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'Roseanne' Just Tackled Islamophobia, And It Might Be The Most Talked About Episode So Far

'Go Cubs' has drawn a mixed reaction from viewers.

'Roseanne' Tackled Islamophobia, And It Might Be The Most Talked About Episode So Far
ABC

ABC's Roseanne reboot is no stranger to controversy, and Tuesday night's episode was no exception. In "Go Cubs," Roseanne struggles with the knowledge that her neighbors are Muslim. True to form, the character worries that the family next door – the Al Harazis – is planning terrorist activities. Her paranoia leads to a number of ridiculous jokes at the family's expense: their wifi password must be "DeathToAmerica," their gardening habits are just a cover for bomb-making, etc. Roseanne won't even pop next door to meet them without a down home weapon of defense (read: baseball bat). There's no arguing the episode contains ignorant speculation and islamophobic content. In the end, however, the Conners (unsurprisingly) discover their neighbors are normal citizens just trying to live their lives.

This, it seems, was ABC's plan all along: to depict the prejudices of a family of Trump voters and offer a teachable moment. The network made sure to release the episode early to a select group of Muslim scholars in exchange for feedback and insight.

Amir Hussain, a professor of theological studies at Los Angeles' Loyola Marymount University, pointed out the importance of Muslim characters on TV:

"When asked in surveys, most Americans indicate that they don’t know a Muslim, and so the images that they see on television are crucial, as they may be the only Muslims that people encounter."

Another reviewer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. candidate Sohad Murrar, praised the episode for showing what happens when you take the time to meet people from different backgrounds:

"...the message is simple and powerful: It is difficult to dehumanize and stereotype other people when we get to know them on a personal level."

As a whole, it seems the episode is being well received.

Still, not every viewer is a fan... for whatever reason.

What did you think of "Go Cubs?" Share your thoughts below!

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