In many ways, the FX series Baskets is the anti-Roseanne. Zach Galifianakis’ single-camera comedy is odd and quirky where Roseanne Barr’s multicam behemoth is broad and at times a bit saccharine. Averaging 1.8 million viewers per episode, Baskets get nowhere near the monster ratings ABC’s reboot pulled in on a weekly basis this spring.
And yet the two shows do share some commonalities. Both are set in what could be called “Trump country” — Roseanne in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois, Baskets in rural Bakersfield, California. And both prominently feature white working-class characters just trying to scrape by on minimum-wage jobs.
For Galifianakis’ character Chip on Baskets, that job has, more often than not, been working the drive-thru window at Arby’s. And that’s exactly where the actor and comedian was on Tuesday, handing out orders of curly fries and Jamocha shakes to Emmy voters as part of FX’s For Your Consideration campaign at the fast-food location on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
The event happened to be taking place just as ABC announced that it had cancelled a planned second season of the Roseanne reboot after its star and creator tweeted a racist attack against former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett.
“Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement, after Barr cruelly called Jarrett a cross between the “Muslim brotherhood” and “Planet of the Apes.”
That show came up during a discussion with reporters Tuesday morning when Galifianakis explained he wanted Baskets to reflect “real people” in a way most sitcoms don’t. “I think it’s important to have characters on TV represent people you see walking around,” he said. “And I just don’t see that a lot.”
“I think that’s why Roseanne is doing so well,” co-creator and director Jonathan Krisel added.
“Yeah, but she’s not a real person,” Galifianakis joked, prompting a huge laugh from co-star Louie Anderson. “She used to be, but people lose it.”
“I think it’s more about Roseanne than it is about the people,” Galifianakis added later. “It’s about building up that celebrity cred.”
Krisel concurred, saying that while the original Roseanne series was a “huge inspiration” to him, he can’t say he feels the same way about the new version, which stirred up controversy with its pro-Trump messaging long before its ultimate cancellation on Tuesday — something the Baskets cast did not yet know about during the conversation.
The director, who once worked with Barr on Portlandia, added, “She’s in her own universe.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the ratings for Baskets. With linear and non-linear viewers included, the show’s third season averaged 1.8 million viewers.