Warning: spoilers ahead for the premiere of the Roseanne revival on ABC. If you haven’t watched yet, feel free to check out some of our spoiler-free articles until you get the chance to tune in.
The long-awaited Roseanne revival finally hit the airwaves on March 27, and the first two episodes managed to catch viewers up on what most of the characters have been up to in the 21 years since the original run of the series ended back in 1997. Many of the original cast members were back to reprise their roles, but there was one notable exception: Johnny Galecki as David. With Galecki not a part of the regular cast, Roseanne had to find a way to address his absence from Darlene and their kids’ lives. Sadly, the premiere revealed that David isn’t around because he and Darlene split, which at least is better than why Mark isn’t around.
The good news for David and David/Darlene fans is that the whole season won’t go without the man himself making an appearance. Johnny Galecki, too busy with The Big Bang Theory to sign on as a Roseanne regular, had time in his schedule to return as David for one episode of the revival. Roseanne showrunner Bruce Helford teased what’s to come from the David/Darlene renewal, saying this:
Darlene is going through a lot because she’s got kids and has a lot of guilt about the fact that her relationship didn’t work out. She’s a single mom and they have to struggle a little bit because of that. Johnny Galecki comes back as David for an episode and we deal that. That’s a very emotional episode. Darlene and David have been separated for six years or so and he has only seen the kids a few times when they were living in Chicago. Darlene lost her job and is struggling and David comes back into that mix and raises a lot of emotional issues for all of them.
For all that Darlene was able to deliver some laughs in the Roseanne premiere, her life since the end of the original run of the series hasn’t been entirely happy. In fact, her marriage to David didn’t last all that much longer after the original finale, according to Bruce Helford’s comments to THR. If they broke up six years ago, Darlene didn’t get the life many of us would have wanted for her. The loss of her job only made her life more difficult, and moving back to her parents’ clearly won’t be easy for her.
Part of me wonders if David might have been killed off if Johnny Galecki had been entirely unable to appear in the revival, although Roseanne might not have wanted to go with the deaths of both Healy brothers. Mark Healy’s death was written into the revival due to actor Glenn Quinn’s death in 2002. Rather than recast the role, Roseanne wrote the character out of the story. David is still alive, and given some of Johnny Galecki’s comments, he could very well have more of a presence on another season of Roseanne if it continues.
We’ll have to wait and see. Tune in to ABC on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET to catch the latest of the Roseanne revival. For your other viewing options, swing by our midseason TV premiere guide. If you’re now in the mood for some old school Roseanne, you can find the entire original run of the series streaming on Amazon Prime.