This Week's Cover: The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years. Roseanne, Harry Potter, Buffy, Homer, more!

In nine groundbreaking seasons, the brash blue-collar mom Roseanne Conner tackled taboos and took no guff from anyone on Roseanne — least of all her family. Now, as part of Entertainment Weekly’s 20th-anniversary Characters Issue, counting down the 100 greatest characters of the last two decades, Roseanne Barr shares with EW what her sitcom alter ego — and the rest of the Conner clan—would be up to in 2010. While some of what Barr muses about below may contradict what she’s previously stated in a personal blog post on the subject, we’d like to think what we have here, straight from Roseanne’s fingertips to this post, is the final say on the matter:

Roseanne wrote a book, and the rights to it were bought by Oprah and turned into a mildly successful reality show starring Jackée Harry. The show lasted two seasons, made millions for Harpo Studios, and relaunched Harry’s television career. Roseanne made enough money from that — and from selling her café and her house — to move to Hilo, Hawaii, where she opened a shop selling crystals, spiritual books, and DVDs. Her youngest son, Jerry Garcia Conner, runs it. They live upstairs from it in a large apartment next to the Center for the Church of Cannabis. She dates an old surfer named Johnny, who also manages the nightclub in the Hilo Hotel and plays jazz piano in a quartet with her son, who plays lead guitar.

Roseanne had a scare with her heart, takes Lipitor, and still halfheartedly tries one diet after another. She goes to a gym and pedals an exercise bike listlessly, ambles along on a treadmill, bored and dutiful, while chatting with whichever girlfriend talks her into meeting her there. She eats sorbet but looks around, as if someone is watching, and then douses it with chocolate syrup.

She got excited about running for Hilo town council for a while, but the reality of a full-blown campaign just seemed too demanding — what with all the showing up for appearances and kissing people’s butts that she wouldn’t even want to shake hands with. Today, she is getting more and more interested in joining the Church of Cannabis and launching her own anarchistic ministry called Seriously Revolting Women!

D.J. went off to Iraq in the Army. He totally bought into the dramatic, macho draft board commercials, thinking he’d be learning computer skills while driving a tank and climbing rope ladders and serving his country and seeing the world. He ended up getting his thumb ripped off somehow while guiding 55-gallon drums onto a rack in the blazing desert in Iraq. He got addicted to painkillers in the Army hospital. He works for a security firm that services C-list rock concerts in big bars in Illinois and Indiana. He’s still a lovable big kid at 39, but has a weakness for Vicodin and beer. He’s single. [D.J. is Roseanne Conner’s older son.]

roseanneImage Credit: Lynn GoldsmithDarlene drifted for a while and went to Europe after dropping in and out of school. She finally earned a doctorate in creative writing at the University of Arizona and now teaches gifted children at a private school. Her and David‘s marriage has been on-again/off-again, but they had a son, Micah, who works in IT and attends videogame and comic-book conventions. David sold Amway, until that folded, and then acai berry juice, and nowadays he sells media time for a small radio station. [Darlene is Roseanne’s middle child and youngest daughter and married to David, who is Mark’s younger brother.]

After Mark died of a heroin overdose [Ed. note: The actor who played Mark, Glenn Quinn, died of a heroin overdose in December 2002], Becky’s second marriage is to a Republican type and she plays the role, somewhat, but is not quite convinced.  Her husband is condescending, but they have a nice home, and Becky obviously figures it’s all worth it, kind of. When she has a few glasses of wine, she’s remorseful and wishes for something more passionate and vital in life, but the next day she invariably says it was the alcohol talking. [Becky is Roseanne’s oldest child and daughter and was married to Mark, who is David’s older brother.]

Jackie finally gave up on men after meeting Dana while working as a prison guard at the Carbondale Correctional Institution for Women. Dana was in for assault charges from a scuffle she got into during Al Gore’s presidential campaign. They’re involved in animal rescue when Dana’s not running her plumbing contracting business out of their garage. She’s supporting Jackie’s run at going back to college for a four-year degree. Jackie’s changed her major three times in two years. [Jackie is Roseanne’s only sister.]

