I’m totally here for the success of the Roseanne reboot. Many of our LGBT community members have claimed that because the actress (and her character) supports Trump, we should be boycotting. I disagree. Great art imitates real life, and it makes sense that a family like the Conners would be dealing with the political divide many American families are immersed in.
But then this morning it came out that Donald Trump himself called Roseanne Barr to congratulate her on the show’s success.
“It was pretty exciting, I’ll tell you that much,” Barr says of the call. “They said, ‘Hold please for the President of the United States of America’ and [that] was about the most exciting thing ever. It was just very sweet of him to congratulate us.”
We all know that everything Trump concerns himself with has to do with him, and Trump’s congratulatory phone call likely had more to do with his ego than praising her success. He’s probably thinking that if America is getting behind a Trump-supporting Roseanne, then we’re behind him, too.
But the show is much more than just a vehicle for Trump support. Whitney Cummings is co-showrunner. Out comedian Wanda Sykes is a head writer. The very idea of the reboot came from another prominent LGBT community member, The Talk’s Sara Gilbert, who has been quite vocal against Trump.
Sykes, Cummings and Gilbert have made sure the reboot isn’t just empty-handed propaganda. There are characters on all sides — similar to Karen Walker on the Will & Grace reboot, who is a Trump supporter (unlike the other main characters).
“I’ve known him for many years and he’s done a lot of nice things for me over the years,” Barr told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America. “It was just a friendly conversation about working and television and ratings. He really understands ratings and how they measure things.”
But the Roseanne reboot’s ratings measure only one thing: the success of the show. It does not measure people’s approval of the President or his dumpster fire presidency. Trump’s approval rating is up 7 points since last month according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That lifts the public’s approval of the president to 42%, still dangerously low for a president at this point in his tenure.
“The idea that people can agree to disagree is kind of missing from everything,” Barr has said. “I think that’s a conflict resolution.”
More of that approach is necessary, she feels.
“I haven’t seen much of that anywhere,” she continues. “That’s what we need to do as a country is figure out what we don’t like, talk to each other and discuss how we’re going to get it changed or fixed.”
She added, “I really hope that it opens up civil conversation between people instead of just of mud-slinging. I really do because I think we need to be more civilized in that.”
Of course, most of the mud-slinging has actually come from the president himself, so maybe Roseanne should be laying out her ideology to the other end of that phone call she received.
I’m happy the Roseanne reboot — with its long list of LGBTQ staff and its gender-creative child — is a hit, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, which promises to tackle issues like opioids, immigration and others.
But the more Donald Trump’s name is left out of it, the better for us all.