Culture

'Roseanne' Debuts to Big Ratings, But...

She's a Trump supporter but that does not mean the show's message is conservative.

Nate Jackson · Mar. 29, 2018

Almost a year ago, ABC canceled the hit show “Last Man Standing.” It was one of a paltry few shows that not only catered to conservatives but made the conservative lead character, played by Tim Allen, look good. He was the competent one surrounded by bumbling leftists. No wonder the show was canned.

Now, some conservatives are embracing a new show. ABC’s “Roseanne” reboot premiered Tuesday night to outstanding ratings, and the primary character, played by Roseanne Barr, claims to be a supporter of Donald Trump. It’s hard to deny the politics of the show are the reason for its instant success, though obviously it remains to be seen if that will continue. Conservatives want good entertainment, too, but caveat emptor.

As Ben Shapiro writes, “Conservatives are celebrating because they believe that Roseanne is helping to cure the culture by depicting a Trump supporter as something other than a rube or an idiot. There’s some truth to this: Roseanne’s character is whip-smart and unwilling to take crap from anyone — she’s sort of a female mini-Trump in terms of personality.”

But there’s a “but.” Shapiro, who authored a book about the subversive propaganda of Hollywood shows, also observes, “There’s something else going on in Roseanne that should disturb conservatives: the redefinition of Trump supporters as blue collar leftists rather than conservatives. Roseanne’s character is pro-gay-marriage, pro-abortion, feminist, and pro-transgenderism — and the implication is that she is a good person because of these views. The real differences between Trump voters and Hillary voters are economic in nature, not cultural.”

The show features Roseanne’s grandson as a cross-dressing seven-year-old kid that all the characters happily “accept,” while mocking those who wouldn’t. And her daughter discusses surrogacy using the same arguments abortion proponents do — which is no surprise given the original show’s handling of that subject. So the message is simple: It’s at least understandable to support Trump because economic populism is worth a try for blue-collar workers, but don’t dare back him because of social conservatism.

That doesn’t mean conservatives have nothing to like or no reason to laugh at the show. But we should all remember that a conservative and Hollywood’s portrayal of a conservative are two distinctly different things.

Footnote: “Roseanne” star Sandra Bernhard agrees with Hillary Clinton that women who voted Trump are either “under the thumb of your husband” or are “feeling inadequate.”

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