' Meets Muslim Neighbors, Confronts Her Prejudices in New Episode

Roseanne Conner isn't the most open-minded character on Roseanne, especially when it comes to the integration of American communities, specifically her Langford, Illinois community. The lead protagonist on Roseanne Barr's blue-collar comedy will learn a lesson on tolerance, empathy and acceptance from her neighbors on the upcoming episode.

Barr and Roseanne co-executive producer Dave Caplan dished on Tuesday's episode during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, released Monday. The next episode will follow the sitcom matriarch's encounter with her new neighbors, who happen to be Muslim.

Caplan said the idea was all Barr's. "Roseanne said, 'What if a Muslim family lives next door?' And all the writers looked at each other for about five seconds and went, 'Yea, we're doing that,'" he said.

The Conners will be forced to make nice with their Yemen-native neighbors after they lose their Wi-Fi service due to their inability to pay the bill. Before they get their neighbor's password—so Mary [Jayden Rey] can Skype with her mom Geena [Jahmela Biggs], who is stationed in Afghanistan—Roseanne will have to put aside her prejudices and drop her "preconceived notions" about the couple next door. What she learns will change the way she views folks from the Middle East going forward.

"She starts from being very fearful from this family that moved in next door that she doesn't know, and once she gets to know them she realizes there's probably more similarities than differences," Caplan said.

The show has previously highlighted some of the Conner family's prejudices, particularly in one of the earlier episodes of the season when Roseanne and her husband Dan [John Goodman] mocked more diverse family sitcoms Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat.

"Roseanne" doing an episode about Muslim neighbors at Roseanne Barr's urging https://t.co/JnfmCPqzZH via @ew

— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) May 7, 2018

Barr, who has been making headlines for her advocation of President Donald Trump, noted that the episode wasn't an attempt to "break any new territory," but suggested that the "heartwarming" and "funny" episode would serve as a conversation starter to help people see the good in others. "I just thought it would be really relevant for a show about immigrants and prejudices, so we find a way to cut to the humanity of each other. And I like that for my show," Barr said.