Looks like The Conners won’t be pulling a This Is Us on us. Sara Gilbert, who plays Darlene on the Roseanne spinoff The Conners, told The TVLine Podcast that the first season of the sitcom ended with some cliffhangers and that she doesn’t anticipate resuming the series with a time jump that has them all resolved. In the 17-minute podcast interview, Gilbert revealed that the show “probably” won’t do a time jump and that the birth of Becky Conner’s (Lecy Goranson) baby will likely be a storyline.
Gilbert admitted that her anxiety level “was high” ahead of The Conners premiere last fall, just five months after ABC canceled the Roseanne revival amid former series star Roseanne Barr’s controversial tweets. Gilbert said that while her mind was at ease once the good reviews came in for The Conners, it took a while for the show to find its footing.
“It was like, OK, [we delivered] a great pilot, but we still had to find our legs over the first few episodes. It went in and out.”
Gilbert said she was ultimately confident after shooting the first episode, “Keep on Truckin,'” which detailed the death of family matriarch Roseanne Conner. The Conners star noted that she was proud that the cast and crew “set out to have this really dramatic storyline and that it wasn’t just one “very special episode” of television.
Gilbert also praised the show’s writers for allowing the Conner family’s grief to “ripple across time.” Indeed, it wasn’t until the end of the first season of The Conners that Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) finally “lost it” over the grief she felt over her sister’s death.
Sara Gilbert also revealed that she is reluctant to label her character Darlene the new “matriarch” of the show in the wake of Roseanne’s absence and instead points to the entire cast for coming together instead of one person trying o fill Roseanne’s shoes.
“I felt like there was something missing from the show that no one of us was ever going to be able to fill — so we all came together as a family instead.”
For The Conners’ upcoming 19-episode second season, Gilbert confirmed that Johnny Galecki, who plays her longtime love David Healy, will be back “as much as he wants to be on the show.” While Gilbert couldn’t confirm if Jay R. Ferguson—who played Darlene’s other love interest—will be back, she did note that the first season of the ABC spinoff ended with a cliffhanger that his character was involved in.
In a recent interview with Variety, Sara Gilbert admitted that it was “definitely a risk” to come back for a spinoff series minus Roseanne Barr, but that she knew that the Conner family still had a lot more stories to tell.
“It’s almost like the choice was made for us,” The Conners star said. “We work so well together and have such great chemistry, so it just felt like a natural extension of what we were already doing.”
The second season of the ABC hit will resume with Gilbert’s character Darlene dealing with the aftermath of telling her boyfriend Ben (Jay R. Ferguson) she doesn’t want to move to Chicago with him just as her ex-husband David (Johnny Galecki) asks for another chance for their relationship.
The Conners returns to ABC this fall.