If there’s one thing that Donald Trump loves—truly loves, and not just in the “Boy I’d love to fuck that” sense with which he approaches most any other subject—it’s good TV ratings. Those, after all, are the numbers Trump has proven himself most repeatedly obsessed with during his tenure in office, whether it was the hypnotic trainwreck of Sean Spicer’s press room briefings, or the faring of his political opponents like Arnold Schwarzenegger or CNN. And why wouldn’t he? TV ratings exist directly at the intersection of attention and approval; slather them in gold and toss in some bored-looking exotic dancers, and you’d have a pretty comfortable portrait of Donald Trump’s personal Happy Place.
All of which presumably explains why he took some time out of his busy golfing schedule to call up Roseanne Barr this week, congratulating her on the success of the revived tenth season of Roseanne. The show posted blockbuster numbers for its two-episode Tuesday night premiere, drawing in roughly 18.2 million viewers. (For comparison, that’s the biggest sitcom spike since 2014, and the most-watched scripted programming of the year, save the Super Bowl episode of This Is Us.) At least some of the credit for that life-giving attention has to be placed at Trump’s feet, albeit indirectly; conversation, both in the show and without, has been largely centered on Barr and her character’s decisions to support the 2016 winner.
The White House confirmed to The New York Times that the congratulatory call took place; we’ve got no information on the content, although we’re going to go out on a limb and assume the words “huge” and “loser” both got a lot of play. Meanwhile, there are at least seven episodes of the revived Roseanne left to air on ABC, where we’ll have to wait and see how much of this politically-charged lead the show can hope to maintain as the weeks progress.