Can the Revival of the Rosanne Show Help Us Talk about Trump?

The original Rosanne Show lasted about 10 years, ending in 1997.  The success came from (A) many found it funny and (B) it felt like a realistic portrayal of working class life.  It had moments of heart and soul other sitcoms lacked.  A reboot of the show  just returned last week to an audience of about 18 million, enough to promptly give the show an extension.

Whether it is more the Trump factor – Rosanne doesn’t just portray a Trump supporter on TV, she is one in real life – and/or a nostalgia wave that has brought other old shows back, the show seems likely to be around for awhile and my hope is that it can open up small possibilities for never-Trumpers like me to actually talk with and listen to Trump lovers or at least likers (like they like how the economy has picked up over the past year, give Trump a lot of credit for it, and can live with him being a jerk as long as he gets things done they like .  I would argue their joy is fraught with danger but let’s forget that for now).

Though I’m tempted to skewer those bubbles of beliefs, that would not get us any closer to actually being able to talk about Trump without yelling or stamping off.   The crux of the tension so far on the show is that Rosanne’s sister Jackie distains Trump as much as Rosanne likes him.  But other touchy social issues are brought up as well and, as others have observed, the show is more about family than politics.  Efforts to maintain family ties push all sides to rethink what they are saying and doing, at least a little.

To me the key is there are lines that can make many of us on both sides of the divide laugh.  If we can share a laugh, maybe we can share a bit more.  Though the humor at times is forced and feels it is rubbing on sores, everyone gets ribbed, so there is not much to resent.

Of course, it is awkward, but that’s the way things are.  Let’s face it, those of us on each side of the divide think those on the other side don’t know what the hell’s going on.  That provides grounds for dislike, but also for humor.

I lived through the Vietnam war which rent our society apart.  I was a protestor while one of my brothers was in the air force in southeast Asia.  We didn’t talk much about the war, but the divisions weren’t as bad as they are now.  I never thought the whole country could be broken up over those schisms, but I do now.  If we can’t talk with those who believe very differently than we do, we will rely more and more on force to get what we want.  And with force, each action prompts an opposite reaction.  And those forces tend to grow.   Isn’t one civil war enough for us?

Soon I am going to go for a walk with a friend, Ken, who still supports Trump despite hours of my wise counselling.  For all other intents and purposes – he appears to possess a brain (and is happy he is getting a little more money in his paychecks, one reason to like Trump better than Obama.  I’d call it a pittance compared with …..oops, there I go again).

On the phone with Ken I recounted a scene in the show where  Jackie surprises Rosanne appearing at her door wearing one of those pink hat’s from that women’s march and a T-shirt with the words “Nasty Woman”.  She greets Rosanne with:  “What’s up deplorable?”  Made me laugh.

As I was about to hang up, I said:  “See you in awhile deplorable.”  My friend laughed and had a comeback that was kind of funny, for a Trump supporter.  If I had one of those pink hats I’d wear it to see him.  Would make him laugh.  Maybe we can agree on something in our walk today.

The next Rosanne episode is Tuesday evening on ABC.  I missed the debut but caught in on my DVR On Demand.   If you plan on watching Tuesday, you might want to look up the first one first…………or not.


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