One of the weirder outcomes of this Roseanne Barr shitstorm has been the re-emergence of her ex-husband, Tom Arnold. Quick refresher: they tied the knot in 1990, separated in 1994, and he served as a writer on the original run of Roseanne for a few years. So yes, he’s got a certain historical perspective on Roseanne, both personally and professionally. But it’s also worth noting that the pair were estranged for something like 18 years, eventually reuniting when Tom spoke at Roseanne’s Comedy Central Roast in 2012. You know, like normal people do. And since then they have occasionally engaged in some deeply weird Twitter beefs.
All of which is to say that while I wasn’t surprised to see Arnold doing his own mini-media blitz in the aftermath of the cancellation of Roseanne, it definitely smacks of opportunism rather than necessity. It sorta seems like what I imagine having an ex start blabbing to the media about what you were like before you were famous would be like. Only in this case, it’s before you were racist I guess?
On the bright side now that Roseanne Barr is permanently unemployable she can finally get inside the head of Roseanne Connor. Really sink her teeth into the character. Walk in her shoes. Become one with. Inhabit the soul of. Do a whole Daniel Day Lewis thing. Or she could tweet.— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) May 30, 2018
Anyway, he appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 last night, and it sure sounds like most of his insight into the mind of his ex stems from the same place ALL OF US are getting our information: her crazypants Twitter feed.
And he also spoke with The Hollywood Reporter, where he both claimed to know what was going on in his ex-wife’s mind…
“It had to happen,” Arnold says of the show’s abrupt end. “And I am going to tell you the truth, she wanted it to happen, if you saw how her tweets escalated this weekend. If it hadn’t happened yesterday, this season would have been so awful for everyone every day because she would have felt like she was [being] taken advantage [of], just like when I left the show.”
And then acknowledged that no, actually, he totally fucking doesn’t:
Again reiterating his mixed emotions, Arnold admits that he may not know Barr like he used to years ago.
“It has been 24 years, so I don’t know that I know who Roseanne is,” he says. “Everyone has always been scared shitless of her. She is a fucking asshole, but so am I. No one ever stood up to her like I did.”
And then there’s this bit here, which manages to be some white knight savior shit mixed with a serious Cassandra complex:
Arnold says during production of the first season of the reboot, he threw out the idea to family and the crew that someone should take Barr’s phone away.
“I said look, someone has got to tell her that Donald Trump doesn’t carry his own phone,” Arnold says. “He may say the tweet, but someone is typing it in.” Barr needed a “shield,” he says. “She needed someone to wrangle her in and take her phone.”
Arnold was informed that Barr refused to give up her phone, so he says he made a different suggestion: He tried drafting her a statement that would tell fans she was going to spend less time on Twitter.
“I wrote a whole thing for her a month ago and sent it over [to the crew] that said, ‘I am going to take a step back, it was fun at first, but now I can see how much negativity there is out there and people are getting hurt and I am going to take a step back and I am hoping my fans will too,’” Arnold says. “And then if her crazy tweets came out, she could point to that and say, ‘But I have taken a step back.’”
And look, I’m not saying that Tom doesn’t actually have some valuable insights, about Roseanne and their acquaintance of 30 years, Donald Trump. But so far what he’s offered up hasn’t actually been that useful — taking her phone away wouldn’t have made her less of an asshole, saying she wanted to tank her own show is pure speculation, and yes duh Trump is a racist president. All I’ve gotten out of his day in the spotlight is that he maybe spends too much time on Twitter and oh hey, did you know he’s got a new show coming out on Viceland called The Hunt for the Trump Tapes With Tom Arnold? Fancy that!
“Don’t worry, Tom Arnold is on it… And I’m Tom Arnold.” Because even in the trailer for a show that bears his name, he has to make sure people actually know who he is.
I think it’s time for you to sit the fuck back down, Tom.