In the film Sideways, when Miles goes into the home of the easy waitress to reclaim Jack’s wallet, he hears muffled noises coming from the bedroom. The unsavory couple from the wrong side of the tracks are having sex on the bed, and their television set is on. Onscreen are Bush and Rumsfeld.

In Little Miss Sunshine, while Dwyane and Frank wait in the lobby for the beauty pageant to start, President Bush is on the television. Frank (Steve Carell) switches the set off with a look of perturbation, as if viewing it was just another brick in the wall of their unfulfilled lives.

In I, Tonya, in a scene set in the either the disreputable Jeff Gillooly or the deranged Shawn Eckhardt’s paneled basement (I can’t remember which), a Reagan poster is seen, and zoomed in on.

The entertainment landscape is rife with examples like this. This is Hollywood’s relentless message about conservatives: they are the bad people, the low-class people, the evil people that more evolved types must endure and hopefully overcome.

Don’t get me wrong — I loved all three of those films. Republicans and conservatives long ago got used to seeing their kind portrayed in less-than-appealing light on screens both large and small. If you want to watch a big-budget, culturally-attuned movie like those mentioned above, it usually goes with the territory.

Television is a horse of a different color generally, but rest assured, finding a positively-spun conservative character on the boob tube can be as challenging as finding a Blue Dog Democrat. One show for example, Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen (a show I never watched), got dumped despite good ratings.

So, when Roseanne premiered with the big star herself playing an unapologetic President Trump supporter (she also supports the president in real life) it turned out to be something of a big deal.

It’s no fluke that I never caught an episode of Last Man Standing. I have not watched a first-run TV sitcom since The Office went off the air. The youth-oriented network programmers needn’t worry; as a sixty-something straight white conservative, I’ve long since fallen out of any key demographic.

I have not yet seen an episode of Roseanne’s new iteration. I did watch the show years ago. There were lots of laughs, working-class laughs that rang true. I related chiefly to two aspects of the show. I liked the way Roseanne talked tough to her kids when they threatened to take over the asylum.

I also related to Dan in his capacity as owner of a sole proprietorship contracting business. I remember an episode when Dan and Roseanne needed money and were looking to sell his business. A financial planner told him, “There’s nothing to sell, you are the business.”

I find myself devoid of any Jack Handy-reminiscent deep thoughts on the occasion of Roseanne Barr’s return to prime time, but I did run across an interesting reaction to the new Roseanne. Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro had a take on his podcast that I found amusing. Ben was fired up, delivering at his Evelynn Wood speed-read pace a warning to all conservatives: Just because the lead character on the show happens to be a Trumpservative, does not, repeat does not, mean that Roseanne Revisited is a conservative show.

Relax Ben. No discerning conservative is under any illusion that ABC’s Roseanne reboot represents the dawning of a new era in which Hollywood will regularly feature right-of-center characters in a positive light. Nobody is expecting conservative themes and story arcs to get enthusiastically green-lit for inclusion in America’s vast wasteland.

Republicans and Libertarians who understand the true nature of how entertainment elites view right-wingers are not expecting William F. Buckley in pair of wide-bottom jeans, or Patrick J. Buchanan with a Weed-Wacker.

Roseanne is not a conservative show, because such a thing does not exist. Given the usual scathing and derogatory treatment conservatives and Republicans get from the taste-makers in Tinsel Town, the new Roseanne is garnering so much attention simply because by having a sympathetic Trump supporter in the cast, the show shapes up as the exception that proves the rule.

Though my television habits run more to Hannity, the Doo-wop music specials on PBS, and–at least at the moment–the Portland Trail Blazers’ annual quest to make the NBA playoffs, I may just watch Roseanne tonight, just to see what all the hoopla is about.

Check back here for a follow-up post, I’m sure somebody will write one.


See the previous posts in this ongoing discussion about the reboot of Roseanne:

“Roseanne: The Ultimate Reality Show” by David Churchill Barrow

“Roseanne Barr Vs. the World of Leftist Slights” by David Walls-Kaufman


Photo credit: Sideways image

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