The Conners, ABC’s version of Roseanne minus Rosanne, will return to TV this fall without Roseanne herself (she’s probably dead in the world within the show), and will include another recasting of a side character who will apparently be more prominent in the series. New series regular Maya Lynne Robinson will play DJ’s (Michael Fishman) wife Geena Williams-Conner, who was deployed in Afghanistan last season and briefly seen over Skype played by Xosha Roquemore. Geena is also Mary’s (Jayden Rey) mother, and her character was first seen back in Rosanne’s famous 1994 episode “White Men Can’t Kiss,” as the girl DJ didn’t want to kiss in his school play because she was black. “While Geena is no stranger to the family, viewers old and new will enjoy seeing how her ‘military-style’ discipline meshes with the Conners’ more laid-back attitude,” showrunner and executive producer Bruce Helford said in a statement. In giving Geena a larger role in this season, The Conners seems to align itself with the original Roseanne’s more progressive history, as opposed to to the far-right politics (and racist tweets) Barr expressed during its revival — whether the effort comes across as sincere, or The Conners works at all, is another question.
Maya Lynne Robinson in The Conners. Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC