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The Tragic Reason Jackie's Son On Roseanne Is Not On The Conners

The twisted, complicated backstory that weds "Roseanne" to "The Conners" has a tendency to tangle in on itself. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the case of Andy Harris, Jackie Harris' (Laurie Metcalf) young son. Born during Season 6, Andy is the result of Jackie's romance with Fred (Michael O'Keefe) and grows from an infant to a toddler from Season 6 to Season 9.

But his existence is erased twice — first by the series finale of "Roseanne," where it's revealed that he and his cousin Jerry Garcia Conner were never born (and that Jackie is, in fact, a lesbian), as both events are part of a writing exercise undertaken by Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr). Then, when that ending is retconned as a dream of Roseanne's during the Season 10 premiere of "Roseanne," it's revealed that Jackie isn't a lesbian but also never married Fred, nor did she have Andy.

It's a pretty confusing contradiction, especially because some characters and core canon events manage to survive the double dose of fantasy. Bruce Helford, showrunner for the "Roseanne" reboot series and "The Conners" explained that this was a creative choice. "We made a conscious decision that certain years were going to be part of the dream that was revealed at the end of the run of the original Roseanne, and [Andy] was part of the dream. Andy fell into the same category for us as winning the lottery; [it's] something we chose not to acknowledge," he told TV Insider in 2020.

However, there are several other switcheroos that happen during the "Roseanne" revival that are a little harder to explain away.

Andy isn't the only character blipped into nonexistence by the continuity issues between Roseanne and The Conners

Multiple other characters see drastic changes made to their lives during the shift between Seasons 9 and 10 of "Roseanne" and the show's shift into "The Conners." Jerry Garcia Conner's fate is the most interesting. Initially erased by the revelation that Roseanne Conner's novel has shaped much of the family's recent history, during Season 10 it's mentioned Jerry's working on an oil rig in Alaska. Then, during "The Conners," he once again reverts to a state of non-existence via dialogue. 

Dan Conner (John Goodman) goes from being very dead during the Season 9 finale of "Roseanne" to very alive in the Season 10 premiere — he even jokes Roseanne killed the "best character" off in her novel. Daughters Becky (Lecy Goranson) and Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert) switch partners and then switch back again, though Darlene's daughter, Harris, isn't retconned out of existence. These are all odd little twists of fate that shaped the show's story, and for some fans, these may be things they probably never knew about "Roseanne" while watching "The Conners."

Of course, Roseanne herself was killed off the show after Roseanne Barr was fired from the sitcom, adding another character death into the show's teeming pile of fictional bodies. Audiences will have to keep watching to see if that one ever gets retconned as "The Conners" prepares itself for the possibility of cancellation