Imagine this, it’s 1987 and you are tuning in to a new show with your parents. That show is called Roseanne, and it’s super funny, raw and nothing like you have ever seen on TV before, and sort of reminds you of your own family. You instantly become a fan for life watching every single rerun until you can recite each episode verbatim. You were also sad beyond belief when you found out that Dan had died, almost like your own Father had passed away, again. This show had that effect on people, it made you feel like you were really a part of the Conner family.
Cut to 30 years later and you are told you will be (secretly) visiting the set of the new Roseanne reboot!
Can you even imagine what was going through my mind? I was going to visit the set of Roseanne, AND interview Becky, Darlene, and DJ! The Conner kids! How I wish my parents were alive to see this happening, they would have loved this so much!
The day of the set visit arrives and I have butterflies. One thing that I know for sure is that I absolutely LOVE visiting sets. I love getting the behind the scenes look at how everything works and looks. It is so much different than you imagine, the set is smaller than you might think, and it’s kind of dark, and there’s a lot of walking behind sets. It is quite the surreal experience.
This is what I saw upon entering the set. The iconic Roseanne living room complete with afghan covered couch. I can’t even explain what I was feeling.
After taking a gazillion pictures from our seats in the studio audience, it was time to interview Sara Gilbert (Executive Producer, “Darlene Conner”), Michael Fishman (“DJ Conner”), and Lecy Goranson (“Becky Conner-Healy”), the Conner children. Talk about another surreal moment. Here are Roseanne’s children some 18 years after the last episode aired, and they are sitting just inches away. It was so amazing seeing how much they still looked the same, older, but still the same, if that makes sense.
We dove right in and asked the burning question that every Roseanne fan was wondering……..
Is Dan Alive?
Lecy assured us that everyone is alive in this reboot. She went on to say, the death of Dan will be sort addressed, but according to Michael Fishman, it’ll all make sense for fans, and the writers did a really good job of kind of explaining where we are now and how it kind of fits in the transition.
It really feels like a family, you know, it feels like going home, said Lecy, that’s how I felt here, especially when I see these faces and I hear Roseanne’s voice piercing through the set. Revisiting I had a lot of anxiety about particularly the writing if it was gonna be good, if it was gonna feel like the show. What was it gonna look like? What was it gonna be like? And I had so many questions. And then when I showed up to set and we were around the table and we were reading, I just felt so relieved and so connected and grounded in our world again. And it was just such a moving, beautiful thing.
Looking back at the set, Sara Gilbert commented, yeah, and see we’re poor. It’s true, the set looks almost exactly like it did when the show was on the air. I love that the authenticity is there and they didn’t change things too much.
Sara: I think in one respect it was an incredible time to do it because I felt like our country is so divided. I feel like this is a working-class family that can have varying political views even within the family but still love each other and I thought what a great way to try to help unite people, have people listen to each other. I strongly believe that we can disagree without being so divided. So, I’m hoping that we can help in that way.
Where are they now?
Lecy: Becky is a widow, and she is a waitress, and she really likes to drink. But I also think she’s very strong. She’s fighting to have her life together.
Sara: Darlene is basically a single parent. David has been in and out slightly over the years, and I don’t think she’s fully moved on when our season starts. She’s just been getting by with two kids, and she’s moved back home. She always dreamt of being a writer, and that dream, as happens in life, you sort of can get knocked down the totem pole. So, I think part of her arc over the season is seeing if she’ll go back and chase that dream or take a safe path to take care of her kids.
Michael: I’m married and I have a daughter on the show. My character came outta the military and is kind of struggling to re-establish himself, kind of which I think a lot of people in this country are in that role, both male and female. His wife is actually still active in the military.
So, there’s that juxtaposition of feeling strongly connected and proud of what you did but a little frustrated ’cause you weren’t quite ready to move on and not sure what you wanna do next. I think that’s also something people can really relate to. That’s the beauty of this show. I think that’s one of the things like Sara touched on is the show resonates with people because we deal with real-life topics, and it’s not always pretty and it’s not always easy. And real life’s not.
