John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, And Laurie Metcalf Open Up About ‘Roseanne’ Controversy

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

In May, the Roseanne revival was abruptly canceled by ABC after Roseanne Barr tweeted a racist comment about a former White House adviser.

Four months later, the remaining costars have banded together for a new spin-off series minus Roseanne: The Conners.

Sara Gilbert, John Goodman, and Laurie Metcalf opened up to People about the controversy. They said that, after everything that’s happened, they’re still a family.

Accepting the news of Roseanne’s tweet and the show’s cancellation was difficult at first, the stars say.

“It just didn’t seem true,” John Goodman, 66,  recalled. “Then it got true.

I was consciously trying to accept it.”

Meanwhile, it sounds like Sara Gilbert went into a sort of survival mindset.

“I don’t remember too much,” Sara, 43, recalled. “It was more just, ‘Okay, what are we dealing with today?’ I was just kind of taking things one step at a time as they came.”

The Conners, which will not include Roseanne, premieres on October 16 on ABC.

Fans were delighted when the ’90s classic Roseanne began airing new shows again in March.

However, after the revival was deemed a success and ABC announced it would continue the show, Roseanne Barr, 65, tweeted a racist comment comparing a former Obama administration official to an ape. As a result, the network canceled the show in May.

The tweet was “abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values,” the president of ABC said in a statement.

Several of Roseanne’s costars, including Sara Gilbert, publicly agreed.

Sara and her other castmates, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf, all had a difficult time accepting that their beloved show was suddenly over.

John says he was at home in his kitchen when he found out.

“Maybe my daughter or my wife told me,” he said. At first, he couldn’t believe it was true.


Meanwhile, Laurie, 63, was in New York City performing on Broadway. She says she 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.”

“There was the feeling of not wanting it to go away until we were ready,” John told People. “There was a debt owed to this fictional family. We want to finish telling this story.”

Even after the show’s cancellation, John said he held on to “the hope of resurrecting it.”

“It was so unbelievable to do this show and it was like easy come, easy go.”

Laurie, on the other hand, was struggling to find acceptance. She was trying “to reconcile myself to the show being gone. And, you know, coming off such a high, it was hard to wrap our heads around.”

Eventually, the idea of a spin-off minus Roseanne popped up. The cast was on board, but hesitant.

“There was a lot of risk involved,” Laurie said. “But we all decided as a group to take the risk, knowing that we could be judged by deciding to come back.”

The spin-off, The Conners, will reportedly begin with Roseanne’s character being killed off, with the characters mourning her death and then moving on.

Roseanne agreed to have no creative or financial ties to the show.

“Any sadness that we feel over what we’ve lost we’re hopefully channeling in an honest way into the show,” Sara said. “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.”

Sara Gilbert will also serve as a producer on the new show.

The cast is cautiously hopeful and excited to see what’s next for the fictional family.

And they couldn’t do it without the real-life family they’ve created behind the scenes all along.

“We’re leaning on each other when we do this show,” John said. “And supporting each other — that’s a very strong feeling among us. It’s different, but we can create something new from it. Let us finish the story on our own terms. Come along with us and see how we do.”