Big Mama vs. Mama Grizzly
Why Roseanne Barr could be the woman to take on Sarah Palin and her fellow conservatives.
Roseanne is willing to be especially loud (and especially crass) when it comes to Palin and her pals—more so than any other comedian. Yes, Tina Fey is still the best-known Palin-mocker in the United States (whatever you make of the claim that she helped put Obama in the White House). But since the election, Fey has mostly retired her wire-rimmed glasses. Furthermore, she will make nice to Sarah Palin while they're on Saturday Night Live together, whereas Roseanne's anti-Palin, anti-conservative commentary is fierce and unrelenting. She will fight the Mama Grizzlies to the death—and she won't mince words. "Gall geyser" and "mindless sex bot" are the kinds of descriptions Roseanne uses for Palin. Since Palin is willing to scrap with pretty much anyone (see this long list of folks with whom she is feuding), Roseanne's unwillingness to back down or be kind is also a big plus.
There are some caveats to all this, of course: We don't know how much Roseanne will talk about politics on her new reality show, versus how much she'll talk about, say, Macadamia nut farming. But if her Feb. 14 appearance on Oprah is any indication, she's not scared of broaching political subjects in front of a national TV audience. (Roseanne decided to clear the air with Oprah about whether Oprah's support for Obama, and Roseanne's dissing Oprah for that support, had created a lasting riff. Oprah put her fear to rest.) It's also uncertain whether Roseanne will have the cultural clout that she had during her '90s heyday—but again, the Oprah appearance bodes well. According to the the Nielsen Company, 8.5 million viewers tuned in to see her, up from 7 million viewers for an average Oprah episode this season. Finally, Roseanne's—how shall we say?—more unorthodox beliefs could be a liability when it comes to being taken seriously as a political voice. But is anything she says monumentally crazier than anything that comes out of Rep. Michele Bachmann's mouth?
In Rosennearchy's preface, titled "Right Is Wrong, and We Need to Straighten It Out," Roseanne had this to say:
I dropped out of school, got a real education, took myself to the prom, peed in the punch bowl, and got rich doing it. And believe me, they don't give big dough away—but they will pay if they're sure you have something people want. And what did people want then that they still want now? They want a plainspoken message from somebody they figure is on their side.
If she just keeps this up, she'll make it very hard for Sarah Palin to keep on claiming that progressives don't understand real women. In that fabulous New Yorker article from '95, Roseanne referred to herself as "Big Mama." Move over Grizzly Mamas, because Big Mama is back.