I was never the hugest fan of the Roseanne show. Not a particular devotee of family style-sitcoms, I didn’t warm to Roseanne Barr’s brand of prickly matriarch snark. However, I did respect the show’s writing and the easy, playful rapport she enjoyed with her TV husband, John Goodman.
When it came back this year, I watched mainly for its controversial nature and buzz but then found the characters to be too generally too old-in-the-tooth to be funny/likable in their old roles. John Goodman seemed like he had been through triple bi-pass surgery, Laurie Metcalf seemed in quick need of fluids, and only Roseanne Barr’s bodily systems seemed to functioning adequately by comparison.
when I first heard the story of Roseanne Barr’s so called racist tweet. The whole thing seemed just one big over-reaction. What’s that you say, Someone being mean on Twitter?!!!, stop the madness! People say crass things on the internet all the time. Nowadays, that almost seems its main reason for being. Facebook too, once a place just to post vacation or kid pics now, post-election has morphed into a place to trumpet daily hatred of the current administration (you think Trump’s a dick, I think we got it)… and of course Trump’s un-relenting daily twitter tirades. So, I just could not fathom why Roseanne Barr was the scapegoat who got fired over one ill-advised tweet. To me, it seemed inseparable from everything else you see on Twitter. I still feel the whole thing could have blown over if they did some self-mocking storyline on Roseanne where she Tweeted something accidentally racist and got instant flack/ heat from everyone she knew. Valerie Jarrett could have even guest starred as herself and earned herself some extra “cool points”. Alas, I guess the political climate is too raw for that now.
When the show’s pseudo-reboot, “The Conners” premiered yesterday, I was not sure what to think. I really didn’t expect comedy greatness. The other characters are too reactive to be good protagonists. Love her or hate her, Roseanne was always a bundle of feisty comic wit. Sarah Gilbert is too laid-back and taciturn to be the comedic fulcrum of the show.
I didn’t really understand why the show had to kill off Roseanne’s character as punishment. She tweeted something offensive, she didn’t kill anyone. Also an Opioid overdose seemed unnecessarily awful and out-of-character. It would have been better if she never really died or if only her twitter account was put out of its misery. But, the show cheerlessly chugged on without her. Goodman, without Roseanne to bounce-off, appeared lost and pathetic and the other characters, mostly forgettable anyway, seemed like mere place-holders to what the show once was. In general, The entire cast had a shell-shocked, sleepy vibe… like they had just awoken from an anesthetic after getting a colonoscopy. The spirit of “R” hung heavy on the whole episode and I found myself feeling pissed that she wasn’t there.
Another thing which cast a pall over the premiere was that I know that Roseanne (often inseparable from her TV Character) didn’t really die but was forced off the show kicking and screaming in a very public way. Far from dead, Roseanne Barr is still very much alive and vocal on radio, tv (Rabbi Shmuley, anyone?) . At various times during the show, I could have sworn I could hear her spirit chime in and ominously intone, “for shame!”
I’m not blaming the cast for continuing on without Roseanne. They are entitled to work and make money but if often seemed like they were hopelessly clinging to boat that’s been torpedoed and quickly taking on water. I’m sure the viewing audience was also in denial about the prospect of Roseanne’s passing. I sincerely doubt anyone was really tuning into “The Conners” to hear the latest “Darlene News”, see Dan sadly polish his old motorcycle, or deeply cared if Becky ever really got it together.
There was something so gutless about the Network’s decision to fire Roseanne about an unpopular, possibly racist tweet. Roseanne always did ridiculous, questionable things. She butchered the Star Spangled banner and married Tom Arnold! Its not like TV is a bastion of high values or elitist entertainment anyway. In the 1970s we had racist Archie Bunker, in the 80s we had the morally challenged, Morton Downey and Jerry Springer. Ultimately, with such douchebag behavior exhibited on their actual shows, I never thought TV Networks put any stock their stars did in their off-hours that much as long as they brought in the ratings. There’s even a show currently on the air called “Hillybilly Handfishing” for christ sakes … obviously TV doesn’t care about decorum or taste. There’s simply an audience out there for for people who adore watching un-refined people fish with their hands, so lets give it to them!.
I do condemn Roseanne for publicly tweeting her views. As a rule, My eyes glaze over every time any celebrity get political. Without the petty cares of the everyday person, they often come across as either insincere, daffy or self- serving when they wax political. Plus, I already give people like Jim Parson enough of my time watching The Big Bang Theory. Why do I also have to listen to what he thinks about tariffs for China?!
I’ll continue to tune into the show for a few more episodes . Whether there’s enough of a show there once the fog of Roseanne has lifted is anyone’s guess. But, I guess its truly too late to hope the rest of the cast suddenly unleash a spate of racists tweets, in solidarity for Roseanne, and get fired from execs from ABC…only to be scooped up by a new Roseanne Reboot on the Fox Network.