Roseanne Conner Is Dead, Long Live Its Zombie Spin-Off 'The Conners'
Back in May, ABC's "Roseanne" revival and the comeback of its conspiracy theorist star was called on account of racist. The show's ratings since its premiere, which received glowing reviews from TV critics desperate to connect with the common folk, had dropped like Facebook stock, so this just seemed like the network cutting its losses. Let's all move on to that "Deal or No Deal" reboot, right? Wrong! Apparently, it's really unfair when the cast and crew of a TV show lose their jobs because of falling ratings and the star's repulsive racism, because that normally only happens literally all the damn time for just the first reason. It's not "show friends," guys!
Barely a month had passed before ABC announced that "Roseanne" would return barring Roseanne herself. I guessed that this new version, "The Conners," would go with the "Dead Mom" plot device to explain Mrs. Conner's absence, and Mr. Conner himself, John Goodman, just confirmed it in an interview with the Sunday Times.
"I guess he'll [Dan Conner] be mopey and sad because his wife's dead," Goodman said in his first interview since the Roseanne spin-off was announced.
You ... guess? C'mon, you're not playing Donald Trump, who if something terrible happened to Melanie probably wouldn't notice until he saw it reported on FOX News. Then after blaming Barack Obama, he'd ask Ivanka if she needed anything from Amazon so his order for a replacement first lady would qualify for same-day delivery. No, Dan Conner's a human being. He'll definitely miss his wife -- not for too long, though, because I'm already totally shipping Dan and Jackie.
Goodman doesn't reveal how Roseanne Conner dies, but I hope they don't chintz out with a mere heart attack when Dan already died from one and real-life Roseanne's own deranged fantasies provide a host of new ideas. Let's see: Someone from the CIA's Project MK Ultra could've gotten to her on the orders of Chelsea "Soros" Clinton. Or she could've also simply wandered into the wrong pizza place at the wrong time.
Goodman said he was initially "broken-hearted" when ABC canceled the sitcom because of Barr's racist tweet about Barack Obama's former adviser Valerie Jarrett. "I know for a fact that she's not a racist," Goodman told the magazine.
I've been a fan of Goodman's work ever since Barton Fink, but I somehow never knew he was black himself, which is the only way he could even possibly claim with any certainty that Roseanne's not racist. Wanda Sykes, who I "know for a fact" is black, quit the show in disgust after Roseanne's Jarrett tweet. It's mighty white of Goodman to go out on such a limb for Roseanne when there are fewer black folks out there with him than at a Dave Matthews concert. Maybe he's using that super restrictive definition of "racist" that a lot of white folks prefer where you're either literally David Duke or you have attended and actively participated in a cross burning. Frankly, even with that, Goodman still has a good chance of looking foolish. Get some Ambien in Roseanne and who knows what might happen.
Goodman also claims he was "surprised" by ABC's decision to cancel "Roseanne." Does he not actually watch any sitcoms? Someone losing their job because they did something very public and very stupid is a common set-up for dozens of sitcom pilots. Roseanne compared a prominent black political figure to an ape. That's at least as bad as making your bimbo coworker cry on TV.
Roseanne insisted in a recent interview that she thought Jarrett, who she refers to as a "bitch" because she should never speak without an attorney present, was white. Whatever, lady. Did you also think Susan Rice was white? In a 2013 tweet, Roseanne described the former national security adviser under Obama, who is black, as a "big man with swinging ape balls." Seems like a theme. Though maybe Roseanne thought Rice and Jarrett were the same person. Some friendly advice: If you're going to specialize in racist humor, with a focus on the ape family, you need to learn to identify a Mariah Carey from a Rachel Dolezal at 40 paces or you're gonna get your ass beat. Maybe that's how they'll write off her TV character.
[Goodman] admitted that he hasn't been in touch with Barr. "[Roseanne] had to sign a paper saying that she relinquished all her rights to the show so that we could go on," he said. "I sent her an email and thanked her for that. I did not hear anything back, but she was going through hell at the time. And she's still going through hell."
Yes, Roseanne is in the hell of her own racist making, where her only comfort is an estimated $80 million net worth and scads of free time to get her jackass on over at Twitter. That's the sort of suffering for one's country Donald Trump would actually acknowledge.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."