Monday, June 4, 2018


Whatever you think of Roseanne Barr's latest racist and offensive tweet, which sparked major backlash and lost her the show she had just brought back to life, it was wrong to label it a pro-Trump show.

I was not happy that the show was cancelled as I was a big fan. No, not because Roseanne's character, like Roseanne herself, was a Trump supporter. But because it was a funny, smart and inventive show that dealt with edgy issues of the day, much the same way the earlier version did.

Believe me, if the show had been a half hour of some kind of pro-Trump promotion, I would have turned it off from the beginning.

Sure, Roseanne deserved to lose the show given the terrible views she expressed, and ABC had good cause from a business and public relations standpoint to take a stand given the backlash it would have endured by keeping the program on the air -- it was a valid move.

But to refer to it as some kind of show representing views of the Trump base was just wrong. Part of this was due to Trump himself, who probably never even watched it, hitching himself to the success because Roseanne's character happened to be a Trump supporter. But this was raised in the show only a handful of times and in a very limited way.

Most of the show's plot lines dealt with the same issues it had considered 25 years ago when the original version aired: unemployment, crime, middle-class economics, raising children, paying bills and dealing with working class headaches. And while Roseanne was a Trump supporter, her sister and others were not and it led to some great examples of how the country is so divided today.

She also looked at some very progressive issues, with a son whose child was mixed race; a grandchild who was dealing with gender identity; a daughter seeking to be a surrogate parent; and on and on. One of the best episodes had Roseanne confronting her own Islamophobia.

This is no different from her earlier show that was among the first to have a gay wedding, discuss teen pregnancy and birth control, confront domestic abuse, depression, other mental illness and, yes, racism. 

And even if Roseanne's character had been more outspoken about her right-wing views that would not have necessarily made the show bad. Archie Bunker on All in the Family was much more racist, prejudice and outspoken about controversial issues of the day - but it made for great television and actually allowed the producers to show the absurdity of his views.

In the recent Islamophobia episode, Roseanne's fear of her Muslim neighbor was exposed as baseless and dangerous, even to herself. It also allowed viewers to see why some people have such fears, wrong as they are, the same way Archie Bunker had unfair views of people not like himself. Usually based on ignorance of something different. In Roseanne's case, perhaps pushed by the president she so admires. 

I am not trying to defend Roseanne's actions and in no way am I seeking for her to return to television, or be allowed to brush off this and other terrible things she has said and done. It's just that, as a reporter, I hate seeing misinformation spread and this show being portrayed as something other than what it was - good, innovative and edgy television. 

And Roseanne has no one but herself to blame for its removal. It has nothing to do with her politics, its her own racist and unacceptable actions and views. That may be the best issue of all the show is now forcing people to confront.

1 comment:

  1. Great Article, I actually wished that the network had just fired Roseanne alone and produced one more show that explained what Roseanne was thinking when she tweeted that. I really liked that the show gave me a window into the kind of mind that supports Trump. I would appreciate knowing what prompted the tweet, other than her racist nature.