31st May2018

Opinionated: Roseanne’s Got a Problem

by Nathan Favel


Within a few hours, Roseanne Barr went from the top of Hollywood’s ladder of success to plummeting on the rocky terrain she had returned from mere months ago when her legendary television show, “Roseanne”, arrived to massive ratings in its resurrection. Now, Roseanne’s infamous sense of humor has destroyed the success she just began to enjoy, including, but certainly not limited to, the next season of “Roseanne” and the entire sit-com itself. It can’t be said that this was not her fault, because Roseanne chose to compare Valerie Jarrett, a woman I don’t believe Roseanne even knows, to a monkey from the “Planet of the Apes”. Harsh comments are a part of comedy, but they only work when you say them to people, so they can see your body language and tone of voice, indicating that the outburst is for entertainment only. Writing mean jokes leaves out the necessary context that allows people to see that you truly are joking, because the written word has a hard time conveying intent and attitude. The fact that Roseanne went on Twitter and said some-thing offensive, presumably to offend, rather than be funny, is a sign that her notorious behavior was not simply a rumor, but the person she actually is. Roseanne was given a chance to prove her abrasive personality was just a part of her charm, but she has only confirmed that she is an arrogant bigot.

For years, the controversy of “Roseanne Connor”, Roseanne Barr’s lauded creation for her sit-com, spurned a strenuous debate over whether the comic and the character were truly separate. Before “Roseanne”, another television show, just as popular and influential, was on television in the 1970s called “All in the Family”. “All in the Family” featured an actor named Carroll O’Connor, who played “Archie Bunker”. “Archie Bunker” was a naïve bigot who had spent his life resenting any-one who was not a white, blue-collar-joe with a hard-knock life, but the actor, Carroll O’Connor, was a true-blue liberal, who detested the attitude of his iconic character. “All in the Family” endured much of the same controversy that “Roseanne” has been plagued with for most of its run on television, but was able to endure the criticism because the star of the show didn’t abuse the power that his racist patriarch dotted every “I” with… outside of the “Dean Martin Celebrity Roast”, that is. Roseanne Barr has always taken pride in her controversial reputation and seems to have been bolstered by a character like “Archie Bunker” to push how much people were willing to take, not on the show, but in reality. Roseanne Barr, despite playing this conservative woman, is known to be a liberal… until Barack Obama, a black man, became president. Valerie Jarrett also happens to be black and is one of Barack Obama’s former employees while was president. I have a hard time claiming some-one is a bigot, but her years of offensive comments and her defection to a different political spectrum just when a black man becomes her party’s candidate, leaves me thinking there has got to be a connection.

Regardless of what Roseanne has done, the show has been canceled. There has been some talk about keeping the sit-com on the air, but most folks are willing to let it die, despite the amount of jobs that will disappear because of it. First of all, I don’t think Disney should be allowed to wash their hands of this so quickly, because they’re the ones that brought Roseanne Barr back to television, despite her years of negative comments on Twitter. Disney deserves to have some humiliation for a few months and should endure the criticism of allowing Roseanne to feel like she could get away with being vindictive to other races. If Roseanne hadn’t been caught by the public for being offensive, then Disney would have just let this continue. Secondly, it’s not fair that an entire cast and crew should have to be punished for the choices of one person. The fact that there is no public indication from Disney that they’re even going to attempt to discuss keeping the rest of the people involved with the show working is almost as abhorrent as Roseanne’s comments were. If you ever wanted proof that Hollywood truly is just a business, then the abrupt, callous removal of the “Roseanne” show from ABC is as good as you can get. “Roseanne” may be focused on its title character, but the sit-com has always been about the entire “Connor” family and their exploits are just as entertaining and important to the show as “Roseanne’s” story is to it. Why should we have to forget about their stories just because of the star performer’s bad behavior?

I say that “Roseanne” should stay on the air, in some form or fashion. Why not make a spin-off with “Roseanne Connor” dying during her knee surgery? The new show could focus on the family dealing with the loss of its matriarch and where they go from there. “Roseanne’s” mom could certainly provide all of the irreverent humor that any show could ever need, so you don’t have to lose that part of the show. “Dan Conner” has always been the heart of the show, with his middle-class perspective on life being very easy to understand and appreciate, even if you didn’t agree with him. From “Jackie” to “Becky” to “Darlene”, each of the women on the show also have that authentic appeal that has elevated these supporting characters to the iconic status they have enjoyed for over twenty years. This is a great cast that has the potential to carry a television show without the main star, if they’re given the chance to perform to the best of their ability. Another thought I had is they could have “Roseanne” go into critical condition during her surgery and spend the season waiting to show her come out of the coma. This could buy them some time until they find a suitable replacement for Roseanne Barr to play her famous character and give them a season that would likely get strong ratings. My final idea, which is probably the most radical, is to take Darlene’s son, who had chosen to dress more like a woman, and push it to a logical conclusion that might not have happened otherwise: her son asks for a sex change. “Roseanne” has always been a show that has tackled big issues and now should not be any different. Hell, have Darlene’s son/daughter asked to be named “Roseanne”. If it all doesn’t work out, then the show can disappear, but if there’s a chance to save it, then an attempt should be made. It’s the honorable thing for Disney to do in the name of all of the people that are employed by the revived sit-com.

Nothing about what has happened is ideal, but I’m glad we now know, with some degree of certainty, that Roseanne Barr is the harbinger of chaos that she was always accused of being. Now that we have Roseanne out of the way, there is even a chance that Roseanne’s sit-com could be converted into some-thing just as enjoyable, but without the mania she likes to cause. I hope every-thing works out for the cast of the show, the crew of the show and for its disgraced star, Roseanne Barr.


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