After an extended hiatus due the Hollywood-wide production shutdowns earlier in the year, The Conners finally returned to ABC for Season 3 in October. The series has seen its fair share of major guest stars over the years, including Jennifer Grey and Katey Sagal. However, the sitcom is expanding its cast in Season 3, adding a transgender character who will play an important role in Darlene’s life.
Transparent vet Alexandra Billings is joining The Conners for Season 3. The openly transgender actress will be playing a character by the name of Robin, a no-nonsense boss at the Wellman Plastics factory where Sara Gilbert’s Darlene and Lecy Goranson’s Becky now work. Per Deadline, Billings is set to recur in multiple episodes, though exactly how many or when her first episode will be is still unclear. In addition to being a supervisor, Robin will befriend and mentor Darlene.
Alexandra Billings’ most notable role thus far was in the Amazon series Transparent. On the show, she played teacher Davina Rejennae and appeared in 24 episodes throughout the series’ four-season run. The actress has also guest starred on Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Goliath, and the Disney+ series Diary of a Future President. In addition to her TV acting credits, Billings has also starred as Madame Morrible in the theater production of Wicked and in movies such as Valley of Bones, Freelancers Anonymous, and the upcoming Charlie Hustle.
The Conners’ casting of Alexandra Billings will mark the first time the sitcom will include a transgender character. Billings’ addition to the show is certainly worth celebrating, if you ask me, and I’m excited to see what Robin’s friendship with Darlene looks like. Will she be invited to Conner family dinners most nights, or is the picture above meant to be a one-and-done deal? Did Robin and Darlene know each other before the latter started working at the factory? Inquiring minds want to know.
Like many other series, The Conners opened its third season with a COVID-related storyline that saw the family facing a plethora of real-life turmoils, including the hunt for new jobs for Darlene and Becky following the closure (save for deliveries) of the Lunch Box restaurant where they worked.
That led them both to join the staff of the Wellman Plastics plant, a factory where their mom had worked, for extra income. Interestingly enough, the casting announcement doesn’t mention what Robin and Becky’s relationship will be like. That could mean that she and Becky are simply not that close or don’t interact much at all when compared with Darlene and Robin. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.