Roseanne Conner may be dead, but Roseanne Barr wants you to know she’s still here.
The comedian, who was fired from ABC‘s “Roseanne” revival following a racist Twitter rant, returned to the social media platform Tuesday night after the premiere of “The Conners,” the spin-off ABC ordered after canceling her namesake sitcom. The debut episode revealed that Roseanne, the Conner family matriarch, had died of an opioid overdose.
“I AIN’T DEAD,” Barr tweeted, adding a variation of a four-letter word.
Roseanne’s fate should not have come as a surprise to Barr, who told conservative vlogger Brandon Straka last month that her character would die exactly that way. The revelation made sense – before its cancellation in May, “Roseanne” had revealed the character was struggling with an addiction to prescription medication.
Barr had previously said she would be in Israel during the premiere, and didn’t plan to weigh in on the spin-off. But she appeared to change her mind Tuesday night because she didn’t just stop at her tweet. Barr released a statement with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, her longtime friend and spiritual adviser, criticizing ABC’s decision to kill off her character.
“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,” Barr and Boteach said in the statement, which Barr linked to on Twitter. “That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”
The statement zeroed in on ABC’s decision to cancel “Roseanne” in the first place, which Barr and Boteach called “an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive.” Barr has said she begged ABC not to cancel the show.
Bruce Helford, showrunner of both the revival and the spin-off, defended the show’s decision to have Roseanne die of an opioid overdose in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter:
“We knew we had to explain Roseanne’s disappearance from the show definitively but also set up the other characters in a way where they could move on. There was a lot of chatter in the ether about how we should explain Roseanne’s absence: Should she have a sudden heart attack, a mental breakdown or go off into the sunset on a boat with her son Jerry Garcia? But back in the writers room, we firmly decided against anything cowardly or far-fetched, anything that would make the fierce matriarch of the Conners seem pathetic or debased.”
The ratings for the first episode of “The Conners” appear solid, at least according to early reports. And while fan reactions have been mixed – Barr’s staunchest supporters say the spin-off is what’s dead to them – the premiere got generally favorable reviews. Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever wrote, “Tuesday’s episode provided hints of the topically relevant family comedy that producers had set out to make all along.”
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- Robert Louis Annenberg Is a 40 year seasoned property owner, manager, investor, builder/developer and business man who is also an author of five published books to date (Amazon.com) and the chief editor of LifeQuestJournal.com. He can be reached at: Info@RobertAnnenberg.com and (201) 289-2500.
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