Roseanne Barr’s prediction was right. In the premiere of the spin-off sitcom that formed after she was fired from her eponymous series for posting a racist tweet, her character’s death was revealed to have been caused by an opioid overdose.
A joint statement from the comedian and rabbi Shmuley Boteach described the portrayal as “an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”
The first episode of “The Conners” aired this week, representing what Barr described as a missed opportunity for ABC.
“The show brought together characters of different political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds in one, unified family, a rarity in modern American entertainment,” the statement reads. “Above all else, the show celebrated a strong, matriarchal woman in a leading role, something we need more of in our country.”
Barr and Boteach wrote that the star’s “inexcusable – but not unforgivable – mistake” could have led to a public lesson on forgiveness.
“Our society needs to heal on many levels,” the pair wrote. “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.”