In the premiere episode of "The Conners" Tuesday night, we learned the fate of Roseanne. The matriarch of the family died after overdosing on prescription pain pills.
Barr and her rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, called the death “an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”
By failing to give Barr a second chance, the show has "squandered" the opportunity to help culture heal and "look past a regrettable mistake," they write.
Barr shared a much more entertaining response on Twitter. (graphic language)
I AIN’T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) October 17, 2018
Barr's tweeting is what got her into trouble in the first place. Back in May, the TV star posted a racially insensitive joke about former President Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. She blamed it on Ambien, but ABC fired her and eventually decided to proceed with the spinoff "The Conners."
In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, writer Bruce Helford explained why he killed her character off the way he did. He admits that the loss of Roseanne left the writers with a "creative hole." It was a "painful and difficult" loss. Yet, having made the decision to axe her character, he wanted to make sure her family revered their wife and mother.
After much discussion by all parties, it was decided that we would have to make her departure clearly permanent. But her death would have to be reverent to the woman who was so beloved by her family. And the result would have to leave no shadow over Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky, DJ and all of Lanford. It was a crucial story point so that the other characters could truly move on boldly with their lives, evolve and grow. And on a personal note, Roseanne helped launch my career, and while we had our disagreements (she once fired me in Roseanne's original run), I wanted a respectful sendoff for her, too: one that was relevant and could inspire discussion for the greater good about the American working class, whose authentic problems are often ignored by broadcast television. If you watched the first episode, I hope you'll agree we did that.
The reboot of "Roseanne" was extremely popular in the ratings. It remains to be seen if it will gain the same traction without its star.