America as a Reality Show
Thursday May 31, 2018
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- One of the things we know about what we call "reality shows" is that, while they might not be scripted like M*A*S*H, they are far removed from anything that any person might call "reality."
- This business involving Roseanne Barr is not the first, but is the latest example of how skewed our national awareness has become.
- In case you were off the planet for the past week, you already know the facts. Roseanne Barr is a Trump fan. A big Trump fan.
- She is also a TV star. A big TV star.
- Her situation comedy (sitcom) aptly named "Roseanne" originally ran from 1988 to 1997. That is a successful run for any TV program that doesn't have the word "Today" or the number "60" involved.
- It was the number one show on TV for most of its run.
- For reasons best known to the programming executives at ABC, it was decided to reboot "Roseanne" in 2018. Same cast. Same situation. Different comedy.
- "Roseanne" was the number one TV show in its first year and so ABC ordered up a second season.
- I know nothing about what goes into producing a show like "Roseanne." I know it takes a lot of people. In this case about 200 people (most of whom have some variant of the title "Producer" attached to their name).
- Over the weekend the real Roseanne Barr took to her keyboard and Tweeted a racial slur against Valerie Jarrett who, for the eight years of the Presidency of Barack Obama, was the most senior of senior advisors in the White House.
- Why did Roseanne decide to go after Valerie?
- Who knows.
- Apparently not even Roseanne knows because after several starts and stops she blamed it on the sleep aid medicine, Ambien.
- The makers of Ambien (generic name: Zolpidem), the French giant pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, responded with a Tweet of its own:
"People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication."
- ABC immediately cancelled Roseanne the TV show (and immediately tossed those 200 people and producers out of work).
- I never got the Roseanne joke. I watched the original show a couple of times - largely having come across it while channel surfing. I thought the show's co-star, John Goodman, was much funnier. His portrayal of Walter Sobchak as the Vietnam war vet in "The Big Lebowski" is bitterly hilarious.
- Comedians - male and female - have come upon hard times in recent years. From Louis C.K. and Bill Cosby's issues with women, to (now) Roseanne's issues with racism the traditional asbestos curtain that has protected them: "It's comedy. We have to push the envelope" has been torn down, or at least has large holes torn in it.
- Of course, there is a Donald Trump angle to this.
- I don't understand why there was a national chorus demanding that he comment on the Ambien-Tweet of a TV celebrity. He wasn't in the story. Roseanne didn't Tweet about him. Valerie Jarrett didn't take a swing at Trump.
- But, Jarrett did mention that the CEO of Disney (which owns ABC), Bob Iger, called her to apologize on behalf of his employee Roseanne Barr.
- THAT got under Trump's skin, causing him to jump into the fray by Tweeting:
"Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that "ABC does not tolerate comments like those" made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn't get the call?"
- First, I love it when Trump writes or speaks about himself in the third person. Second, this came from a man who holds it as a source of pride that he has never apologized to anyone for anything.
- That's what has occupied the nation for the last four days. Not the latest from the Michael Cohen case. Not North Korea. Not trade battles that threaten to coalesce into a world trade war. Not even that Kim Kardashian met with her fellow reality show star in the Oval Office to ask for a pardon on behalf of a woman who is serving a life sentence for drug offenses.
- Now, back to our regular scheduled programming.
- On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Roseanne Barr, Valerie Jarrett and Kim Kardashian.
- The Mullfoto is of a license plate that made me unbelievably jealous.
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