They’re back! Along with the recognizable cackle, the wisecracks, the faded couch and crochet throw, the cast of Roseanne (1988-1997) returns on March 27th for a limited nine-episode run 21 years after the series ended. And the original gang is along for the ride – including both Beckys.
Working-class heroes Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and no-longer-dead Dan Conner (John Goodman) are now 60-something grandparents continuing to struggle financially; Becky (Lecy Goranson) is a waitress with a money-making scheme; single mother Darlene (Sara Gilbert) has returned to the family home in fictional Lanford, Illinois, along with her son and daughter; and youngest child D.J. is back from serving in the military in Syria and must care for his young daughter while his wife continues to serve abroad. Roseanne’s sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is now a life coach. Other original series stars slated to appear include Johnny Galecki as David, Natalie West as Crystal, Sandra Bernhard as Nancy and Estelle Parsons as Roseanne and Jackie’s mother Beverly.
Finding humor and understanding in the unglamorous struggles of a working-class family is still the show’s foundation, with current social issues such as gender identity, prescription drug addiction, elder care, the 2016 presidential election and immigration folded into new storylines. During its original run, Roseanne tackled domestic violence, racial prejudice and homosexuality among other of-the-moment topics. "I’ve always had it be a true reflection of the society we live in," said Barr of the show.
So now that the cast is back, where have they been all this time? Read on.
When the series wrapped in 1997, Roseanne Barr appeared in such films as She-Devil (1989), Look Who’s Talking Too (1990), Freddy’s Dead (1991), Meet Wally Sparks (1997) and was the first woman to solo host the MTV Video Music Awards in 1994. Barr wrote three books about her life and hosted reality shows The Roseanne Show (1998), The Search for the Funniest Mom in America (2007) and Roseanne’s Nuts (2011).
The comedian sought the Presidency in 2012, running as the Peace and Freedom Party candidate. Politics plays a role in the Roseanne revival with the first episode highlighting the feud between Roseanne (who voted for Donald Trump) and Jackie (who voted for Hillary Clinton).
Having been thrice divorced, Barr is currently in a relationship with film composer Johnny Argent and the couple live on Barr’s macadamia nut farm in Hawaii.
Though he has appeared in more than 50 films, John Goodman, 65, is best remembered for his role on Roseanne as Dan Conner. “He’s the same mellow guy, but I think he has more grace now,” Goodman told American Way of revisiting his beloved Roseanne character. “He’s just getting by and preparing for tomorrow. You know, I hate that the Conners are still just living paycheck-to-paycheck. But they’re surviving, and they’re doing so with good humor.”
Since Roseanne, Goodman has appeared in Argo (2012), The West Wing (2003), Treme (2010) and features heavily in the films of the Coen brothers. Goodman married Annabeth Hartzog in 1989. The couple live in New Orleans, Louisiana and have a daughter Molly Evangeline, born in 1990.
Throughout her career, Laurie Metcalf has remained heavily involved in theater, earning Tony Award nominations for November (2008), The Other Place (2013), Misery (2016) and a Lead Actress win for A Doll’s House, Part 2 (2017).
Onscreen she appeared in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Uncle Buck (1989), JFK (1991) and is the voice of the child’s mother in Toy Story (1995) and its sequels. On television she began a recurring role in 2007 as the devout Mary Cooper, mother to Sheldon Cooper played by Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory.
In 2016 Metcalf made Emmy history with nominations in three different categories: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for HBO’s Getting On; Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for The Big Bang Theory; and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama for Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete. She was nominated for an Academy Award in 2018 for her role in Lady Bird. Metcalf has been married twice, to actors Jeff Perry (1983-92) and Matt Roth (2005-14). She has four children from her marriages.
Executive producer and architect of the Roseanne reboot, Sara Gilbert was inspired to resurrect the series after Goodman appeared in a Roseanne-based skit on her show, The Talk, in 2017. While acting on the sitcom, she attended Yale University, graduating in 1997. Film roles include Poison Ivy (1992), High Fidelity (2000) and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001). Returning to television in 2001 she appeared in Welcome to New York, ER, and made guest appearances on Will & Grace and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit before reuniting with Roseanne costar Johnny Galecki in 2007 on The Big Bang Theory as recurring character Leslie Winkle. Gilbert has been the host and executive producer of CBS’ The Talk since 2011.
Gilbert and Allison Adler were a couple from 2002 until 2011 and have two children via artificial insemination. Gilbert married Linda Perry of 4 Non Blonds fame in 2014 with the couple welcoming a son in 2015.
After playing the eldest Conner daughter Becky, Alicia "Lecy" Goranson left the show in 1992 (replaced by Sarah Chalke) to attend Vassar College and later moved to New York City where she appeared in off-Broadway theater productions. Roles in films How to Make an American Quilt (1995) and Boys Don’t Cry (1999) followed, with appearances on television in Sex and the City, Damages and Inside Amy Schumer.
The second actor to play Becky on the series (1993-1997), Sarah Chalke features in the new season of Roseanne, this time as a middle-class married woman who hires Becky (Lecy Goranson) to serve as her surrogate. Chalke is known for her portrayals of Dr. Elliot Reid on Scrubs (2001-2010) and Stella Zinman on How I Met Your Mother (2008-2014), as well as guest roles on Cougar Town, Grey’s Anatomy and Angie Tribeca. She has two children with entertainment lawyer Jamie Afifi and lives in Los Angeles.
It was in the role of D.J. Conner that six-year-old Michael Fishman made his acting debut on Roseanne. After the original series ended, Fishman appeared on Hitz (1997), Seinfeld (1997), Walker, Texas Ranger (1999) A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) and was a cohost on The Roseanne Show with Barr (1998-2000). Fishman lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jennifer Briner and their two children.