Bryan Fuller reads the room and understands what Trump’s America needs.
If you dare to venture onto the internet right now, all entertainment and news outlets are preoccupied with the Roseanne Barr situation. Mere hours after the television star tweeted a revolting, racist description of Valerie Jarrett, ABC canceled Barr’s eponymous primetime show. The message was clear. Disney does not tolerate this sort of behavior.
Channing Dungey, the president of ABC Entertainment, issued a quick declaration regarding Barr’s comments:
“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
And like that…she was gone. Barr has since issued an apology online, but the damage was done. Goodbye, and good riddance.
Should we praise Dungey for taking such a stance? Maybe yes, maybe no. It was not hard to read the room after Barr’s Twitter bomb went off. Giving the Roseanne revival the boot was as much about good business as anything else.
We don’t want or need Roseanne‘s brand of topical humor. The show has always fed on negativity, and while misery often loves company, America of the Now needs solutions rather than wallowing in self-pity. Exposing the pain of our society has a purpose, but this war of ideas has resulted in a bifurcated nation. Fighting fire with fire will only result in a heap of ash.
Bryan Fuller has a suggestion. I think we should listen to him. Taking to his own Twitter account, the showrunner extraordinaire chimed into this all-consuming conversation with another plug for his own lost sitcom.
Pushing Daisies was a magical whodunit romance that was killed before it’s time. The show starred Lee Pace as Ned, the pie man. Besides being a wizard of pastry, his touch also had the power to resurrect the dead. He used this gift to return a childhood crush (Anna Friel) to the land of the living, and together with the help of a private investigator (Chi McBride) and a co-worker (Kristin Chenoweth), the team solved a variety of murder mysteries.
Not the obvious switch for the domestic squabbles of Roseanne. But hear me out.
Pushing Daisies arrived just a few years too early. While American audiences in 2009 were used to a little oddity in their boob tube entertainment (Ally McBeal’s imaginary dancing baby, the resurrection of the Ninth Doctor), most households at the time could not handle too much whimsy. NCIS = good. NCIS + pies + reanimation = bad.
America can deal with it now. We understand genre mashup better than ever. We tolerated far too many seasons of Once Upon A Time because we couldn’t let go of Frozen. We schedule our lives around Game of Thrones and Westworld. Now Riverdale rules, and The Good Place offers hope to the hopeless. Not only can we take weird, but we also crave it.
We live in an era where dead does not mean dead. What failed before can succeed today. If Twin Peaks can be resuscitated and return better than ever, Pushing Daisies has a helluva shot at finally capturing mass attention. Bryan Fuller has been hustling a reboot for quite some time, and I think we’re finally ready to pay attention.
Pushing Daisies is the Star Trek of whimsical romantic comedies. The show placed life and exploration of self on a pedestal. No wonder, Fuller tried his own hand at the starship Discovery. He is a creator that urges human connectivity and champions the truth of love conquering all. 2018 America yearns for those ideas whether they truly know it or not.
While Roseanne held a mirror to our anguish, Pushing Daisies offered a dream to strive towards. We may not want the dream, but we do need it. Otherwise, what’s the point of this whole mess?