The hotly-anticipated revival of ABC’s Roseanne scored a massive viewership of 18.2 million people, though that’s not the only interesting tidbit about the tenth season’s premiere episode. Fans of the show’s original run will remember how Dan Conner, portrayed by John Goodman, was revealed to be dead in 1996, yet he’s alive and well in 2018.


Fittingly, the opening shot of the Connors’ memorable living room graced television screens on March 27. Roseanne Conner, still played by Roseanne Barr, shouts Dan’s name three times as we head into the Conners’ bedroom. Dan, lying in bed with a sleep apnea mask adorning his face, wakes up upon hearing his wife, asking, “What happened?”

Roseanne explains she thought he was dead, soon adding, “You looked happy. I thought maybe you moved on.” The couple soon begin discussing the show’s new status quo, specifically how their daughter Darlene has moved back in with them along with her children, seemingly handwaving off Dan’s former death as a joke.

Roseanne‘s finale revealed that the show up until that point was a manuscript Roseanne wrote about her life, meaning her husband did not survive the heart attack he suffered in the prior season. This, surprisingly, was all directly addressed in the tenth season’s first episode, with Roseanne’s old manuscript sitting in the family’s garage. Dan spots the script, noting how it “would’ve sold like hotcakes” if “the most interesting character” hadn’t been killed. Roseanne, in turn, quips how “more bondage and a wizard school” would’ve really helped her sell it. 

Continuing a show after a long hiatus is challenging, especially if the original run ended in a manner that should theoretically prevent a beloved, iconic character from reprising his role. Seeing Roseanne not outright ignore its original ending while explaining why Dan is still around was an appreciated gesture.

And in the time Roseanne Conner has been off the air, she’s maintained an interest in politics, namely becoming a supporter of Donald Trump. In fact, her actress is a Trump supporter as well, having discussed with The New York Times that she wanted Roseanne to offer “dialogue about families torn apart by the election and their political differences of opinion and how we handle it.”

While ABC didn’t mind this direction to take Roseanne’s character, she did concede she’s aware people are unhappy with the decision. “You know, people only want to see — they want to stick to their narrative and they don’t want it shaken up. But, you know, I was like, ‘Oh, here we go. I’m just the person for this job.'” Barr also doesn’t believe her character’s values clash with Trump’s, citing how Trump “doesn’t oppose same-sex marriage.”

The opening episode, though primarily focused on reintroducing the Conner family and their current lives, took care to include political jokes, ranging from comments about Russia, deplorables and #MAGA.

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