November 20, 2018

"The Conners" Is Better without Roseanne

“ABC’s The Conners, the show formerly known as Roseanne, grapples, textually and extratextually, with the abrupt departure of a larger-than-life personality. In the world of the show, Roseanne Conner has recently died; in the real world, Roseanne Barr was fired for racist comments, following years of virulently hateful, conspiratorial, and generally Trumpian remarks. In the world of the show, Roseanne’s departure is a tragedy. In the real world, it’s just deserts. Even more just: The show works fine without her.

The Conners picks up three months after Roseanne’s death. The family is grieving but functioning, still cracking the sour, black jokes that make their difficulties bearable. (Lots of depressing cable dramas could stand to be reminded that you can take on serious, soul-crushing subjects and keep the jokes.) Aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) won’t stop reorganizing the kitchen, Becky (Alicia Goranson) is avoiding helping in every way she can, Dan (John Goodman) is sleeping on the couch—which is finally being cleaned; gone, for now, is the iconic crocheted blanket—and Darlene (Sara Gilbert) is assuming the mantle of the matriarch.
“You already live here and you’re a scary little tyrant. You’re the obvious choice to take over for Mom,” Becky tells Darlene. “Why are you saying such nice things to me!” Darlene replies, sincerely flattered.

Dan and Darlene— Goodman and Gilbert, really—are now the show’s main characters, a recalibration that gives the entire enterprise a slightly more ensemble feel. Over The Conners’ first two episodes, the cast balloons to include a number of recognizable guest stars, recurring characters, and new faces, like DJ’s wife Geena, on leave from the military. (Maya Lynne Robinson takes over the role as a series regular, replacing Xosha Roquemore.) The plot is maximalist as well. The Conners are contending not only with grief but with addiction, divorce, teen sex, and coming out. It can feel a bit like five “very special episodes” packed into one, but hey, the show is just trying to keep busy.”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"...after five months of canceled meetings and muted statements of dissatisfaction by both countries, experts say there is no sign of progress toward the Singapore goal of so-called "denuclearization" of the North."

"The presidential news conferences have become frustrating to watch and, doubtless, are frustrating for President Trump to engage in. While we have freedom of the press in our country, we should not tolerate unprofessionalism."

"It's highly unlikely that Israel's center-left parties will form a coalition to run together in the 2019 election, but they should not abandon efforts to find common ground to fight for."

"Cam has the brilliant audacity to argue that the internet isn’t about connecting people. Netflix’s slick, saucy new horror noir understands the existential terror of losing your carefully curated fictional internet persona."

"Wealthy nations have strong currencies. A strong dollar allows Americans to buy goods, services and resources from other countries at low prices."

"China’s leaders like the internet they have created. And now, they want to direct the nation’s talent and tech acumen toward an even loftier end: building an innovation-driven economy, one that produces world-leading companies."

"At an inaugural desert festival of yogis and spirit guides like Russell Brand, an exclusive industry grapples with consumerism, addiction, and the actual meaning of wellness."

"The confusing thing about Franzen is that even people who hate him admit that he is a great novelist, and even people who love him admit that his essays are often a little on the insufferable..."

"“And just like that” or “in the blink of an eye” are familiar captions on parenting milestone photos. But for me, while the days were long, not even one year flew by."

"How the Silicon Valley set fell in love with sourdough and decided to disrupt the 6,000-year-old craft of making bread, one crumbshot at a time."

"...everyone can — and should — learn quantum mechanics. It’s not rocket science — it’s a fundamental part of how our world works, and not as complex as you might fear."

"New Hebrew University initiative brings international students to Yoga studio run by Breslov Hasidim for course on 'Judaism and the Body.'"