Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Bloom Is Off Roseanne

It may be heresy to say so, but I think it's a shame that Roseanne Barr's reboot got the axe.

Don't get me wrong: her tweet about Valerie Jarrett was inexcusable. It was racist, uncalled for, and you can't even defend it as being even the teeny tiniest bit funny.

I had only seen the pilot episode of the reboot; I watched the original show occasionally, but I thought it lost its appeal when Roseanne decided to change it from a show about a working class family to a show about a business manager and her quirky sidekicks. Then the show came back, and suddenly all my liberal friends who still watch TV were up in high dudgeon because Roseanne was portraying a Trump l'oeilist as something other than a knuckle-dragging buffoon.

Was it Sinclair TV with a laugh track? No. It's hard to believe that Melissa Gilbert, Wanda Sykes, or Laurie Metcalf would have agreed to participate in a show which incessantly bashed liberals and queers and feminists and Black Lives Mattersists.

A couple of months ago, conservative Indianapolis cartoonist Gary Varvel wrote a column departing from the conventional wisdom that the MAGA reiteration of Roseanne's show was a poke in the eye to the Librul A-yleet:
Many conservatives were giddy that it depicts a version of “Trump’s America.” The main character, Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr), is a supporter of President Trump in the show. Barr also is a friend of the president in real life.
Critics said that the reboot shows the diversity of politics in America today. In reality, the show is still about a socially liberal blue-collar family in Illinois. It's cleverly written to appeal to both Trump supporters and never-Trumpers. But conservative values are left out.
Roseanne Conner, he noted, may be pro-Trump, but her family includes a gender-queer grandson and a middle-aged daughter trying to become a surrogate mother for another couple. (Personally, I thought that plot line was a clever way to include both Beckies in the show.) I'd argue that was a good thing.

Real families, including those in deepest red states, have LGBTQ relatives; some may even know someone in an unconventional parenting situation. I give Ms. Barr kudos for showing those families that it's possible to accept them and love them — at the very least, that it's possible to get along.

We're all getting far too comfortable shouting past each other from inside our steel-reinforced cultural bubbles, and is seemed to be that this show had the capacity for nuance and empathy. If she was trying for something both sides of the political divide might enjoy, this country still has a need for that.

I saw it on the internet, so it must be true.
So, take it easy on the Ambien, everybody.  There's still Tim Allen and Patricia Heaton.

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