New Roseanne cast member Emma Kenney, along with returning cast Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson
Photo: Alex McLevy

“I wanted to grab Sara and give her a kiss, because she brought us all back together.” That’s Lecy Goranson, who played Becky on Roseanne for the better part of a decade (give or take a couple of Sarah Chalkes filling in). The actor came to SXSW to promote the upcoming revival of the series, and was happy to share her initial skepticism.

“Honestly, part of me didn’t really believe it was going to happen until I walked on set,” she said, during an interview along with returning cast member Michael Fishman, who played D.J. Conner, and new cohort Emma Kenney (Shameless), joining the series as Harris, eldest daughter of Darlene (Sara Gilbert). Just given the time that had elapsed and the difficulty of getting everyone back together and managing schedules—a feat Goranson credits Gilbert with pulling off—the likelihood of successfully launching a revival seemed dim. That sense of skepticism didn’t extend to everyone, however. “Part of me always though it might happen, just because I’d talk to Roseanne, and she’d have these great ideas for it,” says Fishman, who mentioned that as soon as five years after the series had originally ended, he started hearing ideas from the star about concepts for where the Conners would be later in life.

Along with some good-natured ribbing from Kenney’s costars about the age difference (when Kenney mentioned that she used to watch reruns of Roseanne on Nick At Nite when she was young, Goranson corrects her: “Younger, Emma. We talked about this!”), the Shameless actor emphasized her excitement at joining such a landmark series, though all three stressed how lucky they felt to be on a show whose success allowed them to tackle hot-button issues in uncompromising ways. “If we pitched this show without the track record? I don’t think a lot of other shows would be allowed to touch the topics that we covered,” Fishman says, and that sense of raw honesty extended to the fans’ connection with the series as well. “A woman from ABC came up to me after [a taping of a new episode] and said, ‘Lecy, it’s so moving, it’s so moving,’ and I went, ‘Yeah, but is it funny, too? You know?” Goranson added. “And she said, ‘Oh, it’s hilarious,’ but I love that...the cast really appreciates the level of depth that goes into it.”

The SXSW installment for the Roseanne revival.
Photo: Alex McLevy

The SXSW site for the ABC series features a recreation of the living room, the kitchen table, and even a mockup of the old Langford Lunch Box diner, though it sadly didn’t including a sardonic Martin Mull rolling his eyes. Roseanne returns to your television set Tuesday, March 27 on ABC.