Calling "The Conners" one of the most anticipated shows of the fall is less a comment on its potential quality than the description of the feeling of preparing against an oncoming train. The curiosity factor and difficulty levels are high with this; There is not much precedent for a show that emerges from the ashes of losing its titular star because he could not stop tweeting racist conspiracy theories. And despite the insistence of the cast and crew otherwise, the 2018 version of "Roseanne" could never be alone a situation comedy. The real-life evolution of Roseanne Barr into a right-wing hero transformed a celebrated family comedy into a cultural critical point to the point that President Trump felt the need to publicly congratulate Barr for his classification of monsters and cling to the elite from Hollywood where they both came from.
So how can this cast of characters continue without the woman who anchored him for so many years? Can "The Conners" credibly escape the chaos off the screen, shake Barr's spectrum and distinguish himself as his own show?
Having seen two episodes of "The Conners", I can report that the answer is … well, yes and no. I can not tell you (yet) how the program despises Barr, or much of anything significant. But I power Say that since everything that happened to become your own series, "The Conners" is a solid case by itself in relying on its cast to sell the hell out of a particularly difficult situation, but there is simply no escape from Roseanne, or Barr, completely.
The premiere ("Just Keep Trucking") is understandably concerned to explain the absence of "Granny Rose", which makes it difficult to describe without being able to go into detail. Still, it's safe to say that "The Conners" goes to great lengths to recognize the enormity of losing Roseanne, even as a character. All the other Conners, especially Dan (John Goodman), Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), try to figure out where they fit into the family now that Roseanne, once the glue that held them together, is gone.
The sudden nature of all this is inevitably uncomfortable, but the script of the creators Dave Caplan, Bruce Helford, Bruce Rasmussen He manages to squeeze in a surprising amount of jokes for the occasion, and the cast achieved is more than the challenge of landing them. Goodman, Gilbert, Metcalf and Lecy Goranson as Becky are particularly sharp, and they find a way to let the personalities of their characters emerge from their fog of pain. Goodman, who very often had to take a natural backup seat to Barr's high-octane performance, has some good moments to be his best abruptly while Dan is cracked by his shock and shrugs in the role of nurturing reluctant. Metcalf leans on the characteristic mania of Jackie and shows exactly how good it is by not letting a single line or appearance go by without eating it. And in the two episodes selected for critics (the premiere and an episode that will be broadcast beyond the season), guest stars such as Mary Steenbergen, Juliette Lewis and Justin Long bring something new and interesting to the table.
Perhaps the most revealing moment, however, comes when Becky and Darlene collide over how to deal with their loss. Becky, terrified that she can get rid, insists that Darlene is better prepared to take the initiative. "You are the obvious choice to replace mom," she says. "You already live here, and you're also a scary little tyrant." Darlene does not totally agree (although, of course, she takes the "scary little tyrant" as a compliment), but Becky might be talking about the show itself. .
When the revival first opened in March, it soon became clear that Gilbert's Darlene would be as important an advantage as Roseanne herself. His plot of having to return to his childhood home with two children and no work was the most immediate dynamic, or at least, the basis of a comedy configuration as classic as they come. Roseanne was still the reigning matriarch, and she made everyone know it at every opportunity she had, but Darlene's story was the one that connected everyone else and pushed the show. It is natural and intelligent that "The Conners", both the show and the fictional family, focus more on her once Roseanne leaves the scene.
But the show can not ignore Roseanne forever. As the sentimental premiere recognizes and even insists, going from spinning around Roseanne to extirpating it completely is not a realistic option. And yet, it is more than strange to see the characters remember her fondly "man, she was stubborn". I knew that clutter outside the screen made it necessary to restart a revival. In the future, "The Conners" will probably split the difference, mentioning it in passing while continuing to make the Conners live their lives. As it is now, the series has a chance to fight to become a great person on its own terms, but for that, the audience of "Roseanne" will have to worry enough beyond their basic curiosity to stay up to date and discover it. .
Comedy, 30 minutes. (10 episodes, two revised). Releases on Tuesday, October 16 at 8 pm.
To emit: John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara, King Jayden, Maya Lynne Robinson.
Personal: Executive producers: Tom Werner, Sara Gilbert, Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez.