Here’s How the ‘Roseanne’ Reboot Explained Away Dan’s Death in the Original Series
Another iconic ’90s sitcom made its way back to TV this week, and it managed to pull off the difficult job of doing justice to the original. ABC’s Roseanne reboot, featuring all of the original cast members, was tasked with bringing a character who had died in the original series back for the revival, and if you guessed they’d handle it with the show’s trademark humor, you were right. Warning: There are spoilers ahead!
As a quick refresher, in Roseanne‘s ninth season in 1997, title character Roseanne Conner (played by creator and star Roseanne Barr) revealed that the entire season had been made up as part of the book she was writing — a project she had undertaken to help her deal with the death of her beloved husband, Dan, who she revealed had died of a heart attack.
So, how did Roseanne 2018 bring him back? At the beginning of episode one, Roseanne and Dan are in bed — the set decor hasn’t changed at all, btw — and Dan is wearing a sleep apnea mask when his wife wakes him up. “I thought you were dead,” she tells him. Dan responds with a knowing, “Why does everybody always think I’m dead?” Classic.
And because one barb isn’t enough, they bring up the finale again later in the episode when Dan finds that series-ending transcript in the garage. “This would have sold like hotcakes, if only you hadn’t killed off the most interesting character,” he jokes. “He was a gentle giant.”
In the original series, the role of Roseanne and Dan’s oldest daughter, Becky, flip-flopped between actresses Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke, depending on the former actress’ availability, and even then, the show made sure to poke fun at the inconsistencies to let the audience know they were in on the joke. Like Will & Grace before it, the Roseanne reboot just went right ahead and winkingly pretended that finale never happened — and it totally worked.
Did you watch the Roseanne reboot? Let us know what you thought at @BritandCo!
(photo via ABC/Adam Rose)