Spoilers below for the latest episode of The Conners, so be warned!
While many TV shows might slot a big wedding episode as a season premiere or finale, The Conners went against the grain and utilized the fourth episode of Season 4 to bring Dan and Louise together in holy matrimony. (Or “holey,” considering the blown-out windows in the storm-struck wedding venue.) The tornado-fueled installment unintentionally hearkened back to Roseanne Season 1, which also featured the memorable weather episode “Toto, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore.” What has been intentional, however, is the larger embrace of references to Roseanne Barr’s titular matriarch here in Season 4, from her Bible drawer in the kitchen to wedding comparisons. And it looks like those callbacks aren’t stopping just because Dan and Louise tied the knot.
Making references to Roseanne and its namesake character has been a tricky line to walk for The Conners‘ creative team, given the multi-level kerfuffle surrounding her ABC firing and her character’s death by overdose. Now, a few years away from those events, it’s likely a bit easier to allow Roseanne Conner’s memory and legacy to flow more naturally through John Goodman’s Dan and the rest of the family. Here’s how executive producer Dave Caplan explained the thought process to TVLine:
It would be pretty unrealistic if The Conners turned Katey Sagal’s Louise into the love of Dan’s life without paying any respects to the woman who’d previously hooked him for the majority of his adult life. (Granted, there would have been way more conversations about it in a real-world situation, but there are only so many sitcom minutes to spread around.) Louise certainly got her wish for her and Dan’s wedding to be a completely different affair from his wedding with Roseanne, for better or worse, and not just because someone had sex in the bathroom right before the ceremony started. (I guess that could have happened the first time around as well.)
In any case, just because the big day already came (presumably along with those copulating in the bathroom) and went, that doesn’t mean The Conners will immediately ignore all things Roseanne-related. Showrunner Bruce Helford revealed how future episodes will organically invoke her spirit, saying:
Of course! Considering how many decades it took for Becky and Darlene to realize there was a Bible drawer, it’s easy to assume there are tons of nooks and crannies within that Lanford home that haven’t been seen by human eyes in years. Which could give Louise all kinds of opportunities to both learn more about Dan’s past and to make the house more of her own. But you just know if she tries to change a whole lot about that iconic living room or anywhere else in the house, fans are going to riot.
To be sure, the Conners EPs are also going to address the reluctance and troubles that Dan will have with building his life with Louise atop the many years he shared with Roseanne. While his new bride is coming at things from a largely positive perspective, Dan apparently won’t have the smoothest time transitioning. But I think Becky and Jackie would agree with one thing: at least they don’t have Ben and Darlene’s problems. (Though I bet Roseanne would adore Ben if she were still around, in part because of how sharp his fangs get in attack mode.)
With more Roseanne nods to come, The Conners airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 9:00 p.m. ET, after all new episodes of The Wonder Years.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn’t sound like that’s the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.