On Tuesday, October 16, the Roseanne spinoff The Conners premiered after much controversy and drama following Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet that led to the cancellation of the Roseanne revival.
Leading up to the premiere of the spinoff, Barr signed a deal which relinquished all her rights both creatively and financially to the show and characters so that The Conners could proceed, and even said she would be moving to Israel when the show premiered. Instead it seems, she had been planning on releasing a statement about how her character was removed from the show, and she did so through her “longtime Rabbi friend” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.
Barr tweeted, “I AIN’T DEAD, BITCHES,” before tweeting a link to Shmuley Boteach’s Facebook page which had her full statement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROSEANNE BARR AND RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH STATEMENT ON ROSEANNE CANCELLATION AND CONNNERS PREMIERE
NEW YORK, NY; October 17, 2018 – Roseanne Barr and her longtime Rabbi and friend, World Values Network Founder Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, have issued the following statement regarding the cancellation of Roseanne and the premiere of The Conners:
“While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of The Conners, all of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and were Roseanne’s cherished colleagues, 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. Roseanne was the only show on television that directly addressed the deep divisions threatening the very fabric of our society. Specifically, the show promoted the message that love and respect for one another’s personhood should transcend differences in background and ideological discord. The show brought together characters of different political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in one, unified family, a rarity in modern American entertainment. Above all else, the show celebrated a strong, matriarchal woman in a leading role, something we need more of in our country.
“Through humor and a universally relatable main character, the show represented a weekly teaching moment for our nation. Yet it is often following an inexcusable — but not unforgivable — mistake that we can discover the most important lesson of all: Forgiveness. After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness. In a hyper-partisan climate, people will sometimes make the mistake of speaking with words that do not truly reflect who they are. However, it is the power of forgiveness that defines our humanity.
“Our society needs to heal on many levels. What better way for healing than a shared moment, once a week, where we could have all enjoyed a compelling storyline featuring a witty character – a woman – who America connected with, not in spite of her flaws, but because of them. The cancellation of Roseanne is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive.”
The premiere of The Conners aptly titled “Keep on Truckin,’” revealed that Barr’s character had died due to an opioid overdose following surgery on her knee. The episode then follows the family as they deal with her death and loss, which in a lot of ways echoed the sentiments of the cast moving on without Barr in the show.
Roseanne: 12 Behind The Scenes Secrets
12. Getting it Started
For Roseanne Barr, her career went on a whirlwind trajectory from making her first major stand-up comedy appearance in 1985 on The Tonight Show to landing her own show in 1987. Despite only three years in the spotlight as a major comedian, she had a lot of pull and it was her decision to ask for a show. “I wanted a TV show. I told my agent I didn’t want to be on the road anymore. It took many meetings with many producers. I decided to go with executive producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner because they had the top two series—Cosby and A Different World—and I thought they knew how to make a show out of a stand-up act,” Barr revealed. Luckily at the same time, Carsey and Werner were looking for a working mother as a central voice and heroine for a series, and that is what led them straight to the distinctive and unique personality of Roseanne.