Roseanne's "Black and Asian Families" Joke Has People Concerned
As we covered earlier this week, Trump supporter Roseanne Barr is offering up just the right amount of right wing brassiness on her Roseanne reboot to not only win over the hearts and eyeballs of your average American household, but also of Donald Schmuck (like Duck? Is this going to be a thing?) himself. ABC has provided Barr with a platform to expound on her political and social views, and this week's episode proves that she is not holding back. At all. The opposite of that. Is what she's doing.
The scene that ignited the fury of the Internet begins with John Goodman's Dan asleep on the couch. After waking up he says to Roseanne:
We missed all the shows about black and Asian families.
To which Roseanne, ever the provocative jokester, responds:
They’re just like us. There, now you’re all caught up.
Cute. Classy. Timeless. The two shows that Barr is most likely referring to are Black-ish and Fresh off the Boat - both of which also air on ABC. While a series poking fun at its rivals is nothing new, Barr's comments, according to her critics, minimize the lives and stories of these "black and Asian families" and place white people at the nucleus of our shared experiences. Bob's Burgers and Master of None writer Kelvin Yu had this to say:
Here’s why the Roseanne joke about ‘missing all the shows about Black and Asian families’ matters. At the very least, it’s reductive and belittling, as if to say those shows are nothing more than ‘Black’ and ‘Asian’ in their existence. But the real kicker is when Roseanne says: ‘They’re just like us. There, now you’re all caught up.’ Which implies that the point of any show about a minority family is simply to normalize them. That’s it. The stories, the humor, the characters … not important.
Here's why the Roseanne joke about "missing all the shows about Black and Asian families" matters. At the very least, it's reductive and belittling, as if to say those shows are nothing more than "Black" and "Asian" in their existence. 1/9
— Kelvin Yu (@InternetKelvin) April 5, 2018
While former Fresh off the Boat writer Kourtney Kang added:
In these jokes, and in the others like these, at the heart of them, whether the joke-teller means it or not, is a divisive spirit. ‘Us.’ ‘Them.’ It’s always drawing lines. Separating. Whenever these jokes have been said to me, the thing that is the most hurtful is not the insensitive dullard who said it. There’s always going to be people like that. What hurts the most is when everyone else in the room laughs.
At the end of the day, the clear message to ABC is that the formula for the Roseanne reboot works. The series has been able to stand out from the crowded television lineup for its polarizing, headline-grabbing, and right wing-bolstering commentary. Much like how a certain someone rose through a political meat market to become president. Do you think Roseanne's comments are harmless fun, or does ABC need to check itself, collect itself, correct itself, and ban Barr from ever making anything ever again? Let us know.