What to Watch

Shows About Middle America To Watch Instead Of 'Roseanne' 

Donn Saylor
Updated June 12, 2018 323 votes 67 voters 1.5k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the best shows with similar themes to 'Roseanne.'

After the abrupt cancellation of Roseanne in May 2018, there was an uproar among fans of the show who felt that without it, there was a now supposed lack of television programming focused on "real people." But the reality is that there are plenty of shows that represent American life – series about regular, blue-collar folks who struggle to make ends meet, who don't live in "elite bubbles," who laugh and love and labor with an easy and accessible humanity.

During its initial run (and some might argue, its reboot), Roseanne may have tapped into a sense of working-class unease, but shows like Roseanne are still on the air, waiting to be discovered. Plus, these shows have the added bonus of not being weighted down with Roseanne Barr's polarizing politics, the associated fallout, or the behind-the-scenes drama of Roseanne. And these shows all deserve a larger viewership, not because they're Roseanne knockoffs – each one of them is a singular creation – but simply because they're good TV.

Bob's Burgers is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Shows About Middle America To Watch Instead Of 'Roseanne'
Photo:  Fox

As The Simpsons has proven (or used to prove, depending on your feelings on it), an animated series can sometimes offer a look into American life that a live-action series can't. Case in point: Bob's Burgers. The Fox cartoon is about the Belcher clan, who runs a restaurant in a coastal American city.

It's a satire, to be sure, but good satire like this has a lot to say about the power of family, community, and society. If for no other reason, watch it for eldest child Tina Belcher (Dan Mintz), perhaps one of the greatest and funniest characters currently on TV.

Actors: H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman

Premiered: January 9, 2011

Number of Seasons: 8

More Bob's Burgers 

#79 of 724 The Best Cartoons of All Time #54 of 483 The Greatest Animated Series Ever Madefeaturing Every Single Store Next Door Pun on Bob's Burgers

Superstore is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Shows About Middle America To Watch Instead Of 'Roseanne'
Photo:  NBC

Set in St. Louis, MO, the NBC workplace comedy Superstore is about a group of people toiling their lives away at a big box store in the American heartland. It captures the daily grind of what it's like to work in retail, as well as the important roles your coworkers play in your life when you're stuck in a minimum-wage wasteland.

Called "one of TV's best comedies," Superstore touches upon crucial topical issues. It takes place in a Walmart-like megastore, and it lightly addresses corporate soullessness without losing the funny. 

Actors: America Ferrera, Ben Feldman, Lauren Ash, Colton Dunn, Nico Santos, + more

Premiered: November 30, 2015

Number of Seasons: 3

More Superstore 

#572 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #146 of 217 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #363 of 483 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

The Middle is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Shows About Middle America To Watch Instead Of 'Roseanne'
Photo:  ABC

In May 2018, The Middle concluded its nine-season run on ABC, but that's no reason not to rediscover (or discover for the first time) its brilliance through reruns, which air daily on multiple channels. Taking place in Orson, IN, The Middle revolves around the economically-struggling Heck family, a clan of lovable oddballs who stick out more than a little in their small Midwestern community.

It's comical and irreverent while also feeling extremely personal and topical. Also: middle daughter Sue Heck, played to perfection by Eden Sher, is rumored to be getting a spinoff that would continue Sue's misadventures, so now is the ideal time to catch up on The Middle.

Actors: Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott

Premiered: September 30, 2009

Number of Seasons: 9

More The Middle 

#80 of 296 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television History #213 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Yearsfeaturing Ranking the Best Seasons of 'The Middle'

The Goldbergs is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Shows About Middle America To Watch Instead Of 'Roseanne'
Photo:  ABC

Sure, The Goldbergs can be silly, but even the most straight-laced family has its absurd moments. And fortunately for viewers, this ABC sitcom revels in those moments.

The title family lives in 1980s Jenkintown, PA, where they get into all sorts of shenanigans that feel both totally of the era and strangely contemporary. The Goldbergs manages to be both a slice of '80s American life and a tribute to the wacky, exasperating wonderfulness of family.

Actors: Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile, George Segal

Premiered: September 24, 2013

Number of Seasons: 5

More The Goldbergs 

#473 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #105 of 296 The Greatest Sitcoms in Television Historyfeaturing Ranking the Best Seasons of 'The Goldbergs'