Roseanne Barr is back on TV; her revived sitcom is once again a big hit; she’s being hailed by the president of the United States – and she continues to stridently express views that would get just about any other TV star fired.
But the messages delivered on the sitcom “Roseanne” (Tuesdays, 7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) are decidedly at odds with the messages Barr delivers in interviews and on Twitter.
This doesn’t have anything to do with Barr’s support for Donald Trump. Quite frankly, it almost seems like that was used as a publicity stunt. It certainly got a lot of attention, and – after being the focus of the first episode – it doesn’t play into the other three episodes I’ve seen.
And Barr is getting a pass. Not many TV stars could survive being photographed made up as Hitler, baking/burning people-shaped cookies in an oven; promoting birther conspiracy theories and accusing Barack Obama of being a Nazi; accusing a Stoneman Douglas student of employing a Nazi salute; equating Muslims to Nazis; accusing Hillary Clinton of pedophilia and murder; and accusing Palestinians of owning “black slaves.”
Honestly, it’s hard to know what to make of Barr. I thought she had mellowed … but then I read her tweets.
Her contradictions have always been inexplicable. In 2011, she returned to Salt Lake City as the grand marshal of the gay pride parade and declared, “The gay community holds a special place in my heart.” And the original “Roseanne” sitcom featured gay characters who broke most of the stereotypes before that was the norm.
This is the same woman who responded to a negative review from TV critic Matt Roush with a stream of vile, anti-gay slurs. If anybody had asked me — and no one did – I would’ve said that alone should’ve disqualified her from any pride parade.
(Yes, Roush is a friend I’ve known and respected for decades.)
Those inconsistencies continue. Roseanne Barr has been attacked for racist tweets; the fictional Roseanne Conner’s son is married to an African-American woman and has a biracial granddaughter. Roseanne Barr has been attacked for anti-transgender tweets; Roseanne Conner expressed support for her cross-dressing grandson.
I know, transgender and cross-dressing are not the same thing. The point is that “Roseanne” is filled with progressive – some would say politically correct – views, while Roseanne spews the worst kind of conspiracy-theory venom.
Well, it might be worth remembering that Barr accused her parents of physical and sexual abuse and, decades later, told Oprah Winfrey that at least some of that was due to the “numerous psychiatric drugs” she was prescribed and “some mental illness.”
And I can tell you that, when Barr and the rest of the cast appeared before TV critics, she was repeatedly interrupted and hushed when she started saying something controversial. Particularly by Sara Gilbert, who not only plays Darlene but is an executive producer.
Another executive producer (and headwriter ) is Wanda Sykes, an African-American lesbian who is pretty much the opposite of a right-winger. The same could be said for executive producer Whitney Cummings.
These are the folks behind the current creative direction of “Roseanne.” And, by the way, if you actually paid attention to that first episode, Roseanne Conner’s support for Trump didn’t make that character look particularly smart.
I’m hugely troubled by the views Roseanne Barr expresses. But, at the same time, I’m amused by those suggesting that the “Roseanne” revival is a show by conservatives, for conservatives.
Shhhh! Don’t tell the less open-minded they’re watching a show that supports gay and transgender people and ethnic minorities. Maybe they’ll accidentally learn to be more tolerant.