Actor John Goodman, who plays Dan Conner in the “Roseanne” spinoff “The Conners,” said the show feels somewhat “hollow” without his previous co-star and the original show’s mastermind, Roseanne Barr.
In an interview this week with USA Today, Goodman admitted he misses Barr “real bad,” though it “felt great” to be back on set.
“I know for a fact that she’s not a racist,” Goodman said, seemingly suggesting ABC jumped the gun when senior executives decided to fire Barr in May. “I’ll put it this way: I was surprised at the response. And that’s probably all I should say about it.”
ABC president Channing Dungey fired Barr — despite the wildly successful “Roseanne” reboot — after the unpredictable TV star posted a tweet about former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett, whom she compared to a character on “Planet of the Apes.” The tweet was deemed racist, though Barr said at the time she had no knowledge of Jarrett’s African-American descent.
The spinoff’s writers decided to kill the Conner matriarch off when “The Conners” premiered this week. Roseanne’s eponymous character died of an opioid overdose.
Goodman, speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” alongside co-star and producer Sara Gilbert, said it felt “weird” to be filming “The Conners” sans Barr. He likened the experience to “a death in the family,” adding he feels “there’s a lot missing” in the new sitcom.
“We just try to do our best to fill in,” he said, “and we’re thankful for the opportunity to be able to do it again.”
Another one of the original show’s stars, Michael Fishman, told TMZ it’s “bittersweet” working on a “Roseanne” spinoff without the popular sitcom’s matriarch.