After a month’s winter break The Conners is back on ABC with brand new episodes. And the series doesn’t waste time throwing important family members back in the middle of the early episodes. Executive producers Bruce Helford and Dave Caplan chatted with ET about what to expect for Darlene (Sara Gilbert), Mark (Ames McNamara), Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) while they revealed when fans can expect Louise back on screen seen after Katey Sagal was hit by a car last October.
Last fall, the 67-year-old actress ended up in hospital after being hit by a car while crossing the street. She has been since then seen on crutches as she continues to recover. Unfortunately for the show, this meant prolonging her character’s absence.
“She was left out when she tried to attack a car,” jokes Helford before revealing that Sagal will be making a brief return in episode 11, which airs Jan. 19. “We had to do a scene with her where she just sat down because she didn’t go right.”
It won’t be long, however, before Sagal is fully back in the mix. “We know she’s healed pretty well and will be returning to the family in episode 14,” says Helford, explaining that they only had to postpone her return for a few episodes after the accident. “We’re really happy that she is back and happy that she is fine … She really wants to go back to work.”
Until then, Caplan teases that fans “can expect a lot of juicy relationship stuff too”. Especially between Ben (Jay R. Ferguson) and Darlene, who are still navigating each other’s lives after their breakup. “They try to live together more or less because, in a way, he’s part of the family. But it’s complicated and messy and we love that, ”he adds.
Darlene also explores a new relationship with Nick (Andrew Leeds), who returns in today’s episode “Three Exes, Role Playing and a Waterbed,” when the two go to the hardware store on Ben’s day off only to find out he’s working.
While executive producers don’t reveal how long Nick will stay, Helford says he’s “an important part” of Darlene’s journey. “She seems to be looking for something and is having a hard time finding it,” he notes.
Elsewhere, Caplan and Helford warn that one of the youngest Conners is on the way to the dark side to be investigated next week in “Spills, Pills and The Midnight Lasagna”. “Like most Conner teens, he’s taking a turn,” says Helford, explaining that Mark picks up pills after struggling to keep up with his magnet school.
“That leads us to a couple of different things,” says Helford. “You know, he has a boyfriend now. And there are many adolescent problems that he has not yet shown any signs of and that are emerging now. ”
He adds, “We have great bows for him for the rest of the season.”
When it comes to some of the other Conners, the EPs tease that Harris (Emma Kenney) is going to run into some relationship issues with Aldo (Tony Cavalero). “Harris also has a great storyline,” says Helford. Meanwhile, Becky (Lecy Goranson) falls in love with one of her college professors. “That’s problematic,” he says.
Then there’s Jackie, whose relationship with Neville (Nat Faxon) has been going well for a long time. “This has been such a rewarding and great relationship for Jackie,” says Caplan, teasing that Jackie’s demons “come to the surface every now and then” and complicate things.
And on today’s episode, things are really put to the test when Jackie meets Logan’s mother. “She’s younger and very attractive, and that creates a number of problems for Jackie,” says Helford.
About the rest of the season, Caplan says, “It’s a lot about relationships. And the Conners have had a tough time and now many of them have a chance to find happiness. But with the Conners it’s never that easy. ”
“There are going to be some big surprises this season with the Conners’ ties,” he concludes.
The Conners airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET / PT on ABC.
Reference from etonline