roseanne revival

Roseanne is back on the air this March, with the entire cast returning. That includes John Goodman as Roseanne Conner’s husband Dan. The series finale of Roseanne revealed that Dan died of a heart attack, but he is very much alive in the first scene of the new tenth season. On a Television Critics Association panel, Roseanne Barr and her producers explained how this came about.

“A lot of the reason that I [had Dan die] was to add another layer of freshness for people who were going to watch the series over and over,” Barr said. “In the third episode of Roseanne, Dan builds Roseanne a writing room and Roseanne is a writer. So I think that’s kind of what I always wanted to do [that] and that was always what I had in mind for the completion of the tenth season.”

So, does that mean Dan’s death was only the fiction she was writing? Barr wouldn’t give it away, but show runner Bruce Helford elaborated.

“There’s little clues and openings as we go along that explain certain things as much as possible jibe with the original ending there,” Helford said. “There was a lot of dream sequence to it because Roseanne was coming out of a dream and that affected certain things. And then Roseanne’s writing is acknowledged as well and her work as a writer and how that affected things.”

For his part, Goodman loved his reintroduction in the Roseanne reboot. “I thought it was a clever way to do it, to handle it and get it out of the way,” Goodman said.

Roseanne’s ninth season featured Conners winning the lottery and experiencing all the complications that come with money. Barr said she’d always imagined a tenth season to return to the show’s working class roots.

“In the original series, I always wanted to have a tenth year so that I could do exactly what I did in these nine, which was to finish and complete the story of this family,” Barr said. “So I always had that in my head that that was how it would go. I’m very happy that we got a tenth season and we got to do that.”

That does not mean that this season is the end. Barr hopes, in success, to continue Roseanne.

“We hope to have more,” she said. “But the arc of this, from the last episode all those years ago, I wanted to complete that arc.”

Laurie Metcalf is back as Roseanne’s sister Jackie. Lecy Goranson and Sarah Gilbert return as daughters Becky and Darlen. Michael Fishman is back as D.J., but the Conner children all have families of their own now. Jerry Garcia Conner, Roseanne and Dan’s fourth child, has not been forgotten, nor has Jackie’s son, Andy. They will not appear, however.

“We do mention Jerry Garcia Conner in, I think, the first show,” Barr said. “He is on a fishing boat in Alaska, and we haven’t dealt with Andy, Laurie’s son, yet, either, but we had so many stories to tell over the arc of these nine episodes, that we were hoping for another season to bring more clarity to those characters.”

Supporting cast members Natalie West, Estelle Parsons, James Pickens Jr. and Adilah Barnes appear, and the producers are still keeping Johnny Galecki’s return as Darlene’s now ex-husband David a surprise. Glenn Quinn, who played Becky’s husband Mark, passed away in 2002. Becky remains a single parent and the Conners still miss Mark.

“From the writing standpoint, when you have a show that’s so naturalistic, we had to deal with that and that Becky was going to be single,” Helford said. “We all had great affection for Glenn. We really wanted to say something. He comes up a couple times.  It isn’t just that one episode. He comes up a couple times in the course of the nine episodes, as do other things.”

Barr added, “And we all missed Glenn so much because he was just a great part of the show, and it’s not something we wanted to just gloss over.”

Having grandchildren gives Roseanne a chance to reflect on her unique, relatable, sometimes abrasive parenting style.

“I think you see in Roseanne’s character in the revival that she has a slightly different outlook,” Metcalf siad. “Some of my favorite images from these new nine are watching Darlene parent her kids in the same house that she grew up in, and Roseanne is on the sideline watching sometimes, and it gives her a different take on what she did right and wrong, and what she’s doing right and wrong.”

The elephant in the room, literally the Republican elephant, is that Roseanne Conner voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Barr herself is a vocal Trump supporter, but she says this plot point was motivated more by what a middle American family would be dealing with in 2018.

“In the Roseanne shows, I’ve always tried to have it be a true reflection of the society we live in,” Barr said. “So I feel like half the people voted for Trump, and half didn’t, so it’s just realistic.”

Jackie definitely did not vote Trump and it has created a rift between them. Helford suggested some of the other Conners might not have shared Roseanne’s politics either.

“Number one, it hasn’t been establish that Dan voted for Trump, by the way,” Helford said. “We never really, I don’t think, actually mentioned it. I don’t think he voted during the [election].”

Families were divided during and after the 2016 election, so Roseanne attempts to show how families with differing politics can get along.

“I think this is a time, as we all know, where our country is very divided,” Gilbert said. “I think part of what’s going on is that people feel like they can’t disagree and still love each other or still talk to each other. So, to me, it was a great opportunity to have a family that can be divided by politics, but still is filled with love. What a great thing to bring into this country right now.”

Roseanne returns on March 27 on ABC.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: