So "The Conners" debuted Tuesday night.
Of course that's the spin-off of "Roseanne" — the show that starred Roseanne Barr as the title character. Roseanne was fired for some social media posts that were deemed offensive and racist by the ABC bigwigs.
Tuesday's show killed off Roseanne with an opioid overdose, which is a very real problem in our country. And before we go any further, it was good to see the cast and crew not lose their gigs because of Barr's actions and the reactions of Barr's bosses.
To be fair, the rating of "The Conners" debut was down 35 percent on early numbers from last fall's premiere of the "Roseanne" reboot.
But it's hard not to think that this was a potential opportunity missed so that ABC (owned by Walt Disney) could feel good about itself and say, "See, we're not racist. We fired Roseanne."
(Side note: The scariest thing for anyone in the public eye is a tipsy tweet or a Facebook foul-up. Seriously. ABC would have limped through three mediocre seasons of "Roseanne" after the fantastic numbers in last year's reboot. But make a mistake on social media and bye. And, yes, by all reports Roseanne was not exactly a day at the beach to work with, but sweet buckets, the folks who fit into that team picture in show business are going to comprise a bigger number than those who say they have been cheering for Alabama since the Mike DuBose days.)
Man, as we become more polarized, there was a real chance for a well-written TV show to show the struggles in America today as people wrestle with the frustrations created by that political divide.
Think about it this way, right now if you are conservative, you watch Fox News. If you are liberal, you turn to CNN or MSNBC. Those broadcasts are preaching to their choirs and the choirs are happy to hear the sermon. Over and over again. It's not journalism, it's entertainment. But it makes sound financial sense.
Well, in scripted TV, those divides also are developing.
Take the sitcom "Last Man Standing" with Tim Allen. It was canceled by ABC, and a lot of folks thought it was because Allen is a rare Hollywood conservative and the show was too right-wing. Fox picked up "Last Man Standing" after a lot of fan outcry.
Well, think of the possibilities of what Roseanne could have brought as a modern-day Archie Bunker in a time more divided than when Carroll O'Connor sat in a recliner. Yes, it would be comedy, but some of the best commentary on issues is satire.
Could not that satire — balanced and presented from different angles — potentially deliver some understanding of the other side? That's a perspective that we certainly are not getting when we make our viewing and entertainment choices as homogeneous as our November ballots.
Yes, Roseanne tweeted some awful things, but they were just that. Tweets. I am in no way defending those actions or Roseanne.
But think of the possible conversations that could have been started or re-started with a lightning-rod character like Roseanne Conner.
Last year's reboot of the show was an overwhelming success because it was one of a few shows on TV that looked at a wide spectrum of our society's issues, rather than the self-deprecating sitcom model of white people making fun of themselves and their situations.
The chance died Tuesday, as did the opportunity to offer some different and potentially enlightening perspectives.
Well, maybe next time. Or in reruns.
Contact Jay Greeson at email@example.com and 423-757-6343.