Roseanne has been cancelled.
No, you have not been warped back to 1997. This is a brand spanking new announcement.
After a controversial, but ultimately successful reboot, the classic TV family is gone from the airwaves once more. As one Twitter user so aptly put, “Congratulations to Roseanne for killing Dan Connor twice.”
ABC’s decision to yank the popular show had nothing to do with ratings, but rather disgusting and unforgiveable comments from the show’s star, Roseanne Barr. While no stranger to unpopular statements, her latest Tweet was universally considered to be over the line, referring to Obama aide Valerie Jarrett as, “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes had a baby=VJ.”
There’s no way to spin this one. It was straight-up racist. Even she knew it, apologizing and announcing she was leaving Twitter - which, she did for five seconds. But, she's back.
There were no defenses of her, not even from the predictable crew. Anyone with a platform came for her. Many feigned shock. “What? Roseanne’s an irresponsible role model and a racist and probably shouldn’t have been brought back to television in the first place? This is brand new information!” quipped Dear Evan Hansen star Ben Platt.
Even Charlie Sheen, King of Inappropriate-Town, admonished her. When Charlie Sheen is the moral high ground, it’s time to look at your life and look at your choices.
Members of the cast and crew were horrified. Sara Gilbert tried to distance herself from the fallen star, stating, “Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least.”
Consulting producer and comedy legend Wanda Sykes kept it more simple. “I will not be returning to @RoseanneOnAbc.”
In record time, ABC announced the cancellation of the hit show.
Realistically, though, were any of us surprised by Roseanne’s tweet? If Tom Hanks or Benedict Cumberbatch had said it, yes, jaws would drop. But Roseanne? Really? While definitely way over the line, this seems pretty par for the course for her. I mean, she once dressed up like a Nazi and ate burnt gingerbread children as an attempt at humour.
As horrible a human being as she is, she’s popular. Millions of excited fans tuned in to the reboot. When she came to my city recently as part of her comedy tour, many of my friends were out of their minds to get to see her.
Cancelling her show while it was still doing well in the ratings sends a clear and impactful message from ABC - hate will not be tolerated.
It was a sacrifice for the greater good. While there is an argument that ABC simply abandoned a sinking ship, I’m not so sure that this would have sunk the show. It should have, but fans of the show are die-hard. Sadly, I think it would have survived. In my mind, cancelling it was acknowledging that, sometimes doing what’s right comes with personal damages – but you do it anyway.
At first, I felt badly for the rest of the cast and crew. But then I read Sara Gilbert’s statement over and over, and weighed it against Wanda Sykes’. Sara distanced herself, removing herself from ownership. Wanda took a clear stand. So did the show’s co-runner, Whitney Cummings, who also announced she would leave.
Roseanne’s personal character was well-known before the reboot. The cast and crew knew what they were signing up for. This was not a case of a cast and crew being blind-sided by the actions of a star. They decided to place their bets on her, and they lost.
I’m not without heart. I understand that this show, and probably even Roseanne herself, holds a special place in the lives of this cast and crew. Gilbert grew up on the show. It’s not unreasonable for her to jump at the chance for a reboot. But she also had the chance to refuse to be a part of something that supported someone like Roseanne, whose views clearly disgust her. This isn’t a matter of Republican vs Democrat; this is a case where the face of the show has been demonstrably and repeatedly bigoted.
I hope that this cancellation sends the message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. I hope the stance taken by Wanda and Whitney show others that sometimes it’s necessary to make a personal sacrifice to stand up for what is right.
Kudos to them for putting morals before money.
And Roseanne, it’s time to shut up. No, really. Just shut up now. Your mouth is sufficiently full of feet, and the world has enough hate in it already.