Dear ABC: Cancel Roseanne, but not the show

My initial reaction to ABC's decision to cancel "Roseanne": Well, it's about damn time.The right-wing provocat...

Posted: May 30, 2018 8:56 AM
Updated: May 30, 2018 8:56 AM

My initial reaction to ABC's decision to cancel "Roseanne": Well, it's about damn time.

The right-wing provocateur's racist tweet comparing former Obama-advisor staffer Valerie Jarrett to an ape is hardly her first offense; she said the same of Susan Rice in 2013 in a since-deleted tweet, according to Salon.

ABC should never have been willing to work with an offensive comedian whose horrific statements were well known. But now I'm conflicted on killing off a show that had a phenomenal cast that was refreshing to watch. Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, John Goodman and a diverse array of new castmates and writers brought something thoughtful to a show that was unfortunately under the shadow of Roseanne Barr.

While Barr's show definitely earned some of the highest primetime ratings in years, terminating her contract proved that the company has put its reputation above the numbers. ABC has a roster that boasts hit shows from diverse writers and talent such as "Blackish," "How To Get Away With Murder" and "Fresh Off The Boat." Having a show with a star as polarizing as Barr clashed with the efforts the network was trying to make to appeal to new audiences.

The network could use this opportunity to revive the show without Barr. Many popular shows have killed off problematic characters without penalizing an all-star cast.

For example, Fox recently fired actor Clayne Crawford from its "Lethal Weapon" TV adaptation after he reportedly created a toxic work environment with his behavior on set (for which he apologized in a long Instagram post). In light of the #MeToo movement, other showrunners have let go of actors, such as "House of Cards'" Kevin Spacey and "Transparent's" Jeffrey Tambor, without firing the entire cast.

The cast and crew of "Roseanne" has made it clear where they stand on her politics. Shortly after Barr apologized and vowed to leave Twitter, writer/comic Wanda Sykes announced she was quitting the show.

Gilbert, who played Roseanne's daughter Darlene, tweeted before the show's cancellation that Barr's comments were "abhorrent." She also made it a point to distance herself from Barr, saying the show is "separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member."

Emma Kenney, who played Roseanne's granddaughter Harris, also said she was "hurt, embarrassed, and disappointed" by Barr's tweet. She also added that she was about to quit the show before she learned it was canceled, in a now-deleted tweet.

Other writers and castmates of the show have also disavowed Barr's antics, further showing that the cast shouldn't be punished for one person's error.

I think this could be a teachable moment for network television executives as they evaluate their priorities and navigate a new politically polarizing climate. Instead of canceling the show and sending the cast away for good, ABC should reignite the show to highlight ways to address the destructive racism endorsed or tacitly accepted among Trump supporters like Barr. They could use this controversy to challenge the viewpoints of Roseanne's polarizing following.

Roseanne's presence on the show kept it from being what it could be -- a way for the entire country to connect with was once called Middle America's "silent majority." She essentially used her fame to regurgitate harmful, racist stereotypes and incite a heightened fear of cultural differences she can't be bothered to read up on before opening her mouth or reaching for her smartphone.

Although they're late to the party, ABC did the right thing by immediately distancing itself from Roseanne's brand, which proved to be toxic. Let America see John Goodman's Dan Conner, who some might see as a 21st-century Archie Bunker, continue to support his gender non-conforming grandson. Let them see the messy, complicated ways that families find to love each other.

ABC, don't let Roseanne's appalling views have the last say.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
Pearl River5357154
Oktibbeha503198
Bolivar5004134
Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
Tishomingo240770
Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
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