“The Conners” returns Tuesday on ABC for its second episode, once again without former star and co-creator Roseanne Barr.
Is the spinoff worth watching without her? The Times asked readers for their thoughts following the series premiere, with responses ranging from “positively disgraceful” to “a talented ensemble” at last able to shine.
Even Barr weighed in on the premiere. Speaking about how her character was written out, Barr tweeted and also issued a statement along with her rabbi in which she said that the Roseanne Conner story line “lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”
Speaking with The Times about last week’s premiere, executive producer Dave Caplan predicted the opening episode would be a divisive one among fans: “I think it will be highly debated,” Rasmussen said. “I don’t think there’s any one attitude on this. It really depends on how you feel about her, about the show in general. There will be some tumult.”
He was right, at least when it came to L.A. Times readers. Here are 25 opinionated responses below, edited for length and clarity. Warning: Some comments contain spoilers of “The Conners” premiere.
Chris Pinter, 49, Rocky Mount, Va.
“It was horrible. Horribly written, and deliverance by the actors seemed more ‘fake’ and forced than the normal flow the show always had. … The entire cast stabbed her in the back, and a little part of me wants this to fail miserably.”
Kathy M. Eldridge, 65, Bend, Ore.
“I liked it. I think it will do well. We don’t need [Roseanne’s] kind of hatred and racism on the media.”
Walter, 58, Cottonwood, Calif.
“Sucks. I will not watch again — just not the same show, a huge loss without Roseanne.”
Dianna Fox, 63, Winchester, Calif.
“She made the show, and no one cares about the other cast members. They’re like nobodies. It shouldn’t be continued.”
Michael Kape, 64, Palm Springs
“The show felt — for lack of a better term — balanced, more of an ensemble piece. Without Roseanne Barr demanding the spotlight stay on her, we saw the show enhanced by the incredibly gifted supporting cast stepping into the light. And that was a good thing overall. Roseanne Barr was always funny in the show, but she could never handle the dramatic heft the role required. Now the pros are in command, and it’s like the best parts of the old show (and even last year’s reboot) have taken over. Ms. Barr might have done her fellow cast mates a huge favor without realizing it. Three cheers for a talented ensemble at last able to share the spotlight as one.”
“Roseanne was my comfort food. I grew up with Roseanne and the Conner family from day one. 'The Conners’ will just not have the same comfort.”
Lou Ayala, 65, Fresno
“As usual the writer came up with a very controversial mode of death for Barr. Would it have [been] just as good to have Roseanne dying by being hit by a train? The show will not last past this season. TV studios are canceling better shows on TV.”
Brian Tone, 61, Campbell, Calif.
“Waste of time and money. I was never a Barr fan, but there was no need to remove Barr. It was a bad comment, but based on misunderstanding … I’d like to see another network pick up the real show with Barr in place.”
Hunter McGaughey, 48, Wesley Chapel, Fla.
“Roseanne has always been my go-to show when I wanted to feel like a fly on the wall in someone else’s family. It always made me laugh and taught me there’s no such thing as a normal family and that’s OK. Roseanne was my comfort food. Sadly you can’t even feel or think on your own unless it’s [within] the norms … ‘The Conners,’ for me, is just something that I am not going to support as I grew up with Roseanne and the Conner family from day one. ‘The Conners’ will just not have the same comfort. Our country is founded on freedom of speech no matter how bizarre, outrageous, outspoken or absurd that speech is. She is not a racist, and it’s unfair to paint her as such.”
Lene, 62, Costa Mesa
“It’s a testy sitcom, and there are plenty of actors who could fill Roseanne Barr’s shoes.”
Kathy B., 65, Mill City, Ore.
“It was utterly boring. I died laughing watching the new ‘Roseanne’ show with Roseanne Barr, but this newer version without her is awful. Roseanne was the star of that show, and it will never be the same without her.
