The fate of her character had been kept heavily under wraps by the series’ network ABC and was revealed during the first episode, titled “Keep on Trucking”.
At first, the audience are led to believe that she died of a heart attack following knee surgery, until a coroner’s report reveals she died from an opioid overdose.
“I AIN’T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!” Barr wrote on Twitter after the episode aired.
Roseanne was a ratings sensation when it aired earlier this year, the premiere managing to attract 18.1 million viewers. The series starred Barr as the titular character, with the cast also including John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Alicia Goranson and Michael Fishman. All the cast – minus Barr – returned for The Connors.
Barr has released a joint statement with “longtime Rabbi and friend, World Values Network Founder Rabbi Shmuley Boteach” on the new series, calling it “grim and morbid”.
“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,” they wrote. ”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.”
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