In the most prime time, two-hour season premiere of ABC’s “Roseanne,” Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) gave an emotional and defiant speech about her family, even calling Roseanne’s irrational Obamacare repeal one of the “least defensible” things the new administration could be doing. In the two-hours last night, viewers also found out how the Conners dealt with the fallout of Roseanne’s racism, and the fatal disease that claimed the lives of Becky (Lecy Goranson) and Harris (Emma Kenney). The family opened up their family reunion of sorts to a visitor from the past: Dan Conner’s (John Goodman) kids, Becky’s former husband Dave Haas (Michael Fishman) and their daughter Olivia (Spencer Breslin).
In the first episode, Olivia spent a lot of the time talking about her father without telling her family about her current boyfriend (someone turned against her because they “prefer prejudice over tolerance”) and named her romance with Nate (Travis Schuldt) as a “normal” thing, not white privilege, even though she and her family all lived in the “African-American community.” However, after Roseanne and Dan call in to the family’s cookout, Olivia reveals that Nate is her ex-husband’s nephew and her sister’s boyfriend. Dave’s family invited them for the holiday, a pleasant gift for them, not a “shameful ploy for publicity,” while the Conners felt embarrassed.
As expected, the episode had less Roseanne in it than the previous few. This time she merely lamented how to “spare” the red ribbons from Becky and Harris’ bedtime routine in the wake of his death, and asked Dan to stand guard outside the funeral. As before, Roseanne and Dan proved able to create wonderful space for different sides of their families to talk, as Becky and Dan buried her and Dan wrapped the candles they’d tied around the wall in the funeral home behind the circle where Becky and Harris had gathered.
Also in the episode, Dan begged Roseanne for Roseanne’s forgiveness while watching one of her on-screen confrontations with John Goodman playing a version of himself. The two even bonded over an apocryphal President Trump quote: “My heroes are not dopes. My heroes are fighters and my heroes are un-martyred maimers.” (The episode didn’t depict him either arguing with Roseanne or threatening to move to Canada and live with Dan and Amy in his trailer).
The show returned in the second hour to a flashback-filled storyline about Roseanne in Cleveland; she wanted to watch a show her son Dan had turned down because she thought it had a liberal cast. Dan accepted her wish to sit in his chair, and two are siblings served as the “stars” of the hour. She found out Jackie had torn the carpet out of her bedroom, recalling a time when Roseanne became angry that she was cutting a rug when they’d had disagreements. Jackie swore she would never cut any more, and stood up for Roseanne. She also told Roseanne that her fans would miss her, and that because of her and Dan’s political differences, she and Dan wouldn’t go into politics together like before.
Read the full story at New York Magazine.
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