‘Roseanne’ Revival Premiere Explains Dan’s ‘Death,’ Tackles Gender Fluidity

Welcome back to Lanford. Roseanne returned to ABC on Tuesday, March 27, with the same charm audiences fell in love with in 1988. However, everyone is in a different place in life (figuratively … not literally).

Roseanne reboot
Roseanne and Dan Adam Rose/ABC

Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman) are still living in the same house, but aren’t in great health, taking multiple medications a day. Darlene (Sara Gilbert) moved in after losing her job, along with her two kids Mark (Ames McNamara) and Harris (Emma Kenney). D.J. (Michael Fishman) is also home from Syria with his daughter Mary (Jayden Rey), who he shares with wife Geena — yes, the black woman that he was afraid to kiss during season 9. Geena is still overseas fighting. Roseanne also briefly mentions her son Jerry, who is on a fishing boat.

Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Roseanne have been fighting ever since the election since Roseanne voted for Donald Trump – “on the real news,” he talked about jobs. (The funniest part was that Jackie was so freaked out by her fights with Roseanne, she voted for Jill Stein instead of Hillary ClintonAmerican Horror Story style.)

Becky (Lecy Goranson) is also back and is hoping to become a surrogate for a woman named Andrea (played by Becky No. 2, Sarah Chalke). Darlene told everyone she came home to take care of her parents, when really, she lost her job. As for where David (Johnny Galecki) was, that’s still a mystery. “I’ve got no partner,” she cried to her mom.

Roseanne reboot
Becky and Andrea Adam Rose/ABC

The second episode of the hour-long premiere focused on Mark, who liked dressing like a girl, something Darlene was completely OK with, but Dan was worried about. Mark tells Roseanne that he thinks of himself as a boy, he just likes the girl’s clothing. “This just feels like me. I like colors that pop. It’s more creative,” he tells his grandmother. During his first day at school, Mark was made fun of so bad that he showed another kid a knife – something Dan gave him. Luckily, Darlene reassured him that “weird is cool” and he continued to dress the way he wanted.

But What About That Finale?

In the beginning of the episode, Roseanne wakes Dan, who’s sleeping with a sleep apnea mask. “I thought you were dead,” she tells him. “Why does everybody always think I’m dead?” he answers. However, it’s later in the episode that they talk about that finale story line. While in the garage, Dan finds Roseanne’s transcript.

“This would have sold like hotcakes, if only you hadn’t killed off the most interesting character. He was a gentle giant,” he tells his wife, embracing her in a hug. “You know what really would have helped though? More bondage and a wizard school,” she adds, nodding to the successes of the Fifty Shades of Grey and Harry Potter series.

Roseanne reboot
The Conner family Adam Rose/ABC

Here are a few other references to the original:

After Harris yells at Roseanne and Darlene, “You’re ruining my life, you all suck,” Dan says, “I ain’t seen that movie in 20 years! The classics really do hold up.”

“Apparently all that weight you lost was the good Roseanne,” Jackie tells her sister.

Upon meeting her for the first time, Becky tells Becky No. 2 Andrea, “I can see why you picked me! We could be the same person.” Andrea responds, “It’s like looking in the mirror before I put my makeup on.”

Roseanne airs on ABC Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

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