Roseanne Barr Responds to 'The Connors' Killing Her Character Off


Just a warning, this article contains spoilers for Tuesday night's premier of ABC's new spin-off, "The Connors." If you don't want to know what happened to Roseanne's character, then you'll want to skip this article for now. Of course, after you watch it, come on back to see how the actress feels about her character's send-off. 

Rest in Peace Roseanne Conner. 

The fate of the titular character from ABC's Roseanne was revealed Tuesday night during the premiere of "The Conners," a half-hour spin-off that focuses on the fictional Conner family. The new show replaces the rebooted "Roseanne" after it was cancelled and its star fired following a racist tweet sent by Roseanne Barr about former President Obama adviser, Valerie Jarrett

Roseanne's character passed away after suffering from an opioid overdose, a story line that had been hinted at during the show's season finale last year. 

When the show begins, it's been three weeks since Roseanne passed away, with the Conner clan believing the TV matriarch's death was due to a heart condition. However, the family soon learns that Roseanne's death was actually the result of an opioid overdose.

Roseanne's sister Jackie (played by Laurie Metcalf), broke the news to the TV family: "I just got a call from a friend in the coroner's office. The autopsy found that it wasn’t a heart attack. Roseanne OD’d on opioids."

Roseanne's husband, Dan Conner (played by John Goodman), said that wasn't possible. "We knew she had a problem. She was only on pain pills for two days after surgery. And then it was just ibuprofen. It’s got to be wrong.”

Jackie: “Well, I wish it was but they think that she must’ve taken the pills right before bed and with her health issues, it was enough to stop her breathing.”

Dan replied: "It doesn't make any sense. I got her knees fixed. I flushed all her pills."

Roseanne's daughter, Becky (played by Lecy Goranson), said she had discovered more pills in her mother's closet, supplied by a neighbor. The family goes on to search the rest of the house, finding even more pills stashed away. 

Barr wasn't happy with her character's untimely end. The TV star wrote on Twitter "I AIN'T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!"

Barr later released a lengthier statement with her friend and spiritual adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, that objected to her character's death in the show's premier episode. 

"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,” Barr and her Rabbi Shmuley Boteach said in a statement.

"This was a choice the network did not have to make. `Roseanne' was the only show on television that directly addressed the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society. Specifically, the show promoted the message that love and respect for one another's personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord.

“The show brought together characters of different political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in one, unified family, a rarity in modern American entertainment. Above all else, the show celebrated a strong, matriarchal woman in a leading role, something we need more of in our country.

“Through humor and a universally relatable main character, the show represented a weekly teaching moment for our nation. Yet it is often following an inexcusable -- but not unforgivable -- mistake that we can discover the most important lesson of all: forgiveness.

“After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness. In a hyper-partisan climate, people will sometimes make the mistake of speaking with words that do not truly reflect who they are. However, it is the power of forgiveness that defines our humanity.

“Our society needs to heal on many levels. What better way for healing than a shared moment, once a week, where we could have all enjoyed a compelling storyline featuring a witty character -- a woman -- who America connected with, not in spite of her flaws, but because of them. The cancellation of `Roseanne' is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive.”

Photo: Getty Images


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