"The Conners" is the new sitcom spinning out of and without "Roseanne," after Roseanne Barr got fired for a racist tweet during the show's hiatus.
It was inevitable, perhaps, that the series premiere of "The Conners" would turn into one of the most polarizing events of the year.
Ever since Roseanne Barr came out as a Trump supporter, everything to do with her became a bipartisan issue, and that has extended to her TV legacy as it shifts and looks to move on without her. In the wake of Barr's firing after a racist tweet, "Roseanne" has evolved into "The Conners," and with that change came two huge questions.
How did they kill off Roseanne? Is this new show any good?
For many on Twitter, the latter question didn't even matter. They spent the premiere proudly proclaiming that they would never watch this trash, while at the same time calling out anyone who does. And yet, Barr herself signed off on this sequel series -- albeit under duress, perhaps -- so that the cast and crew could continue working after ABC had initially canceled the series.
No matter your feelings on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that culminated in "The Conners," the question remains valid if they managed to pull it off, and the answer is a resounding yes. It helps that they have two acting powerhouses in John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf on the cast.
Both veteran actors are equally adept at bring the laughs and carrying the emotional load of heavier moments, and both got a chance to shine in this premiere. Honestly, Goodman and Metcalf were the shining stars of the original run, with both of them leaps and bounds better than Barr has ever been as actors. And by the time of that revival, the gap had only widened.
Yes, it's a little awkward dealing with the death of Roseanne Conner in such a raw and gut-wrenching way when we know Roseanne Barr is still alive and well, but the premiere handled it so beautifully, we found ourselves tearing up at several points along the way, including when they recreated the iconic credits sequence without the cackling matriarch at the heart of it.
As many people predicted, it was an opioid overdose that got Roseanne. Honestly, it was an arc for the character well-established in the first season of the revival, as she wrapped that run hiding her addiction from her family, as well as several stashes of pills.
And just as it had during its highly-rated first season, this premiere continued tackling topical and current issues, like opioid addiction. It also didn't shy away from the emotional and financial burden left on a family after the death of a loved one, and even took some time to explore Grandpa Dan coming to terms with his grandson's interest in boys, even helping him pick which one to sit by on the bus.
And of course the kid went with the "bad boy." Isn't that always the way.
But for many on social media, none of that mattered. They had no intention of watching a second of the show. And as you might have surmised, this vitriol split right down party lines, as if this was the most important topic MAGA supporters could be fighting over on a Tuesday night.
They're also quick to predict the failure and demise of the show without Roseanne Barr. That much remains to be seen. Meanwhile, people who actually watched it seemed to mostly enjoy it.
Below are some of the most passionate responses from both sides of the aisle. With this kind of response, you'd think "The Conners" and "Roseanne" were battling it out for president of the United States.
Samantha Bee calls Ivanka a c😱😱😱 and she keeps her job....Roseanne says something stupid and she loses her career....WHAT A WORLD.....AND NOT ONE PIECE OF GARBAGE ON HER SHOW DEFENDED HER WHEN SHE WOULD HAVE DEFENDED THEM ALL..... #TheConners
For someone who knows the pain of losing a loved one to the opioid epidemic it's extremely hard to see them take something as serious as an opioid overdose and turn it into their sick way of getting back at someone for saying something they disagree with. Disgusting. #theconners
If only Republicans got as worked up over actual injustice, corruption and racism as much as they get worked up over the rich, racist white lady losing her TV show, this country, and the world, would be in much better shape. #TheConners
I bought Roseanne the complete series. 9 seasons, 222 episodes. Every week when #TheConners come on, I'm watching 1episode. I will still be watching @therealroseanne long after The Conners is forgotten. BTW, Roseanne died from the knives in her back!
Watched #theconners #roseanne character had the drug problem on the show before she was fired The writers and cast are showing what millions of American families are grieving due to opioid overdoses. This is real life #Grief #OpiodCrisis Reality TV
#TheConners is amazing! Thank you, @ABCNetwork. Laurie Metcalf is a chameleon, from Lady Bird back to her most beloved character without missing a step. Same Aunt Jackie. The whole cast was incredible. The show tackles real issues. It's all about family. Congrats! 😭❤️ https://t.co/Nsrtb4IXWI
@therealroseanne #TheConners will never make it without you! Watched to see how they would kill you off and cancelled all future recordings. Let me know if they decide to make you a ghost and bring you back...then I will watch again. :)
People seem to be forgetting, the last season of Roseanne, she was hiding pills, and already had a drug problem before the whole tweet ordeal. It wasn't shade for the ambient comment. Was the only, and right way to write it. Great show! Loved it. #TheConners