The Conners will get political with an upcoming landmark episode. ABC's Roseanne spinoff will stage a first-ever live episode to coincide with the New Hampshire presidential primary on February 11.
The election-themed episode will feature Darlene's (Sara Gilbert) son Mark (Ames McNamara) as he watches the results of the primary for a school report. He will sit alongside his sister, Harris (Emma Kenney), who is "apathetic to the electoral process and believes money's influence in politics means real change is impossible," according to a synopsis posted by Entertainment Tonight.
The logline notes that the rest of the family will share their "differing takes on why they all think everyone should vote, including their working-class perspective that you may have to vote for a candidate you don't love but one that will 'screw you the least.'"
In the live twist, real-time ABC News coverage will be incorporated into the episode as election results come in. Two separate productions of The Conners will be created for the East and West Coasts, which means the ABC News scenes will differ in each broadcast.In addition to the election night storyline, Louise (guest star Katey Sagal) will be given an opportunity that could have her moving out of Lanford, which prompts the Conner family "to interfere in Dan's complicated relationship" by throwing his lady friend a surprise going-away party.
While this is the first time The Conners will be broadcast live, it is not the first time the sitcom family has discussed politics. When the Roseanne revival debuted in 2018, the Illinois family's deep political divide was addressed as Trump supporter Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) clashed with her Clinton-loving sister (Laurie Metcalf). Although the political rivals' names were never said in the episode, it was obvious who they were arguing about.
At the time, series star Sara Gilbert appeared on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live (via YouTube) to reiterate that the ABC sitcom is not about politics.
"It's not about anyone's position or a policy, it's really about what happens to a family when there's a political divide, which is something that I think the entire country can relate to and something we need to talk about," The Conners star said.
Live TV is not a new thing for ABC. Last month, the network aired a live broadcast aptly called Live in Front of a Studio Audience, a show that recreated classic episodes of Norman Lear's Good Times and All in the Family that first aired in the 1970s. The network also presented the musical TV special, The Little Mermaid Live, last fall.