Why It’s Time to Cancel the Conners

Why It’s Time to Cancel the Conners

‘The Conners’ is an ABC television sitcom which is a spin-off from an earlier production, ‘Roseanne’. Named after its star character Roseanne Barr, ‘Roseanne’ was a realistic creation around the lives of the working-class fictional Conner family. The script presents their struggles around health care, immigration, having enough to make ends meet and many of the issues that plague American working families. The sitcom creates humor from these day-to-day issues. It premiered in October 2018 at the same time as earlier planned for the ‘Roseanne’ 2018/2019 episodes. ABC increased ‘The Conners’ episodes in 2019 as the show continued into its second season. The second season premiered in September 2019. Its predecessor, ‘Roseanne’, had premiered on ABC from October 1988 to May 1997. It then had a revival season that premiered in 2018 before it came to an abrupt halt. Nine years meant significant fan loyalty around the characters by the time the curtain was drawn on ‘Roseanne’. In this article, we bring you four reasons why it is time to cancel ‘The Conners’.

1. How ‘The Conners’ emerged after ‘Roseanne’

‘The Conners’ emerged after the cancellation of ‘Roseanne’ in May 2018. The matriarch of the Conner family, Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) while going about her life, tweeted her displeasure regarding an officer in the former Obama administration. The tweet was deemed racist, requiring urgent decisions in the production of ‘Roseanne’. The decision, in addition to pulling Roseanne Barr out of the show, was a spin-off featuring the same Conner family, but without the matriarch. ‘‘The Conners’ kept the original adult cast. There are mixed issues in this unfolding. Roseanne Barr was bumped off through an opioid overdose. It was an easy spin: She was constantly on opioids for pain relief, so an overdose was not far-fetched. On the death of Roseanne, the Conner family is required to recast their roles.

Family dynamics must change with new leaders emerging to fit in the proverbial big shoes of the late matriarch. However, even with renewed dynamics in the roles, there is still a huge gap both in the script and in the way their actors carry their parts. Not to say they are not professional actors, but there is a dynamic they can’t seem to recapture. Sometimes in real life too, families cannot stay together after the death of a strong matriarch or patriarch. The way ‘The Conners’ emerged may be the very reason it needs to end.

2. ‘The Conners’ Can’t seem to Match up to ‘Roseanne’ fame

It is not for lack of trying by the actors. Star actor John Goodman has worked tirelessly to rebuild ‘The Conners’ from the ashes of its larger-than-life predecessor. The members of the original cast, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara, and Jayden Rey, were glad to be back, but nine years meant they had formed real family-like bonds and felt the loss of Roseanne. That same hollowness is reflected in the reviews from viewers and ‘The Conners’ can’t seem to come out from under the shadow of ‘Roseanne’. Roseanne Barr was energetic and outspoken. The quick wit was a family dynamic that carried ‘Roseanne’ to the top-rated show in its segment. The show had a record 20 million viewers and spoke directly to a large population. The first season of ‘The Conners’ was rated highest on ABC series in 2018/2019. Analysts say the viewing was mostly those who were curious as to how the series would continue after Roseanne Barr was bumped off. After the viewers satisfied their curiosity, the numbers dropped significantly thereafter. It might be difficult for ‘‘The Conners” to recover from Roseanne’s fame.

3. ‘The Conners’ was More Apologetic Than it was a New Script

It is nearly impossible to explain ‘The Conners’ without mentioning Roseanne. It’s the same production, with a new name and slightly less than invigorating episodes. The cast could have anticipated some kind of repercussion, but not a cancellation of the role of Roseanne Barr. It does not work for ‘The Conners’ cast that the production has continued on the same general drift as ‘Roseanne’. Goodman in an interview with Kens5 says he was “stunned” by the cancellation. “I tried to pretend to be calm about it and say, ‘well, that’s show business,’ but I kind of went into a spin for a couple of weeks.”

ABC suddenly had to go back to the drawing board and keep the show on the road. The cast had already been signed on for the new season and the show just had to continue. Whereas most spin-offs come from the success of a previous production, this one was necessitated by the need to stay on schedule. No one was ready for ‘Roseanne’ to end. The biggest consideration for the production team was whether they could adjust the episodes on the fly and come up with a captivating storyline to keep the 2m viewers with the new edition. Although they were optimistic at first, rebirths are not known to last long. ‘The Conners’ is more an apology to viewers who have helped spin ‘Roseanne’ into the top slot than it is a new production.

4. Viewers are Not Moving Away from the “death” of Roseanne Barr

A recurring theme in the dwindling ratings of ‘The Conners’ is the bumping off of Roseanne Barr. There is a feeling that it was harsh and infringed on her right to freedom of expression as an American. Although no one will come out and carry out a protest, there is a fan base that feels someone should not be fired for expressing an opinion. That is the crux of the matter; Roseanne Barr was fired. There are those that are glad that the remaining cast wasn’t cast out along with Barr yet the viewers have not overcome the “grief” of the loss of the matriarch they grew up with. Most viewers feel ‘The Conners’ script is trying too hard to skirt around the absence of Roseanne, leaving the show crusty. This could account for dwindling numbers in the viewership. Initially, viewers were relieved that the new spin-off was not an absolute flop, but that optimism is fading. It’s probably time to call it quits while ‘The Conners’ is still ahead.


There are many ways to end the role of a character in a show, and death is just one of them. However, for most of the last three decades in show business, there was not as much interaction of viewers on social media as there is today. Death is probably too extreme when the actor is still alive. Maybe the producers of ‘The Conners’ could have attained the same result, but through another turn in the script of ‘Roseanne’. That the show was named ‘Roseanne’ was an added challenge, but there are ways to handle those types of things. As it is, ‘The Conners’ episodes are not getting better, they are getting worse. It is simply time to end ‘The Conners’.

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