“Roseanne” and the Divided States

    I was not among the 18M who tuned in to the reboot of the “Roseanne” television show. The lead characters on the series are Trump supporters. Roseanne Barr is a Trump supporter in real life. For me, there is nothing to see. Barr received a congratulatory call from Donald Trump, further sealing the idea that this is not my type of show. Black Twitter had a mostly negative response to the show, but some loved the nostalgia and attempt to show both sides of the argument. At some point we will get a racial breakdown of the audience. Roseanne’s sister is the white Liberal on the show, and if the article is accurate, seems to be a caricature. In a NYT op-ed, Roxane Gay points out that “Roseanne” attempts to normalize Trump. Trump is a bigot, racist, and homophobe. The show tries to sugarcoat the obvious fact by have a black granddaughter (with few lines), and a gender option dressing grandson. The Liberal sister does not challenge Roseanne about Trump’s racism or LGBT comments. In fact, Roseanne forgives her sister for not voting for Trump.

    Roxane Gay importantly points to a trap that I among others have fallen into. Trump is said to be the choice of the struggling white middle class. We accept that as truth. In fact the average income of the white Hillary Clinton voter was  about $60K while the average income of the white Trump voter was about $70K. This economic about Trump voters was detailed further in an article in the WaPo. Hillary won the struggling white working class. 

    The geography of the viewership was interesting. Tulsa led the viewing numbers. The viewers were concentrated in the Middle of the country. From the Hollywood Reporter:

    Roseanne's 10 highest-rated markets
    1. Tulsa, Oklahoma
    2. Cincinnati, Ohio
    3. Kansas City, Missouri
    4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    5. Chicago, Illinois
    6. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    7. Detroit, Michigan
    8. Buffalo, New York
    9. St. Louis, Missouri
    10. Indianapolis, Indiana

    Roseanne's 10 lowest-rated markets
    1. Greensboro, North Carolina
    2. San Francisco, California
    3. Jacksonville, Florida
    4. Miami, Florida
    5. New Orleans, Louisiana
    6. Providence, Rhode Island
    7. Salt Lake City, Utah
    8. Memphis, Tennessee
    9. San Diego, California
    10. Baltimore, Maryland

    Roseanne will do well. It plays to the targeted audience. 



    Roseanne's original partner who stayed home to raise her kids thinks she's much more complex than this reboot shows. But I.m a bit tired of 13D chess - once upon a time Trump was a Trojan Dem who'd unveil his true colors once in office. Yeah, there may be better ways to talk to Trump fans, but "dickhead" is growing on me as a 1-size-fits-all greeting.

    I saw maybe bits of 4 episodes of the old Roseanne. Just can't abide family sitcoms with mostly single sets and just didn't see anything special about hers. Not much different than like Cheers or Cosby or Mork and MIndy or Three's Company or Happy Days, all of which I loathed. I know those characters, grew up with them, I don't need to see them act out poorly written scripts on the same middle class set. If we are going to have simple repeated sets,it damn well better be Tony Award winning level dialogue.

    But I could always definitely find an attention span for her standup or an appearance on a talk show over the decades, same exact thing with Bill Cosby or Robin Williams.

    From that, I don't think she tries to play 13D chess. I think her shtick has always been pretty simple: deriding the status quo, political correctness, snobs who think they are better than someone else and people who take themselves seriously..

    I saw someone write the other say that the more Trump destroys the status quo, the more Trump fans like it. Struck me as having some truth. That they don't care about policy so much, they just want him to upset all those pretending to be deadly serious asshole politicians and bureaucrats.They don't expect results from government, a lot of them are cynical pessimists like Roseanne.

    P.S. Comes to mind, I've seen that she's said she wouldn't at all like Pence as president. I suspect a lot of Trump fans feel the same way. It's the country music culture thing, moat was spot on with his John Goodman video.

    Say it, Jesus overturning the tables at the market. God's irreverant muckraker.

