S3 E13: You Don’t Have to Live in a Hardware Store (and other lessons)

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It’s the last episode of our third season, and we’re wrapping up The Conners season 3 as well, discussing “Jeopardé, Sobrieté, and Infidelité” and “Two Proposals, a Homecoming, and a Bear.” Big things are happening for the Conners, including one engagement, one thwarted proposal, a successful rehab stint, a return from Afghanistan, a Jeopardy loss turned into a gain, a budding tattoo career, and a whole lot of complaining from a certain hirsute someone about how he HAS TO LIVE IN A HARDWARE STORE. You’ve unrolled your own sleeping bag, Ben, and now you have to lie in it. (Except you don’t, though – get an apartment and stop your bitching!) We contemplate lessons learned (or not learned, ahem Darlene) by our favorite characters this season, and look ahead to what’s coming in season 4.

We share our joy about Dan moving on with Louise, though it does bring up some capital-F Feelings – mainly regarding how we miss Roseanne Conner and the warm center she brought to the family. We contemplate how The Conners has evolved without a matriarch while still remaining close to the strong POV of the original series, which was rooted in Roseanne Barr’s comedy.

Join us for this season 3 wrap up before our summer hiatus. And don’t worry, dear listeners – we’ll be back and better than ever for season 4! Thank you for watching with us!

S3 Ep 12: Blue Blockers

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We’re talking here about the 17th and 18th episodes of season 3 of the Conners (“Regrets, Rehabs, and Realtors” and “Cheating, Revelations, and a Box of Doll Heads,” respectively). We are struck by the serious, emotional moments in these episodes. Becky’s struggle with alcoholism and her trip to Jewish rehab (an infinitely awkward plot point), in particular, brings us to reckon with the elder Mark’s death, Dan’s anger, and Becky’s regrets about her life choices. This also brings up powerful memories for Jackie, who reminds Becky about the family legacy of alcoholism, connecting with the original series storyline about Roseanne and Jackie reckoning with their father’s violence and alcoholism.

We very much take sides with Darlene about her desire to use the Hawaii tickets, rather than sell them. Brian Austin Green, on a field trip out of Beverly Hills, also agrees. Ben is such a stick in the mud, and his mother, Barb (welcome back, Candace Bergen) is a presumptuous maniac, as she confronts Dan about getting help with the mortgage from his kids, effectively keeping her son from happiness. We note the middle-class moral framework embedded in Barb’s perception of familial mutual aid as exploitation. All of this leads Darlene to question whether she and Ben really want the same things.

All the while, Mark looks amazing in his Peter Bogdanovich-style blue blockers. Sadly, these specs reflect Darlene’s clumsy effort to help Mark cheat on a Zoom exam in a bit of added political commentary about class privilege and education. Of course, we spiral about Operation Varsity Blues, scholarships for surprising college sports (sailing?!), and motivational posters.

We top the discussion with a reflection on the reconciliation of JLo and Ben Affleck, aka Bennifer 2.0. Our viewing roundup explores the joy of entering the time capsule of 1970s and 80s New York in the Sons of Sam docuseries, as well as Designing Women alumna Jean Smart’s re-entrance into TV consciousness in the new show Hacks.

S3 E11: Good Golly, Miss Molly

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Join us for our latest installment, in which we discuss two recent episodes of The Conners, “An Old Dog, New Tricks and a Ticket to Ride,” and “A Fast Car, a Sudden Loss and a Slow Decline.” These episodes serve up a major dose of nostalgia in the form of Molly Tilden (played by Danielle Harris, she of the coveted ’90s mall bangs and child-star ubiquity who grew up to become “the Natalie Portman of horror,” according to an unverified Wikipedia quote). We follow these episodes’ two main storylines — one involving Darlene and Molly, the other Becky’s struggle with alcohol — dipping into some classic season 5 Roseanne memories along the way. We lament narrative inconsistencies (where is CHARLOTTE), Molly’s quick exit, and Ben’s lack of compassion while reveling in the chemistry between Molly and Darlene as they forge an unlikely friendship fueled by a night at the biergarten. Throw back a few Warsteiners with us as we chat about all of these FEELINGS plus Superstore, our love of Kids in the Hall and what makes movies about incest so damned compelling. Listen & subscribe on Apple podcasts!

