The Trump-voting Roseanne Conner of the rebooted Roseanne was not deplorable. She griped not about “shithole countries” or the “rapists” from Mexico, but about her mounting bills and healthcare costs. She sternly but lovingly helped out her gender-noncomforming grandkid. Her family members disliked undocumented immigrants only, it was emphasized, because they directly undercut their own job prospects. TV’s Roseanne did have some prejudices about the Muslim family that moved in across the street, but copped to being in the wrong when the new neighbors shared their wi-fi password in a moment of need.
The Trump-voting Roseanne Barr of real life, the actress who plays the character, doesn’t seem quite so concerned with economic stability or decency. Her Twitter feed has featured bursts of Islamophobia and conspiracy-mongering about George Soros. On Tuesday, the racist worldview in which such rhetoric is rooted—a worldview that sees America as under perpetual threat by brown and Jewish folks—was again affirmed when she sent a tweet comparing the Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett with an ape.
The tweet was quickly deleted, and within hours ABC announced it was canceling Roseanne. Network president Channing Dungey called Barr’s tweet “abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values.” This was in many ways a shocking decision: It’s not often a profit-minded corporation axes a show that’s network TV’s biggest hit in years. But on some level, the outcome felt inevitable. All along, Roseanne offered a fantasy of who the average Trump voter was, and at some point, reality ruins fantasy.