    They don't even want Caesar's things left to Caesar. They want to pretend to be beyond him, but still fuck with him. Same with those Pharisees. It's all just standard high school clique acting up in back of class - the kool kidz, the Heathers and what not. God Save the Queen the Fascist Regime without the stage diving and sweat, just the slow-motion contempt.

    I sure am not going to torture myself by watching it.
    But I might cue up a little John Goodman to help ward off evil:



    There was a Dixie Chicks song from the Bush days “Not ready to Make Nice Yet”.That is where I am. Recent elections suggest that a lot of white voters are disgusted with the silence of the GOP just like I am fed up. The Parkland movement suggests that many young people are fed up as well. Being a Trump supporter is not normal. Being silent in the Trump ears is not normal. The bulk of the country does not support racism, bigotry, homophobia, and misogyny. By default, Roseanne Barr does not represent the white working class.

    Hah, totally splains country music. I'm a fan,too. He can do all classes and kinds! For example did a super job playing Rex Tillerson through a great opening skit on SNL on March 17. Normally I would very much dislike a goofy boy movie like The Big Lebowski, but he made it totally bearable.

    Edit to add: My understanding of Roseanne (from reading about it, haven't watched much as I admit in my other comment) is that those lyrics are sort of the theme of the whole show. It's the same old sitcom shtick: families fight and bicker and have crises but in the end they got each other and love each other. Snore! Back in the days when there weren't many options, if I were desperate, I'd rather be tortured by a soap opera, the characters are relatively more complex even though the writing can be worse, at least they don't have laugh tracks.

    I would watch a realistic episode of the show.

    A "mini-series" on gun violence.

    Roseanne gets an AK-47, because she says until The Wall is built, terrorists are free to terrorize her family. She and John feel an assault weapon is the best gun for self defense.

    One day Roseanne picks up and waves around the AK-47 during an argument. She is startled when Goodman chokes on some nachos he is eating, and she accidentally rakes the couch and Goodman with rounds from a 30 round clip. Before he collapses, John said he had just loaded the gun with the new clip they got after a recent school massacre.

    The rest of the season's episodes revolve around his medical care and visits to the hospital which he never leaves, except one day where he goes home vomits blood and passes out and they have to call 911.

    Roseanne blames the tragic incident on Trump haters not letting Trump be Trump and giving money to build the Wall. ..greatest plot ever or what?......would it work for viewers in Trump Country..?

    Roseanne Barr is tweeting support of conspiracy theories that label Trump opponents satanists and sex-traffickers. Barr is a wingnut.


    Wound up watching the last half or so of the rebroadcast and to me it seemed like a nostalgia ride to the look and feel or an early 90s sitcom.  I know that's the point.  The set hasn't changed.  The costumes haven't changed. The rhythms of the script and the jokes and the laugh track are all unchanged. To me, it felt anachronistic.

    Now, it may be that in our purpose.  Is it selling nostalgic to the "Great Again" people who are always looking backwards to better times?  Or has the kind of lower income, white suburban life stagnated to this extent since the 90s so that what looks like an anachronism to an urbanite is really how things are?  Or is it both?

    "Costumes"? you mean sweat pants, overalls, grunge shirts and oversized smocks? Back in the day, the show worked on a kind of lethargic only-slightly repressed-antagonism that generated a tsunami of one-liners.

    I think everyone's missing the point because they're focusing on Roseanne, and her outspoken backing of Trump. The real power of the set is Darlene/aka Sara Gilbert, who's become someone quite different over the years, and is still probably the one we'd most identify with if we wouldn't always get distracted by the one with the biggest mouth. And back in the day, Carroll O'Connor was super liberal while playing a super-conservative blue collar racist loudmouth - along with the steady stream of epiphanies and insights. But in the end, it's just TV, entertainment, a performance.

    Your comment makes me refine my own perspective. While no Chekhov, should keep in mind she fancies herself one with this show. And while I have no doubt the Roseanne Barr has a lot of pro-Trump and "white working class" sympathies, I also have no doubt she is not the same as the character Roseanne Connor. And "not exactly Chekhov" would include not carefully honing scripts but just brainstorming them with things to get a rise out of people. Her brand as I read it from her standup and promotional appearances is: sarcastic iconoclast, don't stereotype me, I wasn't a housewife, I was a domestic goddess, and now I'm a rich bitch who can say what she feels like saying.