Leon and Fred moved to San Francisco, opened a Starbucks, and adopted three Chinese daughters. [Leon and Fred are Roseanne’s gay-couple friends. She met Leon while working with him at the restaurant in Rodbell’s department store and later worked with him at her restaurant, Lanford Lunch Box.]

Nancy and Arnie got back together after Arnie’s sex change surgery, which was a relatively minor operation. [Nancy and Arnie are friends of Roseanne and Dan Conner.]

Crystal is a hostess at a Bavarian restaurant, and both her sons still live with her, one of whom is a survivalist and in a secret militia group that opposes Obama. [Crystal is a friend of Roseanne’s who worked at Wellman Plastics with her and Jackie, and eventually married Dan’s father.]

Bev works as a volunteer organizer for Sarah Palin’s election to the presidency in 2012. [Bev is Roseanne and Jackie’s mother.]

Dan was found to have faked his own death and lives quietly in Mexico, remarried to Olivia Newton-John’s ex-boyfriend’s sister, and earns a great living by deep-sea fishing. He built his own boat, finally, out of old Snapple bottles, hemp, and plastic six-pack rings. [Dan is Roseanne’s husband, who was revealed to have died of a heart attack in the series finale.]

For more on the 100 Greatest Characters of the past 20 years, including Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on the other roles he’d have loved to play, Joss Whedon on the elements that make up Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an interview with Homer Simpson, and lots, lots more, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands May 28.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

More on ‘Roseanne’ from
20 Years Ago: Roseanne Barr Marries Tom Arnold
Ken Tucker defends Roseanne Barr
A ‘Roseanne’ Family Reunion

Comments (134 total) Add your comment
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  • Corrine

    Wasn’t it also revealed in the finale that Darlene and Mark were the real couple, not Darlene/David and Becky/Mark?

    • lefty


    • Joe

      No, they weren’t the “real” couples…the swap between the 2 pairs was just party of Roseanne’s story (i.e. the final season)

      • Michelle

        Actually Corrine is correct. In the final episode, Roseanne revealed that she put David/Darlene & Mark/Becky together in her story but it was really Darlene/Mark, David/Becky. Just watched it recently too

      • Brian

        @Michelle – yes, but if we go by the last minute “reveals”, half the series falls apart. to just ignore the last five minutes and keep your sanity.

        (waits for Coryasia to chime in on Jackie’s ‘turn’….)

      • Brian

        @Michelle – yes, but if we go by the last minute “reveals”, half the series falls apart. BETTER to just ignore the last five minutes and keep your sanity.

    • Laurin


      • Katie

        Yes, Darlene had a daughter that was born premature – I remember she was really sickly when she was born. Don’t know what happened to her. And um, why does this say that DJ is 39? I am only 30 years old, and I know for a fact that DJ was a couple years younger than me. He would only be like 28 or so.

      • Chris

        i think the daughter was also part of her story–because in her monologue, all she says about their baby is “and then darlene had the baby, and it almost died.” she might have just made her a girl so they could say how there were 4 or 5 (i forgot) generations of conner women in their family when she was first born.

      • Sarah

        Katie, you are right! When the series ended, DJ was about 15 years old and that was 1997, he would only be 28 these days.

      • Jenn

        Harris Conner Healy was the baby’s name. That would be Bev’s last name, Roseanne’s last name, and Darlene’s/her own last name. And I can’t remember if Bev’s mom was still around at that point, but wasn’t she rad and underused? :)

  • MH

    BOOOO!! I was hoping for a Jake Gyllenhaal “Prince of Persia” cover this week!! Disappointed…

    • Jeff

      Me too!! BOOOO indeed!

    • V

      Whatever, the casting is an embarrassment. If they send me one with Prince of Persia on the cover, it’s going straight into the recycling bin.

  • John

    Will we learn about the 100 best *characters* even? Just saying.

