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Roseanne Returns To Prime Time After 20 Years Off Air

Updated on March 28, 2018
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After a decade as a journalist, Jennifer Branton is on the path to finding a balance between career and writing.

Meet The New Conners

"Why does everyone keep thinking I was dead?" Dan deadpans, pulling the mask from his CPAP machine from his face and looks at his wife, Roseanne.

This is the moment we have been waiting for after all the time off the air and the rumors of the Roseanne revival for 2018. Slated for eight episodes on ABC, the series was the continuation of the long running series which aired from the 80's and 90's known for its snarky blue collar humor, touching family story-line that was less sappy than that of other shows of the area like Family Matters and Full House.

Lead by Roseanne Barr, this was the show that turned Prime Time humor on the raunchy side rivaling Married With Children for sexual innuendo and dirty jokes that could be worked around the child actors on set.

For years, Roseanne was must watch TV- especially those Halloween episodes, only to be rivaled by the spookiest Tree House Of Horrors from The Simpsons. While they fought dirty though their problems, the Conner clan comes together in unity and love in the end- if you wait out through the yelling and screaming matches. The Conners were a family you could relate to unlike other TV families that hugged all the time and ended each episode with some sort of moral.

In the later seasons and a second Becky later, Roseanne began to lose its edge and took a strange path with more risky story, including Dan's affair, a heart attack, the near death of Darlene's daughter, yet tacked on things like winning the lottery. Only to bring us to the death of Dan after all these seasons.

Then the strangest reveal the story had that betrayed all its longtime viewers- most of what was seen during the series hadn't happened and was all part of the novel that Roseanne was writing in her spare time in her writing room.

She had made some character composites of some family members, changed who married who, killed off Dan, and manufactured the what happened after winning the lottery story line. And so far in the new season, we aren't even sure if the fourth Conner child was even part of that book- or is an actual person on the new series.

From what we know of the premier episode and its numbers that skyrocketed the time slot into believing that in a world where most TV viewing comes from streaming episodes- everyone wanted to know what had become of the Conners.


"Why does everyone keep asking if I'm dead?" Dan makes a joke at the expense of an earlier season in which Roseanne had killed him off in her book.

So How Did We Get Here

When we last left the Conners family, everyone was sitting around after the release of Darlene's daughter from the hospital. Somethings were then revealed that Roseanne in her writing had changed around who she thought suited her daughters better and switched their spouses, and made other changes to the family as the plot of the novel that she was quietly working on.

So what about Jackie's child, Andy? And Roseanne's second son that was named Jerry Garcia? Also part of the book?

How much of what we actually know about the blue collar family of Roseanne actually happened? Is the title character really such an unreliable narrator and why did she reinvent her life in the novel?

With the newest season showing a much older cast, bringing back almost everyone from the earlier seasons including a second Becky; there is a lot we need to understand about the world that Roseanne now lives in and why it inspired her writing. Is what is happening now actually the real Roseanne universe or more writing?

To her credit, you can't really blame a bored housewife with the few occasional career moves including the restaurant to want more to life than living paycheck to paycheck while trying to raise her family. The chips were always down for the family and issues around raising and putting three kids through school were weighing heavily on them. If Dan actually had the affair, or the heart attack, this was much added stress to the relationship, and though she meant well, Roseanne's sister and companion, Jackie added more chaos to the mix.

One couldn't really blame Roseanne for wanting an alternative to her everyday humdrum and the winning the lottery and post story in the later seasons defiantly changed the feel of the show and its cast of characters until the reveal that it was all just part of book.

Will aspects of the last season still be cannon in the new season or are writers completely scrapping the "What Happened Before" ending that no one really cared for and critics complained about for years as one of the biggest let downs in television history.

The story of Roseanne is still relevant to today's audience, as the show still runs in syndication on channels that favor "throwback television." As the nation gets more divided in a crazy time of historic changes, it makes you wonder how character's like the Conners family would deal with 2018 America.


Never one to shy from making political fun, Roseanne took the same approach as the return of Will and Grace and used political humor as the opener of their debut episode. While the country is still very divided in current politics, the family is a well as it is noted the election has driven a rift between best friends and sisters, Jackie and Roseanne as they voted for different candidates.


Where We Go From Here In Eight Episodes

Roseanne still looks the same, the same couch with that faded throw blanket that has seen so much action over past seasons- and the faces though aged still remain onscreen with some new additions.

But given the blue collar tones of the show previous, Roseanne writers are still looking to shake things up. In the first episode we learn that Jackie and Roseanne have parted ways and haven't talked since the election- allowing Jackie to add some visual humor showing up in her Nasty Woman shirt and cat hat made famous by Hilary supporters. It is pointed out that Roseanne had voted for that "other guy", without naming names.

Understandably if one was to believe that the Conner's had really come into and then lost all the money from the lottery that maybe they were really hoping for someone new to "drain the swap" and get the nation back on the right track as they were right back at the meager beginnings from the first season of the show.

Becky is mentioned to be widowed, nothing is said about Darlene other than she is single so which of the husband's belonged to which girl depending on how much of Roseanne's book was truth. We know that Becky is a waitress and that she meets up with the other actor that portrayed Becky for a few seasons and has been asked to be a surrogate mother for her- an offer than Becky can not turn down.

Darlene meanwhile has moved back into her family home with her two kids, daughter Harris, seen in the last season of the show and her gender fluid son, which will add some hopefully touching moments to the show as previous seasons of Roseanne were very respecting of LGBTQ. Although in the world where Roseanne had voted for "the other guy" we hope that her genuine love for her grandchildren will overcome any adversity.

D.J. was in the military and returns with a teen daughter, who's mother is also explained to be serving but doesn't mention what the custody situation is or if D.J. and his wife are separated.

Where the story will go from here, we will have to wait and see.

Out the gate, the first episode received mixed praise but the spirit of the show still seems to be there and will hopefully answer the questions of what was fact and fiction when it comes to what actually took place on Roseanne.


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