‘The Conners’: How Roseanne Was Killed off the Show

The Conners

John Goodman in The Conners | ABC

The rest of the cast of the Roseanne reboot is back in The Conners after the first reboot was canceled due to Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet. The show decided to burn the bridge between itself and Barr by killing off her character in the premiere. So how did they pull it off?

Roseanne was killed off from opioid drug use


Roseanne | ABC

In the show’s premiere, “Keep On Trucking,” the character’s death is revealed when her sister, Jackie (Laure Metcalf) gets a call from the coroner. It’s then revealed that the sitcom mother died from using opioid drugs, which aggravated her existing health conditions. This news is shocking and Dan (John Goodman)’s reaction was to deny it until the family found Roseanne’s pill stash.

The cause of death might not be that surprising to some because Barr previously revealed it on the show, Walk Away. “Oh yeah, they killed her,” she told Brandon Straka. “They have her die of an opioid overdose.”

Goodman also confirmed that the character was going to be killed off before the episode. He told U.K. Times Sunday that his character would be “mopey and sad because his wife’s dead.”

Roseanne Barr tweeted she isn’t dead and spoke out against the episode

Barr also tweeted on the night of the episode with “I AIN’T DEAD, B*TCHES!!!!” She also released a statement with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach speaking against ABC’s decision to kill off her character.

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 actress was fired and the reboot was canceled for making a racist tweet

The Roseanne reboot returned in March to high ratings, but it was swiftly canceled when the star tweeted about Valerie Jarrett, who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama. She wrote if the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr eventually apologized when the backlash continued, but it didn’t work.

Not everyone is happy about Barr’s character getting killed off. Goodman has defended her saying “I know, for a fact that she’s not a racist,” along with him being “brokenhearted” about the cancellation of Roseanne to Times Sunday. He also said he thanked her for relinquishing her rights to the show in order for them to continue with The Conners.

Either way, the characters on The Conners will have to move forward after the mother’s death.  It shouldn’t be too hard considering the show picked up a little bit after her death. But it’ll be an interesting season to see how they will continue to deal with it.

Read more: 15 TV Shows That Killed the Main Character

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