John Goodman: 'Roseanne,' 'Conners' will be remembered for love, laughs

"The Conners" is wrapping up its sixth season Wednesday. The "Roseanne" spin-off has been renewed for a seventh and final season. Photo courtesy of ABC
1 of 5 | "The Conners" is wrapping up its sixth season Wednesday. The "Roseanne" spin-off has been renewed for a seventh and final season. Photo courtesy of ABC

NEW YORK, May 22 (UPI) -- John Goodman says he thinks his classic blue-collar comedy, Roseanne, and its sequel, The Conners, will be remembered for the love and laughter they offered during difficult circumstances that many of its viewers could relate to.

"It's all family first. Love is at the center -- and humor. If we didn't have humor, we'd be hopeless," Goodman, 71, told UPI in a recent phone interview.


"They wouldn't have kept going. They just need to keep going and they've got the hope that something good is going to turn up and they have the grace to use humor when it doesn't," he added about his fictional family. "There's not a lot of time for examining one's own navel. You've gotta do it and get it done."

Roseanne was created by and starred Roseanne Barr. Set in the depressed factory town of Lanford, Ill., it ran from 1988 to 1997.


The show was revived for a well-received additional season in 2018, but was quickly canceled after Barr made a racially-charged joke about a government official online.

Barr apologized, but was fired.

Her beloved matriarch character was killed off and The Conners was created with the surviving characters -- Roseanne's husband Dan (Goodman), her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), her daughters Darlene and Becky (Sara Gilbert and Lecy Goranson) and her grandkids Harris and Mark (Emma Kenney and Ames McNamara).

Katey Sagal joined the cast as Dan's second wife Louise, while Jay R. Ferguson stepped in to play Darlene's spouse Ben.

Season 6 wraps up on ABC Wednesday.

The network announced this month that it renewed the show for a seventh and final season to air in 2024-25.

"When we came on the air in 1987, there were a lot of 'rich-people' shows," Goodman said, referring to nighttime soaps like Dynasty, Dallas and Falcon Crest.

"We were kind of 'anti-glamour' and it served us well then. I can't presume to say that we are speaking for working-class America, but this family just happens to be that and they are behind the '8 ball' most of the time, handling it with love and humor."


Metcalf, 68, praised the show's writers for tapping into the issues and problems viewers might be going through and finding ways to comfort and entertain them during tough times.

"Audiences can relate to it and see themselves," she said. "It's always been a really identifiable show to our audience and it continues to be."

Goranson, 49, said the creative team behind the show -- as well as the cast -- have tremendous respect for those living, working and struggling in the middle of the United States.

"We live in a country where wealth is coveted and people are fascinated by celebrity and super-wealth. When you look at some of the shows on television, that's really reflected," she said.

"Our show has always represented a demographic that oftentimes feels left behind and neglected. The 'flyover states' is what people call most of America," Goranson added.

"As someone who was raised by people from the flyover states, I'm quite proud of us for representing that demographic and portraying them in a way that they are intelligent and sophisticated and have got real problems."

Gilbert, 49, said it was a rare honor to play the same character, who started off as a middle schooler and now is the mother of grown children of her own.


"It's cool to be able to look back through the [show's] history," she said. "It's amazing. It's a very, unusual, lucky thing to be a part of something that spans decades."

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