Johnny Galecki was only allowed one appearance this season on Roseanne — he’s got a hit CBS sitcom to star in, after all — so the writers had less than 25 minutes to explain where he’s been and why he can’t stick around the Conner household.
When the comedy first debuted in March, fans were led to believe Darlene (Sara Gilbert) had split from her husband David (Galecki) and was forced to move back into her childhood home with her kids Harris and Mark. In tonight’s episode, David shows up after working for some Habitat for Humanity-like organization to help celebrate Harris’ birthday and to tell Darlene (Gilbert) that he’s looking to return to Lanford for good.
There’s a catch, however: he wants to come with a girlfriend named Blue in tow. “Blue made me see so many things,” he tells Darlene. “I was in denial. I thought Harris and Mark were better off without me… when I left you and the kids, I rationalized it was okay because I was helping people. But my brother died and I was overwhelmed by the responsibility and I just ran.”
Somehow, his offer to sign the divorce papers becomes a turn-on for Darlene, who ends up sleeping with David and talking excitedly about a reconciliation. That doesn’t sit well with Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), who admits that she’s been secretly texting with David behind Darlene’s back.
“You guys are a disaster as a couple. It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — and David,” Roseanne tells her daughter. “He left because you guys were fighting all the time and he couldn’t handle it.”
A teary-eyed Darlene agrees and tells David that they will never make each other happy. He still plans to move to Lanford to be near his kids, so perhaps the writers are leaving open the possibility of a return in season 2. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, Estelle Parsons showed up to reprise her role as Roseanne and Jackie’s mom Beverly after her retirement home supposedly asked her to leave. “At my age, I’m not supposed to enjoy a healthy sex life with multiple partners in multiple parts of the facility,” she told them.
Roseanne airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.