It looks like sparks are still flying for Darlene Conner and her boss man. When the Conners fans last saw the character played by Sara Gilbert, she was butting heads with her boss, Ben (Jay R. Ferguson), — and bedding him. The two Type As agreed they would try to make a relationship work as they work together at Lock ‘Em Up magazine, but after locking horns on everything from editorial ideas to salt, these two had their work cut out for them.
But new photos posted by ABC show that Darlene and Ben’s relationship survives the New Year, at least. Photos for the upcoming episode, “Don’t Shoot the Piano Teacher,” set to air on January 15, show the couple kissing and later hanging out in the Conner kitchen with Darlene’s kids (played by Ames McNamara and Emma Kenney) and the rest of the family. The episode synopsis posted by the Futon Critic reads: “When Ben offers Mark free piano lessons, Darlene finds this as an opportunity to test his parenting skills.”
Fans of the original Roseanne series know that Darlene’s only serious relationship up until now has been with her high school sweetheart turned ex-husband, David (Johnny Galecki). On the spinoff series, Darlene’s relationship with her bullheaded boss is a little more reminiscent of the push-and-pull dynamic between her parents Dan and Roseanne (John Goodman, Roseanne Barr.)
Of course, the big question is, will David approve of Ben? Turns out, in real life he does, at least. Earlier this year, Johnny Galecki and Jay R. Ferguson worked together on the short-lived CBS comedy, Living Biblically. Galecki executive produced the sitcom while Ferguson starred as main character Chip Curry.
Jay R. Ferguson was even Sara Gilbert’s date for the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards when she was a teen star on Roseanne. In an interview with GQ, Ferguson recalled the viral photo of the two wearing their ’90s best for the popular MTV awards show.
“It’s so funny, because I was just talking with Sara Gilbert the other day, who’s still a dear friend of mine, and one of my oldest friends, and I actually sent that picture to her—this is before it started making the rounds on the internet, but I had seen it somewhere, and I just sent it to her like, ‘Look at us and how ridiculous we were!'” Ferguson said. “That was kind of in a transitional period for me as I was going out of my Jim Morrison phase and into my underground techno-rave phase, and that outfit was a kind of a meeting of the two… But yeah, that is a crazy picture. I almost got beat up by Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes that night. He would probably never remember it.”
Ben is the second love interest for Darlene Conner this season. In earlier episodes of the Conners, Darlene was dating Neil (played by Justin Long). But the mom of two ended her relationship with her pushover beau once she realized she had a pattern of dating men who let her boss them around.
The Conners episode “Don’t Shoot the Piano Teacher” airs Tuesday, January 15 at 8 p.m. on ABC.