Roseanne was canceled after Roseanne Barr's twitter outburst, yet the revival still managed to snag an Emmy nomination (Laurie Metcalf, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series). The controversial star wrote a racist tweet in which she stated that Valerie Jarrett, a former Obama advisor, looked like the "Muslim brotherhood & Planet of the Apes had a baby." After receiving significant backlash, Barr apologized and referred to her comment as a "bad joke." Many celebrities, including Sara Gilbert, condemned Barr's derogatory comment and ABC swiftly canceled the popular revival.
"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey announced.
Minutes later, Gilbert issued a statement about Roseanne's cancelation. "This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we've created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love — one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member," wrote Gilbert.
So the question remains: What would an Emmys win mean for the cast of Roseanne?
Although Metcalf was inarguably the best actor on the series, her win for Roseanne is unjustifiable. Giving Metcalf an Emmy for Roseanne would mean rewarding a show that heavily leaned into stereotypes about minorities and would simultaneously provide Barr with a microphone to expand her reach and spew her misinformed agenda.
Giving a major platform to someone who has furthered hateful beliefs is dangerous and wrong. Barr's racist tweet about Jarrett (among many others) is indefensible, and no one should bend over backwards to justify her behavior — especially not the Emmy voters. Although Barr's actions were hers alone, they have tarnished Roseanne's legacy and the work the remainder of the cast put into it. That's why the revival should be fully ignored at the Emmys.
It's no secret that Roseanne was the highest-rated show of the 2017-2018 TV season. The series became a pop-culture phenomenon. If you bring morals and ethics into play, Roseanne should have never been revived. Given Barr's unhinged and deeply problematic outbursts on Twitter, it's difficult to separate the artist from the art when she is so inherently stitched into the show's DNA. Barr's loud public endorsement of Donald Trump put her in the headlines and made both her on and offscreen personas a symbol of the nation's increasing political divide. Ironically, the point of the Roseanne revival was about bringing people together. The classic love-hate dynamics within a family were meant to flourish with laughter, yet the ugliness of ideological differences trampled that dream.
"I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved," Barr explained in a statement.
ABC has already salvaged "the good parts" of Roseanne with a spinoff series, The Conners, which will feature the original cast minus the show's namesake. With a 10-episode order and little insight into how Roseanne will be written off the show (although we certainly have some ideas!), The Conners will definitely raise ratings and a lot of questions this fall.
With a spinoff intact, there's even less of a reason to give Roseanne that Emmy. Barr's absence from The Conners is what ultimately greenlit the spinoff. Rebranding The Conners as a separate entity from its predecessor is integral in establishing its success. Rather than shying away from the thornier issues that prompted Barr's firing, lets hope The Conners has the courage to address and tackle them. It can use this moment to create a family sitcom that will actually unify people and also occupy an integral space in pop culture.
In that sense, the cast of Roseanne has already been provided with a do-over after Barr's firing and does not need an (undeserved) Emmy win. They are onto their third act with The Conners and have yet another opportunity to create a sitcom that focuses on economic diversity and cultural divisions.
The 70th annual Emmy Awards will be held at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on September 17, 2018 at 5 p.m. on NBC. SNL's Michael Che and Colin Jost will host the festivities. The nominees for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series include: Zazie Beetz for Atlanta, Laurie Metcalf for Roseanne, Betty Gilpin for GLOW, Aidy Bryant for Saturday Night Live, Leslie Jones for Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon for Saturday Night Live, Alex Borstein for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Megan Mullally for Will & Grace.