The rise and fall of Roseanne: how TV’s biggest show fell apart

The decision to axe the reach sitcom resurgence aims debates over the off-screen bigotry shown by its starring, Roseanne Barr

ABC’s decision to cancel Roseanne- after its eponymous superstar compared Valerie Jarrett, a black former adviser to Barack Obama, to an ape- send growls through the entertainment industry. Barr’s tweet, in which she also “joked” that Jarrett had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, caused a public outcry, resulting in swift condemnations of Barr from her own casting mates and, ultimately, the network’s unprecedented decision to pull the plug on its ratings juggernaut merely one week after its season finale.

Play Video

Roseanne Barr’s TV display cancelled after ‘abhorrent’ tweets- video

In a statement constructed hours after Barr’s tweets, which quickly prompted calls for the network to discipline her, ABC Entertainment chairwoman Channing Dungey called Roseanne’s post” abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values”, announcing the sitcom would be cancelled. In a tweet, Disney CEO Bob Iger echoed Dungey’s statement and told:” There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing .” Jarrett, who on Tuesday night will serendipitously appear in an MSNBC town hall called ” Everyday Racism in America”, called Barr’s comments a” teach moment “.

The network’s cancellation marks something of a denouement to Barr’s rapid return to the public eye and subsequent fall from grace. It was only a few months ago that Roseanne, which went on a two-decade hiatus before ABC resurrected the series for a 10 th season, earned Donald Trump’s seal of approval following its season premiere, which, with 18 m spectators, was television’s highest-rated comedy telecast in nearly four years.

Barr, a vocal supporter of Trump’s who in February told ABC” we’re lucky to have him as a chairperson “, reportedly even received a congratulatory call from him after the season premiere. Aside from its colossal viewership, critical honors followed the reboot, too. Roseanne was praised for having its finger on the political pulse and harnessing the appeal of the original series, which Barr herself once called” television’s first feminist and working-class sitcom “.

Indeed, the show’s espouse by the political right reflected just how radically its starring had changed her tune since the ninth season finale aired in 1997.” I wrote on the original Roseanne where we used to denounce nativism, racism& homophobia ,” Danny Zuker, the executive heads producer of ABC’s Modern Family, wrote on Twitter Tuesday.” Nauseating to assure what she’s become .”

Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. Photo: Moviestore Collection/ Rex

In spite of the revival’s popularity, accusations of combating racism and insensitivity continues to road Barr, whose on-screen alter ego Roseanne Connor plays a working-class Trump supporter (” He talked about tasks- he said he’d shake things up “) at odds with her liberal sister Jackie and struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs. In an episode that aired earlier this month, for instance, Roseanne suspects her Muslim neighbor is constructing a bomb, saying they’re probably from “Talibanjistan.” Predictably, the episode was roundly criticized as Islamophobic, a charge Barr responded to on her social media platform of choice.

” I like to do TV episodes about REAL ISSUES& REAL Person ,” she wrote.” That’s what I do. Next season will be even more current events-I will challenge every sacred cow in USA .”

There was also pushback to an apparent dig made by Roseanne’s character at two racially diverse ABC programs, black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat. In one episode Dan, Roseanne’s on-screen husband, says that the couple slept through” all the indicates about black and Asian households ,” to which Roseanne sarcastically replies,” They’re just like us !”

Although the prove rarely invoked Trump after its premiere, inducing only cursory references to contemporary hot-button topics like gender fluidity and national anthem protests, its erstwhile starring has a pattern of trafficking in the same kinds of culture wars and conspiracies as the president. Barr’s tweet about Jarrett was not even the first time she’d compared a black female Obama official to an ape: in a since-deleted tweet from 2013, she called former national security adviser Susan Rice a” man with big swinging ape balls “.

Barr’s also tweeted about “Pizzagate” and the assassination of DNC staffer Seth Rich; falsely claimed Chelsea Clinton was married to a nephew of George Soros; and called Hillary Clinton an “anti-Semite” and Huma Abedin a” filthy nazi whore “. In March, she said Trump” has freed so many children held in bondage to pimps all over this world”, parroting a rightwing conspiracy about pedophilic, Hollywood-controlled sexuality rings.

And when Barr ran for president as a representative of the Peace and Freedom party, she wrote a letter to Congress citing the Boston Marathon bombing as an example of the Obama administration” contriving false flag terror attacks to remove the second amendment “.

Laurie Metcalf and Roseanne Barr in May. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/ Variety/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Barr’s history of rogue, racist or untrue statements meant that ABC was taking a risk developing a new season of Roseanne, a risk that, until Tuesday, had indisputably borne fruit. But while the sitcom was lauded for tapping into a demographic many considered underserved, constructing Barr a rightwing icon, there remained a drumbeat of trepidation about her incendiary social media presence.

When asked last August about the possibility that Barr’s tweets would stimulate the display “untenable,” ABC’s president Channing Dungey told:” I try to simply worry about the things that I can control .” And in an interview with the casting of Roseanne, co-showrunner Whitney Cummings said she” became the PC police” while working on the reveal:” I was the’ you can’t say that anymore’ and’ now this is the word we use’ one ,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.

Before ABC’s decision to cancel Roseanne, which had already been picked up for an 11 th season, some of Barr’s colleagues carried their objection to her posts on Twitter. Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer on the series, announced she’d be leaving the display, and Sara Gilbert, who plays Roseanne’s daughter Darlene, tweeted that” Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our casting and crew or anyone associated with our present .” Emma Kenney, who plays Darlene’s daughter Harris, also chimed in:” I am hurt, embarrassed, and disappointed ,” she wrote.” The racist and distasteful commentaries from Roseanne are inexcusable .” Other performers, like Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle and Debra Messing, denounced Barr’s comments and called for her to be fired.

But the reaction to Barr’s racism was not entirely reproachful. Alex Jones, the alt-right radio host, expressed his support for Barr, writing” it’s time for you to strike back against these THOUGHT POLICE and really shake them up !” while English media personality Katie Hopkins added,” Never apologise @therealroseanne It merely promotes the bastards .”

Once the dust settles on the partisan combat provoked by ABC’s decision, though, Roseanne’s cancellation marks another example of a prominent celebrity falling on their own sword while many wait for those higher up in the government to be held to a similar standard.

Make sure to visit:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s