Roseanne

With this year's passover the Domestic Goddess returned and she came with a thunder. Roseanne was always one of the more controversial shows on television. She was loud. She was direct. She was divisive.

The divide between those who loved or hated her ran between the social classes. The working class loved her. The upper-middle class and the classes above hated her. She did not summon her children with a whisper over a fancy gadget. She called them. Called. Them. She was very much like most working class people were and the hate for the show was mostly based on the disdain for the antics of the poor themselves.

The stories were brilliantly written with an emphasis on witty, not on sentimental. I am such a die-hard fan that I go as far as to say that the show was more intellectual than most contemporary art, much above the trite garbage that fills most museums.

I remember a double episode in which show sister Jacky tried to cover up the domestic violence in her marriage, the bloody streams on her back.  She showed the typical female masochist attitude that can skew court decisions in favor of an abuser. When the character Dan saw the situation he dealt justice himself and beat up Jacky's husband. He got into jail for a short time until the bail out was paid. The viewer was confronted with a moral dilemma and this was the way the show dealt with many hot topics of the day. It did not gun for easy answers. There was real depth.

A staunch liberal at the time Roseanne and her hand-picked writers crammed a lot of left-wing talking points into a plot. But one important thing that set her show apart from the competition was its fairness. Roseanne was a business owner, she preached family values and in the final episode she declared her love for G-d.

While Bill Cosby played it save and shallow, Roseanne let the barbs fly. She got away with it because they flew in all directions - fairly! The major theme of the show was that different views and conflicts could openly be addressed and resolved through conversation. It didn't come across as tawdry. It was very effective. Unlike the hectoring Cosby parents, the Connors knew how to make up with peers, how to kiss and to cuddle. They were a family that, yes, was dysfunctional  (the run-away daughter returned home after some time), but that was also less dysfunctional than the glib alternative TV families of the time.

Hacks like Ben Shapiro fear the left-wing talking points in the new episodes to be carried to conservative America. Other conservatives call for revenge television to make up for the wounds inflicted by the liberal media in the last decade. But America does not want something like a conservative Jimmy Kimmel or a Nancy Pelosi insulting James Oliver. Most conservatives are better than liberals and just want a fair hearing. The revival of Roseanne gives the 'forgotton', actually disdained, a hearing. It is a huge cultural turning point.

Unfortunately, I don't expect it to air in Germany. The hatred is too strong.

Comments

Spartacus Added Apr 1, 2018 - 1:14pm
Yes, Benjamin, this show should be very interesting.  I have never watched a full episode of the past and probably will not watch any future episodes.  
However, I am more interested in the ratings game.  I usually never make predictions but I will in spite of my better judgment:  This show will do very, very well.
 
I like Shapiro but sometimes his youth betrays his intellect.  Conservative America has been watching Hollywood and MSM crap for decades.  wtf was Shapiro saying??  lol
Spartacus Added Apr 1, 2018 - 1:17pm
This is how much I watch television:  When I first read the news about this resurrected sitcom, I thought, "What???  Rosie O'Donnell is doing a sitcom and is pro-Trump?"
lol
To my credit, they both are loud-mouthed, over-bearing (and over-weight), crass-mouthed face-painters.
Dino Manalis Added Apr 1, 2018 - 1:40pm
Roseanne is realistic, eighteen million watched the first episode, even Trump called to congratulate her!
opher goodwin Added Apr 1, 2018 - 1:49pm
Well it always was funny. I can't see her as a Trump supporter though.
Stephen Hunter Added Apr 1, 2018 - 4:14pm
Thanks Benjamin for the perspective. I never really followed Roseanne so have no opinion. Just remember her grabbing her crotch. Or maybe that was someone else? 
Joe Chiang Added Apr 1, 2018 - 4:15pm
And here I thought they were talking about running re-runs.  LOL  I never saw any of those either.  
 
If by accident something intelligent makes it to TV, the liberals quickly make it stupid, then ratings go down and the show is pulled.  Every Time!
 
