Roseanne Barr is an interesting character. And I’m not just talking about her part in her eponymous sitcom, which was a huge hit the first time around and – as of its first two episodes with the same case – a huge hit this time around as well.
In the last few years – after running for President in 2012 on the leftward “Peace and Freedom Party”, Ms. Barr now claims to be an avid supporter of Donald Trump. In her show’s first episodes there was comedic argument between her and her sister, Jackie (played by Laurie Metcalf who was then, and remains, personally leftward).
The fact that both sides were heard – which is a rarity in our mostly one-party entertainment industry, apparently was too much for at least one New York Times op-ed columnist (and, I’d bet just about every other one as well).
From Roxanne Gay’s commentary we have these beginning paragraphs:
It can be very difficult to separate the art from the artist. In the case of Roseanne Barr and her critically acclaimed television show based on her life, it is nearly impossible. I wasn’t going to watch the reboot because I find Ms. Barr noxious, transphobic, racist and small-minded. Whatever charm and intelligence she brought to the first nine seasons of her show, a show I very much loved, are absolutely absent in her current persona, particularly as it manifests on Twitter. She is a supporter of Donald Trump, vocalizing her thoughts about making America great, claiming that with her vote, she was trying to shake things up. She tweets conspiracy theories, rails against feminism and shares Islamophobic opinions.
Where once she was edgy and provocative, she is now absurd and offensive. Her views are muddled and incoherent. She is more invested in banal and shallow provocation than engaging with sociopolitical issues in a thoughtful manner. No amount of mental gymnastics can make what Roseanne Barr has said and done in recent years palatable.
Well, you can’t say Ms. Gay is indecisive, I’ll give her that. And you certainly can’t say this is heterodoxy, given that The Times has made its passionate hatred for Donald Trump more than clear.
Not surprisingly, therefore, although the article does concede, grudgingly, that the show is really very good, virtually every other word is a nonstop political hate-fest of everything about it.
Personally, I did not watch Roseanne when it originally aired, and did not watch the initial episodes of this run. But, according to the ratings, about 18 million people did – and it was immediately picked up for a second season.
It will be interesting to see where the show’s political tensions lead. And, you can be pretty certain, a lot more interesting that Ms. Gay’s take on it.