- ABC/Eric McCandless
Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “The Conners.”
ABC debuted its “Roseanne” spin-off, “The Conners,” Tuesday night and the series quickly addressed the absence of its former lead star, Roseanne Barr.
“The Conners” explained that Roseanne Conner died by opioid overdose after surviving a knee surgery.
The reveal didn’t completely come out of left field. When we last saw Roseanne, the character was struggling with an addiction to painkillers. In September, Barr spoiled the reveal by saying her character would be killed off.
Many took to Twitter to share they weren’t happy with how Barr was written off the series.
For someone who knows the pain of losing a loved one to the opioid epidemic it's extremely hard to see them take something as serious as an opioid overdose and turn it into their sick way of getting back at someone for saying something they disagree with. Disgusting. #theconners
— Connor Deegan (@ConnorD104) October 17, 2018
— Jessi Schmidt (@jedoublesi) October 17, 2018
So, #TheConners just tricked ppl into watching by claiming they "might not have killed #Roseanne off" prior to premiere. & just made a disgusting joke out of drug abuse & overdosing. As a #socialworker & therapist, it's NOT funny. #ScrewYou #ImOut #NotOneMoreSecond #NeverAgain
— Elizabeth Gaskins (@LovelyLizzie10) October 17, 2018
— #MAGA COSETTE (@Geniviva) October 17, 2018
They made a bigger deal about Dan's heart attack than Roseanne's death. It's a shame because you can tell how rushed the writing was. #TheConners
— Paul???? (@ThePJBentley) October 17, 2018
— keven Yong (@KevinYounge) October 17, 2018
The successful “Roseanne” revival was canceled by ABC in May after Barr compared former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to an ape on Twitter. A month later, a 10-episode spin-off without Barr was announced with the rest of the cast reprising their roles.
Executive producer, Tom Werner, addressed how it was decided to kill Roseanne Conner off of the series during a panel Tuesday night in New York City at PaleyFest.
“This was a challenge that Roseanne Conner was dealing with last year, and we felt that this was something that could shine a light on something,” said Werner.
Barr expressed her disappointment with how her character was killed off the show in a statement to INSIDER after the ABC series’ premiere.
Some fans noticed that Roseanne Conner’s death on the series felt similar to how Glenn Quinn, who played Becky’s husband, Mark, died in real life. Quinn died in 2002 as the result of an accidental heroin overdose.
They found it to be in bad taste to his memory.
Really sick way to kill off Rosanne since one of the original cast members “mark” played by Glenn Quinn died from an overdose. WTF is wrong with the writers???
— J Wasfal (@wassup_j) October 17, 2018
#TheConners is an overdose how Mark died?
— Kelsey #Bexana ????????????❄️ (@BrokenRegal108) October 17, 2018
Of all things to kill her off with when the actor who played mark died of a overdose #TheConners
— MakingYouCry (@MakinYouCry) October 17, 2018
The series still hasn’t revealed how Becky’s husband died on the revival. On Tuesday’s premiere, Becky briefly noted that she was having a tough time dealing with her mother’s death after the loss of Mark.
How Mark died may be something the series explores this season as each character grieves in their own way with the death of Roseanne Conner.
“The Conners” airs Tuesdays on ABC at 8 p.m. You can read our review of the premiere here.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.