• Loren Javier

REVIEW: The Conners: Life Without Roseanne


Photo: ABC Television

SPOILERS: If you haven't seen the first episode of The Conners, I do talk about what happens to Roseanne,

This week, ABC premiered The Conners which they billed as a spin-off of Roseanne. This summer, Roseanne Barr was fired from her own show after she compared senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who is African American, to an ape. The decision by ABC and Disney was swift and decisive and rightfully so. Some tried to imply that she was secretly fired because she was a Trump supporter. But, when Roseanne came back to the airway, it was marketed as her being a Trump supporter and it became ABC's top rated comedy. So, nice try.


I had met Roseanne in the 90s when she filmed the famous same-sex kiss sequence between her and Mariel Hemingway. She did not seem like the racist conspiracy theory loving Trump supporter she had become. She represented the working class on her show at the time, but also spoke about very contemporary issues, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. I'm not sure what happened to her over the years, but I had hoped that her show would go beyond the type of Trump supporter that you see at MAGA rallies. And, honestly, it did. I thought the first season of the Roseanne revival did just that. One of the issues I always feel Trump supporters vote against themselves on is healthcare. Trump has worked to repeal Obamacare that has protected people with pre-existing conditions. Obamacare was never perfect, but, it made seeking healthcare that easier for people who could not have healthcare before. So, I thought it interesting that this was a family that was struggling with paying for medication.


Now, flash forward to The Conners which no longer has Roseanne on it. She died from an overdose of pain killers (opiods). We learn that she received some of her pain killers from another housewife in the neighborhood who was part of a ring who shared pills because they couldn't afford the medication. I thought this was a great way of killing off her character because they set it up in last season that Roseanne was having problems with pain killers after hurting her knee.


So, how is The Conners?


Honestly, it is Roseanne without Roseanne. And, while I'll always be thankful to Roseanne for helping many LGBT people dealing with coming out in the 90s, the show is fine without her. Sara Gilbert, who plays younger daughter Darlene, sort of serves as the Roseanne character as she is the one who keeps the kooky family together. Gilbert is more of a "straight woman" (which is funny because, in real life, she is a lesbian) with most of the other characters providing the humor. Most notably, to me, is Laurie Metcalf as sister Jackie and Lecy Gornson as older daughter Becky who are the funniest to me. Metcalf has always been a favorite for me and I was thrilled when she was nominated for an Oscar for Lady Bird, but Goranson is a pleasant surprise. In fact, more than ever, Becky's relationship with Darlene as exactly the same as the Jackie/Roseanne relationship.


Photo: ABC Television

I honestly hope that the family continues to have these kitchen sink conversations that divide the nation. I honestly hope that Dan still remains a Trump supporter because, in reality, that's who he would be. We tend to demonize each other so much and I, for one, am tired of it. Even though I have not a concept as to why ANYBODY would support Trump, I can concede that not all Trump supporters are evil and many of them are just trying to get by.  That has always been the spirit of Roseanne (the show) and to change it would change the fundamental nature of the show.


So, for now, I will continue watching!

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