    You read the Sara Gilbert bio? I can see her scripting the whole thing, liberal in conservative clothing, using Roseanne as a foil.

    Going on your tip,I googled. Tabloid stuff so take with grain of salt, but still:

    'Roseanne' will never mention President Trump by name, says star ...

    New York Daily News-Apr 1, 2018

    Despite wild reviews from inside the White House, the “Roseanne” reboot won't use President Trump's name, star Sara Gilbert revealed. “The Conners aren't Trump supporters. Roseanne's character is a Trump supporter — she's the only one — and we never say his name, actually, in the show,” Gilbert ...

    Edit to add:  there's also a bunch of new stories today in entertainment media of the kind that are fed by p.r. people saying that Roseanne and Sara are feuding on the set. Sounds like purposeful faux stories for buzz. Trump fans vs. Trump haters is the biggest story around, after all. As the main guy sez: yuge ratings. Yes, I'm cynical now too, I will not be surprised if the whole idea is to hook Trump fans on a story line and then slowly, slowly, after quite a  few episodes, acclimate them to re-thimking on their fandom. Yes, could really be a liberal plot....

    I wasn't trying to be too tabloidy. Real life Darlene is a lesbian married to 4 Non-Blondes singer Linda Parry, co-starred as the shy girl next to the scheming homicidal Drew Barrymore in Poison Ivy, has acted and produced in a number of other TV pieces with very different types of roles, and ifficially seems to be Executive Producer for the Riseanne reboot. I somehow don't think she's gettung dragged along in some Trumpian dystopia against her wishes - I imagine she's deep into trying to make some lemonade out of lemons and find some context to communicate across the divide. I suspect the Archie Bunker show was a learning experience overall for flyover America, not just a joke at their expense, and also suspect that this show might be a bit if a Trojan Horse as well. Just surmising - you heard it here on the q.t. from p.p.

    I was just saying there's already increasing evidence that you may be right. Even to the point where Roseanne tweets may be part of the game.

    Hadn't gotten my first gulp of coffee down. I can see clearly now... (cue marimbas)

    Your comparison to Archie Bunker is quite apt - and has been noted when critics have tried to analyze Roseanne's popularity, both then and now.  O'Connor's portrayal of not only something he wasn't but the exaggerated version of what many were was the butt of the joke: us.  The saving grace for "All In The Family" was the family's (hello, Edith) love of Archie and his gut-level love for them, the obvious admission that  .......... screw it.  All In The Family and Carroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker was so far above and beyond anything Roseanne could even dream of that I can't believe I even tried to equate the two.  Sorry.

    There's an oped by one Kareem Abdul Jabbar, claiming that the Roseanne reboot is actually an anti-Trump wolf in MAGA's clothing.


    I'm not sure I'd agree that it is so much anti-Trump, as continuing to skewer the shibboleths of the American dream as espoused on both sides of the aisle. Having watched the original run, and the new series, I'd say Roseanne did her best to be controversial and get attention, but continues to show that life nearer the bottom of the food chain is as complicated than ever. I like it, but I have to admit that is sad to watch the older version of Becky, again played by Lecy Goranson, having gotten exactly nowhere, especially compared to the well-to-do woman played by Sarah Chalke (who has been a more successful actress as well). Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and DJ (Michael Fishman) at least have their children.

    Working class is defined as the white working class. Minority families are suffering as well. It is a construct used to device us. The truth is that the poor white working class favored Hillary. Jackie represents the poor white working class, not Roseanne.


    Most Trump voters were not working class.


    ​Roseanne was willing to vote for a bigot. Cultural anxiety, not economics influenced her so-called working class vote.




    Jackie voted for Jill Stein. :-)

    I know a lot of Trump voters that are struggling working class.

