ChrisWeigant.com

Bye-Bye, Roseanne

[ Posted Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 – 17:04 PDT ]

The best quip I've heard about the explosive television news today has got to be: "This was the problem all along: Having Roseanne back meant having Roseanne back." In other words, the show was great and funny and all of that, but Roseanne Barr (the actress, not the Roseanne Conner character) had, in the years that intervened between the original run's cancellation and the reboot, completely gone off the rails. She was not just a Trump voter, to put this another way, she was out-Trumping Trump in her support of crazy conspiracy theories. And, yes, some of those crazy conspiracy theories were also pretty racist or (at the start, she later became staunchly pro-Israel) blatantly anti-Semitic.

ABC knew all of this when they agreed to the reboot. You can picture the executives holding their collective breath, waiting to see whether Roseanne Barr could avoid spouting off on Twitter about conspiracies or outright racism. Today, they were forced to exhale, after the flood of tweets proved Roseanne Barr was a risk not worth taking.

To their credit, for a giant media corporation, they did so swiftly. There wasn't much pause between Roseanne's foray into crazy and racist tweets and ABC dropping the axe on season two of the reboot. Wanda Sykes (who started as a comedy writer on the original series) led the exodus, tweeting that she would not be around for season two. The network soon followed suit.

Barr's tweets were indefensible. She (wrongly) accused Chelsea Clinton of being married to a nephew of George Soros, and then after Clinton politely smacked her down, Barr stooped to (again, wrongly) accuse Soros of being a collaborator with the Nazis and making money denouncing fellow Jews during World War II (fact check: when the war ended, he was only 14). She also, for good measure, said a former aide to Barack Obama was the misbegotten product of a union of the Muslim Brotherhood and The Planet Of The Apes. So, we got the anti-Semitic "money-grubbing Jews" trope along with Nazis and comparing certain people to apes, all in one big garbage dump. Given that this was merely one single twitter rant, it's pretty easy to see that ABC really had no choice. What, after all, could be coming next from Roseanne's Twitter feed?

Roseanne weakly tried to fall back on the old "it was just a joke" excuse, but nobody bought that for a minute. Sure, there are valid arguments about how far comedians should go when making jokes about race or ethnicity, but while Roseanne might have been able to make this argument about the Valerie Jarrett tweet ("if X and Y had a baby..." is indeed a comedic motif), the same argument simply couldn't be made about her baiting Chelsea Clinton. The mean-spirited nature of all of the tweets really precluded any possible "it was just humor, get over it!" defense.

The network really should have seen this coming, since one of the nine episodes in the reboot dealt with Roseanne's knee-jerk anti-Muslim racism. A Middle-Eastern-looking family moves in across the street from the Conners, and Roseanne spends the entire episode warning her family that they must be plotting to blow up the neighborhood. Solely on their looks, ethnicity, or perceived national country of origin. That is racism, pure and simple. Neither Roseanne nor anyone else speaks to these neighbors until the very end of the show, which is pretty much the textbook definition of prejudice (pre-judging someone without even meeting them). When Roseanne and Dan finally do meet the neighbors, Roseanne admits: "We don't hate you. We're scared of you," as if that's somehow supposed to be better. So you could say ABC -- who greenlighted the episode -- should have seen what was coming.

A second season might have worked, if someone had taken away Roseanne Barr's Twitter account. Once again, she has tweeted this sort of thing (and worse) in the past, so everyone already knew she was bonkers. As long as she kept that out of the scripts, it might have worked. But she has now crossed the Rubicon -- she is now nothing short of box office poison. Unless Fox surprises everyone and picks up the show, Roseanne Conner will never return to the small screen. Comebacks from complete and utter public craziness have happened before in television (see: Charlie Sheen), but I rather doubt that's going to happen for Roseanne Barr.

She has now crossed into the category of: "We don't care how many viewers you bring in, we don't care how funny you are on your show, we simply cannot associate our company with you any longer." She certainly isn't alone in this category, either.

The best example of where Roseanne is now has to be slightly hypothetical. Suppose Bill Cosby was still fit and able to act on television right now. Would any network in their right mind decide it was time for a reboot of The Cosby Show? That's the company Roseanne Barr is now in, and my guess is that she'll never emerge from this purgatory again. So wave "bye-bye" to Roseanne Conner and the extended Conner family, because this time they're really never coming back again.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

12 Comments on “Bye-Bye, Roseanne”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    Someone tweeted words to the effect that while you can make racism/bigotry "funny" in TV/Movies, you can't be funny when the actor is actually a racist/bigot. Maybe, more accurately, if you KNOW the actor is a bigot.

    My dvd of Blazing Saddles has interviews in the extras. I think it was Slim Pickens who talks about how hard it was for him to say his lines in the movie because the sentiments expressed were so awful.

    I think that's what sealed Roseanne's fate - people who gave her the benefit of the doubt didn't want to believe she was that bad - and many Americans don't want to think Trumpers are that bad and liked having a show that humanizes them. Or, more accurately, normalizes them. Provide excuses for them, etc. Which was a bad idea from the start. I'm glad the pushback was successful.

