Welcome Back Conners! Becky and DJ Attend SXSW 2018

We’ve been counting down the days until the return of Roseanne and the premiere is finally here!

Even as a middle schooler, I knew there was something different about Roseanne when it hit the air in the late 80s.

Yes, the show was controversial and dealt with topics that were taboo on TV at that time in America. But more importantly, families on TV in the 80s were presented as fairly well to do wholesome broods with seemingly perfect lives. Sure, Mallory brought a “bad boy” home on Family Ties. Carol Seaver did have a boyfriend who died from injuries sustained after drinking while driving (played by Chandler Bing himself, Matthew Perry). Ricky Stratton still suffered from the problems many teens do (that’s exactly how the series is described on the IMDB page for Silver Spoons).

RoseanneIt was the Conners who actually looked (and behaved) like the families in my town. They were hard working, struggling, sarcastic, sometimes angry Midwesterners who were far from perfect but striving for something better. And while their love for each other didn’t look like that of the Cosbys and Keatons and Seavers, it was there. And it was much more real.

When Lecy Goranson, AKA the OG Becky, made an appearance at the Lanford Lunch Box pop-up event at SXSW, I asked if she saw things the same way I did. After all, she was the same age at the time and hailed from a working class suburb of Chicago.

Even after landing her audition for the show, she too expected the family to be perfect like those she had seen on TV. But then, Roseanne walked on set and the reality of the series set in. “Wait a second, what is this?” Goranson said.

“I thought we’d be rich and fabulous,” she continued. “We’re poor and we’re struggling?”

And then, considering her working class Midwest background, she experienced an enormous sense of a pride.

“This is my family that I’m representing. The family that I love… who maybe didn’t graduate from high school. But who are intelligent, warm; who are talented and loving and deserve a voice,” Goranson said.

Watch the entire clip:

Michael Fishman who plays DJ was also at the festival, as was new cast member Emma Kenney, who plays Darlene and David’s daughter on the reboot.

When the cast first reunited for the new series, Fishman said it was emotional for everyone.

“It was kind of overwhelming at first,” he stated. “We were really amazed by how much the kids, the new members of the cast, fit in so well. The casting has been fantastic.”

And speaking of fantastic, Kenney is just that. Mature and well spoken, she was the perfect addition to the Austin event. I haven’t seen her work on Shameless, so I’m that much more excited to witness her acting prowess on the series premiere.

Attendees of the SXSW event didn’t only have the opportunity to see this trio in person. They were also treated to free treats from the Lanford Lunch Box, a bag or shirt printed with one of Rosie’s iconic sayings, as well as a photo op on the famous Conner couch. Of course, it’s not the real couch. The real couch wasn’t even used in the new episodes. That’s because that couch comes with armored guards, as it’s a part of the Smithsonian Institute now.

So, should we expect some controversial story lines in tonight’s premiere?

“It wouldn’t be Roseanne without that,” Goranson stated. “It would be a different show.”

She went on to describe her distaste for those moments when the press compare the show to Will & Grace.

I guess we’ll just have to see for ourselves when Roseanne returns tonight to ABC.

Listening to Fishman describe the overall concept of the series, I’m pretty sure it’ll feel just like coming home.

Watch Roseanne on ABC Tuesdays at 8/7c.

See more highlights from SXSW 2018 here.

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