When I sat down last night to give the new Roseanne revival a try, I had no idea that plenty of other Americans were sitting down as well, a lot more, 18.1 million according to the ratings. That’s not nutin’.
It was actually much as I remembered the old Roseanne; wise cracks and working class angst. Twenty years later, nobody’s life is really great. Becky’s husband has died and she is resorting to desperate measures to make ends meet, Darlene has moved back home having lost her job, and DJ is back from the military, after serving in Syria. But satisfying nostalgia isn’t what got me curious enough to tune in, it was this:
Roseanne is a Trump supporter.
At first glance, that seems a big leap from the character during the original run of the show. She definitely pulled left during the original run of the show, as did Roseanne Barr herself, but times change, and some of the same factors that would lead Roseanne Conner to pull the lever for Trump led leftist Roseanne Barr, who previously had run for the Presidential nomination of the Green Party in 2012, to support Trump in 2016.
In a way, that’s not that inconceivable a change. Tens of thousands of Obama voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania went for Trump in 2016 during an election year in which Trump was the only candidate speaking to their concerns.
Television is a vast wasteland as far as the right is concerned, with virtually every network and every show on those networks as left leaning avatars for the Democratic Party. Not always overtly, but the liberal worldview is the subtext behind virtually everything in pop culture. In almost any other show, a Trump supporter would be a walk on villain; racist, sexist, and homophobic. We have not seen a sympathetic portrayal of a Trump supporter since ABC cancelled Last Man Standing last year. I assume that the show, even with solid ratings, was a smug slap in the face to ABC executives so soon after the election. But there’s been time to heal so it looks like TV is willing to give a character who’s politics are not to the left of Murphy Brown (another show being revived) another try.
Andrew Breitbart, the late conservative publisher was fond of saying that “politics is downstream from culture,” meaning that if political bias is imbedded in popular culture, than most of the political battle has already been won since those are the premises that everyone already accepts without thinking. On TV, everyone knows that corporations are evil, and activists are good. It’s as much a part of the scenery as a brownstone on Land & Order: SVU.
So it’s nice that there will be a Trump supporter shown on TV without devil horns. And don’t get me started on how the devil gets a more sympathetic portrayal on TV than conservatives…