THOUGHTS: ‘Roseanne’ Reboot


A few days ago it was announced that there were plans for a Roseanne reboot with Roseanne Barr, Sara Gilbert, and John Goodman attached to star.  The news piqued my interest because I am a huge fan of the original series.  But with the series finale in the back of my mind, I’m wondering what direction they are planning to take this reboot.

I mean, spoiler alert, Dan dies in the finale.  The Darlene/David and Becky/Mark relationships were switched.  Jackie was actually a lesbian.  D.J. was … well, still D.J. so there’s really no change there.  Eventually, the finale revealed that the entire series was based on a book that Roseanne Conner was writing in order to cope with the loss of Dan.  When I first watched the finale (years after it had originally aired, by the way), and I was young and impressionable with dreams of becoming a writer for tv, I thought it was such a genius way to end the show.  The twist that Dan died and Roseanne rearranged her life for her book was something I thought was immensley creative on real-life Roseanne’s part.

Then again, I was eighteen-years-old when I first watched it and my young teenaged-teetering-on-adulthood mind didn’t know any better.  Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t a creative way to end a nine year show (I still think it was to some extent), but as I rewatched the series over and over again throughout the last few years I began to realize something.  I eventually became attached to these characters and invested in the relationships that were developed for them over the course of the series.  I had come to enjoy the relationship between Darlene and David (although, now that I’m older, I realize how cruel she was to him at times) and to know that she actually ended up with Mark was a moment of ‘huh?’ to me.  Same goes with the Becky and Mark romance; despite the fact that Mark became frustratingly stupid as the series went on and Becky suffered from poor characterization, there was still something I enjoyed about their relationship.  Then to know Becky is actually with David?  Uh, super weird, in my opinion.  To know that these characters I had to come to love, and the realtionships I became invested in as the seasons went on, were revealed to be all for naught in the finale was quite a slap in the face to me.  Then again, I’ve been known to develop unhealthy attachments to fictional characters so it might be just me.

I didn’t really have too much of a beef with Jackie actually being a lesbian.  She’s still the same character albiet she, too, suffered from poor characterization in the later seasons.  I cringe, even now, as I think of her crazed performances during seasons seven through nine — though, I do think Laurie Metcalf won an Emmy during those years so what do I know?  It’ll be interesting to see which direction they go for Metcalf’s character — will Jackie be portrayed as straight as she was during the entirety of the show’s run or will they go off on the finale’s revelation that she’s actually gay?  Since it was reported that Metcalf is in the process of joining the reboot only time will tell.

Truly, though, I wonder how they will handle Dan’s death since it was reported that John Goodman was on board with the reboot.  I read somewhere that Roseanne mentioned having Dan fake his death and have him back on the show that way.  But those emotionally charged episodes we watched while Roseanne Connor grieved for the loss of her husband of over 20 years (that scene when a somber Roseanne tells Jackie, “I’ve been with him since I was sixteen-years-old”, comes to mind) will become irrelevant if, and when, the reboot is aired.  It makes me a little sad to know that since, having gone through personal losses in recent years myself, this topic touched upon something very real and very life changing for every single person.  So we’ll see how that goes when the time comes.

I’m so intrigued by this reboot more than any of the one’s currently out or in production.  Roseanne was, and still is, one of my favorite sitcoms of all time.  The Conners reminded me so much of my family.  I related to Darlene so much; dreams of being a writer, hating and being a piss poor student in school but flourishing in college, and being a sarcastic, snarky ray of sunshine that it drove (and still does) my family and friends crazy.  My relationship with my mom is reminiscent of Roseanne and Darlene’s relationship.  I wanted a dad like Dan Conner, deeply flawed but incredibly loving and protective of his family.  I still get chills when he finds out Jackie was being abused by her boyfriend and, without a word or hesitation, grabs his coat to go confront the jerk.


Needless to say, this show means a lot to me.  I don’t have too many reservations about the reboot but simply questions about how they are going to go about writing it.  With such a unique finale to the original series, there are several plots that either need to be touched upon or need to be dropped altogether.  Or it could be an entirely new show, who knows!  But, hey, Roseanne has always been crafty when it comes to her writing and comebacks so I’m just gonna sit back and enjoy the ride.

— e.m.


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