Baby out with the Bath Water

“Roseanne” a highly rated TV Show especially in middle America was tossed off the air shortly after its namesake star Roseanne Barr tweeted a weird and bizarrely racist tweet.  We agree it was out-of-bounds and she should suffer consequences, but was pulling the hit show the right way to go?   What struck us with all the elitist hand wringing by numerous panels across the airwaves from all sides of the political spectrum was how few of these talking heads ever saw the show. For instance, Rich Lowery the editor of the National Review on a CNN panel illustrated this best when after a long comment on the controversy admitted he had never watched the show.  Judging from the reactions from the rest of the panelists, actual knowledge of the show was limited if not non-existent.  Print commentators are no better.  Washington post Columnist Kathleen Parker put it to Roseanne this way, “she’s what happens when a struggling network (ABC) sells out in a bid to capture President Trump’s base.”  She obviously never took the time to watch the show or god forbid maybe she did but just didn’t understand it.  For all these elites who never saw the show, we would like to point out this is exactly the kind of show we need on TV.  A middle American family living pay check to pay check trying to survive in a sea of change.  A family with health problems, daughters stuck in dead-end jobs, a mixed race grandchild with ex and current military parents and a grandchild with possible gender identity problems.  One sister is conservative and the other liberal.  The patriarch is coping with a changing construction labor market.  Talk about diverse people dealing with real problems.  More importantly, the show did it with great humor. This is anything but the Trumpist propaganda as some people have portrayed it.  Like shows before it such as “All in the Family” and “Will and Grace” they presented  problems and situations not by hitting people over the head but by showing real people in ways the audience could relate to and begin to understand.  Humor can bring an understanding in ways other venues just can’t. While the program had big audience, apparently the elites demanding the cancellation of the show weren’t part of it.  If they watched the show, they might have seen its great value.

But the elite multitude cries, you can’t let Roseanne Barr get away with what to many is the greatest sin, a racist comment.  Well, she has been making off the wall comments virtually her whole life.  These comments came from all sides of the political spectrum and are often  totally contradictory.  Many have been the result of wild conspiracy theories.(Paranoia?)   Well, she’s a comedian. A profession not always known to be populated  mentally well-balanced people.  A profession that often requires you to go verbally up to the edge of a cliff and has seen a good number stumble and fall off.  This is a profession where mental problems have unfortunately been prevalent.  Two of our favorites come to mind, Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams.  They made us laugh but some of their humor  came from some dark places.  Tom Arnold, Roseanne’s ex-husband, claimed she wanted the show cancelled.  Who in their right mind would want their hit show canceled?  Remember also Arnold was part of some her past nuttiness.  He’s aware. Maybe Jimmy Kimmel, hardly a Trumpist, got it right when he said,

What said is indefensible, but angrily attacking a woman who is obviously not well does no good for anyone,” Kimmel tweeted. “Please take a breath and remember that mental health issues are real. The Roseanne I know could probably use some compassion and help right now.”

The strange thing is the people in the forefront of the destroy Roseanne crowd would probably describe themselves as compassionate and champions of the impaired.  This may true unless the subject is on the other side of what they think is politically correct.  Then compassion and understanding are apparently are nowhere to be found. Picking and choosing when you’re compassionate and understanding simply means really aren’t either one.  We can ignore the obscenities of someone  with Tourette’s Syndrome because we know they can’t control these utterances.  While Rosanne doesn’t have Tourette’s, she seems incapable of controlling her tweets or much else. Indeed, on an ABC News Interview last January, Roseanne admitted she was bi-polar and had mental problems,  “I had a few nervous breakdowns and I was hospitalized a few times”, she admitted.  Most people in the past had grown to simply ignore her similar offensive comments and maybe that’s the way to go. Maybe a little slack?

One  big take away is we are punishing all the other people  associated with the show.  More important you’re punishing million of fans of the show.  The show wasn’t racist.  Far from it. Unlike Samantha Bee’s horribly crude remarks about Ivanka Trump which were scripted, recorded,  approved by her network and then put on the air, the “Roseanne Show” didn’t do anything. wrong.   Remember the fans of the show found the scripted Roseanne on the show relatable and funny.  They weren’t rallying around the off-screen Roseanne. Did anybody at ABC give a moment’s thought to the program’s millions of fans?  Did they realize how worthwhile the show  was?  Of course not.  What was important was their fellow elites were offended and ABC had to take drastic immediate action even against the innocent, and elites  wonder why Trump is President. Maybe they’ll wake up when their inattention to middle America  gets him re-elected, but we doubt it.

Roseanne Barr could  be punished without hurting the innocent. Why not have her donate most if not all her salary to a good cause such as inner city education.  Get her some help to regain control.  If you just can’t extend Roseanne compassion and understanding, you still could as a last resort consider replacing her ala Charlie Sheen in “2 1/2 Men” or just deleting the character as in “House of Cards”   After all, in the first case the series went on for years after dumping its wayward major star and in the second the show has a next season..  Any of these would be better than “throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

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