‘The Conners’ Season 4 Finale: Is the Show Teasing ‘Roseanne’ Alum’s Return?

by Caitlin Berard

In an effort to make The Conners its own entity rather than Roseanne under a different name, the show’s producers seldom invite Roseanne alumni to the spin-off. With the Season 4 finale on the horizon, however, it appears that The Conners‘ creators might be making a rare exception to the rule.

The latest episode of The Conners, “Three Ring Circus,” opened with Jackie’s longtime suitor, Neville, proposing marriage. Then, in the episode’s closing moments, Neville tells Dan that he wants to invite Jackie’s estranged mother, Beverly, to the wedding.

Estelle Parsons, who plays Jackie’s mother, has made few appearances on The Conners due to pandemic restrictions and the actor’s advanced age (she’s 94 years old!). In an interview with TV Line, The Conners EP, Bruce Helford, explained her absence. “We’re worried about putting her on an airplane or having her exposed to anything,” he said.

Because of that, Estelle Parsons hasn’t appeared on an episode of The Conners since Season 2, when Beverly accused Jackie of ruining the family by reopening the family restaurant, the Lunch Box. Now that her fictional daughter is getting married, however, the series has created a perfect window of opportunity for a cameo.

John Goodman Opens Up About Filming ‘The Conners’ Without Roseanne Barr

After Roseanne Barr was fired from the Roseanne reboot due to her controversial comments against former White House aide Valerie Jarrett, the cast and crew had two options: scrap the reboot entirely, or continue on without the series’ titular character. It was a tough decision to make, but they chose the latter option.

Rather than continuing with the Roseanne reboot, however, they created The Conners, a spin-off series. In a 2018 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, beloved Roseanne actor John Goodman talked about what it was like to continue without her.

“She is missed, definitely,” Goodman said. “After that many years, it’s like a family. Last year was so miraculous and so unreal that when it went away it was almost like a dream. I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll be a big boy and handle this’. And I just crashed for a couple of weeks.”

Though she played a large role in bringing the Conner family to life, Roseanne Barr gave up her stake in the show to allow The Conners to continue. “She gave up a lot for us to be able to do this show and I can’t thank her enough,” Goodman said.

“It was very weird doing the first show without her,” he added. “Because she’s my buddy. We just sit there and she’d make me laugh, and I’d make her laugh. Which is always fun because there’s always the danger of her peeing herself. I used to try to do that.”