Originally published Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 05:58a.m.
Hey, “Roseanne” fans in Tulsa, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City and Indianapolis: Don’t get too comfy with Roseanne-the-Trump-Voter. It looks like the writers are going to make her character into a new version of Archie Bunker, a likable character with horrible, hateful opinions designed to turn you against non-liberal political ideas.
Whitney Cummings, a successful liberal comic, writer and producer, is the show’s executive producer and co-showrunner (which is apparently a word, as though “producer, director or big boss lady” aren’t sufficiently descriptive).
Hollywood was shocked and stunned that Trump-voting Roseanne didn’t just do well in the ratings debut – the show posted historically high ratings, including a 5.2 rating among young adults.
How can this be?
The vast majority of scripted (including late-night) shows are pointedly liberal, defining anyone right-of-center as hatefully out of touch with the writers’ fictions.
“Roseanne” was billed as a “controversy” by Vox because, well, Roseanne Barr voted for Trump. Deadline Hollywood gasped, “Roseanne’s revival’s huge debut stuns Hollywood, prompts soul-searching.”
No worries, Hollywood.This appears to be part of the plan.
It’s the hard-working people of middle America, not the liberal elites of Los Angeles or New York, who enjoyed the show. Viewers on both coasts largely ignored the show.
Trump voters loved it, which would certainly play right into Cummings’ agenda, which she described in a piece on Vulture.com.
Frustrated that her anti-Trump tweets were only reaching fellow travelers in her liberal echo chamber, Cummings looked toward producing and writing for “Roseanne” to reach conservatives, independents and all other non-liberals to convince them that they are wrong.
Cummings writes, “Since tweeting wasn’t working, maybe giving my brain to a show that touched the hearts and got the eyeballs of so many working-class people is how I could finally do my part to help us all make sense of the election.”
I guess she really doesn’t understand the millions of #NeverHillary voters and will continue to tilt at the windmills of her fantabulous brain.
It’s also revealing that she believes writing “progressive,” i.e. “liberal,” scripts equals “truth”:
“... the, Roseanne, writers have a commitment to the truth that I have not seen on other network shows,” Cummings wrote. “There’s no agenda, no judgment of the characters, just a deep devotion to the Conners’ fiscal and emotional reality. That, and a bravery around incendiary, progressive-themed stories.”
Nope. No agenda here, just “progressive” themes as opposed to “conservative” or “libertarian” themes.
The revelations continue.
If you’re going to create a character like Archie Bunker, which is my own theory based upon Cummings’s article, you have to create a character who is likable while he or she articulates opinions written in such a way as to be repulsive to most Americans.
Cummings observes, “After working with some of the show’s original writers, I’ve concluded that their quest to honor reality and avoid worrying about if you ‘like’ the characters is actually what ended up making you love the characters.”
Now, how to use Roseanne to cause blue collar white Americans who voted for Trump to question their beliefs, become self-loathing and vote for Democrats?
Cummings explains that she hopes “... the show will make you feel like you’re going home to visit relatives who you may not always align with politically or philosophically, that you may have anger toward, but that you still respect and love because they’re smart, self-aware, and always make you laugh. Maybe since the Conners are not actually your relatives, you can listen long enough to face some of your own prejudices and think, ‘I guess I never thought of it that way,’ or ‘I don’t agree with what this person believes, but I can now understand why they believe it.’”
So, who would be the one expressing such horrible, contrived prejudices?
Who could best carry this Trojan horse message, one in which the one delivering the outwardly bigoted or subtle, dog-whistle prejudiced lines while being ever-so-likable with their working class humor?
But, does Roseanne know that Cummings and her team seem to be setting her up to be one of the most despised characters in broadcast history?