Roseanne character’s death from opioids highlights ‘real crisis’: ‘The Conners’ star

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<p"Roseanne" spinoff "The Conners" premiered last night with a story line that the matriarch and title character of the original show died from an opioid overdose.

Interested in Roseanne?

Add Roseanne as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Roseanne news, video, and analysis from ABC News.RoseanneAdd Interest<pAs the fictional Conners confronted life without Roseanne, they were laughing to keep from crying.

<pLater, Roseanne BarrFacebook page saying the choice to kill her character off with an opioid overdose, “lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.”

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<pLecy Goranson (Becky Conner), Michael Fishman (D.J. Conner) and Maya Lynne Robinson (Geena Willimas-Conner) of "The Conners" appeared on "Good Morning America" Wednesday, and opened up about the show's debut.

<p"The tone of the way she passed away was related to last season," Fishman said. "When you listen to our producers, they really wanted to take a real crisis that's happening in our country and find a way to give voice to that. I know that the reaction to that is going to be different for different people, but what we've always tried to do is tackle big topics and be very honest about them."

<pDrug overdose deaths continue to increase in the U.S., with an average of 115 Americans a day dying from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the 63,600 overdose deaths in 2016, about two-thirds involved an opioid, the CDC says on its site.

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<p"The Conners" was officially green-lit weeks after Barr posted a racist tweet directed at Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, which resulted in the immediate cancellation of her hit show "Roseanne" before filming began on the second season.

<pThe reboot of the “Roseanne” season finale had around 20 million viewers.

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<pGoranson said on "GMA" today that she and the cast miss Barr on the set and "love her very much."

<p"We understand that she's hurting right now and she's in pain and she's always with us," Goranson added. "Hopefully we can see her and remedy some of this at some point in time, I hope."

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<pOn Tuesday, actors Sara Gilbert (Darlene) and John Goodman (Dan) appeared on "GMA" where they revealed that it was "emotional moving forward" without Barr, with Goodman saying it felt like "a death in the family."

<pFishman agreed that it felt "strange at first" filming without Barr.

<p"It definitely had a different feel, but what we really have tried to do as a group is collectively lean on each other and come together because we really felt that the legacy of this show deserved to be continued and that there were a lot more stories to tell," Fishman said.

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<pRobinson, who plays D.J.'s wife, said she wants to promote values of unity and diversity through the story around her character on the show.

<p"I think having the opportunity to play an interracial couple with a biracial child and both being military active-duty and retired, I think we'll have some opportunities to do that," she said.

<pCatch "The Conners" Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.