    FWIW I am seeing a lot of students of demographics switching to "white, no college degree" because sticking with "working class" is not working out so well for understanding a damn thing as to what the 2016 election wrought. Something makes me think like that's not wise either, especially as time goes on more and more people won't fit into a single color of skin on the census and all....

    Which makes me think: what ever happened to the soccer moms? And then: why don't they just go with Facebook analytics and end their self-torture?laugh

    The Census view of race harkens back to the “one drop” rule. Any black heritage made you black by definition. The Census views any mixed race child as a non-white minority. Many mixed race people identify as white. Many dark skinned multiracial people experience discrimination. We are still tribal.


    Watching Black Boys/White Boys from Miloš Forman's Hair - amazing that we seemed on a more relaxed, better path 40 years ago than today, where we could actually laugh at ourselcves, that an immigrant with iffy English could translate this iconic play to the screen (though he did the same with Cuckoo's Nest). RIP, Miloš. Maybe next generation.

    The mistake was that we thought that the evil would just go away and we could all live together  The evil remained and we slept through it. Blacks had to have a Constitutional Amendment to vote. Blacks were lynched if they voted. Blacks had to pay a poll tax. Blacks got special quizzes before they could vote. Then we got gerrymandering Then we got the Voting Rights Act. We went to sleep. The Republican majority on the Supreme Court gutted the VRA. The next day, states put gerrymandering on steroids. We won some voting cases in some states. Then Trump wanted a Voter Fraud Commission without documenting cases of fraud. Hair was a happy time, but we did not stay woke.

    We just disagree with what the tribes are. For example, I suspect many of the people in my Bronx hood would not be happy to be thrown into your big "Afro-American community" label, they consider themselves Dominican-Americans even if very dark skinned. In the South Bronx, yeah, but not in the West Bronx and Inwood neighborhoodsThey don't see themselves as part of the culture you often seem to claim for everyone with dark skin. And Puerto Ricans here, who have been a large force in NYC since the 1950's, they don't really mix well with the culture of the newer Mexican immigrants. As in: not at all, as in: almost like Trump. While they get along with the newer Jamaican immigrant influx, even though they traditionally looked down on them back in the Caribbean. And then there's the attitude of Dominicans toward Haitians: maybe still just as bad, just as prejudiced, as momi and poppi back on the island they shared. Etc

    The larger point I want to make here: the future of politics is micro-targeting.You will no longer be able to convincingly argue to anyone that all black Americans think alike politically or culturally as you often seem to here.  I disagree with you on that front already, it won't be long before nearly everyone else does, do. There will be candidates and issues targeted to yuppie urban blacks and working class blacks, working class mixed, Afro-American Baptist church ladies (who happen to be much more socially conservative than the "Roseanne" character) etc.

    Then there's all the recent immigrants from Africa in NYC and in particular the ones in the South Bronx, traditionally poor and classic Afro-American.  Despite Trump dissing their heritage as "shitholes", I think a lot of them end up leaning Republican. They are into going into business, that's why a lot of them wanted to come here. I.E., taxes, what's that? They'll pay em later when they make a lot of money....

    You make the straw man argument that I claim all black people. I simply point to the fact that the overwhelming majority of black people vote a certain way. I point to a reference that says dark skinned immigrants face discrimination. You respond with an opinion.

    The African American community is diverse, but we do find a common enemy in the GOP when it is time to vote.


    ​I’m looking for data on black immigrant voting patterns. 

    Sheesh, guys - thought we'd riff on Miloš Forman a while. Guess wrong... so much for induced levity.

    Man plans

    God laughs

    If god laughs there's only one reason. It's an old gamer slogan. "You can't have slaughter without laughter."

    I know a lot of financially well off whites who voted for Hillary Clinton. We have to look for data that tells us about larger samples of people.

    Obviously, I’m not watching the show so I goofed on how Jackie voted. Sorry.

    Reminder that Kareem came out of a different age, when sportsters could be intelligentsia as well (including his cultivating jazz and his ability to write a really tight impressive op-ed)

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