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'The Conners' Premieres to Barr Blast About Roseanne's Death

'The Conners' Premieres to Barr Blast About Roseanne's Death
Roseanne Barr (Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 17 October 2018 06:15 AM

Roseanne Barr's character was killed off in Tuesday's premiere of "The Conners," and the former star took to Twitter to protest the narrative turn.

"I AIN'T DEAD BITCHES," Barr tweeted.

Barr and her spiritual teacher Rabbi Shmuley Boteach also released a longer statement regarding the on-screen death.

"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 read. It went on to slam ABC's cancellation of "Roseanne," calling it a result of "fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive."

In May, "Roseanne" was canceled after Barr posted a tweet comparing former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to an ape. The "Conners" spin-off was ordered in mid-June.

Of course, art imitated life in the premiere episode of the reboot.

"It was an emotional day for everybody," Sara Gilbert said on Tuesday evening at the Paley Center's annual Paley Fest in New York City, recalling the first day back on set without Barr. "We've been a cast for 30 years, so obviously if somebody is not there, we're feeling it and it's noticeable."

For the cast, the loss of the character on-screen was therapeutic, as they were able to channel their feelings of losing Barr into their performances.

"What ended up happening is we wanted to make a really honest episode, and channel whatever we were feeling into the episode," Gilbert explained. "I think every family, at some point, goes through losing their matriarch, so we got the chance to tell that story, and I think it aligned with some of the emotions we were feeling and we were able to put into the show."

"I think our reaction in many ways was probably the reaction of many fans. We were heartbroken and devastated," cast member Michael Fishman said, urging the audience to embrace the new direction of the show without Barr.

"I think fans of the show should know that we respect their commitment to it. We respect this legacy," Fishman said. "And that we don't forget our past or where we've been, but there are really new and exciting stories coming forward. This family is really complex...I think people are going to really like the direction that we take as we start to explore all of these new avenues and new relationships."

The decision to kill off Roseanne by way of an accidental drug overdose was not taken lightly. As the "Roseanne" franchise revolves around a working class family dealing with realistic real-life problems, the writers wanted to target hot topic issues like drug use, health care and the opioid epidemic, which results in tens of thousands of deaths per year in America.

"I think it was important that we all be respectful of Roseanne Conner and Roseanne Barr," executive producer Tom Werner said. "Obviously we're a comedy, but this is a problem that has affect tens of thousands of people...we felt this was something that could help shine a light on something, and what is wonderful about the show for me is that when it's over, people have felt like the spent a half hour and it was worth their time. I think people will be talking about this...This was an honest and authentic way of dealing with Roseanne Conner."

Sitting alongside Werner, Gilbert, Fishman, Lecy Goranson and newest cast member Maya Lynne Robinson, Goodman admitted, "I'm still angry," but noted that he wants to embrace change and feels grateful for another chance at the franchise -- although he did joke, "I never hope to use the word reboot again!"

"A lot of the motivation for this reboot was audience-directed," Goodman said. "We just didn't want to leave them hanging like that, after we had a taste of it last year. I'd like to think that maybe they'll give us another chance."

Goranson chimed in, "I hope that the audience can feel our strength of getting through what we went through, and giving it life and being strong and coming together. I hope that energy comes through."

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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Roseanne Barr's character was killed off in Tuesday's premiere of "The Conners," and the former star took to Twitter to protest the narrative turn.
the conners, premiere, roseanne barr
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2018-15-17
Wednesday, 17 October 2018 06:15 AM
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