“This is no fucking character! This is my show, and I created it—not Matt, and not Carsey-Werner, and not ABC. You watch me. I will win this battle if I have to kill every last white bitch in high heels around here.”—
I recently watched the 1975 documentary “Grey Gardens”. It revolves around a mother and daughter, both who were denied their passions in life. Eventually, they begin to live a life of solitude in their families decaying vacation home in the prestigious neighborhood, Georgica Pond, located in the East Hampton’s. Currently, celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Steven Spielberg and Calvin Klein have houses in the Georgica Pond neighborhood.
It provides commentary on how American society can push those who are most intelligent into a world of illness and despair. The mother and daughter form an unhealthy codependent relationship and the documentary follows their daily life. It’s truly fascinating and worth a watch. Two former socialites living a life of freedom the only way they know how.
In 2010, “Grey Gardens” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The middle class may still be around, even if some are only hanging on by a thread. But on TV, shows portraying the middle class have virtually disappeared. Today, we are bombarded by reality shows about the rich and famous showcasing people who are nothing like the typical American family.
As a society, we have become obsessed with those who have an abundance of wealth and privilege to the point of wanting that same life - even if we can’t afford it. Maybe the desire to have a little piece of that lifestyle has contributed to many Americans biting off more than they can chew by using credit irresponsibly, as well as buying homes, cars and things they can’t afford by adopting a “buy now, pay later” mentality.
At least Roseanne gave us a weekly dose of reality mixed with humor, and I think we were better off for it. Her show grounded us and, for many, made our lives actually look pretty good compared to hers.
For instance, in the show’s pilot, the oldest daughter Becky is taking cans of food to school for a food drive and says it’s for “poor people,” and Roseanne quips back, “Well tell ‘em to drive some of that food over here!” Unfortunately, this show probably has more relevance and “realism” in today’s economy than back when the show first aired. Roseanne was recently quoted in Entertainment Weekly saying, “I’m very proud of it’s timelessness and, you know, the fact that it has a political edge; that it is even more relevant now than it was then.”
I couldn’t agree more. Families like the Conner’s who live paycheck to paycheck are rarely, if ever, seen on television today. The ironic thing is her sitcom is probably more realistic than half of the “reality” shows dominating television right now.
The show dealt with every day, real issues that were taboo for television. Some of the topics included financial difficulties, substance abuse, mental and physical abuse, abortion, depression and equality for women. Roseanne was also the first family sitcom to show a woman, not a man, in charge of the household. In addition, Roseanne brought gay characters to the forefront of American television and paved the way for them on television.
Roseanne Barr sums it up best in her A&E television biography saying, “I was televisions probably first, last and only woman whoever did exactly what I wanted to do, week after week, despite everybody being alarmed, pissed off and against. I still did it!”
As I look back at old youtube videos of Princess Diana, I can’t help but become obsessed with her life. I now understand why the world was so transfixed by this remarkable woman, and why one of the only memories I have from being 8 years old is when she passed away.
Princess Diana could have continued changing the world for the better if she had only been given more time. Her personal life was often dark; struggling with bulimia, depression, suicide and divorce. But her unwavering commitment to those in need never stopped. She brought immense attention to HIV/AIDS, land mines, leprosy and numerous other causes around the world. Her empathy for those less fortunate made her one of the greatest humanitarians the world has ever had.
Leading up to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, I often heard people say that the amount of attention given to to the Royal Family is ridiculous. But as Princess Diana showed, we need people with status to motivate the masses. Without her popularity, her work would have been ignored and unsuccessful. Diana should be an example to the Royal Family of what to do with the resources, opportunity and attention they are given. Princess Diana proved why the Royal Family can, should and does matter.
Some of the video clips and documentaries I’ve watched even brought tears to my eyes. Princess Diana had the ability to bring comfort and joy to those even on their death beds. She had an indescribable touch and warmth that even when looking back now, I can see and feel, but not explain. She related to people.
For someone who was so plagued by insecurities and sadness, Diana was able to bring happiness, help and hope to millions around the world. We were robbed when she was taken from us at the early age of 36. We need her compassion now more than ever. RIP.
"I lead from the heart, not the head" -Diana, Princess of Wales
"I think the biggest disease the world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved” -Diana, Princess of Wales