‘The Conners’ Are ‘Built for This Crisis,’ Says EP of Season 3 Pandemic Plot

the conners season 3 john goodman katey sagal
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Easy is not a word that’s ever been used to describe life for the Conner clan. Since we first met them in the 1988–97 sitcom Roseanne (and its 2018 revival), they have faced the same problems as many blue-collar Americans. Thankfully, The Conners begins Season 3 proving that if any family can get through challenges of the 2020’s it’s this one.

“The Conners are built for this crisis,” says executive producer Bruce Helford. They’ve formed their bubble and “have nine people living in the house. … Nine people and two bathrooms.”

Safety protocols have also impacted the restaurant they own, the Lunch Box. “Jackie [Laurie Metcalf] is delivering food since they can’t afford a delivery service,” Helford says. Later in the season, Wellman Plastics — where Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Jackie used to work in the early days of Roseanne — reopens as a result of the slowdown in getting materials from China. “Some [characters] might even end up working there,” teases Helford. (Please, let George Clooney cameo as foreman Booker!)

Here’s what’s in store on the personal front….

Dan and Louise

It took Dan (John Goodman) a long time to get over the loss of his dearly departed wife Roseanne and not experience guilt over having feelings for another woman. His heart healed, Dan committed to patient girlfriend Louise (Katey Sagal) — and now she’s moved into his house. “They’re in love,” Helford confirms. “Louise joins the family bubble so they can be together.” But while Dan’s children accept this new woman in their father’s life, living with the extended group of Conners proves to be a big adjustment for the musician/restaurant manager. “It’s not so easy for her,” Helford says. “She has lived alone all these years, and now she’s in a household with nine people.” Tip: The laundry porch is a great place to hide out!

(Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC)

Darlene and Ben

Sarcastic daughter Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and earnest boyfriend Ben (Jay R. Ferguson, now a series regular) “got set back a little bit,” says Helford, after they decided to put their dream of getting their own apartment on hold — all to help a cash-strapped Dan keep the family home from going into foreclosure. Now the two are sleeping in Darlene’s childhood bedroom and facing career challenges. “They’re still trying to launch their [crime] magazine, but things are much more difficult because [they can’t secure] advertising dollars,” Helford explains. Also adding some tension: living with Darlene’s dad, as Ben and Dan butt heads. “They are both alpha guys,” adds Helford, “but then Darlene’s an alpha woman.”

(Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC)

Becky and Emilio

In last season’s finale, elder daughter Becky (Lecy Goranson) traveled to Mexico so her baby daddy Emilio (Rene Rosado), deported during her pregnancy, could meet their child, Beverly Rose. Then she impulsively married him so he could get his green card! The plan was for Emilio to wait the required two years before returning to the U.S. legally, but instead he’s back in Lanford. “Becky knows how upset Dan’s going to be that Emilio broke the promise to wait,” says Helford. So Aunt Jackie agrees to help, allowing him to secretly set up residence in the Lunch Box’s back room. Does anyone think this will end well? “There’s definitely some fireworks,” Helford adds. We’d expect nothing less!

The Conners, Season Premiere, Wednesday, October 21, 9/8c ABC