How Roseanne getting canned impacts veterans

Phil Briggs
May 31, 2018 - 12:34 pm

Dreamstime/Briggs Illustration


Her tweet was mean. The joke wasn't even funny.

Her show was cancelled.

She apologized, the media criticized, the public demonized and still, some claimed there's a political double-standard and she shouldn't be ostracized. I think that just about covers the last 48 hours.



So, how does the sitcom "Roseanne" getting canned impact veterans? It's not that veterans need a television program, but rather it's a missed opportunity. 

More than just the story of a working-class family struggling with life's problems like money, kids and kids who move home with their kids, they also gave us the story line of DJ Connor (Michael Fishman). We learned that DJ had served in the Army in Syria, has a biracial daughter and that his wife Geena is still serving in the Middle East.

In one episode they awake at 2 am, so DJ and daughter can video chat with Geena at her base overseas. In a related (and ironic) twist, we watch Roseanne overcome her character's prejudice towards her foreign neighbors when her cable is cut off and she is forced to ask them to share their wifi signal so they can make the video call. In the conclusion of that episode, Roseanne experiences a change of heart, and pays for her neighbor's groceries while defending her from a racist cashier.

In another scene, we see DJ helping his dad (John Goodman) work on a motorcycle and describe his disappointing experience at the local VA.  

All of these were glimpses into future story lines, which could have helped bring awareness to some serious issues affecting veterans. If nothing else, they could help provide relateable characters to a huge audience and help everyone better understand some of the things vets are going through. It would certainly have been better than another non-stop, heart racing, action-packed military drama, which only focuses on the Special Operations community. (Note to TV executives: there's more to the military than SEALs and Rangers)

It would have been nice to see more of DJ handling single dad duties, while Geena was deployed. Their reunion could have been incredibly sweet. His medical treatment could have revealed many short comings with both the VA and the push for privitization. An exploration of medical cannabis, could have been a hilarious scene given the talented cast of Aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) his father Dan (John Goodman) sister Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and sister Becky (Alicia Goranson). It may have even changed the perception for both conservatives and liberals alike.

But one ignorant tweet has ended all my imaginary plots.

I now look to another show I watched religiously through the 90's to step up, re-boot and ressurect a character who is now all grown up and a proud military veteran. I'm talking to you Bud Bundy (David Faustino). Imagine, a new "Married with Children", where Bud returns home from the Navy (or Air Force) and is his wife is a former Army helicopter gunner. Sister Kelly Bundy (Christina Applegate) could frequently tease Bud about how his wife is tougher than he is. (Below: Christina Applegate and David Faustino at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Vacation' July 27, 2015)

Saucy Momma, Peg Bundy (Katey Sagal) could reveal that her first love was actually Al Bundy's high school football teammate, but their engagement ended when he was drafted into the Army during Vietnam. Or maybe Al Bundy (Ed O'Neil) could reveal the ultimate family secret, that his grandfather was the legendary WWI General Alfred Bundy, who they discovered was also founder of the town's notorious gay speakeasy during prohibition. The stories are endless.

We will pitch this to network executives at FOX and former cast members.

In the meantime, it looks like the only one stepping up to take Roseanne's place on the roster of recycled sitcoms is, Charlie Sheen.

Not sure anyone would believe that hard partying Charlie (Two and a Half Men character or actor in real life) is a veteran. But who knows, maybe he could revive the character Chris Taylor, that we first met in Oliver Stone's epic military movie, Platoon.

Personally, I'm holding out for the return of the Bundy's.

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