It’s entirely possible there has never been a better entertainment/media decision made in the history of entertainment/media then Roseanne Barr’s decision to reboot her classic, eponymous sitcom. After two decades, Roseanne is back, bigger (accounting for the shrinking TV audience, especially) and in many ways better than ever after deciding to swim against Hollywood’s oppressively leftist, bicoastal current and do the unthinkable – acknowledge the millions of people in this country who are in real life a lot like the TV show’s fictional family.
The show’s pro Trump attitude has made it a lightning rod among leftists in Hollywood – which is another way to say it’s made of a lightning rod in Hollywood. Its success, on the other hand, has pretty much immunize it for most of that criticism.
On a recent show, Rosanna and “Dan” – her long time husband, played by John Goodman ~ passed out on the couch and “missed all the shows about black and Asian families’ – Blackish and Just Off the Boat, about a couple of, wait for it, hard-working families who happen to be black-ish and asian-ish. Roseanne quips “They’re just like us. There, now you’re all caught up.”
Now, if you’re like me – well, you don’t watch Roseanne, or any other television, so you didn’t see it. But the quip strikes me as saying “there about other families dealing with the cards life has dealt them, same as us.”. Which is not a bad observation, near as I can tell.
But then, racism isn’t where I earn my living, either.
I’m not sure that it’s where Kelvin Yu earns his living, either. He is a comic, actor, and writer on the series Bob’s Burgers (which, for the record, I really don’t care for at all). He took umbrage at the quote, deeming it dismissive of the minority experience:
After a two-decade hiatus, “Roseanne” has suddenly returned in glorious HD for a reason. Its astronomical ratings — over 18 million viewers watched the series the night it had its premiere — proclaims not only the show’s enduring resonance, but also a restitution of something lost (or at least something passed). In this era of capital-D Diversity, numbers like that indicate an unequivocal hunger (dare I say nostalgia) for stories about families like the Conners, who live blue-collar, paycheck-to-paycheck lives; fighting, laughing, and loving in the earnest heartland (read: white working class) of America. Not unlike the results of the 2016 presidential election, the #MakeAmericaWatchRoseanneAgain movement is a beacon in the night, illuminating a once-abandoned subsection of the country with a spotlight of validation. As if it were saying: “I see you. You matter.”
Which is why it’s so galling that a show celebrating ostensibly marginalized Americans would consider shows about even more marginalized Americans a punch line, tossed off between two yawns and a meh, followed by a roomful of people laughing.
Mr Yu: From the perspective of people (of all races) who are focusing on what actually matters – economic survival, raising families, the kinds of things most of Hollywood either doesn’t worry about or has contempt for – I suspect the virtue-signaling is lost.