The Conners killed Roseanne on the debut episode, which led to a reaction from Roseanne Barr on social media. The Roseanne spin-off series premiered last night to mostly favorable reviews, as the show was able to capture the feeling of the original show without its lead star in the driver's seat. Barr's fans were not impressed with the show, but that was to be expected, and it appears that the comedian isn't so happy about the way that her character exited the series. With that said, she hasn't moved to Israel yet.
Roseanne Barr is a big personality with strong opinions, so it should come as no surprise that she responded to The Conners first episode on the night that it aired. Barr typed a short and succinct message to all of her Twitter followers, simply stating, "I ain't dead, b*tches!!!!" in all capital letters. The comedian has expressed some disappointment in the past about the new show's decision to kill her off, but that's easy to understand.
Along with her tweet, Roseanne Barr also joined her spiritual advisor Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to release a joint statement on Facebook, further responding to the way The Conners premiere and how the departure of Roseanne was dealt with. She wished her former co-stars well, but she is clearly not happy with the way ABC handled the situation.
"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 creator of Roseanne further went onto say this about how everything went down.
"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"
You can read more of Roseanne and Rabbi Shmuley's words here. While Roseanne Barr and many of her followers aren't into The Conners, the show did a commendable job of using the first episode as a tribute to Barr. Her character's death hits everybody hard, and there's plenty of tears, more than likely channeling the same feelings that the actors went through when Barr nuked the Roseanne revival series with a single racist tweet. The character's death was handled with care, and mirrored the real-life controversy surrounding the show as well. Lecy Goranson, who plays Becky on The Conners, appeared on Good Morning America this morning and had this to say about Roseanne Barr's reaction to the show.
"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. Hopefully, we can see her and kind of remedy some of this at some point in time, I hope."
The Conners showrunner Bruce Helford has worked on the original Roseanne series and also stands by the way that they killed of the main character. Spoiler Alert: Roseanne Barr's character dies from a prescription drug overdose, not a heart attack like the family previously thought. Helford believes that to have let the character die from a heart attack would have been "cowardly." He explains.
"After much discussion by all parties, it was decided that we would have to make her departure clearly permanent. But her death would have to be reverent to the woman who was so beloved by her family. And the result would have to leave no shadow over Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky, DJ and all of Lanford. It was a crucial story point so that the other characters could truly move on boldly with their lives, evolve and grow. And on a personal note, Roseanne helped launch my career, and while we had our disagreements (she once fired me in Roseanne's original run), I wanted a respectful sendoff for her, too: one that was relevant and could inspire discussion for the greater good about the American working class, whose authentic problems are often ignored by broadcast television. If you watched the first episode, I hope you'll agree we did that."
Debates are currently raging on social media about the controversial first episode of The Conners, and they will undoubtedly go on for the duration of the season. The spin-off series was already being targeted by online trolls, who were sabotaging reviews before the episode even aired. However, it seems that critics, for the most part, are into what The Conners was able to pull off in one single episode without its lead actress. You can check out the response to the show below, provided by Roseanne Barr's Twitter account.
I AIN’T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) October 17, 2018