Becky #2 and Former Castmates
Sarah Chalke is involved, Sara assures us. She’s not playing Becky, but she’s playing another role that’s linked to Becky. She’s in a few episodes. We also have James Pickens Jr. aka Chuck Mitchell, Natalie West came back as Crystal, and Estelle Parsons as Beverly Harris.
Michael says, “we’ve done a great job of bringing as many people as you kind of could jam into this short window. I think the beauty of it is there are so many stories and the writing has been so good that the beauty of it is it’s like real life. We’ve been lucky to get the right group of people back.
Sara: There’s a bunch of them; Bruce Helford, Whitney Cummings, Morgan Murphy, David Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen, Wanda Sykes, Norm McDonald, Darlene Hunt, and Betsy Borns. It’s a dream-team.
Michael added, because what you have is this combination of half the people who had been here over the course of the run at different phases, and then you have this great group of people who weren’t here but totally get the show and the concept and are very connected to it. We have this beautiful kind of synchronistic intertwining of new ideas and kind of all gamuts of age range and perspectives.
Lecy: I also think, even though we’re working on this show, we’re all fans of the show too. And the writers are really excited and they also know that it’s something sacred to approach and something that everyone’s really invested in.
The Chicken Shirt (The chicken shirt is a shirt that Roseanne started wearing and it became so iconic that you can see most of the cast in any given episode taking their turn wearing the shirt).
Michael: It’s right out the gate. In the first episode, you won’t miss the chicken shirt.
Lecy: The funny thing about the chicken shirt though is that the original chicken shirt is lost somewhere but you can buy the chicken shirt online. So they bought the chicken shirt, but they had to realign it so it would look like the original one.
While walking around the set I took pictures of all of the iconic items on the set that just made me get butterflies upon seeing. First, of course, the Afghan across the back of the couch, and ME sitting on the couch! How crazy is that!
Then mantle and fireplace.
All of the pictures placed behind the couch with all of the updated Conner family members.
It was nice seeing a picture honoring Mark played by actor Glenn Quinn who tragically passed away in 2002.
The stairway, and this time there is an electronic chair lift, and from seeing the latest preview, one that Roseanne is using.
Then there is the hallway which led to Dan and Roseanne’s bedroom.
The iconic kitchen and table where they had many, many discussions. I even sat down and had a nice chat with my fellow bloggers.
The iconic Pantry complete with the jar of pickled eggs!
The laundry room.
The rarely seen porch.
So many memories relived and made on this trip. I can’t even believe that I actually got to do this. It was a life-long dream I didn’t know I had and I will remember it fondly forever.
STAY SOCIAL WITH ROSEANNE
TUNE IN TONIGHT!
“Roseanne” returns to it’s home, ABC on TONIGHT, 27 (8:00–9:00 p.m. EDT), with brand-new, back-to-back episodes.
“Twenty Years to Life” – During the first half-hour episode of the season premiere, Roseanne and Dan adjust to living under the same roof with Darlene and her two children, Harris and Mark, when Darlene loses her job. Meanwhile, Becky announces she is going to be a surrogate to make extra money; and Roseanne and Jackie are at odds with one another.
Guest starring in this episode are Sarah Chalke as Andrea and Marques Ray as Ramon.
“Dress to Impress” – During the second half-hour episode, Darlene’s son, Mark, gets caught with a pocket knife after being bullied on the first day of his new school. Meanwhile, Becky invites Andrea over to meet the family and is nervous to bring her home.
Guest starring in this episode are Sarah Chalke as Andrea, Judy Prescott as Miss Crane and Izzie Leigh Coffey as Girl.
The series stars Roseanne Barr as Roseanne Conner, John Goodman as Dan Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner-Healy, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner, Emma Kenney as Harris Conner-Healy, Ames McNamara as Mark Conner-Healy and Jayden Rey as Mary Conner.
Roseanne Barr is an executive producer, along with Sara Gilbert, Tom Werner, Bruce Helford, Whitney Cummings and Tony Hernandez. The series is from Carsey-Werner Television.