Pop Culture | TV | 90s | 80s

As 'Roseanne' Returns To TV, Fans Still Wonder What Was Up With That Bonkers Final Season

We're just months away from the long-awaited revival of Roseanne, and we couldn't be more excited.

The hilarious misadventures of the Conner family were TV gold, which explains why the sitcom was one of America's most popular shows... until season nine.

The new season is literally reviving John Goodman's character.ABC

You may remember that John Goodman's character Dan will be returning from the dead in the new series, but maybe you're a little fuzzy about how he died in the first place.

Buckle up, because this is a wild ride.

After the show's ratings dipped in season eight, Roseanne's season nine opener turned the series on its head. The working class Conners won $108 million in the lottery, and after that the family pretty much had it made.

Just a typical, working class mom.ABC

Roseanne spent the rest of the season daydreaming about her future, with episodes about her posing for Playboy magazine, parodying classic sitcoms, and rescuing Hillary Clinton from a terrorist attack.

Roseanne and Jackie pose for Playboy.ABC
Season nine's parody of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.'ABC
Dan's mom tries to snuff him out.ABC

Meanwhile, Roseanne's husband Dan spent the season in California looking after his sick mom, who kept trying to kill him. Goodman was absent from the show's main story-line for almost the entire season.

Then, in one of TV's most memorable series finales, Roseanne revealed the entire season was her fantasy. The audience was stunned to learn Dan had died after his heart attack in season eight, and the crazy plots were Roseanne's way of coping.

Confused? So were the viewers. But the story behind the show's chaotic final season is even weirder.

Roseanne Barr has never really cleared the air about why season nine went off the rails, but fans have put the pieces together pretty comprehensively.

Goodman in 'The Big Lebowski.'Working Title Films

Dan's disappearing act is the easiest to explain. John Goodman really was in California for most of the season, working on his movie career. While he was filming The Big Lebowski, Goodman's role on the show was reduced to the side plot about his sick mother.

Jackie courts a Moldovan prince (played by Jim Varney) in season nine.ABC

So what about the season's crazy fantasy episodes? The simplest explanation is the show's writers were feeling pressured to win their audience back with "stunt" episodes after the show lost popularity. But there may be another reason.

After season eight, Barr tried to remake the British comedy series Ab Fab in America. When the idea was turned down, it seems like Barr adapted the show's wild and crazy sensibility to her own series. Roseanne and Jackie's adventures together were pretty comparable to the original series.

It was probably obvious that Roseanne's days were numbered, and it seems like Barr wanted to take the show in a more Ab Fab direction before it left the airwaves.

The cast of the Roseanne revival.ABC

Whatever the explanation, it's clear that ABC was as turned off by Roseanne's final season as the fans. In the new series, the Conner family is heading back to their relatable blue-collar roots.

That's probably for the best.

Do you remember watching this bonkers final season?

×