I also don’t like that ABC chose to pick on elderly people and prescription pain meds. Some of us are in chronic pain and can barely function, yet all the time we are treated like criminals. ABC is trying to make money on Roseanne even though they refuse to forgive her for a statement she made. They aren’t going to make much with this show. I won’t watch it, and nobody I know will either.”
William A. Griffith, 59, Norway, Mich.
“I do not like it at all. Her presence is glaringly missing … The story reflected Roseanne’s life and attitude, and without her input, the show will never succeed.”
Robert Morgan, 88, Atlanta
“I will not watch without her. The show is RINO, Roseanne in Name Only....only they are not using her name.”
I don’t like that ABC chose to pick on elderly people and prescription pain meds. Some of us are in chronic pain and can barely function
Marty Gillis, 62, Apple Valley, Calif.
“It works. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the first reboot because of Roseanne’s outspoken ignorance. John and Laurie can easily keep this show going.”
Greg Kerr, 49, Las Vegas
“I always found Roseanne as a performer irritating like running fingernails across a chalkboard, and never watched her throughout her career. I think the show now is much better, and I am more likely to snap it on from time to time. Why fire the entire crew and cast over one actor’s racist tweets? Goodman is better than ever, as are the others. And the writing appears to be ambitious, and mostly first rate. I think Sara Gilbert is going to be the breakout lead who centers the show’s point of view.”
Jaxon G., 15, Texas
“Even though I was not an original fan of ‘Roseanne,’ I still loved the new season. I think that ABC shot themselves in the foot with this one. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the characters, but it’s not the same without Roseanne. The right decision is to forgive and forget; ABC bringing light to the tweet is just making it more of a problem.”
Dee, 67, Charlotte, N.C.
“She is what made the show. The show was so good with her, and so many looked forward to it. Such a shame!”
Christina Kelso, 40, Thermal, Calif.
“I recorded the show by DVR, but I don’t feel I can bring myself to watch it. [I] feel it is tragic to erase her from her own show. She created it. Period. Where is the loyalty, compassion, and attention? … What’s the point of cutting her out when she was the draw?”
H Paul Overholt Jr., 65, Pasadena
“I have a very positive feeling for the move to remove Roseanne Barr from ‘The Conners.’ Just as positive as when we remove Trump from the White House.”
“Ms. Barr might have done her fellow cast mates a huge favor ... Three cheers for a talented ensemble at last able to share the spotlight.”
Nikki Foster, 36, Muskogee, Okla.
“Roseanne is the star of the show! REFUSE to watch it without her on it... She has a right to her opinion, and she should be able to state it, just like every other idiot out there that does. She got fired because she’s Republican and for TRUMP!!!”
Joseph, 58, Los Angeles
“Not interested. ABC made a decision, which in today’s PC world, I understand. They should have written a totally new show and used the actors and crew for that show.”
Nina Lee, 49, Los Angeles
“Positively disgraceful. Roseanne was the heart of the series. We laughed and cried with her. She made the show real, along with the supporting cast. Having her die of opioids is positively awful and untrue to her character.”
TC, 55, Santa Maria, Calif.
“It’s a shame. Political correctness ruins another American life. It’s about how much money ABC can exploit out of such a sad situation.”
Ray Busmann, 59, Los Angeles
“I love it. Roseanne’s absence allows more room for the incredibly talented cast to shine. And new cast members seem very promising!”
Brown, 65, New Ulm, Texas
“Sucks!!!!!!! If she had said something bad about Trump she would be a hero. But since it was about a [Democrat] she is crucified.”
Barbara Ann Van, 27, Wildwood Crest, N.J.
“None of the cast has the personality and charisma of Roseanne ... If I was her, I would start a Roseanne show on another network and get a new cast and try to get John Goodman back as her husband.”
Lacey, 32, Wichita, Kan.
“It was good, but Roseanne is incredibly missed ... I hope it is a success as this was a lifetime favorite for me growing up.”