‘The Conners’: Darlene Finally Meets Her Match With Jay R. Ferguson

Byron CohenABC

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from The Conners Season 1 episode “Miracles.”

The Conners went in a new direction this week as Darlene (Sara Gilbert) landed a new job that could also lead her to a new love.

In a surprising twist on ABC’s Roseanne spinoff, the middle Conner kid ended her short-lived relationship with new boyfriend Neil (Justin Long) after realizing she has a pattern of picking men that let her boss them around. To further her point, Darlene told Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) that Neil was “devastated” over the breakup “until I told him he wasn’t.”

But now it appears that Darlene could be set for a new relationship with an unlikely suitor. In the “Miracles” episode, the single mom landed an editor job at the Lanford mugshot mag Lock ‘Em Up. But it was her unusual interview and adorable back and forth banter with new boss Ben (Jay R. Ferguson) that has fans thinking Darlene may have finally met her match.

After a spirited debate about the “direction” of the magazine (hint: there is none), Ben promotes his new hire to managing editor of the publication. They decide to celebrate with Chinese food, but when Darlene tries to stop Ben from ordering the Chinese fried rice, he tells her he’s a “grown-a** man” and can make his own decisions. It’s clear that Ben is nothing like Darlene’s past guys Neil and David (Johnny Galecki), who let her walk all over them.

The Conners role is a surprising one for fans of Ferguson, who, until recently, was best known for his work in dark dramas like Mad Men. Ahead of his most recent sitcom spin on The Conners, the Living Biblically alum admitted to Vulture that he never thought his career trajectory would include sitcom roles, but he said he is grateful for it.

“The irony is that this – I don’t know what to call it – newfound little nuance that I can put on things that make it humorous to people, I don’t know when it happened,” Ferguson said. “I’m pretty sure it happened during Mad Men, but it wasn’t due to me or me discovering anything, it was me getting great material and really great writers doing all the work for you, which gives everyone this false notion that I possess some sort of talent, when the real truth is I’ve just been really lucky to be around very talented people. And that has had a very beneficial residual effect on my career and it led down this road of comedy, which I’ve really been having a lot of fun with.”

You can see Sara Gilbert’s hilarious job interview scene with Jay R. Ferguson in The Conners clip below.

The Conners airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.