It doesn’t seem possible, but “The Conners” has a new lease on life.
The “Roseanne” spin off spent its last two seasons at 9pm on Wednesdays. “Roseanne” always aired at 8pm, and indeed the show was the perfect anti-family show for the family hour. “The Conners” played its first two seasons also a 8pm, where it was a hit.
But then in season 3 ABC changed their day and time. The show dropped by well over 500,000 viewers. It wasn’t just the change of day but the time. “The Conners” was far from cutting edge. It’s a family show, you know, about a family with kids. But ABC sacrificed it for the miserable “Goldbergs.”
Then a funny thing happened. Jeff Garlin was forced off “The Goldbergs.” The show spiraled because he was the only reason to watch it. “The Goldbergs” is a bore. Their ratings dropped. So ABC switched “The Conners” and “The Goldbergs” this year. “The Conners” ratings are back, averaging 3.5 million viewers. Maybe it’s me, but the show seems relieved. It has a new lease on life.
I hadn’t watched “The Conners” for quite a while, but when I didn’t have the Yankees to worry about last night, I tuned in. Jackie — the great Laurie Metcalf — had gotten unwatchable last year, Yet, now she has her own house set, a normal husband (Nat Faxon as Neville, the brother of Dan’s new wife, Louise). Metcalf has better writing, it seems, too. She’s no longer substituting twitches for dialogue. Maybe her Emmy winning turn on “Hacks” shook up the staff.
Darlene and Becky are the same, although they’re spatting less and acting like loving — but still acerbic — sisters. Last night’s show didn’t give much to John Goodman, but I’m sure he’ll be back in the center ring by next week.
And that 3.5 million — it suggests there’s life left in this crowd. Season 6?