Showrunner Bruce Helford explains Roseanne Barr's character's death in a Hollywood Reporter guest column: "There was a lot of chatter in the ether about how we should explain Roseanne's absence: Should she have a sudden heart attack, a mental breakdown or go off into the sunset on a boat with her son Jerry Garcia?" he wrote. "But back in the writers room, we firmly decided against anything cowardly or far-fetched, anything that would make the fierce matriarch of the Conners seem pathetic or debased. After much discussion by all parties, it was decided that we would have to make her departure clearly permanent. But her death would have to be reverent to the woman who was so beloved by her family. And the result would have to leave no shadow over Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky, DJ and all of Lanford. It was a crucial story point so that the other characters could truly move on boldly with their lives, evolve and grow." Helford added that "I wanted a respectful sendoff for her, too: one that was relevant and could inspire discussion for the greater good about the American working class, whose authentic problems are often ignored by broadcast television. If you watched the first episode, I hope you'll agree we did that." ALSO: The Conners cast members say Roseanne Barr's "spirit (is) still very much with us."