By Zach Landau | Editor-in-Chief
With the recent reboot of ABC’s Roseanne, the discussion has been dominated by True Americans who, finally, at last, have their views represented on prime-time TV. It’s been literally 10 bajillion years since a white, working-to-middle class family has made its way onto American television. God bless Roseanne Barr for being brave enough to stand up to the Hollywood elite and speak what the silent majority have been thinking all this time.
And of course, the discussion surrounding the reboot of a show that I thought we all agreed was not really worth revisiting after its abysmal ending 20 years ago has also been infested by bleeding-heart liberals. These liberals are so triggered by the harsh truth of the show (and the worrying conspiracy theories that the show’s creator espouses on her Twitter, but don’t pay attention to that, that’s fake news) that they’ve launched a hateful campaign to shut down the voices of the political right. These snowflakes hate our free speech and will do anything to shut down honest American ideals.
I am, of course, being glib here. While the reactions to the new season of Roseanne have been predictably, well, predictable, I am quite shocked by the, uh, shock surrounding the show’s creator and her behavior.
Barr has always been a bit on the eccentric side. Season 9, that last season from 1996 that afforded the show’s creator more creative control, of Roseanne was notoriously bad. Barr was finally free to try some new things, one of which was to run the show right into the ground. Even the final twist in the season was that most favorable of all TV tropes: retconning the show to all be just a dream. It was also something of an open secret that Barr is difficult to work with.
Further exacerbating this weird, controversial issue are the tweets from Barr that insinuate that she believes the QAnon conspiracy — a theory about an international Satanic pedophilia cult that Trump is secretly waging war against. Sounds crazy, maybe crazy enough to ignore, but remember Pizzagate? Remember the guy who fired a gun in a D.C. pizza shop intending to investigate a wild claim made by anonymous people on the internet?
My point here is that neither Barr nor her character are really what people want them to be. She may look like just your average midwestern grandmother trying to navigate this brave new world, but she isn’t. Barr is a celebrity just like all the other ones she positions herself opposite of. She has tons of money, a platform, a voice and she is not some meteoric champion of an oppressed, silenced class.
To underscore this point, Roseanne isn’t actually doing that great, ratings wise. Its Season 10 debut sits approximately at the same levels of its last season in the mid- ’90s: about 18 million viewers. For comparison, the decade-old Big Bang Theory raked in about 13 million. There’s a gap, sure, but I can’t imagine that momentum carrying the show far.
Also, Roseanne isn’t the only show on television that voices the concerns of the white working class. There’s, say, Bob’s Burgers, a hilarious show that does an excellent job of exploring the economic anxieties of a white family trying to scrape by. There’s no posturing about making grandiose statements about the state of our country; it’s just a good show about a good family trying to do good.
And let’s not forget about the other shows that venerated the white working class over the years. King of the Hill was a beloved show that is seeing a bit of a resurgence in popularity online.
There’s also The Simpsons, which, actually…
What’s interesting is that after this week’s (let’s liberally call it) snafu on The Simpsons, which involved Lisa and Marge basically refuting accusations of racism by essentially saying, “Deal with it,” and actually saying, “Don’t have a cow.” Obviously, this was a willfully-ignorant response to legitimate criticism that, more than anything, emphasized the dredge of creative over at Fox.
In the aftermath, the same people coming out of the woodwork to support Roseanne also, suddenly, came out as huge Simpsons fans. They found The Simpsons brave and creative (despite taking the path of least resistance). How funny. How funny that people who never watched The Simpsons are vocalizing their support now.
How really, really funny.
I’m not insinuating anything sinister here. What I am insinuating is that turning a more critical eye to the entertainment we consume, not just the news, is paramount now more than ever. We live in a country that, despite being Republican-controlled, honestly believes that right-wing voices are underrepresented when they simply aren’t. And there are people who will capitalize on that falsity, and exploit the phantoms we made up in order to turn a profit.
Roseanne Barr is not your friend. Don’t believe her when she says she is.