Roseanne makes the Conners joke about Dan’s secretly tragic pills

ByDonald L. Leech

Mar 12, 2022

The throwaway joke about Dan never taking his pills on The Conners was a grim reminder of the circumstances of his first wife Roseanne’s death.

Warning: Contains spoilers for The Conners season 4 episode 14.

There have been many tragedies in The Conners shooting episode of season 4, but one of the saddest parts of the Roseane Derived output came in a disposable first line. The Conners season 4 finally brought back Katey Sagal’s Louise in episode 14 after a long absence. However, the show’s cast had little opportunity to celebrate Dan’s wife’s return as her arrival was quickly overshadowed by a local shootout and subsequent neighborhood lockdown.

Although the titular family emerged physically unscathed, The Conners the episode still ended up being an atypically serious outing due to its sensitive subject matter. Ben and Darlene’s struggles and Darlene’s ongoing Season 4 feud with Harris were both put on the back burner as the sitcom focused on the realities of what it’s like to experience tragedy. It makes it somewhat surprising that one of the episode’s saddest lines came before the characters had even heard of the shooting, at the end of the episode’s cold open.


Related: The Conners: Becky’s Professor Davis Plan Can’t Work

In The Conners “Triggered” (Season 4, Episode 14), Louise’s arrival prompts Becky, Jackie, and Darlene to warn Dan’s new wife about the realities of living with him. During the scene where the trio warns Louise that Dan has a bad habit of not taking his pills, the line sounds like another throwaway joke. However, many viewers of Roseane could say The Conners gag masked a dark hidden meaning. When Jackie mentioned that she caught Dan taking some Good & Plenty candies in place of his prescribed medication, the Roseane spin-off subtly reminded viewers that his first wife died from an overdose of prescription drugs — so it only makes sense that Dan doesn’t trust doctors and pills.


While the show doesn’t dwell on that detail, it’s a sad and sobering reminder that The Conners only appeared as a spin-off because the series killed Roseanne via an ovoid overdose. While Dan didn’t blame his first wife for his addiction, it makes perfect sense that the character would come back from the experience reluctant to take his prescriptions and trust doctors’ advice. Earlier in Season 4, The Conners cryptically mocked a former guest star for questioning the effectiveness of vaccines, but this issue is much closer to Dan’s heart and his experience as an individual who has suffered a devastating loss because of a medicine that was supposed to help cure his wife.

As many viewers of the series know, the real reason for The Conners Killing Roseanne was star Roseanne Barr’s racist remarks on Twitter that led to her firing. However, the sitcom managed to mask this behind-the-scenes reality with a believable storyline of Roseanne’s prescription pill addiction that claimed the character’s life. As such, The Conners Season 4’s reminder that Dan doesn’t trust doctors’ advice was a perfectly fitting and subtly sad nod to the circumstances of the Roseane the death of the spin-off character.

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