Al Gore's Internet was congratulating itself on Tuesday for the cancellation of Roseanne. In case this is the only place you drop by on what must be a pretty lackluster surf of the 'net, Roseanne is the eponymous situation comedy based on the middle class lives of a middle class woman and her middle class family in middle class America. It was recently brought back from sit-com heaven to find a place on ABC's prime time schedule. It got huge ratings, and the somewhat more than middle class powers that be at the network watched as a rather conservative message got siphoned out into the airwaves through their auspices. After twenty years away from the tube, Roseanne was back.
And so were her "antics."
Way back when, 1988, ABC decided to take a chance on a brash comic voice with an "in your face" style that would challenge viewers. Roseanne Barr's somewhat meteoric rise turned into the kind of Hollywood Story that Hollywood Story would be happy to show in True form on E! Entertainment Television. Ms. Barr's tirades were taken in stride by a business that was used to that sort of thing, and was conscious of the potential double standard of putting a muzzle on a woman when men had been kicking up a similar fuss for decades without so much as a tug on the leash.
Until the whole thing just sort of collapsed in on itself, unable to contain the myth of a working class life within the bizarre looking glass of Hollyweird. For a decade, Roseanne traded on her infamy and "in your face style" to run for president as a Green Party candidate for a moment and then for the Peace and Freedom party. It was all a part of her "I will not be silenced" campaign, and she must have been happier than anyone to receive her very own Twitter account to spew whatever point of view she adopted at the moment.
All of which came to an abrupt end when she let fly with a racist slur of a Tweet directed at former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. This came as the folks at ABC were busy counting their Roesanne money, and for a moment it seemed as though things might have been show business as usual.
Not this time. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, in a very few words, said, "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show." The following day, Roseanne blamed Ambien for her poor judgement. "I'm not a racist, just an idiot who made a bad joke." The jury is out on that one, but for now, so is Roseanne.