The Conners' Ames McNamara Shares Thoughts On Darlene And Ben Shocker Leading Into Finale, And Waiting For Season 5 Renewal

Spoilers below for anyone who isn't caught up with The Conners Season 4, so be warned!

For nearly all of its fourth season, The Conners stuck to the awkward narrative reality of Darlene and Ben’s splintered relationship, following their surprising break-up in the Season 3 finale. Yet here we are, two episodes away from the current season’s capper, and those two characters rather quickly went from splitsville to more or less engaged, largely thanks to a bone-headed Darlene falling through the roof of her new abode. Understandably, it’s unclear exactly where things are heading for the once-again couple, but Conners star Ames McNamara thinks viewers should be pumped about what’s yet to come. 

McNamara spoke with CinemaBlend surrounding the May 4 episode “The Best Laid Plans, A Contrabassoon and A Sinking Feeling,” which featured the return of Roseanne guest star Christopher Lloyd as Lou on top of Ben’s big hospital-set proposal to Darlene (using a ring from a to-be-returned gift shop bear). When I asked the actor what he could say about that possibly rekindled relationship and Mark’s own feelings about it, here’s what McNamara told me:

I think Mark is definitely happy with the way things may or may not be going. And all I'll say is the ending of the season is exciting and dramatic. I don't want to give anything away, but I think viewers should look forward to the ending of this season. It's pretty cool.

That basically tracks with Ames McNamara’s thoughts earlier in the season, when he shared with us that Mark was vying for Ben to still be around in their lives despite not dating Darlene anymore, since he became such a welcome fixture for the rest of the family during their relationship. Without any recent updates on Mark’s own romantic life with Logan, I’m sure the character would love to have anyone else around that he doesn’t share a bloodline with. And while I’m not so sure Ben’s influence would have absolutely guided Mark away from his pill-popping transgressions earlier in Season 4, I can’t imagine he will do any harm if he’s around a lot more going forward. 

Ben proposing to Darlene in hospital room on The Conners

(Image credit: ABC)

Even without Ames McNamara’s tease that things will get exciting and dramatic when Season 4’s concludes, ABC already tipped its metaphorical hat to what fans can expect from The Conners’ potentially game-changing finale, titled “A Judge And a Priest Walk Into a Living Room...” The ep’s synopsis reveals that the sitcom is somehow following up on Dan and Louise’s weather-struck wedding with a potential trio of nuptials. Not only are Ben and Darlene up for newlywed status, but so are Jackie and Neville, and Harris and Aldo. That said, it really doesn't sound like all three couples will go forward with tying the knot, so don't expect everyone to be all smiles by the season's end.

Speaking of smiles, it would probably make a lot of fans happy if ABC would go forward with officially renewing The Conners for Season 5. One of the factors that makes this show slightly more difficult in that respect is that the cast members are locked in by year-to-year deals, as opposed to the standard six-year contracts that networks are known for. That said, it was reported in the final days of April that principal cast members Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman and Lecy Goranson all reached new agreements for a fifth season of the spinoff, with an official announcement presumed to be imminent. 

When I asked Ames McNamara if he was anxious to hear an update about the show's future, given its likelihood, and he responded with:

Yes. Yeah, totally. No final word yet. But, you know, fingers crossed.

With any luck, ABC and production company Werner Entertainment will figure out their episode counts and other stipulations head of the Season 4 finale, so that fans can watch knowing that there will be some kind of follow up in the fall. In the meantime, be sure to check out The Conners' final episodes over the next two Wednesday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.