Why The Conners Fans Have Big Issues With The Writing

When "The Conners" made its debut in 2018, the comparisons to the original "Roseanne" series were inevitable. After all, the new show was a spinoff of the ABC sitcom that matriarch Roseanne Barr helmed for 10 seasons, and the cast remained mostly unchanged. Well, except for the title character, who suffered an untimely demise.

Even with the Roseanne character now dead — a result of Barr's firing from the show she helped create more than 30 years ago — producers recreated the Conner clan's Lanford, Illinois, abode with meticulous detail. It's no wonder that fans expected everything else about the spinoff to mirror the old "Roseanne" days.

An early clue that this wasn't the old series came when "Roseanne" was picked up for a revival in 2018 and the missing youngest Conner son, Jerry Garcia, was said to be stuck on a fishing boat in Alaska. Fair enough. But when his mom died, he still didn't return to Lanford! Sounds like a case of the Chuck Cunningham syndrome, in which TV characters disappear without explanation.

But fans' beef with "The Conners" goes beyond family members who've gone missing without a trace. Diehard viewers remember every detail of the original "Roseanne" series — Aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) used to have a son named Andy, didn't she? And weren't we told Dan (John Goodman) actually died of a heart attack in the finale? So some things about "The Conners" simply don't add up.

The Conners fans get frustrated when the writing contradicts the original series

In 1997, the original "Roseanne" series ended with the revelation that the entire series had been a fictional account of Roseanne Conner's life. The book bombshell erased a lot of story arcs, like the idea that the family won the lottery or that Darlene and David (Sara Gilbert and Johnny Galecki) were a couple. When the spinoff debuted, fans weren't sure what was fictional and what was "real."

In a Reddit thread, a fan referenced a "Conners" script in which Darlene Conner insinuated she smoked pot in high school. "Darlene never smoked weed in high school," wrote fan u/jvp180. "I feel like jokes that completely ignore or contradict stuff that happened on the original series takes me out of fully enjoying 'The Conners.' It's almost like the writers are deliberately making its connection to 'Roseanne' muddled and murky."

Other Redditors noted that there are a lot of lines like that. "It's just lazy and ignores the original for no reason," u/the_queen_of_nada agreed. "Just cheap jokes for the hell of it." 

"It feels like treasured characters have been left in the hands of people who don't care enough about them to learn their history," u/Light-Years79 chimed in.

Producers have addressed some of the discrepancies, though. "We made a conscious decision that certain years were going to be part of the dream that was revealed at the end of the run of the original 'Roseanne,'" showrunner Rob Helford told TV Line when the original show was rebooted. "Andy fell into the same category for us as winning the lottery; [it's] something we chose not to acknowledge."