- Warning: This article contains spoilers for the season premiere of The Conners.
- The Conner family deals with the aftermath of Roseanne’s death on the show’s season premiere.
- But some fans were upset about how the show chose to kill her character off.
The Conners, the spinoff of Roseanne created after ABC fired Roseanne Barr, premiered Tuesday night. And the show didn’t waste any time before explaining how Roseanne Conner died, and how the family is dealing with her loss.
At the beginning of the episode, the family was regrouping after Roseanne’s funeral, believing she died of a heart attack. But then, Jackie receives a phone call with the truth: Roseanne died of an opioid overdose after knee surgery. The moment came after she grappled with an addiction to painkillers in the revival season of Roseanne.
Many viewers expressed frustration with the choice to have Roseanne die by an opioid overdose, and said they felt the show created a humorous situation out of an extremely serious issue. For example, when Becky finds pills in Roseanne’s closet and Dan takes them away, she jokes, “Damn, that was the only thing from Mom’s closet that I wanted.”
But not everyone agreed, with some viewers saying it was a sensitive portrayal of the opioid abuse epidemic in the United States.
Barr herself spilled the beans on how her character died back in September, and said she wasn’t happy about the choice. "It’s so cynical and horrible," she said. "She should have died as a hero or not at all.”
On the night the episode aired, Barr released a statement along with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. “We regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character,” the statement read in part. “That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”
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