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Is separating the art from the artist still a thing?  No, right?  We are holding people accountable for being despicable human beings now, right?  Sort of?  Maybe. No one has drawn up the guidelines yet.  

 

It took a lot of reeling in horror over stuff we thought we were pretty much ok with, but probably not, to decide that maybe we won't see a Kevin Spacey movie. We are weighing the Weinsteins of this world against the guy we feel we must have sex with just so we can leave gracefully.

For instance, when I say “pretty much ok with but probably not”, I personally mean Woody Allen.  I saw Manhattan way back when. Sometimes we view things and just take them at face value. Later, from a more evolved vantage point, we look back and the thing makes you go hmmm.  I got in many a shootout at the Facebook corral over Dylan (#IBelieveYouDylan) Farrow, and now refuse to see Woody Allen movies. But hey, Woody Allen art something something artist.

 

The point I am lumbering towards has to do with the bold declarations so many make on social media.  “I REFUSE to watch Roseanne. She supports Trump on Twitter.”  Fair enough. I took a good look at Roseanne Barr's Twitter.  Yep.  It's a horror show of conspiracy.  Mind you, she is not molesting children or drug-raping women. She actually comes across a little... shall we say it? Nuts.  A creative comedian who is all over the place? How is that possible?  Barr has had her fair share of hits and misses. Posing as Hitler for hipster-Jew mag Heeb and that Star-Spangled Banner thing both pissed a lot of folk off.

 

Twitter is words, a conduit of opinion. For some, it is annoying, and with this presidency it may even be dangerous, but that is certainly uncharted territory.

 

So Roseanne makes clear on Twitter  that she supports Trump.  She hasn't molested anybody, yet. She doesn't set policy.  I do not have to weigh if she is the lesser of two evils about anything.

 

I want to point out also that in every scathing op-ed and blog about the new Roseanne show, the one glaring ommision is that this time it's Sara Gilbert's baby. Out lesbian Sara Gilbert pulled the cast back together and her ideas underline the stories. If you watched the reboot debut, you will have noticed that, although Barr piped up about Trump and jobs, much larger problems about the economy and Gilbert's character's voice about her “cross-dressing” son, Mark, were front and center. 

 

I am giving this show a chance.  I like Sara Gilbert.  We are in this mess because we refuse to listen to each other's concerns. So now we have a show the intent of which is to shed light on those concerns which drove the result of this election.

 

Grow up.

 

In this political climate, our country has been torn apart. The edges fray away from the middle.  What has that done to families?  Can a country as diverse and splintered as we are now ever pull back together?  Is there a safe place for any of us?  Can a family with very different beliefs still love one another? These are the big questions posed on the rebooted Roseanne.

 

Gilbert, executive producer, explains, “This is a family that politically can be totally different from each other but it doesn't mean they don't love each other.  And I think that's what were missing right now.  Everybody's so angry, no one's listening to each other. Everyone is getting more and more extreme on each side. People love this family and I felt it would really be a unifying force and give us a chance to talk about these kinds of things.  So to me it’s great to have a family divided by politics, but still filled with love. What a great thing to bring into this country right now.”

 

Twenty eighteen finds the Conner family facing the multitude of challenges that is modern day America.  Older sister Becky (Lecy Goranson), a widow at 43, holds down a waitressing job.  She lies about her age as to be a surrogate mother in order to earn $50,000 to get out of debt and maybe make a small down payment on a house. The woman who hires her as a surrogate is actress Sarah Chalke, who replaced Lecy in Season 6. She is template of the Whole Foods mom, ionized water-drinking, organic food-eating, untouched by the economic ravages around her.  My hope is that her character highlights the glaring blind spot we on the well-off left have to the concerns of our fellow citizens.

 

Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert) has lost her job and moved back home, with her two children ostensibly to “take care of her parents.”  Her daughter Harris (Emma Kenney) is the typically surly teen, just like Darlene was. At 10 years, Darlene’s son Mark (Ames McNamara) wears skirts and silver boots to school. When asked by Roseanne if he feels he is a boy or a girl, he responds without hesitation. “Boy!” John Goodman, as the grandfather, is concerned that Mark will get beated up, and for his first day at his new school slips him a pocket knife that Mark is then caught giving as a gift to the boy who is bullying him.

 

D.J. (Michael Fishman) has returned home from the military after serving in Syria.  His wife is still deployed over there. We see his young daughter Mary (Jayden Rey) is black, and his marriage interracial.  A prayer is said at dinner for the safe return of her mother.  

 

The realest realness was pussy hat-wearing Hillary supporter Jackie’s admission that, by the time she voted, she was so torn and confused that she pulled the lever for Jill Stein. That underlines how difficult the 2016 election was for everyone.  Roseanne and Jackie have not spoken. They are angry, and life is much more difficult.  For a time the sisters were torn apart. They’re now trying to meet somewhere near a middle that we can no longer define.

 

A personal note here.  I saw many a keyboard warrior express outrage that Jackie came off as the slightly hysterical Hillary supporter. Personally, it rang true to me.  I've had my share of interaction with what is a rather high-strung variation of a Clinton supporter.

 

The number of issues brought up in the first half-hour episode was astounding. They hit on unemployment, health care, loved ones away in the military, elderly parents, rising pharmaceutical prices, adult children moving back home, poverty, a woman's right to her body, gender assignment, broken families and acceptance — and a heaping dose of our political divide. I hope all will be explored in later episodes.  

 

I see the rebooted Roseanne, if it lives up to the hopes of the producers, as inspiring us to talk to each other.  I have not seen few shows not featuring people with great apartments and interesting jobs. We need this view into a family, so diverse, so American to see how the working class is doing now days. It's not so pretty anymore and this show brought humor and compassion to each issue.  

 

Check it out, whatever your politics.  

Tuesdays 8:00 pm on ABC

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