Tuesday, November 27, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Conners' - Becky Worries About Her Sobriety and Parenthood in 'One Flew Over the Conners' Nest'

ABC's The Conners - Episode 1.06 "One Flew Over the Conners' Nest"

With Mark and Mary's help, Jackie convinces Dan to build a chicken coop in the backyard so the family can eat organic eggs, but from a bird's-eye view, it appears that she may have ulterior motives. Becky meets with Andrea for the first time since the surrogacy mishap. Darlene is forced to deal with a sleazy customer at her casino job.

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.

"One Flew Over the Conners' Nest" was written by Ali Liebegott and directed by Fred Savage

The three story structure has been consistent for The Conners. And yet, it continues to feel like a mistake. Many of these episodes have felt overstuffed and underdeveloped. But then again, Becky's story is the only one that really works here. The other two are mostly just giving everyone else in the ensemble something to do. With that at least, Darlene's story is going to be of ongoing importance. Sure, it's awkward how she is seen in this job at the casino for the first time only for it to be the last shifts she is ever going to be working there. That makes it very difficult to invest in the outcome because the audience already has the certainty that she has another job lined up. Plus, that's a job that comes with a potential love interest even though the show is still playing things slow and coy with Ben. Meanwhile, Jackie wanting a chicken coop in order to have a good excuse to be over at the Conner household all of the time is just a really flimsy story. It works only because John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf are committed to it. And yet, there really didn't need to be any explanation for why Jackie is at the house so often. She is a member of the family after all. That doesn't change just because Roseanne died. Sure, this story highlights Jackie's insecurities and how she believes Dan will no longer tolerate her because that buffer is gone. But the show doesn't commit fully to that with the idea that this is a connection that could potentially be lost. There is no reason to fear that Jackie won't be welcomed in this house any more. As such, that makes this story incredibly lackluster and pointless. But again, those subplots were mostly just distracting from the main story with Becky as she comes to a big decision about her pregnancy. She is getting input from many people who offer many different perspectives. She reunites with Andrea, who now has a baby. Their connection was so awkward during the Roseanne revival season. It was a story that didn't work at all. And now, there is no real reason for Andrea to still be interacting with any of the Conners. She doesn't really need Becky's advice here. It's just a convenient way for Becky to feel the pressure that raising a child will be an overwhelming experience even for those who already have everything in the world. Andrea is exhausted and may no longer love the joy of being a mother. All of that prompts Becky into committing to giving her baby to the lesbian couple who frequent the restaurant. They are able to promise her an arrangement that would be beneficial for everyone. They would pay for all of the expenses and legally adopt the child but Becky would remain a part of their lives as well. They like her and know that this may be the simplest way to start a family. However, Becky makes this commitment out of fear. She is afraid that she won't be able to get her life together. She believes that she will only traumatize this child for the rest of its life. She is protective enough to know that she could be dangerous. She still hasn't gotten a strong enough hold over her alcoholism. She fears the baby will be taken from the family. She is only reassured because Darlene promises to fight for this baby even if the worst should happen. That is a very sweet and sentimental moment that brings all of this together in a way that makes it feel rewarding for all of the characters.