Schadenfreude and Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr (Photo: Valerie Macon, AFP/Getty Images)

Yep, too much schadenfreude. On my part, that is. And I feel a bit guilty about it. But only a little bit.

I was appalled last fall by ABC’s decision to bring back the “Roseanne” show. I’ve never liked Roseanne Barr and have always considered her a rude, crude, thoroughly obnoxious human being. That may just be her schtick as an actress, but I’ve never found it funny — just offensive on every level.

And I was deeply disappointed to see the show become a huge hit. Are there really that many viewers who find her funny? Apparently there are.

But she finally went too far this week with a tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an African American and former senior advisor to Pres. Obama. Within hours ABC fired Barr and cancelled the show. The rest of the cast and crew — several hundred people by one account — were suddenly unemployed.

I think ABC executives did the right thing. But they erred in bringing her back in the first place. Her kind of humor, if you can call it that, can only exacerbate the hostility and polarization that exists in our nation today.

Sure, Barr apologized and took down the tweet. But people like her rarely apologize unless someone calls them out. They only apologize when it’s expedient and then with no intention of changing their behavior (essential in a genuine apology). Of course she offered lots of excuses, including that she was “Ambien tweeting.”

The best quote of the week soon followed:

“While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
— A tweet from Sanofi, the maker of Ambien

Barr’s outrageous behavior in 1990 marked the end of her career in my book. There was nothing remotely humorous or forgivable about her screeching of the national anthem followed by crotch grabbing and spitting. Sometime after that she retreated to her (macadamia) nut farm in Hawaii, and that’s where ABC should have left her. On the nut farm.

I confess I was inappropriately gleeful to see her finally slapped down — hard — for her behavior. And I hope that maybe, just maybe, ABC’s action could signal the beginning of a return to sanity and civility in America.

Valerie Jarrett may have said it best during an interview on MSNBC: “The tone does start at the top.”



Categories: racism, Society, television

27 replies

  1. I could not agree with you more…

  2. And gosh, who’s surprised by the conspiracy theories she hawks? It was asking for trouble to do more than, say, a reunion show. She’s never been known for her control.

  3. Rude crude and socially unacceptable. I once watched this person for all of 3 or 4 minutes, and have never watched again,
    You have summed her up to perfection and I believe this to be your greatest post, ever! Thank you I shall take the liberty of reblogging this.

  4. By the bye; I did not view the clip, I cannot imagine the disgust and horror felt by any of your thinking countrymen/women. No doubt there are many; too many, brain dead. who think it hilarious.

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more. In her early years, she did make me laugh, but I could only tolerate her in small doses. I do not like people who smack their gum when they talk and have that obnoxious “my doo-doo doesn’t stink” attitude. But she could crack some good ones. I never got into her show. I just don’t care for shows like that. Not a big sitcom person.

  6. As you know once a year new words are added to the more prominent dictionaries. In my most humblest of opinions I believe it is time we start removing words, maybe starting with words such as ‘civility’, along with ‘respect’ of course…

    • I think dictionaries retain such antiquated words for a while, for the benefit of those who come across them in their reading and research. But eventually they are dropped. “Manners” will probably be dropped at about the same time as “civility” and “respect.”

  7. It’s just too bad that her shows fellow artists, technical and production associates will be made to suffer because of something for which they were not responsible.

    And… Not to diminish her guilt here, but equally offensive things are said daily by liberal comedians about Trumps press secretary (Sarah something or other), his wife, son and daughter. Nobody really cares. Me included.

    Lot of hypocrisy going on here, but then we ought to be immune to by now,

  8. …Make that “bad times BEGAN when supporters of both political parties became immune to hypocrisy, offensiveness, insensitivity, and boorishness, not to mention racism, xenophobia, etc.”, and I’ll buy it.

  9. I never liked her. Never watched any of her shows. Simply a mean person with a big crude mouth who delighted in behaving disgustingly bad to annoy and upset people. Always found it a good idea to ignore people like that.
    Wish some of the others saying similar disgusting things would suffer the same lack of interest by public and media, but no.
    (Society doesn’t;’t necessarily have to return to Miss Manners era, but a little politeness and consideration for other’s feelings when you speak could go a long way. Everyone wonders why kids are so manic and acting lost..,.look at how the so called “adults” act…millionaire “adults”. Behaving badly is the new standard?)

    • I hope good manners never go out of style. Not Miss Manners but just a little common courtesy and respect for others. And yes, today’s kids are undoubtedly watching and learning from the adults (?) around them.

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” ~ Cornel West

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