Gender-Creative Child Sparkles In New “Roseanne” Opening Credits

Ames McNamara plays Mark, Darlene's 9-year-old son, who likes wearing skirts.

ABC has released the opening title sequence for the Roseanne revival, which kicks off March 27 with back-to-back episodes.

Honoring the same iconic concept and harmonica-driven theme song from the blue-collar family sitcom’s original opening credits, the new season 10 opening shows the whole Conner family coming together around the kitchen table.

Roseanne/ABC/Adam Rose

In the opening, Mark, domestic goddess Roseanne Conner’s gender-nonconforming grandson, sashays into the kitchen and pulls a sassy face while wearing a sparkly star sweater.

An early casting call for the reboot described Mark as “gender creative,” requiring an actor who could play “sensitive and effeminate” and who “displays qualities of both young female and male traits.”

Played by newcomer Ames McNamara, Mark also briefly appears in the official season 10 trailer, which premiered last weekend during the 90th Academy Awards.

As first reported last April, the revived series reunites most of its original cast, including Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Johnny Galecki, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson, and Sarah Chalke.

Despite Barr’s controversial personal politics and her decision to make her TV alter ego a Trump supporter, EW titles its recent review, “Sorry haters, but the Roseanne revival is a real treat.”

“Some of the best moments center on the family’s attempt to understand Darlene’s son, Mark (Ames McNamara), a 9-year-old who likes to wear skirts and ’colors that pop,'” writes EW’s Kristen Baldwin. “Roseanne and Dan are befuddled by the boy’s clothes and worry he’ll get bullied at school, but their concerns stem from a fierce love rather than stereotypical ’red state’ ideas of masculinity.”

Roseanne/ABC/Adam Rose

Gilbert, who plays Darlene, is also an executive producer on the revival. She told EW earlier this year that Mark is “not a transgender character. He’s a little boy. He’s based on a few kids in my life that are boys who dress in more traditionally feminine clothing. He’s too young to be gay and he doesn’t identify as transgender, but he just likes wearing that kind of clothing and that’s where he is at this point in his life.”

Gilbert confirmed that while Mark wears feminine clothing throughout the season, one episode will focus on that detail more heavily. “I don’t want to pigeonhole him and say just because he dresses this way that’s the only thing about him,” she continued. “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.”

Fan favorites Sandra Bernhard and Estelle Parsons, who played queer characters on the iconic sitcom, will also reprise their roles in the 10th season.

Parsons played Beverly Harris, mother of Roseanne and Jackie (Metcalf). Bernhard played Nancy Bartlett, a close friend of the sisters. Sources say that Parsons is set to appear in two of the revival’s nine episodes, while Bernhard will appear in one.


One of the first lesbian recurring characters on an American sitcom, Nancy came out during the series and had girlfriends played by Morgan Fairchild and Mariel Hemingway. (Nancy later identified as bisexual.) Beverly also came out as a lesbian during the show’s final season.

The 1994 episode “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” stirred up controversy for its inclusion of a kiss between Roseanne and Hemingway’s character, Sharon, at a lesbian bar. It was one of the first same-sex kisses in primetime television. The groundbreaking series also featured a wedding for Roseanne’s former boss Leon (Martin Mull) and his boyfriend Scott (Fred Willard).

Gilbert came out publicly in 2010. She revealed on The Talk that she first came to terms with her sexuality while dating co-star Galecki. 

Barr is also an executive producer of the Roseanne revival, along with Tom Werner and Bruce Helford, who co-produced the show’s original run from 1988 to 1997.

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