It was a defining moment in 2018, and it changed television for good. In May, Roseanne Barr sent a racist tweet out into the world, effectively bringing the hit Roseanne reboot to a screeching halt. Not surprisingly, Sara Gilbert, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf all distinctly remember what they were doing when they heard the news.
In an exclusive interview with People, the costars are opening up about their initial reactions and how they feel heading into The Conners. Goodman said, “[I was] in my kitchen and maybe my daughter or my wife told me,” he said of Barr’s tweet. “It just didn’t seem true. Then it got true. I was consciously trying to accept it.”
It’s all basically a blur for Gilbert, who plays adult daughter Darlene.
“I don’t remember too much. It was more just, ‘Okay, what are we dealing with today?’ I was just kind of taking things one step at a time as they came,” Gilbert said.
As for Metcalf, who plays Aunt Jackie, she admits her mind immediately went to the future of the show. After hearing about Barr’s tweet “on the news, actually,” Metcalf said, “And I [first] thought, ‘Oh, I wonder if we still have a show.’ Because of how heavy everything became.”
When it became clear the show would likely be canceled, the costars tried to reconcile that reality with their love for this TV family — and for each other.
“There was a feeling of not wanting it to go away until we were ready. There was a debt owed to this fictional family. We want to finish telling this story,” Goodman told People, adding, “It was so unbelievable to do this show and it was like easy come, easy go.”
Then, a glimmer of hope came. Could the Roseanne reboot get a spinoff?
“There was a lot of risk involved. But we all decided as a group to take the risk, knowing that we could be judged by deciding to come back,” Metcalf said.
Now, with the premiere of The Conners mere weeks away on Oct. 16, the tight-knit TV family is channeling “any sadness that we feel over what we’ve lost” into the show in an authentic way, says Gilbert.
— The Conners (@TheConnersABC) September 25, 2018
While it hasn’t officially been confirmed, Goodman and even Barr herself have implied the Conner matriarch will be written out of the show by way of death.
Although Barr did ultimately step aside and agree not to be involved with The Conners creatively or financially, she has spoken about the show on numerous occasions (and tweeted about it) since her highly publicized firing.
Still, despite any lingering bitterness, her former costars appreciate the fact she stepped out of the picture so they could move forward.
So, sure, things will undoubtedly be a bit different when the show returns. But, promises Goodman, the heart of the series remains unchanged.
“We’re leaning on each other when we do this show. And supporting each other — that’s a very strong feeling among us,” he said. “It’s different, but we can create something new from it. Let us finish the story on our own terms. Come along with us and see how we do it.”