'Roseanne': Catch up on the saga of Darlene and David before Johnny Galecki's return
Roseanne’s success has been unprecedented, after two decades of being off the air the show reboot opened with incredible ratings, and of course ABC already picked it up for a second season. Veuer's Maria Mercedes Galuppo has more.
Before Johnny Galecki was a passive, hoodie-wearing, sensitive physicist on The Big Bang Theory, he was a passive, hoodie-wearing, sensitive graphic artist on Roseanne. And long before he fell for his neighbor Penny, he was in and out of love with Darlene Conner.
Tonight, Galecki returns as David Healy, the role that first made him famous (ABC, 8 ET/PT). Since 21 years have passed since we last saw David and most people now know Galecki as Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, we felt a Darlene-and-David refresher was in order.
Here's your chance to catch up on their history before he comes crawling through Darlene's bedroom window.
Who is David?
In the Roseanne reboot, he’s the ex-husband of Darlene (Sara Gilbert), the Conners’ acerbic middle-child. They have two children, daughter Harris and son Mark, the latter likely named for David's older brother, who was married to Darlene's older sister Becky (Lecy Goranson) until he died offscreen.
Actor Glenn Quinn, who played Mark died of a drug overdose in 2002 after the original went off their air; in the revival, Mark was written off as having died. However, the show has yet to explain how it happened.
When did David first show up?
David (who was called Kevin in his debut episode) made his debut midway through Season 4 when Becky and Mark recruited him to babysit D.J. (Michael Fishman) in 1993's “The Bowling Show.” That's when he first met Darlene.
How did they get together?
The two gradually fell in love after collaborating on a comic-book project together in Season 4. Well, it was fast for David but Darlene was initially put off by his clinginess. But once she faced competition from the new neighbor's daughter, Darlene finally confronted her feelings for David and they were an official couple by Season 5.
How did he end up living with the Conners?
While snowed in at the Healy home during the Season 5 Christmas episode "It's No Place Like Home for the Holidays," Darlene witnessed David being verbally and physically abused by his mother.
Towards the end of that season, when David expressed fear about moving to Michigan with his mom following his parents' divorce, Darlene began lobbying her parents to take him in.
The Conners initially said no, but once Roseanne saw his mother in action, she changed her mind and made a unilateral decision to take David in. When Dan (John Goodman) objected, Roseanne told him why she did it: "I grew up in a house like that."
By the end of Season 5's "It's a Boy," Dan had discovered an upside to David moving in: He brought gender parity to the Conner home. "My God, I can feel it," he declared. "The hormonal balance in this house has shifted and the men are victorious."
The college years
Darlene and David faced their first big relationship hurdle when she went away to art school in Chicago in Season 6, leaving him behind in Lanford. She rejected his marriage proposal, made in haste a few days before she left for college, and they left things on bad terms in "Two Down, One to Go." Eventually, David, who had been depressed without Darlene around, told the Conners he was moving to be with his mom in Michigan; in actuality, he moved in with Darlene in Chicago, where he continued moping around, causing more fights.
Eventually, after Roseanne brought David home to Lanford, he told Dan about living with Darlene and was kicked out of the house in "David vs Goliath." Roseanne persuaded Jackie (Laurie Metcalf, who would later play his roommate's mom on Big Bang) to take him in.
More ups and downs
Having been in a longterm relationship since she was 16, Darlene started seeing another guy in Season 7's "Two for One." David eventually summoned the nerve to issue her an ultimatum. Darlene chose the other guy, resulting in another breakup and another of David's depressive phases. But eventually, he got over her enough to start seeing other girls, which was a touch awkward since he was still around her family a lot.
Darlene and David go from living with her parents to being parents
After spending the night with David (who finally landed an art job in Chicago) during a family vacation in Season 8's Disney World two-parter, Darlene suggested they get married. "Now you're going to tell me you're kidding, right?" he asked.
"Now I'm going to tell you I'm pregnant," she countered.
Shortly after they tied the knot in "The Wedding" that season, Dan suffered a heart attack, forcing the couple to have their reception in his hospital room.
Toward the end of the ninth and final season, Darlene, now seven months pregnant, went into labor early. Despite medical attempts to stop her from going into labor, she gave birth to a preemie daughter in "The Miracle." The family endured two intense days of waiting to see if the baby, whose lungs were under-developed, would live.
Doctors told Darlene and David they could either leave their infant on life support or take her off and see if she could survive on her own.
They decided to let nature take its course and allowed her mother, sister, aunt and grandmother to hold the baby, which gave Darlene the inspiration for their daughter's name: Harris Conner Healy, after her mother's side of the family.
Harris survived and Darlene and David were finally able to bring her home in the series finale, "Into That Good Night." But instead of taking her to Chicago, they brought her home to the Conners' house instead.
And that brings us to the current day — sort of
The revival still hasn't explained exactly when Darlene and David split up or what triggered their divorce. All we know is that Darlene lost her publishing job in Chicago, prompting her to move home to Lanford with her two kids, the younger of whom may not even know David that well.
Maybe we'll learn a little more about the missing piece of their history tonight.