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 Ep 7: A Heavy Coat with No Closet to Hang It

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 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!

S3 E3: Take It In the Shorts? What Does That Mean?

In this episode, we catch up on The Conners’ Covid Halloween and Darlene’s tough adjustment to her new job at Wellman’s—episodes 2 & 3 of The Conners Season 3. Like a lot of folks, we have more to say about The Vow versus Seduced, the appeal of The Queen’s Gambit, and the divinity of the pristine grocery store in Supermarket Sweep. We talk about the way the family deals with a cancelled trick or treat night in Lanford in “Halloween and The Election vs. The Pandemic,” and the emotional pendulum of the Halloween theme with the family crisis about Mary’s status as a latchkey kid (in 2020!). We also examine Darlene’s characterization as an elitist, and the odd juxtaposition of the mean-girlesque, juvenile social dynamics of the women at Wellman accusing Darlene of snobbery while calling her names and rendering their “high-brow” Marie Antoinette joke. We end on some final thoughts about the contrast between the first season episode, “Let’s Call it Quits” which we discussed in our last episode, and the anti-union-ish rhetoric of the conversation between Darlene and her co-worker Nicole in “Plastics, Trash Talk, and Darlene Antoinette.” Join us!

S3 E2: Wellman Revisited

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After a slight delay, we’re back in action with episode 2 of our third season! In “Wellman Revisited,” we discuss The Conners Season 3, Episode 1, “Keep on Truckin’ Six Feet Apart,” which checks in on our favorite family as they deal with the pandemic, resulting financial distress, and being served an eviction notice by Danny Trejo. When they hear Wellman Plastics — local factory and former workplace of Roseanne and Jackie — is reopening, Becky and Darlene decide to apply. This prompts us to examine themes of economic hardship, labor and the American dream in both classic Roseanne and The Conners. We look back on one of the most memorable Roseanne episodes of all time, “Let’s Call it Quits,” in which Roseanne leads a walkout at Wellman in response to a new and especially terrible boss. Are Darlene and Becky right back where their parents started in 1989, and will they get back on their feet? Please join us for all this plus digressions on the HBO docuseries The Vow, Katherine’s brush with cult membership, George Clooney, and more!

S2: E20 – The Kiss, Part 2

Hello all! This is the second half of our talk about “White Men Can’t Kiss,” Roseanne‘s episode about implicit racism and its effects. Here, we continue to deal with what we found especially effective about this episode, as compared to “very special” episodes about race on other TV series – 90210, for example. Starting with Dan’s awkward conversation with Chuck during the guys’ poker game through to the final scene in which Roseanne encounters Gina’s father (and her own racist assumptions), we unpack the successes and failures of the racial politics of this episode. While we do talk about the present, and the racism of our subject’s titular source, we spend our time primarily on this single episode. We hope you’ll listen and tell us your thoughts.

S2 E18: The House at 714 Delaware Street

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Join us as we wrap up our discussion of season 2 of the Conners! In this episode, we discuss The Conners season 2 finale, “Bridge over Troubled Conners,” in which the Conner home is at risk of foreclosure, meaning hard times for Dan and tough decisions for Darlene and Ben. We explore our own love for the Conner house, the memories we hold there and the lived-in feel of the set, as well as our memories of our own family homes. Other topics include Becky and Emilio’s storyline and this episode’s excellent guest stars—David Pasquesi (aka “Stew the Meat Man” from Strangers with Candy) and Joel Murray (aka sad-sack Freddy Rumsen from Mad Men). We evaluate season 2 as a whole and express our wishes for season 3, as well as carry on far too long on such issues as laughter on TV shows, Sebastian Bach’s compelling turn on Gilmore Girls, David Healy’s potential future as a crazy cat lady, and our desire to spend more time among birds.

We hope you’ll tune in…and stay tuned as we look back to classic Roseanne for our summer episodes!

S2 Ep 17: Ziggy and The Conners from Mars

Darlene, why are you being such a Karen? I mean…she confesses to harassing a cop and living to tell the tale – and in fact, didn’t she JUST defy a cop and go to jail a few weeks ago? Oh, man. At any rate, this episode begins with our discussion of “CPAPs, Hickey’s, and Biscuits.” We talk a bit about Darlene and Ben’s relationship progression, and how, like, they aren’t really doing things in the normal order, but that’s cool. More than this, we coo a bit over Dan and Louise sealing the deal (they DO IT), and how maybe this CPAP storyline is an allegory for the importance of wearing your dang mask when you go out! Louise is SO COOL, and like Dan says, she even looks hot in her bedtime bonnet and eye mask strips.

We pair this with a fine old episode of the original series called “Born to be Wild,” in which the Conners are visited by an old friend and his Harley. Ziggy reminds Dan and Roseanne about their younger days, feeling the wind in their hair… and he agrees to help Dan fix up his old bike that has been lying dead and rusting in the garage. Leather jackets are worn by all, and somehow we end up with a lengthy appreciation of Bob Seger. Please enjoy our latest installment, and stay tuned as we finish out season 2 of The Conners!

S2 E16: Sister Stories

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Hi folks! In our latest episode, “Sister Stories,” we discuss The Conners episode “Pilot Lights and Sister Fights,” which focuses on the romantic reunion of Dan and Louise and a flare-up of tension between Darlene and Becky, who has been bonding lately with Darlene’s BF Ben (Jay R. Ferguson). Darlene’s stress over trying to have a baby seems to trigger her old feelings of insecurity related to her sister, who has always been considered the more “popular” and personable of the two Conner girls. We analyze this new conflict in relationship to classic Roseanne season 7 episode “Rear Window,” in which Becky and David start to become close while he and Darlene are broken up. Oh, and this episode also features a hilarious A-plot of Roseanne and Dan peeping at their new, VERY elderly nudist neighbors who don’t seem to catch onto Roseanne’s witticisms about “crack” and “Uranus.” Join us as we dive into these episodes and other pertinent issues like the classic stoner film 9 to 5; Maura’s illustrious childhood turn in The Velveteen Rabbit; the mysterious, sartorially-challenged nature of keyboardists; Arby’s, and more!