Lynette Rice
December 12, 2017 AT 08:55 PM EST

Even the afghan on the back of the couch is still there!

When viewers tune in for ABC’s much-anticipated return of Roseanne, the family sitcom that aired from 1988 to 1997, they’ll see not much has changed in the working-class home of Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) and her husband, Dan (John Goodman).

“You will feel the emotion from seeing that set again,” promises executive producer Bruce Helford, who’s returned to the sitcom after serving as its 1992–93 showrunner. “It will be an extra-special experience.”

That’s also because everyone from the Conner family — Becky (Alicia Goranson), Darlene (Sara Gilbert), her hubby David (Johnny Galecki), D.J. (Michael Fishman), and Aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) — will appear. Even Sarah Chalke, who took over for Goranson in 1993, is coming back to play a mystery role.

Adam Rose/ABC

“The biggest challenge in the first episode was figuring out how to reestablish everybody and explain what they’ve been doing for the last 21 years,” says co-executive producer Bruce Rasmussen, another Roseanne vet, who’s joined in the writers’ room by newbies Whitney Cummings and Wanda Sykes.

And yep, just like the last time the show was on the air, Barr has a big say in the yuks, since “she understands blue-collar and middle-class people,” says Helford. The result? Roseanne and Dan are more relatable than ever: The couple are still in their same Lanford, Ill., home, and while they’re both in their mid-60s, they are still struggling to make ends meet.

“We want everybody to see something that doesn’t really exist on TV anymore — an honest family,” Helford says. “These people are very much the core of what’s going on in the country right now.”

The sitcom returns to ABC in 2018.

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