By killing off Roseanne through addiction to pain pills, ABC reimagined her entire character, and in so doing, effectively cut out the very heart and soul of everything Roseanne was about, both as an iconic matriarchal figure and as a landmark television show. For that, I predict, not just ABC but Hollywood in general will pay a high price, one they may not yet be capable of understanding.
In a strange and magical way, this ‘creative decision,’ tone deaf, ignorant and arrogant as it may be, is really the perfect conclusion to this saga. A storybook ending befitting the new era we’ve entered. An era Hollywood, in its current form, will not survive; the Age of Authenticity, where all that was once hidden is now being laid bare.
Like a tinsel town nightmare scenario, the real truth about everything will now be revealed, exposed for all to see, ready or not. In case you’ve been wondering why everything looks nuts, this is why. And, heads up Hollywood, it’s in this wondrous new place where ABC’s entire handling of Roseanne from start to finish will be judged. At best, it’ll be a harbinger of things to come. At worst, it’ll be one more signature on the death warrant of the obsolete centralized control system Hollywood is desperately clinging to; a virtual prison pyramid that’s co-opted art, exploited and enslaved artists, and deceive and misdirect humanity for long enough.
Brutal, I know, but true nonetheless.
The successful and authentic artistic creation that was ‘Roseanne’ was all about living through and confronting the real everyday pains of life, and doing it with a rare kind of honesty, inexhaustible humor, true humbleness, real American grit, and that snarky trademark Conner spirit. You see, in Conner Never Neverland, which comic genius Roseanne Barr created, medicating uncomfortable things away was not just unnecessary and inconceivable, it was counterintuitive to the entire creation. It was the Conner’s ability to ‘endure,’ through anything, that was the very base metal Roseanne used in the alchemy of her creation. Like gravity, it was the sun around which the world she manifested and played in rotated. Take that away, as they effectively did in the premiere of The Conners, and you’ve got a giant gaping black hole in the middle of your solar system.
Whether it looked like it to Hollywood executives or not, the world Roseanne created was a wish-fulfillment fantasy come true. A far-off, fantastical land where, through the years, millions of us joined her, and where unending endurance was a mother and wife’s superpower, and triumphant humor her pixie dust.
So you see, to actually kill off Roseanne by imagining her overdosing on pain meds one would have to lack the slightest clue as to what the show was all about in the first place. And for that matter, how storytelling works in general and what the entire art form is truly about. Though this is a terrible prognosis, and virtually ensures the looming and spectacular failure of The Conners, it’s really nothing new. The only difference is that now it’s being shown to us, step by step, in excruciating detail.
I find it ironic that the very people who killed her off would have no ability to see any of this at all. It’s utterly Shakespearian. Truly fitting for the new age. We just observed, in real-time, that those who’ve been in charge of our art don’t actually have access to the divine realm where true creativity comes from, where everything their empires are built upon is manufactured. That’s the only explanation for why they wouldn’t understand how killing Roseanne off with opioids couldn’t exist in the same reality they’re hoping to salvage, and why they didn’t know in the first place that they would never be able to make magic without the magician.
From the moment Roseanne came back on the air to the premiere episode of “The Conner’s,” culminating in the untimely and uncharacteristic death of the artist whose very creation it was, ABC told us everything we need to know about how Hollywood has truly viewed artists for a very long time. From their swift cancellation of a show millions loved to attempting to move forward without her, their entire handling of Roseanne is a case study in precisely why storytelling must and is being decentralized away from the soulless conglomerates and why the voice and power is migrating back to the artists and creators. Because the whole system is set up backwards. It needs to be broken down and completely rebuilt.
Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is the sacred gift, and the rational mind is the faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
That is why our world has ended up the way it has.
Cut to the age of authenticity. This is the part of the story where the heroes rise from the ashes, unexpectedly decentralize storytelling, and save the world.
Hollywood will no longer be the epicenter. The prison pyramid will collapse. Artists and creators will no longer be forced to choose between living their purpose and selling their soul. Hollywood will come to heel at the feet of the artists, and the world will understand something like never before; that art is God talking. The messages that come through in stories and inspired creations are divine. They are humanity’s birthright. We always have and always will look to art to guide us. Those who’ve controlled the levers of power in this world have known that for a long time. They used art and artists to build the world they wanted, instead of what was supposed to be built. It’s from these very people who we’re taking it all back.
In the age of authenticity, it is a fatal error to forsake art, artists and their audiences, doing one of these things is now the kiss of death—Hollywood is used to routinely doing all three. Whether they know it or not, those days are over. ABC should have considered themselves privileged to be delivering audiences something that was resonating, that is the whole name of the game, and their only true function. Instead, they told the artist to sit down, shut up, and be quiet, then silenced her once and for all. Not only will they suffer the consequences, but, I mean come on, we’re talking about Roseanne here…
Neither shutting her up nor killing her is remotely possible.
In Love & Truth,
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Tiffany FitzHenry is a Hollywood Whistleblower and Author of The Oldest Soul Trilogy
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