Roseanne is back, and there are plenty of Easter eggs for fans as they get reacquainted with the Conners, 21 years after the original series wrapped. Dan (John Goodman) is alive, the house looks the same, and Darlene (Sara Gilbert) even lives at home.
But it has been two decades, so things have changed for the Conners, most notably son D.J. (Michael Fishman), who is now married and has a young daughter. In the first episode of the Roseanne reboot, “Twenty Years to Life,” it was revealed that D.J. recently came back from a tour in Syria with the Army. D.J. returned to his Lanford hometown with his daughter Mary (Jayden Rey), who he shares with his wife, Geena. It was also revealed that D.J.’s wife Geena is still serving overseas. Nostalgic Roseanne fans may recall that Geena Williams was the name of the black classmate that D.J. refused to kiss in the 1994 Roseanne episode, “White Men Can’t Kiss.”
Longtime fans of the original Roseanne took note of the name of grown-up D.J.’s wife, with many viewers posting to Twitter to ask if this was the same Geena that D.J. went to school with. Roseanne star Michael Fishman later responded to confirm that D.J. did indeed marry his schoolmate.
“Yes, D.J. grew up and married Geena! #Roseanne,” Fishman posted to Twitter after the first episode of the Roseanne revival aired.
Roseanne fans know that in the 1994 episode “White Men Can’t Kiss,” young D.J. was conflicted over kissing a black girl named Geena Williams in the school play. The Season 7 episode featured young D.J. and his reluctance to kiss his classmate Geena (Rae’Ven Larrymore Kelly) in the school play. In the episode, it was revealed that the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois had a very small black population and D.J. admitted he doesn’t want to kiss his classmate Geena because “she just looks real different.”
Roseanne and Dan were not on the same page when it came to talking to their son about the race issue. The Conner matriarch (Roseanne Barr) later dropped one of the most memorable lines from the episode as she told her son: “Black people are just like us. They’re every bit as good as us, and any people who don’t think so is just a bunch of banjo-picking, cousin-dating, barefoot embarrassments to respectable white-trash like us!”
While she didn’t confirm that D.J. went on to marry Geena, Roseanne star Roseanne Barr recently told the Hollywood Reporter that the Conners’ biracial grandchild was a direct nod to the episode “White Men Can’t Kiss.”
“That was something that I always wanted to do because of DJ not kissing a black girl [in season seven]. So that’s important to me,” Barr told THR. “I like diversity, and it’s so much a part of the working class where it is not so much part of middle-class stuff. And I know so many people who have mixed families.”
The Roseanne revival will feature many guest stars from the original series, but there is no word yet if Rae’Ven Larrymore Kelly will make an appearance as Geena in the reboot. The actress’s IMDB page lists a steady stream of acting credits since her 1994 appearance on Roseanne, but she doesn’t appear to be listed as a guest for the reboot of the show.
But don’t worry Roseanne fans. Everything could come full circle should the Roseanne reboot get picked up for another season. During the show’s recent panel at the Paley Center, Roseanne Barr said all of the stars involved with the show would like to see the revival renewed for another season.
“We all want to, definitely,” Barr said, according to TV Insider. “We had such a blast. And it was just so fun to be together again … we remember all the old jokes and all the old things that we used to do and they were so funny and still fun.”
Roseanne airs Tuesdays at 8 pm. ET on ABC.