The Conners' Michael Fishman Reveals One Element From Roseanne He's Eager To See More Of

michael fishman as d.j. in the conners season 3 gallery pic
(Image credit: abc press)

The Conners is now back on ABC, having delivered the series' second fully live episode as its Season 4 premiere. Before getting into all the fan-calling and the relationship issues between Darlene and Ben, fans witnessed John Goodman and Katey Sagal breaking the fourth wall with a fun fact about how the microwave works (or doesn't) within that instantly recognizable kitchen set. When CinemaBlend spoke with star Michael Fishman about the episode, I asked if there were other interesting details about the iconic set that has been a TV mainstay since Roseanne's first season, and his update is a delight for longtime fans.

Michael Fishman once again stepped behind the camera to direct an episode of The Conners' fourth season, and revealed how upcoming episodes will reincorporate a spot in the Conners' household that hasn't been utilized all that often since the Roseanne days: the laundry/mudroom. Here's how Fishman put it:

It's an amazing set, I think, the way it was designed originally when Garvin Eddy designed it, and then when they redesigned it for The Connors. There are sight angles, and as a director, I really try to utilize that. I love the ability to see from the kitchen all the way into the living room, because that's how we live in our real houses is we don't just stay in one room; we kind of talk to each other across rooms. You'll see in the third episode, the one I directed, we play from the mudroom and the laundry room through into the kitchen. That's something we used to do in the old show and I wanted to do more of. Because again, I think that's how families talk, so those kind of glass windows that are in between that used to be probably exterior are now part of the house, and I think they're fun to play with.

A lot of TV sitcoms have featured completely separate living rooms and kitchens, more often than not so that sets can be swapped out when one or the other isn't being used. But Roseanne and The Conners have long embraced the openness between the two rooms, which does indeed allow for more realistic in-conversation character moments. If D.J. is going to get a glass of milk and Becky asks him a question, he doesn't need to stick to a static spot in the living room in order to keep that dialogue going. He can just answer from the fridge, presumably while doing expiration-date math.

In the same vein, the characters also used to similarly incorporate the mudroom and laundry room for moments like those, where an arriving or exiting character again didn't need to stick to one specific area to open or close out a scene. Granted, it made slightly more sense when it wasn't just everyone piled into one house, and when familiar friends and family members used the back door more often than the front.

Which isn't to say that The Conners has pretended as if the laundry room area doesn't exist anymore, since characters do come through there, and will sometimes holler out from behind the wall. There just hasn't been a push to set parts of scenes there anymore. But if Michael Fishman has anything to say about it, it'll become the most important room in the house! Okay, I guess he didn't say it quite like that.

Michael Fishman also shared another tidbit about the kitchen's microwave, as well as the not-always-working sink. In his words:

The sink itself is not always practical, so it's not always [with] running water. So you know, for certain scenes, we gotta plumb that thing and make it work. Jeff, who was on the trigger switch, had to literally trigger the microwave by hand each time. So if you want to be a guy on a button with a moment of truth in a live episode, he had two of them, and he did a great job.

So the next time you're watching a TV show and you see someone washing dishes or filling up a fishbowl, remember there's a pretty good chance that set's sink wasn't working the week before, and may not be working the week after. Now how do we get the vent working in the bathroom where Roseanne and Dan got stoned?

The Conners is no stranger to bringing back long-gone stories and characters from the franchise's first decade on the air, from last season's tragic return of Danielle Harris' Molly to the George Clooney callback to sporadic appearances from Johnny Galecki's David. But fans can definitely expect to see some new faces in Season 4, such as Jason Alexander, and while it's not entirely new, Fred Savage's psychologist will also be returning for a night of Wonder Years-themed fun.

The Conners airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to check out our 2021 Fall TV schedule to see what other new and returning shows are on the way, with or without mudrooms involved.

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.