S3 E10: Bad Omens and Baywatch Nights

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Herein we talk about the Conners as though they are real people once again. We return to Lanford to discover that Louise has COVID! As the family put together a Covid care package for her, we get a chuckle out of their collection of late Blockbuster DVDs. Darlene’s confession about visiting the indoor hotel pool to relax throws us for a loop. We doubt that such a humid mildew party would be very relaxing. Jackie confronts a bad Yelp reviewer at a beer garden, and Neville gets stern about her domineering behavior. We question Conner family counsel, as Jackie and Darlene advise Becky to lie to an old friend. We laugh at well-placed Henry David Thoreau jokes, complain about unrealistic plot points, such as the notion that the Conners would have a can of tuna on the verge of expiring. That’s not a thing! Oh, but Dan’s new camper is so cute– did he inherit it from Arnie? Did Arnie die? Can we know what’s up with Arnie? There’s more bad Conner-munication, as Dan demands to be Ben’s partner at the hardware store, and the two men with Daddy Issues square off over their pride.

S3 E9: The Anxiety Years

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In our latest episode, we do our best to catch up with The Conners by discussing “Panic Attacks, Hardware Store and Big Mouth Billy Bass” and “A Stomach Ache, A Heartbreak and a Grave Mistake.” We delve into the show’s realistic depiction of Darlene’s anxiety (featuring Dr. Fred Savage to the rescue!) as well as our own anxiety (Zoom-related and not), imposter syndrome and its relationship to class and gender. We also analyze Ben’s frustrating white-dude hubris, his relationship with Dan, and Jay R. Ferguson’s talent (he DID graduate from Evening Shade University). We also revel in the second episode’s Roseanne-centric plotline, featuring our beloved Patton Oswalt and a fun subplot involving Becky, Harris, Fatal Attraction, and coffee-table books. Join us for all this plus some extra nonsense about massages, furniture-store props, and fake maple syrup.

S3 E8: A Marvelous Night for a Moondance

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In our latest episode, we catch up on The Conners with recaps of “Promotions, Podcasts and Magic Tea” and “Who Are Bosses, Boats and Eckhart Tolle?” We’re happy Darlene’s got a promotion (though a bit confounded by her managerial style) and even happier that the increasingly hairy Ben is following in our podcasting footsteps. But did he really have to “quit” Instacart? Plus, Jackie and Neville trip on “tea,” Jackie preps for Jeopardy! and Dan’s boat envy threatens to ruin his relationship with his longtime friend and business partner, Chuck. We ask the important questions, like, when did Wellman’s get a union? Why isn’t Dan straight-up stoked about cruising Lake Michigan with his BFF (and beer)? Did Dwight and Jackie have a tryst? What exactly IS “herbal tea”? Is this the sink, are we shrinking?! 

Join us for all things Conners plus a discussion of our fondest hair removal memories, Van Morrison’s reactionary ways, Meet Joe Black, the most boring episode of The X-Files and our love for Bills Pullman and Hader.

