A few weeks back, Roseanne Barr claimed that her “Roseanne” character would die from an opioid overdose when the show returned without her as “The Conners”, and her intel proved to be correct when the spinoff debuted on Tuesday night.
As viewers learned, Roseanne Conner died of a heart attack — or so her family had thought, until they learned that her death was the result of an accidental overdose, and that the Conner family matriarch had painkillers stashed all over the house.
Viewer reaction was all over the map. While some fans thought the manner of the character’s demise was disrespectful to “Roseanne”, others felt felt the show was actually better without her.
Barr shared her thoughts about her character’s overdose in a terse tweet.
Barr and her friend/spiritual adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach then issued a statement about the cancellation of “Roseanne” and its resurrection as “The Conners”, expressing their displeasure at the way Roseanne Conner kicked the bucket.
“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 begins.
“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,” the statement continues.
The statement then goes on to chide ABC for not allowing viewers a chance to forgive Barr.
“Through humour and a universally relatable main character, the show represented a weekly teaching moment for our nation,” the statement adds. “Yet it is often following an inexcusable — but not unforgivable — mistake that we can discover the most important lesson of all: Forgiveness. After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness. In a hyper-partisan climate, people will sometimes make the mistake of speaking with words that do not truly reflect who they are. However, it is the power of forgiveness that defines our humanity.
The statement concludes: “Our society needs to heal on many levels. What better way for healing than a shared moment, once a week, where we could have all enjoyed a compelling storyline featuring a witty character — a woman — who America connected with, not in spite of her flaws, but because of them. The cancellation of ‘Roseanne’ is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive.”