I call current TV More On TV, oops, I mean MORON TV.  TV only a moron could sit and watch.  And as you pointed out there are millions.  And they breed and vote.  So Sad.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 1, 2018 - 4:47pm
Stockton: I'm also more interested now how it affects the discourse than the show itself. The show was always striking a balance and what I've seen on youtube the new episodes do it pitch perfect again.
Dino: I'm absolutely thrilled.
Opher: Rosi and Dan are Trump voters. Becky and Darlene are leftists. DJ and his wife served in the military. He is raising the kid while she is in action. They strike the balance. And Roseanne, the character and the real woman, are absolute credible Trump supporters.
Hunter: Despite all the gender-bending these days: It was something else.
Joe: Yes, sitcoms themselves are a bit dated. We get quick jokes bubbled up in the new media so often that we are less likely to be blown away. Yet, for all purposes the show seems to be working well enough.
Tom C. Purcell Added Apr 1, 2018 - 5:16pm
Beware the network to transpose Rosesanne's character and Trump supporters as the dredges of society in the show.  ---Likes Trump & hooked on painkillers.  Likes Trump & hates transracial cake-baking.  Likes Trump & likes border security/ is a racist.  Stay tuned.
George N Romey Added Apr 1, 2018 - 6:03pm
The appeal of Roseanne is because Americans are tired of the neoliberals shoving globalization, technology and supposedly not enough “education” down their throat.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Apr 2, 2018 - 5:44am
Amazing how easy it is to distract the average DUHmerican with meaningless drivel who's sole purpose is to sell advertising. 
Bill Kamps Added Apr 2, 2018 - 10:53am
John Goodman steals every scene he is in.
Tamara Wilhite Added Apr 2, 2018 - 11:16am
Her characters and her audience are mostly the working class whites that are traditionally Democrat but voted for Reagan and Trump when Democrats went too far left.
These are the people whose wages have been flat or declining for 20 years due to competition with legal and illegal immigrants, globalization and automation eroded at their very employment rate ... while Democrats focused on LGBT insanity and called them stupid, crazy evil bigots if they complained.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 2, 2018 - 12:11pm
Tom: So far the assembly of people involved are too powerful to smear the characters like this.
Romey: Exactly!
Gilbert: Not so easy like the Third World hicks that are all hooked and stupid soap operas.
Kemps: He can create things very spontaneously. Gold.
Tamara: She was always the icon of the decent, yet disdained people. If just some politicians would honor them somehow...
Doug Plumb Added Apr 2, 2018 - 1:36pm
I'll have to check this out, I never really liked the show before, I thought it was a woman's show and never watched. I would watch re runs of MASH over anything else.
Why do you think Shapiro is a hack?
George N Romey Added Apr 2, 2018 - 1:54pm
No way Washington will ever care about the masses. That boat sailed a long time ago. You can bet that first both parties will exit Trump, totally destroy any viable 3rd party candidate and then bring about a couple dinosaurs like Clinton and Jeb Bush for 2020. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 2, 2018 - 2:16pm
Doug: I also like to listen to Shapiro. He is smart and a nice person, but I think he has no real convictions. He will support gun rights all along unless he is asked about details then you can get him to confiscate water pistols.
Romey: I think the ship has sailed for the dinosaurs. But the alternatives are not great either. You will have questionable Muslims, socialists, and conservatives with useless priorities. Trump might indeed be toppled.
George N Romey Added Apr 2, 2018 - 2:23pm
I don’t think we will see flesh blood. We constantly see Pelosi, McConnell, Ryan, Schumer, etc. New independent voices can’t be heard. Just the same shriveled up shrills and self appointed nobility. Although the streets might get really wild.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 2, 2018 - 2:40pm
2020 is a short time frame. And Trump isn't toppled. It is still possible that he gets reelected anyway. The left will only be able run somebody like dinosaur Liz Warren until then. Absurd enough I think that Oprah would have had some chance because of the typical silliness of the current left.
I'm actually not that pessimistic. A Tom Cotton can follow Trump. Ted Cruz can try again. Both are fairly down to earth. Some Democrat may also emerge. Can't tell yet. It all follows culture. That's why I think the return of Roseanne is important.
Bill H. Added Apr 2, 2018 - 6:02pm
The show is really either an attempt to resurrect something similar to All in the Family, or just another way to make money by cooking up more hate and division between the simple minded viewers who would actually be "stimulated" by this stuff.
Stephen Hunter Added Apr 2, 2018 - 8:54pm
Benjamin I thought she grabbed her crotch, after getting booed while singing the National Anthem at some event, a ballgame perhaps? 
Mark Hunter Added Apr 3, 2018 - 4:47am
That's right, Stephen: She sang the National Anthem so horribly that the crowd booed her. Afterward, in an attempt to poke fun at stereotypical baseball players, she "adjusted" her crotch and spit, which she later claimed was her then-husband Tom Arnold's idea beforehand.
 
Although I was surprised to find Roseanne was a conservative (the characters pretty much balance out between one side and the other), the first two episodes were like they'd never even taken a break. It's interesting to see the occasional Hollywood production that's not left wing oriented, but all I care about is whether a show is entertaining--it is, so far. And it definitely speaks to middle class, middle of the country people, so I suppose a lot of viewers on the coasts won't get it at all.
Tamara Wilhite Added Apr 3, 2018 - 2:01pm

Benjamin Goldstein I wouldn't even say honor is necessary. Listening to their concerns instead of "oh, shut up you evil stupid backward bigots" would have given Clinton their vote.
 
Whether it is Trump's A/B testing on tariffs and "jobs, jobs, jobs" constant messaging, his shift to the opiate epidemic and crackdown on immigration that undermined the labor market, he's addressing their biggest concerns.
 
