Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from The Conners episode “Hold the Salt.”
The Conners continued the Roseanne tradition of a Christmas-themed episode, but the family’s first holiday season without their matriarch is already proving to be a difficult one.
Before she was fired by ABC earlier this year, Roseanne Barr had expressed excitement over future holiday-themed episodes of her sitcom revival, according to Us Weekly. But Barr’s character was killed off via an opioid overdose in The Conners premiere. In this week’s “Hold the Salt” episode, the family faced their first Christmas without her.
Rosie’s widower husband Dan (John Goodman) was tasked with looking out for her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) as she seemingly picked yet another wrong boyfriend, Peter (played by Matthew Broderick). The unemployed artsy guy with endless degrees in obscure subjects already had his name on Jackie’s checking account, and she spent thousands on a retro motorcycle for him under the guise that they will both enjoy the ride.
Dan called out Peter to tell him he knows he’s taking advantage of Jackie, and Jackie later confronted Dan, who explained that he was just trying to look after her the way Roseanne would have done if she was still alive.
In another storyline, Darlene (Sara Gilbert) slept with her boss (Jay R. Ferguson), but as the two “alphas” tried to turn their desk tryst into a relationship, Darlene wondered if she could be with someone who is just as controlling as she is. She later consulted with a dominatrix (aka her ex-husband David’s new girlfriend, played by Juliette Lewis) and got unsolicited relationship advice.
Indeed, the Conner matriarch would have been putting out fires all over this episode—as Jackie told Dan, Roseanne would have bullied her into breaking up with Peter, not go behind her back to talk to him. And even ahead of the Christmas episode, some fans hoped to see Barr back as a ghost of Christmas past.
@therealroseanne You Need To Come Back on The Conners as a ghost for Christmas They did that years ago on growing pains Years ago come back tell them I'm still here and here to stay …. Come back in one of John Goodman's dreams
— TJ Doherty (@TJDoherty77) October 31, 2018
While The Conners 2018 holiday is anything but jolly, the original Roseanne show included six Christmas episodes, starting in 1991 with the episode “Santa Claus,” which featured Roseanne Conner working as a department store Santa to make extra cash. Jackie was her militant Mrs. Claus sidekick.
Other Roseanne Christmas episodes included the brilliantly titled “White Trash Christmas” (1993) and the groundbreaking “December Bride” (1995), which featured one of the first-ever same-sex weddings on TV when Roseanne’s boss Leon (Martin Mull) married his fiance Scott (Fred Willard).
The final Conner Christmas (on Roseanne, anyway), came in 1996 with “Home for the Holidays,” when it was revealed that Dan was having an affair. Of course, that was also the season the family won millions on the lottery, and the whole thing turned out to be a bad dream.
The Conners airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.