Tuesday, October 23, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Conners' - Darlene Struggles Being a Co-Parent with David and Blue in 'Tangled Up in Blue'

ABC's The Conners - Episode 1.02 "Tangled Up in Blue"

Darlene is in for one surprise after another when David introduces his girlfriend, Blue, at a parent-teacher conference and mentions that Mark and Harris will be spending the weekend with them. Dan hires Becky to help out at work, but they both come to learn that she might need more help than she can offer.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of ABC's The Conners.

"Tangled Up in Blue" was written by Darlene Hunt and directed by Bob Koherr

In its second week, The Conners still has Roseanne on its mind. It's putting in the effort to move behind that character and continue to tell meaningful stories with the rest of the ensemble. However, Johnny Galecki's return as David means that he also has to have a reaction to Roseanne's death and take about what she meant to him. Elsewhere, this episode really establishes that Darlene and David are going to be co-parents for Harris and Mark. They are going to get a divorce because David is actually happy in his relationship with Blue. However, all of this also feels like setup to include these characters in more stories moving forward even though the audience knows that is going to be impossible due to logistical reasons. Galecki still has a regular job on The Big Bang Theory. Perhaps once that show is over with at the end of this current broadcast season, then David will be a significant part of The Conners. That's granted that this show remains a success as well and is brought back for another round of episodes. So, it's not surprising when the most meaningful moment of the main plot comes when Darlene is in her car with her kids. She and Harris actually have an honest conversation about sex. It's respectful and not as dramatic as their dynamic has been in the past. Sure, Harris is in trouble for having sex in the first place. But Darlene also wants to ensure that she isn't judged for her actions and gets access to any kind of health care she needs. It's very responsible and meaningful. It shows that this relationship continues to develop and may be moving into a more positive direction. Elsewhere, it seems like the show is in pure setup mode with new stories to tell this season. Justin Long debuts as a new love interest for Darlene. He doesn't have a whole lot of time here to make a noticeable impression though. Instead, he mostly comes across as a wishy-washy guy who allows Darlene to make all of the decisions. That may still be a good romance for her though. It's healthy for her to be putting herself out there now that her marriage is officially done. She accepts that now. But she also may not be as successful in finding new love as David was. And finally, Becky wants to go to work with her father in the hopes of earning some extra money. She has a goal of getting a trailer to live in. However, the story quickly moves past that to highlight that she has a serious drinking problem now. It too connects back to her mother's tragic death. She has already had to tragically say goodbye to a loved one. Her husband died. And now, she's going through this grief all over again with her mother. So, she is now drinking every single day. At times, the show highlights that by using it as a punchline. She is still working at a bar where Darlene and Jackie visit in the hopes of meeting men. But her drinking is a liability when it comes to working construction with Dan. He sees just how problematic this can be. He wants to know that she has a plan to address it. She certainly has the awareness of it being a problem. But only time will tell if she has the tools to conquer it at the moment or if her family can be supportive as she figures everything out.