Movie Reviews

The Conners' Season 6 Finale Admits Roseanne's Replacement Character Didnt Work

Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for The Conners season 6, episode 13.


  • Darlene realizes she can’t replace Roseanne in
    The Conners
    , allowing season 7 to focus on the entire Conner family.
  • Darlene’s attempt to keep the family together fails, highlighting her struggle to fill Roseanne’s role.
  • The Conners
    avoided making Darlene the new Roseanne, opting for a more democratic approach in season 7.

In The Conners season 6 finale, Roseanne’s spinoff finally admitted that the show’s former heroine was irreplaceable. As the show’s title implies, Roseanne’s original run centered on Roseanne Barr’s sardonic sitcom heroine Roseanne Conner. Roseanne was a working-class mother with a sharp tongue and a heart of gold, and her wit and verve helped her family through countless tough times over the show’s nine seasons. When Roseanne was revived in 2017, the sitcom received good reviews and ratings. However, Barr was fired after Roseanne’s season 10 revival due to a racist Twitter rant, prompting the show to kill off her character.

Although The Conners has a large cast of characters, none of the family’s members ever replaced Roseanne. Her widower Dan did remarry but, unless The Conners season 7 radically alters her character, Katey Sagal’s Louise has never been like Roseanne. Over the years, The Conners vacillated between focusing on Dan, Jackie, Darlene, and Becky, but the show never chose one character as its new lead protagonist. Season 6, episode 13, “Less Money, More Problems,” explained why this was the case, with Darlene’s upcoming The Conners season 7 storyline addressing her role in the family and her attempts to maintain it.

Darlene Admits She’s No Roseanne Replacement In The Conners Season 6’s Finale

Darlene’s Attempts To Keep The Family Under One Roof Failed

In “Less Money, More Problems,” Darlene had a wild reaction to Becky and Harris announcing their intention to move out of her house. Even though she spent years complaining about their reliance on her, Darlene told Harris and Becky not to move out of her house and failed to justify this demand. When her father, Dan, confronted her about trying to stop Harris and Becky from moving out, Darlene admitted that she had been trying to take over Roseanne’s role by keeping the family together. She was relieved to realize the attempt failed and wasn’t necessary in the first place.

After Roseanne was killed off,
The Conners
almost became a Darlene-centric reboot where the rest of the family would be supporting characters.

Although Roseanne’s greatest mistake was making the Conners rich in season 9, the show’s revival almost made an even bigger blunder after killing off Roseanne. Variety revealed that, after Roseanne was killed off, The Conners almost became a Darlene-centric reboot where the rest of the family would be supporting characters. This sounds like a logical change as Darlene had a similar demeanor to her late mother and, like her, was a struggling blue-collar mother when Roseanne died. However, turning Darlene into The Conners’ version of Roseanne would never have worked for numerous reasons.

Why Darlene Was The Conners’ Original Roseanne Replacement

Darlene Inherited Her Mother’s Sharp Wit And Toughness

Darlene made sense as a Roseanne replacement character since her sarcastic persona was much closer to Roseanne than the optimistic Becky or the rebellious DJ. Of the original sitcom’s three children, she seemed like a natural successor to Roseanne. The problem was that Roseanne had the laidback Dan to balance her fiery personality. Although The Conners introduced Ben pretty early on, it was a long time before Darlene chose between her new love interest and her original Roseanne partner, David Healy. Darlene’s messy love triangle made her a poor replacement for Roseanne as she didn’t share her mother’s stability.

Roseanne was a somewhat tragic figure who sacrificed her dreams to raise her children and provide for her family. Although Darlene did plenty of that as The Conners continued, when the spinoff began, she was still trying to juggle her busy love life, her professional ambitions, and caring for her teenage kids. Darlene didn’t have Roseanne’s focus or temerity, as evidenced by the divergent love lives of both characters. Where Roseanne fell for Dan and married him as a young woman, Darlene hooked up, and later broke up with Ben and David for two seasons before finally picking one.

The Conners Season 7 Can Fulfil The Roseanne Spinoff’s Original Promise

Splitting Up The Family Makes Season 7’s Focus More Democratic

Ultimately, it is a good thing that Darlene decided she couldn’t replace Roseanne in The Conners season 6 finale. As a result of this, season 7 of the series can focus on the entire Conner family rather than centering on Darlene’s storylines. Becky’s tragic character arc in The Conners seasons 2 and 3 proved that she had plenty of potential as a protagonist, but Darlene’s new house subtly reshaped the show’s focus in seasons 5 and 6.

Darlene became the center of the show’s world after her move, with later seasons of
The Conners
effectively turning her into the new Roseanne.

Mark and Harris always lived with Darlene, but she used to share a home with Dan. When she got a house of her own, Darlene’s home housed Becky, Harris, Mark, Ben, and Beverly-Rose, meaning even Becky’s new love interest, Tyler, spent most of his screen time there. Darlene became the center of the show’s world after her move, with later seasons of The Conners effectively turning her into the new Roseanne. Fortunately, Roseanne’s spinoff addressed this issue, and, now that The Conners season 6 finale saw Harris and Becky leave, the show’s focus can be split more democratically.

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