'Roseanne' shows what happens when entertainment and reality collide

'Roseanne' shows what happens when entertainment and reality collide
Roseanne Barr and John Goodman in "Roseanne,” which faces today’s issues (Adam Rose / ABC)

Regarding “Confronting the ‘Terror’ Next Door” [May 9]: Some of the best reporting in The Times appears in the Calendar section instead of on the front page. Tucked away in the entertainment section and hidden in an article about a TV show I’ve never watched, television critic Lorraine Ali deconstructs the origin and nature of our fears, the disproven agenda of the neocons as represented by John Bolton and the echo chambers created by partisan news channels. What are the odds that the zeitgeist so eerily reflected in our “entertainment” happened on the same day President Trump rejected the Iran nuclear deal


Lon Shapiro, Chatsworth

Tell all your “politically correct” readers to get a life. It’s comedy. Tell them to go rent the TV show “All in the Family.”

Oscar Rosalez

Diamond Bar


Thank you for your thoughtful and sensitive article regarding the episode of “Roseanne” that aired last night. It brings attention to many issues and I’m glad you chose to write about it. I only wish your article appeared prior to the episode airing.

Andrew D. Weyman,

“Roseanne” director

Los Angeles

Is it the end of the world

Regarding “Investigative Author William T. Vollmann Takes on Global Warming” [May 13]: This book review belonged on Page 1 of section A. Humanity’s hubris believes we control the world around us and believes we are above all else. We are willing to sacrifice any other species or any natural habitat to our own purposes. In so doing we condemn humanity to oblivion. Unless we learn to respect nature, we have no chance at surviving. Nature has given humanity an ultimatum. Are we listening

Phil Beauchamp

Chino Hills

Can’t wait for royal wedding


Regarding “Underrated / Overrated” [May 13]: The royal wedding is overrated? Those of us who watched Prince Harry walk behind his mother’s coffin are thrilled to see this joyous celebration. I’m so pleased I can watch. Seven years is a long time between some fun royal pageantry.

Jen Campbell


A performance stands on its own

Mark Swed’s review of the opening night of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” [“A Triumph? You Jest,” May 14] proves that expertise is often a two-sided sword.

On the one hand, historical knowledge of the staging of a particular piece provides perspective and the vocabulary to share one’s insights. On the other hand, that same expertise and historical knowledge can blind one to fresh perspective and enjoyment of the present production.

My advice, go see the show for yourself and allow the music and passion that emanate from the stage to wash over your senses, you’re going to love the way it feels. Who cares about a show 10 years ago when you can appreciate a great performance now

Derrick Chevalier



As “Rigoletto’s” “tunes and troubles” are “so readily familiar” to Mark Swed perhaps he should be reminded that LA Opera doesn’t produce work just for the folks lucky enough to have seen dozens of productions of the standard repertoire over many years presented by companies throughout the world. Every time I’m at LA Opera I overhear conversations from patrons of all ages who are either attending their first opera, or their first “Traviata” or “Rigoletto.” If we are truly committed to building audiences for the future we need to give every generation of opera-goers the chance to discover for themselves these towering works of art.

Bruce Johnson

San Diego

Seeking films for my mom and me

Regarding “Mother’s Day Is No Challenge for Superheroes” [May 14]: I’ve been trying to figure out who might listen as I vent my frustration at the lack of good movies on Mother’s Day. As usual, I took my mom to the movies on Mother’s Day weekend and found very slim pickings. After “The Boss,” which we saw together, I didn’t want to risk another Melissa McCarthy movie so we settled for “Overboard,” which was OK once you really worked hard to overcome the miscast male lead. I’m pretty sure if “The Book Club” or “Mamma Mia 2” had opened for Mother’s Day weekend, “The Avengers” would have seen some real competition.

Candice Petersen

Manhattan Beach

Accents are part of acting craft

Regarding “‘Safe’ Houses Several Enigmas” [May 10]: Television critic Lorraine Ali writes about the Netflix series “Safe” that “One of the biggest riddles … is not written into the script. It’s in the casting of American actor Michael C. Hall as the Englishman Delaney.”

It’s acting. Not reality. Hall plays the role of a man with a British accent. Accents can be learned. Hall doesn’t have to be a native British speaker himself as long as he sounds like one. Hugh Laurie played an American doctor on the show “House,” where he spoke with an American accent. There’s no “riddle.” The series paid Hall to sound like a fictional British character.





I had hoped the artificial segregation of English-speaking actors by accent was long dead, so it is disappointing to find it in your coverage of Michael C. Hall’s new series. Gillian Anderson was a pioneer, true, but what about Gwyneth Paltrow, Peter Dinklage, Meryl Streep, John Lithgow, Kevin Kline, Kevin Spacey and numerous others who have been busily playing characters native to both sides of the Atlantic for decades without eliciting special notice. An accent is an accent, just part of the actor’s craft, and by no means the most difficult.

Roger Downey


Ry Cooder story is a gift for fan

What a wonderful interview [“Ry Cooder Fine-Tunes for the Road,” May 14]. Randy Lewis got it all from my favorite musician, singer and songwriter.

Mio Villagomez

Rio Nido, Calif.

Polanski should appear in L.A.

Regarding “He Won’t Leave Quietly” [May 9]: If Roman Polanski and his attorney Harland Braun believe that Polanski is entitled to a hearing before his expulsion from the Motion Picture Academy, then I suggest that Polanski present himself in person in Los Angeles for such a hearing before the Board of Governors. And while he’s at it, maybe Polanski can also appear at the criminal proceeding from which he jumped bail over 40 years ago and about which he vociferously proclaims his innocence while living comfortably in Europe since that time. Unless and until Polanski does so, he and his attorney should just look in the mirror when they talk about “hypocrites.”

Angela M. Sousa

Los Angeles


Gabrielle Union takes control

Regarding “With ‘Breaking In,’ Gabrielle Union Returns to a Genre She Loves” [May 11]: It is a perfectly realistic approach in the entertainment industry to say, “There is nothing I can do about it.” It is quite clear that Gabrielle Union is not the woman who will say that. She is right about the importance of a good story in a movie and on TV, but holes will always exist in any Hollywood story. It is not as easy as it sounds to survive in Hollywood’s competitive machinery. Her interview demonstrates hopeful opportunities to others. Kudos for her incredible professionalism, dedication and courage.

Judith Fontaine


Many choices for a Nobel prize

Regarding “Nobel Misstep in Scapegoating Literature” [May 13]: David Ulin, whose regular reviews in The Times are missed, considers writers who never won a Nobel. Somehow, John Updike, a true man of letters (novel, short story, poetry, criticism) in every regard and whose “Rabbit” tetralogy alone, merited consideration for the honor. Mr. Ulin mentions, among the living eligible, Elena Ferrante and Margaret Atwood. Where is Philip Roth? Surely his body of work transcends that of the mysterious Ms. Ferrante.

Gordon Cohn

Long Beach