Why The Conners Season 3 Premiere Included An Unexpected George Clooney Throwback

the conners season 3 premiere jackie abc
(Image credit: ABC)

Spoilers ahead for the Season 3 premiere of The Conners on ABC.

The Conners returned to ABC for the Season 3 premiere that revealed how the Conner household is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which involved Becky and Darlene needing to search for new jobs, Dan facing an eviction unless he starts charging his daughters rent, and Jackie going on a blast to the past that involved a throwback to none other than a very young George Clooney from Roseanne. Showrunner Bruce Helford explained why.

Speaking with TVLine about the Conners Season 3 premiere and the appearance of a very young George Clooney from his Roseanne days, Bruce Helford said:

As soon as we decided that Darlene and Becky would work on the Wellman line like their mom and Jackie before them, we knew it’d be fun to pop in a memory of George. There’s such a rich history to this show and we have the unique gift to be able to flash back to earlier times with our characters, so we pick carefully.

Back before he became a big-name movie star, George Clooney played a character by the name of Booker Brooks for eleven episodes of Roseanne, and his time on the show involved a brief romance with Jackie. Booker was the foreman of Wellman Plastics when Jackie and Roseanne worked there early on in Roseanne. His time on the show involved a bowling date with Jackie that The Conners revisited, courtesy of Jackie thinking back to days gone by.

When Wellman Plastics started hiring again, Jackie reminisced about her time there after Darlene said it would be "too easy" to catch something in an assembly line during a pandemic, saying:

Yeah. I was too easy. I caught something once. From the supervisor, Booker. But it was worth it. He looked just like George Clooney. Oh man, I should have hit that 'til I broke it.

The trip down memory lane involved a flashback to Roseanne including a young and very charming George Clooney flirting with Jackie as Booker Brooks. While this wasn't quite Clooney returning to TV to reprise his role as Booker, it did establish that both Booker and George Clooney exist in the Conners universe. Who knew?

That said, the mention of the actor George Clooney doesn't mean that the return of Booker Brooks is out of the question, should the stars align. Bruce Helford weighed in on the idea of Clooney actually appearing on The Conners:

George knows there’s an open invitation to come visit the show, but we knew his schedule would be tough and even tougher in these times. But who knows what the future may bring?

Bruce Helford further revealed that there are no plans to introduce a new foreman at Wellman despite Darlene and Becky beginning to work there, so fans can always dream sweet dreams of George Clooney making an appearance in the present. The Conners has already managed to land some big-name guest stars, including Dan Aykroyd, Jennifer Grey, and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, not to mention Katey Sagal.

Still, George Clooney is on a whole other level. His TV appearances have also been few and far between since his days on ER, with the exception of a six-episode run on Hulu's Catch-22 limited series adaptation. At least Conners fans can appreciate the Season 3 premiere throwback!

New episodes of The Conners will continue to air on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. If you're in the market for some additional viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).