  2. [2] 
    Kick wrote:

    But she has now crossed the Rubicon -- she is now nothing short of box office poison.

    Now, now... let's leave the Jeep Corporation out of this. ;)

    Of course, y'all know I'm kidding, but for those unaware, there are many parts in the South where a statement like that above would carry a mandatory 10-minute explanation regarding the meaning of crossing the Rubicon. Yes, some of them are that uneducated and ignorant; I kid you not.

    Unless Fox surprises everyone and picks up the show, Roseanne Conner will never return to the small screen.

    Lots of talk on Fox News Entertainment propaganda lately about "respecting the national anthem" and now "freedom of speech" because of Roseanne... go figure. The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same decades later. Could Fox pick up "Roseanne" and become her champion after Barr's treatment of the song they claim to revere -- complete with the crotch grabbing and spitting? I'm thinking not.

  3. [3] 
    Paula wrote:

    [2] Kick: "Could Fox pick up "Roseanne" and become her champion after Barr's treatment of the song they claim to revere -- complete with the crotch grabbing and spitting? I'm thinking not."

    Wanda Sykes was evidently already out of there - and Sara Gilbert was getting hammered on Twitter and I suspect that other stars would have started being hammered as well. I don't think the show can be saved, even if FOX were to be interested.

  4. [4] 
    Kick wrote:

    Oh, bollocks; it apparently just leaked that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is a key witness against BLOTUS for obstruction.

    Trump twitter meltdown in 3-2-1...

  5. [5] 
    Kick wrote:

    Paula
    3

    I don't think the show can be saved, even if FOX were to be interested.

    Pushback on Twitter can be such a "witch." In her defense and in the spirit of "freedom of speech," she's certainly not the first comedian to compare a human to an ape... remember the Bill Maher "Real Time" comedy regarding Trump/spawn of orangutan complete with $5 million lawsuit. But then Bill Maher was actually kidding and therefore successfully defended himself in the courtroom when Trump sued him and in the court of public opinion.

    Roseanne's issue is that she wasn't kidding, and her history caught up with her. It's a 180-neck turning exercise in whiplash keeping up with Roseanne's conspiracy theories ranging from her photo shoot in Heeb magazine where she played Hitler wearing a Nazi armband and pulling burned "Jew cookies" out of the oven not so long ago to today's full embrace of Trump and his conspiracy theory bullshit meant to divide and conquer and claiming that George Soros is a Nazi sympathizer. Not defending Soros, but I've never seen him take a tray of "Jew cookies" out of an oven whilst dressed as Adolph Hitler. So there's that.

  6. [6] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Can you imagine if the show wasn’t cancelled? On the show, DJ was married to an African American woman and had a child that was half-Black.... what the Hell was Rosanne going to say to them the next time she saw them? Not to mention the boycotting of any advertisers that dared back the show after this: “Chlorox Bleach, gets your sheets whiter than white!”

    “Krispy Kreme now sells coffee...NEW Krispy Kreme Koffee — take some KKK to work with you today!”

  7. [7] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Listen (6)-
    Speaking of conspiracy theories, I heard that Krispy Kreme was started to counter Dunkin Donuts which was originally called Don King Donuts but white people couldn't understand when black people said it and they thought it was Dunkin Donuts so that became the name.

  8. [8] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    As one who always believed that Barr achieved whatever successes she did by managing to make TV viewers believe that brasshnes, coarseness and her stereotypically-grating Jewish female voice actually constituted talent, I will not miss her from the TV scene.

    I always blamed Carson for helping her achieve unjustified prominence as a no-talent comedian.

  9. [9] 
    John M wrote:

    [8] C. R. Stucki

    "I always blamed Carson for helping her achieve unjustified prominence as a no-talent comedian."

    Carson did the same for Victoria Jackson as well. Another has been who has faded into conspiracy laden obscurity. It does make you question some of his choices.

    But there is no denying that Carson certainly had the power to make comedic stars; Jay Leno, David Letterman, Drew Carey, Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, etc. An appearance and good word on Carson's Tonight Show was almost a guaranteed ticket to fame and success.

  10. [10] 
    ericksor wrote:

    Catch Jimmy Kimmel's solution to the problem: Drop Barr completely from the show and retool it as "Dan," a loveable single father with a diverse family. Actually, since ABC gave up an estimated $60 million in ad revenue for the upcoming season, that might not be too bad an idea.

  11. [11] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    John M

    An appearance and good word on Carson's Tonight Show was almost a guaranteed ticket to fame and success.

    But Carson was not known to bestow compliments where they were undeserved. The comedians who got the opportunity to perform for his audience knew it was a huge opportunity to advance their careers, and if Johnny called them over to talk with him after your set — their lives would never be the same. Carson had that ability.

    Rosanne is a great comedian, sadly she just isn’t that great of a human being.

  12. [12] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Jimmy Kimmel's solution to the problem: Drop Barr completely from the show and retool it as "Dan".

    I agree. Why let Roseanne ruin what is otherwise a good show? Also: Goodman's a credible lead with the chops to carry the show, aided by a strong supporting cast. It could work, and would close the chapter on Roseanne for good.

Comments for this article are closed.