William H. Macy Is a Blast From the Past in ‘The Conners’ First Look (PHOTO)

William H. Macy, Katey Sagal, and John Goodman - 'The Conners'
ABC/Eric McCandless

It doesn’t look like a warm welcome for Dan (John Goodman) and Louise Conner (Katey Sagal) on the January 11 episode of ABC‘s The Conners, when they encounter high school classmate Smitty Cusamano (guest star William H. Macy), as seen in the first look photo above.

Smitty, who left Lanford to find fame and fortune in the pool supply business, is an “outgoing, salesman-type,” says executive producer Bruce Helford. He returns to Lanford to attend a funeral of a beloved English teacher “and maybe show off a bit for his old school buddies,” Helford adds.

In the image above, you’ll notice that Dan, Louise, and Smitty are standing in a bar, which may look familiar to Roseanne viewers — it’s Lobo, the famous hangout from the original series! And that’s not the only callback to the ’90s sitcom in the episode, as Helford teases Smitty has quite a history with the Conner crew: he dated Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) before she was married, and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) “had a crush” on him back in the day. Should make for some interesting moments with Dan!

As for what viewers can expect from the multifaceted Macy in this role, Helford promises both comedy and drama from the TV veteran. In fact, he gushes that it “was a writer’s dream” to have the Emmy winner working alongside the Conners cast, and he hopes to have Macy back in the future, should schedules allow.

A bonus for lovers of TV reunions, “it’s a fun moment to see Macy encounter Emma Kenney (Harris), who played his daughter [Debbie] on Shameless,” Helford says.

Be sure to tune in

The Conners, Wednesdays, 8/7c, ABC

— Reporting by Jim Halterman