The Conners premiere is finally here, which means longtime Roseanne fans will get all of the answers they have been waiting for regarding the demise of the iconic sitcom mom. But while most of the promos for the spinoff series have been lighthearted with upbeat soundtrack songs like “Life is a Highway,” the most recent promo for the show (which you can see below) is a stark reminder that mama is gone for good.
The new promo, which aired during ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, shows the TV family dealing with the aftermath of a still unknown tragedy that seemingly left Dan Conner (John Goodman) a widower in the premiere episode titled “Keep On Truckin’.”
One of the snippets in the 30-second promo shows guest star Mary Steenburgen in an unidentified role as she argues with the Conner patriarch.
“You know what, Dan? You can judge…” she says, to which Dan angrily fires back, “Don’t you put this off on me!”
Goodman previously told The Sunday Times that his character will “be mopey and sad because his wife’s dead,” and this promo also shows how the rest of the family is faring three months after we last saw them. Everyone seems tense in the dark clip, with a tearful Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) admitting,” I don’t want to go home.” Indeed, this looks to be one very dark pilot—at least to start.
In an interview with Variety, The Conners executive producer Dave Caplan said writers had their work cut out for them when writing off the Roseanne character after series star Roseanne Barr was fired by ABC last May after she posted a racist tweet. Caplan explained that writers “wanted to try and do it in the most emotionally honest way possible” and said the Conner family will “adapt and grow” as they try to fill the void of their missing matriarch.
The Conners executive producer Bruce Rasmussen also pointed out that the long-running Roseanne series often delved into dark topics while keeping comedic elements in every episode.
“From the beginning the show has been great at alternating really dark subjects with the comedy and that’s how these people have dealt with the adversity in their lives. They laugh at it. They make fun of it. So the first episode has both of those things and the audience responded really strongly to it. Because the show has a history of how it deals with things when they go sideways, it was just more of continuing that legacy.”
ABC has not revealed how The Conners will explain Roseanne’s absence, but Barr seemingly spoiled her character’s demise, telling Brandon Straka’s Walk Away podcast that her character died from an opioid overdose.
You can see the new promo for The Conners below.
The Conners premieres Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.