*Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Conners. *
This week marked the premiere of ABC's The Conners, the slightly less-than-anticipated spinoff of the ratings-slaying Roseanne revival. The biggest hook of the series premiere was the explanation for why Roseanne Conner wasn't around anymore, and it was revealed she'd died of an opioid overdose. Regardless of how the episode handled it, Roseanne Barr herself had things to say about it, and her Twitter declaration couldn't have been presented more appropriately.
Considering it was a tweet that got Roseanne Barr's titular sitcom axed on ABC, her lively message here is most fitting. Judging from all the attention that the tweet got, with over 94,000 likes, the comedian's fans are extremely pleased that she didn't suffer the same fate as Mrs. Conner. Many of her followers championed Barr and hoped for her character to find new life elsewhere, as Tim Allen's Last Man Standing successfully did on Fox. Which, to be sure, isn't at all likely.
It was back in August when The Conners star John Goodman let it slip that the fictional Roseanne matriarch would be killed off in the spinoff, although it wasn't confirmed or explained at the time. Roseanne Barr herself actually spoiled her character's fate in full, down to the overdose angle. (It's assumed that someone from the show contacted her about it, whether through open or private communication.)
Roseanne Barr wasn't pleased about the overdose news at the time, and her feelings about that TV death haven't changed much since. She actually put out an official statement on the matter through her Rabbi and friend Shmuley Boteach, with whom she's been in constant communication with since Roseanne's cancellation.
While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of The Conners, all of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and were Roseanne's cherished colleagues, we regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character. That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.
The statement went on to note that Roseanne was a show that gave viewers teaching moments on a weekly basis, and its inherent sense of forgiveness and repentance should have been granted to the star herself. While not stating it directly, the statement pegs Roseanne Barr's controversial tweet as "inexcusable" but not "unforgivable."
It's hard to picture how many ways The Conners could have written off Roseanne Conner without directly killing her off. She and Dan definitely weren't going to split up and divorce after all these years and all the problems they faced. Plus, the revival's solo season had already introduced Roseanne's prescription medicine tendencies when it came to pain medication, as caused by an injured knee. So, universally enjoyable or not, at least the overdose was enough of a logical conclusion, if an extreme one.
With only memories of Roseanne Conner to go on, The Conners airs Tuesday nights on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET. And if you're looking for more to laugh at and cry about in the near future, our fall TV premiere schedule will set you up properly.