Originally broadcast from 1988 to 1997, the popular sitcom “Roseanne” was revived on March 27 and received mixed reviews. The new series, still following the life of Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr), experienced backlash when it was revealed that Conner voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. Although I may be slightly biased as I did not watch the original series, and therefore do not have any visions for how the characters should be portrayed, I am not greatly bothered by Conner voting for President Trump. I did not vote for President Trump in the 2016 Election, but there are people in the country who did and that should not be hidden simply because we do not like it. More so, unless hateful and untrue rhetoric is espoused on the show, we cannot state that any show that has a character that supports President Trump should be canceled.
There are numerous shows currently on air advocating for the opposite side of the political spectrum, and while these shows may align with views that many of us would like our country to possess, the reality is that the United States is not politically homogenized. In the last several years, many shows have experienced revivals and some of these programs have commented on contemporary politics. “Fuller House” is one revival in particular that has spoken out against President Trump. Although none of the major characters were labeled as voting one way or another in the election, and any mentions of President Trump were through infrequent quips, shows are allowed to be political. One could even go so far as to say that they should be political in certain circumstances. To that point, if politicizing certain episodes of shows means that people might educate themselves beyond what the character is saying and form their own opinions, I believe it would go a long way to lessen the fear that people blindly trust whatever is told to them through mass media.
Nonetheless, another element that has people upset about the “Roseanne” revival is that the protagonist’s actress, Barr, made prior claims that “Pizzagate” is true. Pizzagate is a since debunked conspiracy theory that became viral during the 2016 Election cycle. Rolling Stone described Pizzagate as, “The claim that Hillary Clinton was a pedophile started in a Facebook post, spread to Twitter and then went viral with the help of far-right platforms like Breitbart and Info-Wars.” Now, almost two years later, The Washington Post reported that Barr tweeted on March 31 how President Trump “has broken up trafficking rings in high places everywhere.” The tweet re-incited back-and-forth commentary on the disproven allegation, and, although it was since deleted from Twitter, it begs the question of whether or not these views of the actress will be infused into the theme of the show.
As stated, there is no room for conspiracy theories or harmful rhetoric on television. That being said, the views of an actress — as insane as we may consider them — do not necessarily influence the show’s final product. Therefore, the views should not be a factor in whether or not the show is canceled. Additionally, people should keep in mind that we are capable of turning off the television when we come across a topic that we do not agree with or do not want to watch. When it comes down to it, the longevity of any show is all about ratings. Rather than trying to prevent shows from airing when they may simply represent the reality that the United States is divided, consider instead turning off the television and registering to vote in anticipation for the 2018 midterm elections on Nov. 6.
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