By Robert Laurie
I didn’t watch the Roseanne reboot. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of the show the first time around, had no interest in seeing it come back, and I’m not going to shed any tears now that it’s been cancelled. Honestly, after watching Roseanne’s schtick over the intervening 20 years, I was surprised ABC wanted to revive the show at all. She’s been an off-kilter pseudo-crackpot since she the days when she was apologizing for purposely butchering the National Anthem.
Her post-show life has been a weird mish-mash of pot farming, macadamia nut-farming, Obama-is-gay conspiracy theories, 9/11 Trutherism, and Qanon weirdness. I’m not trying to pile on but, to put it mildly, Roseanne has been …off kilter.
So, when the Roseanne reboot was announced my initial reaction was “oh boy….I wonder how long that’s going to last?” Now we know. Despite big – and sustained – ratings, ABC has cancelled the Roseanne return.
— Kate Aurthur (@KateAurthur) May 29, 2018
The reason for the cancellation is probably cumulative, but the final straw was a tweet suggesting that Valerie Jarrett is a combination of “Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.” Yeah….ugh.
After that little missive, Roseanne’s head writer quit the show. Then, members of her cast and crew began weighing in with their displeasure, disappointment, and disgust. Rosanne apologized, but it was apparently too little too late.
This afternoon, ABC pulled the plug.
Some conservatives are, foolishly, rushing to her defense. They scream about the First Amendment and like to compare her to Kathy Griffin, saying: “only the left gets to make terrible jokes.” However, Kathy Griffin’s “beheading” picture cost her a job, made it difficult to book gigs and sell tickets, and seems to have transformed her into a visage of The Joker. She paid a high price for her horribly offensive “gag” photo.
…And don’t try to pretend the Roseanne situation is anything like Tim Allen and Last Man Standing. That show was inoffensive in the extreme. It took a few good-natured jabs at Washington, particularly Hillary Clinton and Obama, and it seemingly paid a price. His show wasn’t unpleasantly heavy-handed, and the episodes didn’t contain anything that millions of American households don’t say around their dinner table every night. He did nothing offensive or controversial off-screen, so there you can make a good case for a network silencing opinion.
The better Roseanne comparison is to Colin Kaepernick. He said what he said, “took a knee” during the National Anthem (which, again, Roseanne has also treated with disrespect) and subsequently can’t land a job with the NFL. He, like Roseanne, still has every right to say what he thinks – but the fact is there’s a little something called a conduct clause in every major contract. Conservatives aren’t rushing to defend Kaepernick after he crossed the line. So, why would they treat Roseanne differently?
If ABC views her crackpottery as a liability, they have every right to jettison her show. You have every right to decide whether ABC reflects your values, and you can choose not to watch the network. However, let’s not pretend that Roseanne’s firing is anything shocking.