Roseanne, If You Don’t Sit Your Nosey @$$ Down Somewhere
"Didn't I Say To Sit Down Somewhere" Update: AMBIEN GIRL??? FOR REALL?? ok, this shit deserves its own post. Coming soon...
Update to the update: Welp, apparently ABC canceled the show so...um...yeah. Good timing in this article, I guess?
Update: On May 29th, we received further evidence to Roseanne Barr's "ain't shitness" when she tweeted "muslim brotherhood and planet of the apes had a baby=VJ". VJ being in reference to Valerie Jarrett, Barack Obama's former advisor. Shout out to Roseanne for proving my below points to be correct. Now take several seats and quit pretending this racist bullshit is funny.
Ok, the Roseanne reboot needs a timeout. Even if I have to drag it to the corner kicking and screaming, I've got to just stick to my guns and remain firm. Do not come out until you have learned your lesson.
The previous episode told me everything I need to know. Roseanne's mom does the whole "I'm going to pretend to kill myself to manipulate you into doing what I want" thing (which, if you have ever grown up with a toxic mother that manipulated you in this way, fair warning, it's cringe-worthy to watch). Dan is doing everything he can to ensure that Darlene's son will need therapy in his push to make him more masculine. Seriously Dan? That birdhouse had some amazing craftsmanship in it. Who cares if it's "feminine" (birdhouses don't have vaginas but whatever let's just gender everything) let the boy live!
So, in episode 7, it starts off with Roseanne spying on her Muslim neighbors through some holes in a rake. Obvious spying aside, I'm gonna just go ahead and tell you everything that's wrong with this episode.
"Aww, Roseanne, your Islamophobia is so cute"
**Spoiler alert, it's not**
There were many times when Roseanne's racist comments were followed by a laugh track. On top of that, the writer's decided to add a side story of Dan being pissed off about a guy hiring "illegals" to do cheaper work.
I'm not gonna argue with you whether I believe that this line of thinking is in line with original Roseanne's thinking. Personally, I always thought as much as they looked the stereotypical blue-collar family, they knew what it was like to be different and didn't pull racist bullshit like that. But that's an argument for another day (I'm just gonna drop a little proof really quick cause I'm a bit of an asshole like that).
What I am going to say, regardless if you feel like this behavior is authentic to the character or not, it is so many levels of "not ok" to make it look cute or funny.
They didn't even truly address her behavior as being wrong or gave her any consequences about it, but I'll get into that later
It shows us why "I'm not racist, I have a black friend/family member/co-worker" does not work
You mean to tell me you got a whole black granddaughter that lives with you and you can't see why assuming your neighbors are terrorists is more than a little messed up? What if you called the police on them? What if that was YOUR granddaughter sleeping in a bulletproof vest every night? But, no, "that's different" Give me a break
The Brown People Know What They're Talking About, But Their Story Gets Overlooked
There was a Skype call to Mary's mom, who is a soldier in Iraq. Roseanne tells her about the neighbors and asks her how can she tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. She laughs and tells Roseanne that she has more reason to be afraid of walking around Lanford.
Shit, straight up truth. When black folks are out here getting murdered for something as simple as knocking on a door asking for directions, it's scary as hell out here. But of course, this line goes straight over Roseanne's head
When Roseanne learns her neighbors are from Yemen, she says "oh that country's not even on the travel ban list" to which the Muslim wife answers "Yes, it is"
again, while this line points out Roseanne's ignorance, it's still put off as cute, as if her behavior towards these neighbors don't have the ability to result in some serious consequences. Falsely accusing a Muslim of being a terrorist, especially a family with a small child, is just not ok. There are subtle hints from the family that touches on this, and as a person of color, I picked up on it. But still, I feel like the seriousness of the situation was played off as a joke.
Here Comes Roseanne to Save The Day, Except Not Really
One of the last scenes takes place in a grocery store, where some asshole who works there decides to make snide comments and asking Roseanne to "carry her groceries to her camel"
It's a sucky, mild occurrence that Roseanne felt safe enough to say something. She tells off the girl, Roseanne style, that she was rude and was gonna bring it up to her manager. She does bring up, in the end, that their family has enough fertilizer to blow up the place. While funny, it doesn't...really tell the girl that her assumptions were wrong.
So, at this point, we are supposed to stand and cheer for Roseanne for standing up to that cashier and to that, I say, nah girl, you really didn't do anything.
After this woman leaves the grocery store, her and her family are gonna face even more bullshit from the residents from Lanford. Roseanne, her son is terrified to sleep! That means that the racism they face is way more intense than just a pissy little grocery clerk’s comments.
So, congratulations, you did nothing. You must be so proud.
So, Quinzel, what can we do better?
Like I said in the beginning, Roseanne needs a timeout. There needs to be some reflection on if some of her quirks that are shown as "cute" or "funny" are justifying to others that feel the same way that their racist thoughts and actions are also cute and funny. There is no call to action at the end. No "hey, by the way, if you see someone Islamic being harassed, here's what you can do" at the end. Nothing. There is not enough evidence that the writers, ABC, and Roseanne Barr herself, find this behavior appalling.
Tell me your thoughts on the Roseanne reboot. What did you think about this episode in particular? Leave us a comment and keep the conversation going!