Let’s say you’re the type of person who does magazine covers wearing a Hitler mustache, and baking cookies shaped like Jews in an oven. The type of person who screams the national anthem at a baseball game in hair-raising fashion, then clutches your private area and spits. The type of person who runs for President as on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, winning a grand total of 50,000 votes across the country.
Let’s say you think the vice president should die, and suggest that he should be refused a heart transplant. Or you publicly release the address of the parents of an innocent person you think is a racist murderer – even though the “racist murderer” turns out to be a minority person defending his life. Or you say that certain politicians like rape, and that certain business patrons
How many failing television shows would you deserve to star in?
If you’re a network executive looking for new material, apparently the answer is four.
We’re speaking, of course, of the inimitable Roseanne Barr, who after one massive hit – Roseanne – in the late 1980s, has become a cultural case of herpes: you think she’s gone, and then she flares up. Her shtick was entertaining back in the late 1980s, when her producers wanted her to pretend that blue collar people were actually militant liberal feminists. Even then she was a vulgarian – one episode of the show had her talking about her son’s erection: “What about pitching the tent? Bootin’ up the hard drive? Charming the anaconda? Raising the drawbridge, popping a wheelie, standing up for democracy? Waving to your chin?” The show also featured Roseanne considering an abortion.
After that, though, Roseanne fell off the beaten track. She tried to produce a talk show twice. Fail. Then she tried a reality show called Roseanne’s Nuts.
Somebody had to put money up for these monstrosities. Whoever did apparently thought none of her past behavior made Roseanne unpalatable. And now she’s getting yet another shot, this time from NBC, to produce and star in a show. She will also guest star in The Office. She narrowly missed getting a pickup last year with a proposal to reunite the Roseanne star-team, working with John Goodman on a trailer park comedy called Downwardly Mobile.
Nobody knows what the new show is about. But the fact that Roseanne continues to get second chances shows just how left Hollywood is. Michael Ritchie, star of Seinfeld, has been off limits since a racial rant. People in Hollywood now wonder if Clint Eastwood could find decent roles – Clint Eastwood! – after his performance at the Republican National Convention with an empty chair.
There is no shot that any actor would be able to utter the sort of monstrous things Roseanne does and get away with it from the right side of the aisle. What NBC will soon find out is that her charm, such as it ever was, wore off long ago.
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