S3 E7: A Heavy Coat with No Closet to Hang It

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Capital insurrections, inaugurations, a pandemic, and another impeachment, and yet The Conners keeps rolling along. We are catching up with what’s happened in Lanford lately in our latest episode, and it’s a lot! First, in The Conners’ “A Cold Mom, a Brother Daddy and a Prison Baby,” Ben’s mom, who doesn’t have a name and looks a LOT like Murphy Brown, has some intense news about Ben’s father. The inimitable Candice Bergen appears as Ben’s mother, whose elegance masks a peculiar likeness to the dowager Harris, Bev. Meanwhile, Becky rejects Emilio’s limp handshake of a come-on, and we have mixed feelings about it. We also discuss “Young Love, Old Lions and Middle-Aged Hyenas,” in which Ben tries to help by building a closet for Becky, and makes Dan unduly angry, albeit correct. And we think Harris’s new boyfriend Josh is cute and stupid, and a jarringly convincing portrayal of an interloper in political activism, centering himself in causes that don’t directly affect him. As always, we talk about what we’ve been doing and watching – there’s a little Night Stalker talk, and a tangent about an unaired British series featuring Joseph Fiennes as Michael Jackson. Katherine gets a little bit imperious about teaching on Zoom.

S3 E6: The Conner Family Money-Making Death Machine

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In our sixth installment of the season, we recap The Conners, “Drug Test, Protest, and One Leaves the Nest,” in which Harris joins an Occupy Wall Street-style protest while somehow managing to remain ignorant of pretty much everything about economic inequality in America, capitalism, solidarity and how to take a principled stand for something you believe in. We analyze it in tandem with a related episode from the original series, classic season 5 episode “Lanford Daze,” in which Darlene herself launches a memorable protest against the “meat-industrial complex” — in this case represented by her family’s own Lanford Lunch Box. We consider Darlene’s youthful shenanigans in tandem with Harris’s, noting the differences in their approach, understanding of issues and cultural context. We also parse the Conners episode’s second plot line relating to drug testing at Wellman and Robin’s (Alexandra Billings) revelation that she is trans, which leads to a discussion of anti-trans sentiment in popular culture (especially in the 1990s). Join us for these observations, plus more on Loretta Lynn, bad fashion of the early oughts, and what we’ve been watching, including the new film Ammonite and the mid-2010s BBC teen show My Mad Fat Diary. Hoooo doggies, we love these sandwiches!

S3 E5: Becky & Mark 4 Ever

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Well, we hope you’ve all been enjoying safe and happy holidays. We’ve been on a bit of a break ourselves, though we will be back with more commentary on The Conners and more of the old show soon! In this episode, we revisit the elopement of Becky and Mark Healy (RIP Mark and beautiful Glenn Quinn), which is portrayed in the back-to-back Season 5 episodes “Terms of Estrangement,” parts 1 and 2. We find Becky to be egregiously hard on Dan as the bike shop goes under, and we spend quite a lot of time on the ways the financial situation the Conners find themselves in here connects to their current situation on The Conners. We celebrate the writers of the original series for their one-liners, non-sequiturs, and inclusion of the ever-vain Nancy and her newly liposuctioned butt. In all, we remember how young our Becky was, but how much she loved Mark (and he loved her, too!). As per usual, we digress into realms of pop culture only somewhat related to the topic at hand. Thanks again to Brenda for suggesting we take some time to cover these two kids in love.

S3 E4: We’re in Mask Hell (and Other Complaints)

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Join us for a little Andy Rooney-style, “get off my lawn” crankiness as we catch up on the recent Conners episodes “Birthdays, Babies and Emotional Support Chickens” and “Friends in High Places and Horse Surgery.” First of all, we love the Conners, we really do — but we’ve got to talk about their appalling pandemic etiquette, from their chin-masking to their indoor-gathering to their ball-pit-renting. We also critique the often overstuffed, rushed nature of The Conners, parsing numerous fast-tracked plot elements, including a spontaneous baptism and Darlene’s sudden interest in middle management. What happened to the days when an entire Roseanne episode could revolve around a simple fart? Or a teenaged boss? Or a decision to become a trucker?

But look, it’s not all complaining — there’s some good vibes here, too, we promise! We’ve got praise for guest actress Alexandra Billings and adorable Emilio, plus lively tangential discussions of Hulu’s new Christmas rom-com (that is not very rom, actually) Happiest Season and Maura’s fond memories of seeing Ricky Martin on Broadway. Listen and subscribe on iTunes!