The Conners Cast: Roseanne Deserved to Be Killed Off!

If you watched the series premiere of The Conners Tuesday night (for now, we’ll table the debate about whether this really qualifies as a new series), then you know the show wasted no time in addressing the absence of its former title character.

As many predicted, Roseanne Conner died of an opioid overdose, a decision the sitcom’s writers and producers made in response to the real-world actions of the woman who created and portrayed her.

Back in May, Roseanne Barr’s offensive tweet about former Obama staffer Valerie Jarrett prompted the swift cancellation of her eponymous show.

Just weeks later, however, ABC announced a Roseanne spinoff, which would focus on John Goodman and Laurie Metcalfe’s characters, as well as the Conners’ three adult children.

(The absence of a long-forgotten fourth Conner kid — born at the tail-end of the original series’ run — was explained away in Roseanne’s revival season.)

The question of how to dispatch with one of the most iconic sitcom characters of the past 30 years was no doubt a difficult one for the show’s writers to grapple with.

Fortunately, the final episodes that featured Barr offered the opportunity for a poignant resolution.

In keeping with Roseanne’s tradition of addressing the taboo topics faced by working-class Americans, Barr’s character struggled with an opioid addiction last season.

So when the time came to kill her off, an overdose seemed like the most obvious solution, both for the sake of continuity and for the chance to grapple with the kind of tragedy that’s affecting more and more Americans each year.

While the debut episode of The Conners saw a dip in ratings, it was well received by critics.

Predictably, however, the real Roseanne took to Twitter to denounce the decision to kill her character as “disrespectful,” at one point railing:

“I ain’t dead yet, bitches!”

On Wednesday, two of the actors who portray Roseanne’s children — Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman — appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the obvious anger of their TV mom:

“We really miss Roseanne and love her very much, you know and her spirit is still very much with us, so we understand that she’s hurting right now and she’s in pain and she’s always with us,” said Goranson.

“Hopefully, we can see her and kind of remedy some of this at some point in time, I hope.”

“The tone of the way she passed away was related to last season, and I think you listen to our producers, they really wanted to take a real crisis that’s happening in our country and find a way to give voice to that,” added Fishman.

“I know that the reaction to that is going to be different to different people, but what we’ve always tried to do is tackle big topics and try to be honest about them.”

It remains to be seen if audiences will warm up to The Conners the same way they embraced the revival of Roseanne.

But whatever the case, you can bet Lanford, Illinois’ most famous mom will not be tuning in.

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