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Roseanne Barr isn’t happy with the way her character’s disappearance from the Conners’ household was explained on ABC’s Roseanne spinoff The Conners on Tuesday night.
“I AIN’T DEAD, BITCHES!!!!” the comedian and actress tweeted just an hour after the episode finished airing. In a more measured joint statement with her friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach released late on Tuesday, they said the “opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”
The show revealed that Roseanne’s character had died in her bed of what the family believed to be a heart attack following a knee surgery. Instead, a coroner’s report revealed, the character had died of an opioid overdose.
The reboot of Barr’s 1980s-1990s ABC hit Roseanne was canceled in May following a racist tweet from Barr about Valerie Jarrett, former White House senior adviser to Barack Obama. Spinoff The Conners was greenlighted in late June without the fictional household’s former matriarch, and without any creative or financial involvement from Barr.
Since her No. 1 ratings-hit reboot was canceled due to her Jarrett tweet, Barr has blamed the tweet on “mental illness” and the side effects of Ambien. She has also said she was fired because of a threatened advertiser boycott and because she voted for President Donald Trump.
In September, Barr claimed she was moving to Israel when The Conners aired. As of Monday, she was in Los Angeles to participate in a conversation about America and forgiveness with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Her Twitter page still reads that her location is “The Universe.”
Barr and Boteach’s full statement is below.
“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. 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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