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With its first season out from under the Roseanne umbrella, The Conners maintained its domination over all other TV comedies, making the larger second season a pretty important one in terms of the revival's primetime staying power. Former viewers could return after boycotting the Roseanne Barr-free Season 1, while others could choose to opt out of Season 2 after seeing how things fared last time around.
It doesn't look like The Conners will lean on overtly political storylines to fuel viewers' choices one way or the other. According to star Sara Gilbert, The Conners will continue tackling plotlines about topics that real people deal with on a day-to-day basis, as opposed to stories that are taking over the headlines. In Gilbert's words:
Our show has never really been overtly political in that we never take an issue in the news and hit it head on. It’s more: How do the things that are happening in our country affect our family? What happens if you don’t have great healthcare? What happens if you can’t break the cycle of poverty? What happens if you get pregnant too young? We always try to do the things that are going on in real families’ lives, so we will continue to do that. The stories shift based on our cultural, political and social climate but not in the sense of, 'Oh, we’re going after this one story because this is huge in the news and we’re going to have the characters comment on it.'
With the death of Roseanne Conner in Season 1, The Conners hit upon the topic of opioid use and abuse in the U.S., after already having shined a light on healthcare issues on Roseanne. But in ways that reflected and affected the family's lives, as opposed to offering up the various characters' reactions to how the media or anyone else in the country is responding to healthcare issues.
Similarly, the Conner family has always been as blue-collar as TV clans get, making financial problems a major factor from time to time. (Minus that one lottery-motivated season.) Whether it's making sure there's enough money to put food on the table for everyone in the family, or it's weighing the pros and cons of having another couple's baby for them, the idea of earning money is always going to be a big topic on The Conners, just as it is a major conversation source in millions of households in this country and beyond.
While that kind of subject matter can obviously bring a conversation to more brazenly political territory in the real world, The Conners can be relied on to mostly avoid pointing partisan fingers the way that others shows might. Considering the show did indeed face a backlash from some of its viewership when Roseanne Barr got fired over an insulting tweet,
Speaking to Parade, Sara Gilbert also gave talked about about what fans can expect to see in Season 2 in general.
The show always has a mix of comedy and drama. Life is never easy for the Conners, but they laugh their way through it. So, people will see that and they’re familiar with that. Since the reboot, we’ve serialized the show a lot more, so you can follow the arc and the drama throughout the season. You’ll see that again.
While we won't be seeing more politically driven stories in Season 2, fans can reportedly expect to see actress Katey Segal making a return as Dan's former flame Louise. There's a good chance she'll be around for more than just a single episode.
That said, the word is still out on whether or not actress Maya Lynne Robinson will show up as D.J.'s wife Geena in The Conners' second season, considering Robinson landed another acting role on CBS' upcoming comedy The Unicorn, starring Walton Goggins. To account for Geena's absence, The Conners' creative team is adding in the reveal that she's been redeployed overseas.
The Conners will return to ABC with its only slightly political stories on Tuesday, September 24, at 8:00 p.m. ET.