We’re two weeks out from the debut of The Conners, ABC’s Roseanne “spin-off” about what happens to a family when their mom dies of a terminal case of “The actress playing her said some racist stuff on Twitter.” Owing in part to a mixture of legal minefields and, presumably, some degree of personal attachment, the show’s remaining cast has been pretty quiet about Roseanne Barr’s firing from the franchise. But now, series stars John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, and Laurie Metcalf have opened up about their reactions to Barr’s series-ending comments about former Obama advisor Valerie Jarret—at least, a little bit.
Specifically, the remaining Conners talked a bit with The Hollywood Reporter this week about their initial reactions to the online moment, which appear to have all been some variant on “Oh shit, we’re going to be fired.” Goodman: “[I was] in my kitchen and maybe my daughter or my wife told me. It just didn’t seem true. Then it got true. I was consciously trying to accept it.” Gilbert: “I don’t remember too much. It was more just, ‘OK, what are we dealing with today?’ I was just kind of taking things one step at a time as they came.” Metcalf: “[I found out] on the news, actually. And I [first] thought, ‘Oh, I wonder if we still have a show.’ Because of how heavy everything became.”
And while all three seemed accepting of the fact that it’s impossible to discuss The Conners—which debuts on October 16—without talking about Roseanne, Roseanne, and Roseanne, all three actors seemed to be extremely careful not to dip into their personal feelings about either Barr’s departure, or the expected death of her TV matriarch. The closest anyone got was Gilbert, who noted that, “Any sadness that we feel over what we’ve lost we’re hopefully channeling in an honest way into the show. And our show has always been able to deal with heavy topics, particularly for a sitcom. It’s been kind of built into the mix.”