Can ‘The Conners’ Survive Without Roseanne?

Lecy Goranson and Sara Gilbert in The Connors.  (c)ABC

Can Roseanne survive without Roseanne?  That’s the one big question on everyone’s tongues when it comes to the Roseanne rehash titled The Conners.  When Roseanne returned to screens earlier this year, it did so with a major political vengeance and brought in millions of viewers.  That version of the show retained its original biting humor and comedic look at working class living and offered a touching nod to the original. 

Then Roseanne went on a ambien induced twitter tirade that saw her make offence and racist comments about former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett and suddenly ABC cancelled the show and cut all ties with its namesake thus leaving an entire staff of cast and crew suddenly out of a job.

The news also meant that here in Australia, Channel Ten pulled any unaired episodes off its schedule.

So as it goes, that didn’t last very long and show made a quick return to our screens, now titled ‘The Conners’ and did so without Roseanne allowing instead the series to land safely on the shoulders of John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Sara Gilbert.  Yes, Roseanne is gone and without adding spoilers, how she goes and the ripples it causes, continue throughout the first four episodes.  But don’t assume that’s the new tone of the show.  Roseanne’s absence causes the first episode to go to some dark places as Dan comes to terms with just what happened, how it happened and who was responsible but the overall tone remains the same blue collar family comedy, just with less political/pro trump propaganda that littered Roseanne’s reboot season.

As noted, Goodman, Metcalf and Gilbert come front and centre to take charge while Lecy Goranson (Becky) continues to improve with each and every episode.  It’s just a shame that Michael Fishman’s DJ Connor is kind of tossed to the side like an unwanted salad that came with your parma.  As a staple from the original series, he kind of had to be there but aside from his war veteran wife and daughter, Fishman retains the least amount of scenes of the core cast per episode.  

So long story short….The Conners works incredibly well without Roseanne.  There is an absence though you’re not distracted by it.  No beat was missed from Roseanne to The Conners and it’s a testament to the entire returning cast and crew who became unemployed off the back of one single cast member.

Premieres Thursday, 22 November From 7.30pm with a Double Episode on Network TEN

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