Earlier this year ABC resurrected one of the most popular sitcoms of the 90s, Roseanne, after a decades-long hiatus. The era of Trump populism seemed like the perfect time to re-introduce the sitcom about the flawed but loving family of working-class Whites. The premiere opened with a bang, boldly addressing the ideological rift in America (and within some families). Roseanne's sister Jackie showed up at the door in an "I'm with Her" T-shirt and pussy hat, after having had a year-long rift with Roseanne over political differences. The show finessed the stresses of current American political conflicts with realism and humor. In a way, it was an affirmation to many Deplorables that our voice was heard, that we had a representation on the national entertainment stage, and that our views would be treated respectfully even if not fully embraced.
The rebooted Roseanne was not exactly a fanatical right wing polemic. Aside from the Hillary-loving Jackie character, the show introduced new Conner grandchildren including a black child and a boy who liked to wear girls' clothes. Even so, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth as the Usual Suspects complained that the show portrayed Trump supporters as something other than hateful racists. I even saw one blue check-bearing neurotic expressing horror that the show was "humanizing" Trump supporters. However, the show that dared to treat the disfavored half of the country with empathy quickly became a record-breaking ratings juggernaut. What a dilemma for our Hollywood elites!
I have mixed feelings about Rosanne, myself. She can be crass and inappropriate and she says plenty of things with which I don't agree. However, unlike most people in Hollywood, she is genuine. With her, what you see is what you get. For how many inhabitants of the Golden Swamp is that true? I don't think that she could accurately be described as conservative, but she is a vocal critic of the Clinton-Obama cabal and supporter of Donald Trump. In fact it was a supposedly racist tweet about Obama-ite Valerie Jarrett which gave rise her latest woes: her moment on the public whipping block for politically incorrect behaviour, and the substantial professional setback of being gracelessly dismissed from her own show. Roseanne's behaviour can sometimes be tasteless, but she has never been known as a racist, and I don't believe her attack on Jarrett was racially driven. No matter. Despite multiple public apologies and pleas to ABC to keep her job, she was fired from the wildly successful show she had created.
Roseanne agreed to sell her rights to the show so that a spin off featuring the remainder of the cast, The Conners, could be created. In the first episode of The Conners, it was explained that Roseanne's character, who had been taking pills for knee pain during the previous season, had died from an opioid overdose. Perhaps this choice of story line was a ham-fisted attempt to show sympathy with those suffering from the scourge of opioid abuse among middle and lower-class Whites, but knowing how Hollywood feels about normal Americans, it seems just as likely that the working class heroine's overdose death was meant as an insult to the audience.
Shortly before the premiere of The Conners, there were some news stories saying that the network was worried they had made a mistake by firing Roseanne, and they were concerned that spinoff would lose many viewers who were loyal to her. (Everyone in America who is not a Hollywood executive replied in unison, "Well, DUH!") The premiere drew about half the viewers of the premiere of last year's reboot, and some of those people probably tuned in for the curiosity factor. It doesn't matter that the show features solid comic actors John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf playing relatable characters, or that the writing is probably just as funny. When the PC police rejected the woman who was one of the few Hollywood proxies for the Deplorables, they rejected the rest of us, and the show became just another sitcom.
This whole incident is just another indication that Hollywood continues to disdain regular Americans. Hollywood continues to churn out material that is a stick in the eye of anyone in America with traditional values. Celebrities reveal their animosity towards their audience at every opportunity. The enthusiasm for the revitalized Roseanne show should have been a lesson for the entertainment industry about who Americans are and what they want for their entertainment. Unsurprisingly, they have still not learned.
The Carolina Contrarian, Anne Wilson Smith, is the author of Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right. She is a soft-spoken Southern belle by day, opinionated writer by night. She loves Jesus, her family, and her hometown. She enjoys floral dresses and acoustic guitar music. You may contact Carolina Contrarian at CarolinaContrarian@protonmail.com.