The new ABC comedy saw the return of all of the main characters – including John Goodman and Laurie Metcalfe – except for its star and creator, Roseanne Barr.
Roseanne was cancelled five months ago following a racist tweet posted by the actress. Barr apologised for the offensive comment and blamed her behaviour on her intake of the sleeping drug Ambien, but the sitcom was axed following the subsequent backlash on social media.
In the series opener of The Connors, it was revealed that Rosanne had died from an accidental opioid overdose.
The character had been struggling with an addiction to the drug, as she was preparing for a costly operation on her knee.
While some fans praised the show for tackling the issue of opioid abuse in the United States, many found the subject matter problematic for a family comedy series.
“The Connors” killed Roseanne’s character of with an opioid overdose. Now you know. No need to give ABC one more viewer. Spread the word.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) October 17, 2018
1. Why #TheConners should be immediately canceled. Roseanne Barr has had her life's work, her ideas, her story, manipulated into a conversation she has no control over. The fact ABC decided to kill @therealroseanne off by opioid overdose shows their intent to paint the…
— Todd Doyle (@whizkids) October 17, 2018
Barr was far from happy with the way her character had been killed off, writing in a statement: “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.”
“This was a choice the network did not have to make,” she continued. “Roseanne was the only show on television that directly addressed the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society.”
Barr also reacted to her character’s death on Twitter, writing: “I AIN’T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!”
Fans of Roseanne were in full support of Barr, with many claiming that the new spin-off show doesn’t work without her.
NO ROSEANNE, NO SHOW!
— Night (@Night56114683) October 17, 2018
Roseanne is trending; The Conners isn't. 'Nuff said.
— 🎃 Barbie 🍁 (@12truewest) October 17, 2018
Won't watch a single episode without you in it. Jokes on Abc
— Spider (@Spiderperson123) October 17, 2018
Watched for about 30 seconds before I switched to Below Deck.
No! You're not dead but "The Conners" are….
— Asylum1 (@Asylum119) October 17, 2018
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