Retired NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar doesn’t see why everyone’s making a big deal about ABC’s reboot of the hit sitcom “Roseanne.”
He laid out his grievances in an op-ed column titled, “Don’t Be Fooled, ‘Roseanne’ Is Really TV’s Most Anti-Trump Show” in The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday. Abdul-Jabbar claims “Roseanne” caters to a Trump-supporting audience because it makes fun of them without them realizing.
He writes, in part:
Nothing reveals Trump’s myopia more than trying to grab credit for others’ success, not realizing that the show he’s boasting about relentlessly criticizes him and his policies more ruthlessly than almost any other program on television…
…Roseanne is more subversive in its presentation of class struggles, health care, gender identity, and other issues that reflect the failures of the Trump administration. And it does so with searing wit, satirical commentary, and profound insight.
He also says the show, which only premiered last week, demonstrates an “uncompromising criticism of Trump,” but that criticism is misconstrued as a sort of faulty breath of fresh air to the simpletons who drove the show’s ratings up in the first place.
Unfortunately for Trump supporters, Roseanne is like that cinnamon roll in which some people claim to see the face of Jesus. If you’re looking for saviors in your pastry, you’ll eventually find them. Because when you look at the actual content of the first three shows, you see a deliberate lack of any substantive arguments, facts, statistics, or credible authorities that generally are the tools of forming educated opinions.
Abdul-Jabbar’s argument is a funny one, since he claims on the one hand that “Roseanne” offers a “searing” presentation of real political issues, but also fails to offer any “substantive” content. He condemns “Roseanne” viewers who seek wisdom in pop culture. But this is so wrong, what then, is Stephen Colbert? Kathy Griffin? Chelsea Handler? Is it equally as wrong to find a fountain of liberal wisdom in somebody like Jimmy Kimmel?
The problem with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s argument is that he can’t get out of his own way. Adul-Jabbar is an outspoken activist and has served as a human interest ambassador under both President Obama and Secretary Clinton. But just because he may enjoy “Will And Grace” more than “Roseanne” doesn’t mean he’s right. Just because he wants “Roseanne” to write affordable healthcare and LGBTQ activism into its script more doesn’t mean everybody else has the palate for it.
Criticizing a show for being a “sitcom,” and “not a poli-sci lecture,” might just be one of the most tone-deaf, out of touch arguments to date. “Roseanne” is not be a poli-sci lecture, and that might just be its saving grace.
Follow Jena on Twitter.