Her connection with the show may have ended months ago, but the past is just starting to catch up to with one Roseanne reboot executive producer. Whitney Cummings is against a Roseanne spinoff, as fans discovered when a Hollywood Reporter roundtable and a taped TMZ interview came out on the same day, June 11. But Cummings' Roseanne response has nothing to do with sour grapes or bad feelings about the show overall; in fact, it's just the opposite.
The Roseanne reboot was canceled last month after a racist and Islamophobic tweet from its star, Roseanne Barr, compared former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to the love child of "Muslim brotherhood & Planet of The Apes." (Barr has since apologized and deleted the tweet. At the time of the incident, Bustle reached out to her rep for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.) And even though Cummings has had a few weeks to process the news, and revealed in her TMZ interview that she quit months before the show's cancellation, it's clear that the wounds left by the show may still be very raw.
TMZ caught up with the comedian at the airport on Monday, and Cummings had some difficulty finding her words when asked to speak about the series. "I mean, I don't even know what to say," she told the interviewer, when asked how she thought the show could move forward. The 35-year-old continued, "I don't really know what to say, other than it's a real shame for everyone. All the cast and crew were so proud of the work."
Those are hardly the words of someone who's celebrating the downfall of her former workplace, or enjoying seeing her former coworkers out of work. And indeed, as the interview continued, every comment that the former executive producer made actually seemed aimed at protecting the show's legacy, rather than tarnishing it.
Cummings told TMZ she absolutely understands the instinct to "preserve the legacy of a show that touched so many people," herself included. However, she referred to the current scramble by fans and ABC executives to find a way forward without Barr as everyone "just trying to stop the bleeding." And ultimately, the reason Cummings doesn't feel optimistic about the return of the show is that she can't see a way to bring it back that wouldn't also benefit its lead actor. "Maybe they can salvage the legacy in some way," Cummings continued, speculatively, before adding, "but if it benefits her financially, it's a bad move."
Even if a Roseanne spinoff were to be made in a way that didn't benefit Barr financially (which would be difficult, considering she created the show and its characters), and even if it had absolutely nothing to do with Barr, Cummings said she wouldn't go back to any version of the show. She told TMZ,
"I have too many gray hairs in my head from this whole experience, and I'm doing my own thing and trying to make my own show, and doing stand-up. I'm just trying to heal from the whole thing and make sense of it all. I was just as horrified as everybody else, and really heartbroken about it. So I'm just trying to put the pieces together."
Cummings, who announced she had left the Roseanne reboot about one week before it was canceled, recently described working on the controversial series in her THR interview (conducted before she left the show and, obviously, before its cancellation). In the interview published Monday, Cummings defended Barr's already controversial tweets, saying, "Her Twitter feed is her Twitter feed. But everyone just needs something to blame right now."
However, that's not to say Cummings agreed with Barr creatively on set. In that same interview, the executive producer shared a storyline that she was hoping to get into an episode, of having a child be the one to locate a gun lost in the house. She said,
"It made everyone very uncomfortable, which is why I wanted to do it. Because kids find guns in their homes and I thought for a multicam this could be incendiary and interesting and start a conversation and show the dangers inside the home of these kinds of choices. And the network — everyone was pretty freaked out about it. And I fought really hard and it was a hill that I died on."
And while it's unclear whether or not creative differences like the one she detailed above had anything to do with her exit, what is clear is that Cummings walked away with no resentment toward the show itself.
This particular plot point never got to be a reality. And whether you agree or disagree with her decision to join the show in the first place, it's hard to argue that she doesn't have the best interests of the show and its fans in mind now.