  • Brett

    Wow. An update on Rosanne’s show’s characters. I didn’t realize there was a burning curiosity on this issue. (And I suspect “Prince of Persia” is going to SERIOUSLY underperform at the box office.)

    • Melanie

      You read it.

      • bet

        So what? Just because you do/watch/read something doesn’t mean you will end up thinking it was worth it when you’re finished. It’s called critical thinking. (Agree about PoP too.)

        I read this article and liked it because I like Roseanne, but that doesn’t mean Brett has to agree with me or anyone else. He read the article and thought it was worthless. He’s entitled to think whatever he wants.

      • Ashtrash

        I read it just to get to the Harry Potter part, only to have them tell me to buy their issue. Nice try…

  • MelindaB65

    It says that Jerry Garcia Conner, Roseanne’s son, runs her crystal shop in Hawaii, but the editor’s note about D.J. claims that he’s her youngest child and only son. So which is it? I admit that I quit watching Roseanne a few seasons before it ended, so I have no idea whether they had another baby during the show’s run.

    • matchpek

      No – it says DJ was her older son – it doesn’t say anything about only son…..

      • MelindaB65

        Actually, it was changed after I commented. It originally said what I posted above.

    • D

      Two older daughters then a son makes him the youngest child and only son. Not sure why they switched to older son unless she had a baby boy in the last season or something.

      • amanda

        she did have a baby towards one of the last seasons names jerry garcia after the late great jerry garcia(of the greatful dead) which her baby was based on reality she did have another child around the same time in real life

  • pop

    glad to see john locke on the cover. i guess he’s still on my mind as an awesome character since the finale just happened.

  • Jennifer

    You should have noted that Arnie was played by Tom Arnold, thus the “minor surgery” sex change operation.

    • Fred

      Yup, nothing like a cheap shot at Tom Arnold.

      • Terry

        And whatever your feelings on Arnold, still the show was awful after he left. Some episodes were unwatchable. And yeah, years after the divorce, she’s still bitter. I remember after they split, she made a comment about his “size”. Someone asked him about it and he said even a 747 looks small when its going into the grand canyon.

  • Buffy Freak

    This article is as painful as the last two seasons of Roseanne.

    • ace

      haha, i have to agree.

  • Heather

    Typo in the title of the article.

    • morgan

      true, it should be spelled:
      “Tasteless Stories About the Miserable Future Lives of Roseanne’s Characters”

      but maybe ‘100’ is shorthand for all of that

  • Kevin

    Ooooooooooo-kay… but where is the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years that the article’s title promised me?? Who cares what happened to the Roseanne clan?

    • johnbt

      I don’t. Yawn. Terrible show.

    • Liza

      The article is telling you to go buy this week’s issue. No one would buy it if they revealed everything here!

  • Kurt

    Hmm. If these are part of the top 100 characters, I guess I know why I’ve basically stopped watching TV.

  • geronimusclone

    what’s a charater?

  • Mrs. Tiger Woods

    Tiger is a character for sure. A bad character.

  • Lady Gaga 4Ever

    Never heard of the show. Never watched it. Therefore it is culturally irrelevant.

    • ML

      You’ve just showned how culturally ignorant you are. Relevant culture didn’t start with Gaga.

      • Chris

        You’ve just SHOWN how grammatically ignorant you are. Lady Gaga does suck though.

      • @Chris

        Get over yourself! As if the point of an entertainment blog was proper grammatical writing. What about adding to the discussion?

      • Brett

        Relevant culture started, and continues, WITHOUT Gaga. She is the fingerless glove of pop music.

    • Raevyn

      Last time I checked, you were not the barometer of what is culturally relevant….society determines that. Gaga would be ashamed of you.

    • adam

      Maybe you just said that to get a response. But you would have to in fact be culturally retarded not to have heard of this show.

    • am

      If you’ve never heard of it, it’s culturally irrelevant? Wow. Are you really that arrogant or was that just a poor choice of words?

  • Melanie

    I love Roseanne. That family is more American than most out in the real world saying they are.

    • Anon

      What a terrifying thought.

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