Compare this to Democrats saying "you complain about immigrants taking jobs and overloading the local school system and driving up taxes, shut up bigots". I heard that when an elementary school near us said it would celebrate diversity and save money by just turning the whole school bilingual and suggested the few whites stay in ... or half the children born at the county hospital had illegal alien mothers, and if you're poor and white or black, you get billed whereas illegal aliens got all the freebies and no bill because they're presumed not to be able to pay.
 
When working class whites brought up affirmative action that discriminated against them, systemic racism, they're told they have white privilege while rich white liberals ignore the class element. Given crap like that, of course a lot of them voted against Clinton.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 3, 2018 - 3:58pm
Bill H: Thank you for apparently not reading the article
 
Stephen Hunter: Yes, she botched the anthem and tried to make it look funny instead. An act of dispair. She simply didn't hit the keys and started screeching. Probably nervousness.
 
Mark: The show also stands without the depth. Funny is funny.
 
Tamara: It is even more than honor. I think the wounds are really deep now. People have lost their jobs, their wives and their children because of the Nazi witchhunt. We also see that liberals praise themselves for their economic strength and the tax payer money they pay into the shared state budget. What they don't respect while they grandstand over the western world is that others have given their sons and daughters to the military. This dynamic plays out stronger in Europe than in the US, but it is the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
 
But of course listening to the concerns and actually doing something about it is paramount. The entire free speech debate is very defensive. There are topics that need to be spoken about like the opiode crisis, the inner city crime rate and so on.
 
I think that the life expectancy of whites was even plummeting. There is also an important factor. You can do with much less comfort/security while things get better. The elites completely ignore the reality of people who experience that their lives get worse.
George N Romey Added Apr 3, 2018 - 4:24pm
Roseanne from what I understand is very liberal on certain social issues, like gay rights. What she hates is elitism. IIRC she was a supporter of Bernie Sanders.
Phil Greenough Added Apr 4, 2018 - 2:40pm
I think you’re making way too much of a sitcom.  To be sure, there is the attempt to tackle some serious subject matters, for the most part, the intention is to get laughs.  Nobody can say for sure why so many people are interested in the show again but I don’t think it has anything to do with politics.  I think it’s because nobody has ever seen something like this attempted before.  Can you think of another sitcom that re-aired 20-years later with the same cast?  
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 4, 2018 - 3:03pm
Romey: Yes, Roseanne evolved to conservativism very lately. I think a pro-gay attitude is becoming more and more common among conservatives and doesn't really set the parties apart. That is maybe one of the reasons why the left has moved to pretend everybody is always insulted to appear to be still more pro-gay.
 
Phil: I have heard that Will & Grace and Full House were rebooted with the original casts. As far as I know they did not have nearly the same success. A big problem of conservatives is that we have lost the culture war. We are focussed on taxes and ignore the issue that basically all Hollywood products and major media outputs paint us as Darth Vaders. You don't win elections as Darth Vaders in the long run. You can't have tax cuts when you don't win elecions. There is a tipping point. TV shows make a huge impact in either demonizing - or as in Roseanne's case - humanizing people.
Tom C. Purcell Added Apr 5, 2018 - 12:06pm
"Can you think of another sitcom that re-aired 20-years later with the same cast?"  
 
I don't think 'The Dukes of Hazzard' or 'Archie Bunker' would have as warm a reception.  'The Brady Bunch' would most definitely be browned, and the White kid(s) would be the but of every joke.  But I'd sure watch the Dukes again.
Tom C. Purcell Added Apr 5, 2018 - 12:12pm
'butt' of every joke
Mark Hunter Added Apr 7, 2018 - 12:38am
Will & Grace, Full House, Boy Meets World all rebooted with all or most of the original cast, and Lost In Space is starting on Netflix (which I don't have). Ordinarily once a sitcom turns too serious or "issue of the week" I'm out--it's either fun, or it's not. However, even though Will & Grace is pushing a far left agenda, the shows so flat-out funny that I just don't care.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:34am
Mark H: If the message overshadows the fun, one has to leave it. Both conservatives and liberals have a similar problem. I think it would be very easy to base a sitcom on Hillary Clinton. It would write itself. And yet nobody at FOX pulled something up during her long career. They all would be too obsessed nodding to a current scandal to make it funny.
 
I also make people's heads explode when I say that Joy Behar is actually very talented. She had two shows when one could listen to her jokes without the 'View' garbage. You could hear the staff burst out in laughter all the time from behind the camera. No laugh track needed. Funny is funny.
Mark Hunter Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:39am
I tried to watch The View a few times, and my head did explode! Very messy, I had to buy more bleach. But you're right, funny is funny, and I'd totally watch "Hillary" on Fox. A family sitcom, yes? Nothing's funnier than a dysfunctional family, except in real life.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Apr 9, 2018 - 9:02pm
I never watched a single episode of Roseanne back in the day, I sure as hell not going to watch it now.

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