Muse Reporting on the popular and fine arts

Pro-Trump Roseanne reboot draws droves of viewers

Entertainment | The sitcom’s popularity could spur more conservative-friendly programming
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 3/30/18, 01:09 pm

The smashing success of ABC’s reboot of the sitcom Roseanne could prove viewers are hungry for more shows that depict conservatives in a positive light.

In its first two episodes this week, the series frequently referenced the fictional Conner family’s support for President Donald Trump. The show brought in an estimated 18.2 million viewers, 10 percent more than the May 1997 finale of the original series and more than any other ABC show in the Tuesday 8 p.m. time slot since 2006, according to TVLine.

Trump called series star Roseanne Barr to congratulate her and also mentioned the show in a speech Thursday in Richfield, Ohio, telling his supporters, “It’s about us.”

Barr, a Trump supporter, said Thursday it was a thrill to get a call from the president: “I’ve known him for many years and he’s done a lot of nice things for me over the years.”

Roseanne’s new season could fill a void left when ABC canceled Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing at the end of the 2016-17 television season. For six seasons, Allen played a conservative father to three teenage girls who grew into young adults—with varied political viewpoints—as the series progressed. 

Loyal viewers balked and said ABC targeted the sitcom because of its conservative bent, but ABC insisted it was a business decision. After a run of successful seasons, it can cost more to continue a show whose actors and crew can demand higher pay than it does to start a new one. Allen tried to convince other networks to pick up the show, but none did. After Roseanne’s successful premiere, Last Man Standing fans took to Twitter calling for its return, and rumors circulated that Fox is considering picking up the show.

Conservative viewers might love Roseanne, but the show gives Christians plenty of reasons to watch with caution. The Conner family relates to each other through anger, insults, and sarcasm, and when the going gets tough, Dad retreats to the garage to drink beer. A plotline about a boy who wears girls clothing seems headed toward a pro-transgender statement. Barr said after the show’s premiere that the point was to show family members trying to support each other when their opinions clash: “I saw it happening in all the families I know, so I thought, ‘Well this is, you know, it’s good, hopefully it will get people talking to each other.’”

Associated Press/Photo by Carolyn Kaster Associated Press/Photo by Carolyn Kaster Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, with their pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, at a White House event

Bunny tales

For anyone who’s wondered what it’s like to be the pet of the vice president of the United States, bookstore shelves currently offer two very different views. Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, a children’s picture book by Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, and adult daughter Charlotte, was released the same week as a spoof by the staff of an HBO comedy show. In Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, the Pence family’s pet bunny becomes involved in a same-sex relationship. Oliver and his team meant the book as a biting critique of Pence’s Biblical stance that marriage is between one man and one woman. The two books both have become best-sellers, and the Pences are being good sports about the obviously mean-spirited jab at their beliefs. Proceeds from both books are going to charity. The Pences are donating to A21, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating human trafficking, and Tracey’s Kids, an art therapy program for cancer patients. The spoof book raises money for AIDS United and the Trevor Project, a suicide hotline for LGBT youth. “All of us at Regnery are thrilled with the success of Karen and Charlotte Pence’s Bundo book!” Regnery publisher Marji Ross said in a statement. “Kudos to Oliver and Chronicle for the success they are enjoying, but that doesn’t make us any less excited over how well our book is doing. There’s plenty to go around for everyone, and, like Charlotte said, we can all be happy the proceeds are going to a good cause.” —L.L.

Associated Press Associated Press Rusty Staub in 1984, when he played for the New York Mets

A hero on and off the field

Retired major leaguer Rusty Staub, known for his bright red hair and reliable bat, died Thursday, major league baseball’s opening day. He was 73. Staub was a fan favorite and the only player in major league history to have at least 500 hits for four teams. Between 1963 and 1985, he played for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros, Montreal Expos, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, and Texas Rangers. In Montreal, he made three straight All-Star teams and won the hearts of French-Canadian fans by learning their language, which earned him the nickname “Le Grand Orange.” In New York, he founded the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, which has provided more than $140 million to the families of first responders killed in the line of duty. “While many admire Rusty for his impressive record as a baseball player, it is his work off the field that truly made him one of the greats,” fund chairman Stephen Dannhauser said. During Thursday’s season opener at Citi Field, the Mets saluted Staub on the stadium video board and painted his number, 10, on the field behind the pitcher’s mound. —L.L.

A win for women

Walmart announced this week it would remove Cosmopolitan from checkout aisles. The cover of the magazine, often called Cosmo, usually features scantily clad models and celebrities and bold headlines promoting sexual experimentation or promiscuity. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) has worked for years to get stores to remove the magazine or at least keep it covered. Walmart said moving Cosmo from checkout aisles to the magazine section of the store was a business decision, but the center said it had “collaborative dialogue” with Walmart to push for the change. “While the editors of Cosmo unconvincingly claim to help women achieve happiness and satisfaction in life, they really only help women achieve status as second-class citizens in our society, and as objects for men’s pleasure, rather than as whole, independent, and respected persons,” NCOSE said in a statement. “We applaud Walmart for their leadership and encourage other corporations to follow their lead.” —L.L.

Second chance

Adnan Syed, subject of the 2014 hit podcast Serial, is entitled to a new trial on charges he murdered his ex-girlfriend and fellow high school student Hae Min Lee in 1999, a Maryland appeals court ruled Thursday. The Court of Special Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that Syed received ineffective counsel during his first trial. A jury found him guilty in 2000, and he has been serving a life sentence in prison. Serial, which shattered records for podcast downloads, revealed Syed’s lawyer failed to call a possible alibi witness and to question cellphone tower data the prosecution used. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office said it was considering what to do next in light of the ruling. —L.L.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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