The Conners Season 5 Reveals Darlene Being the New Roseanne Won't Be Easy

Darlene was positioned as Roseanne's replacement in Season 5 of The Conners, but the spinoff knew it was at the character's expense.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Conners season 5, episode 14.

^ While the Conners may have Darlene as the new Roseanne's eponymous heroine, the role comes with its own set of challenges. Roseanne's lead, Roseanne Conner, was an anomaly in '90s sitcom history. The outspoken working-class sitcom diva has a deep aversion to sentimentality, and she almost always kills sweet moments with barbed asides. While this irony became more common on television over the next few years, Roseanne's heroine is unique in the maudlin TV comedy landscape, such as Full House and The Cosby Show, which predated Seinfeld's famous The influential "No Embrace, No Learn" policy.

While Roseanne's legacy casts a shadow over The Conners, the sitcom spinoff alters some of the original's appeal. For example, since Roseanne's death, the Conner family has become kinder to Jackie, and the supporting cast is better able to stand up for themselves as a result. Likewise, Dan has far fewer fights with his second wife, Katey Sagal's easy-going Louise, than he has with Roseanne. However, this tonal shift didn't stop The Conners season 5 from positioning Darlene as Roseanne's replacement. That is, a As the spin-off series proves, it's not easy being Roseanne's heroine, even though audiences may have loved the late character.

Although Roseanne is well hidden at heart, her distaste for sentimentality can make her an outright unpleasant person, sometimes when the plot calls for some tenderness. For example, when Jackie's Roseanne storyline was sadder, Roseanne wasn't a strong support for her sister, as the sitcom heroine struggled to combine her sharp wit with any kind of softer side to her character. This shortcoming of persistent calm is highlighted in "The Conners" season 5, episode 14, "Worse," when Darlene brings out her combative, sarcastic self during a job interview, prompting potential employers to immediately put off hiring. She, even though she qualified.

The Conners Season 5 Brought Back Roseanne’s Biggest Problem

Although Darlene eventually got a job in a corporate accounting department (since the department needed outspoken, unemotional employees), Darlene initially complained about her failed job interview. Understanding reflects her mother's greatest flaw. Ben and Darlene's bickering in The Conners season 5 further highlighted the extent to which Roseanne's daughter inherited her mother's inability to make peace and avoid conflict, even if it was in her best interest. When Roseanne and Darlene Both can be fearless when necessary, their shared quality can be ruthless at times, and both characters lack a filter, which is a problem for them.

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Not only did Darlene's terse personality deepen her falling out with Ben early in their married life, but her refusal to temper her constant insults also ruined many of her desperately needed job interviews. In telling that story, The Conners season 5 proved that Roseanne's cameo wasn't necessary to highlight the legacy of its former heroine. Because of their shared arrogance, watching Darlene fall into the same trap that her mother had before was a rawer and more grounded reminder of Roseanne's star than any cameo, and the storyline is a reminder that Roseanne's imperfections can sometimes hurt those around her people.

Darlene’s Personality Costs Her In The Conners Season 5

Darlene struggles with her mother more than anyone, so Conners needs to acknowledge how much of this is due to her similarities to Roseanne rather than their differences. Both Darlene and Roseanne use humor as a defense mechanism to keep people at a distance, as both characters are wary of emotional intimacy. The Conners Season 5 Picks When Mark reads aloud his later grandmother's diary, a bleakly accurate summary of Roseanne's relationship with Dan, and Dan tells him to read only the Supplement, Mark begins silently flipping through full-page entries.

Why Darlene’s Story Needed This Roseanne Nod

As Season 5 of "The Conners" continued to explore how Roseanne shaped the titular family's character (for better or worse), the show inevitably explored her flaws and strengths. This is the best approach for a Roseanne spinoff, as trying to portray Roseanne as a saint goes against both her character's worldview and the show's sense of humor. While Season 5 of The Conners really didn't need more tragic twists, the show could address Roseanne's flaws without being too downbeat, and Darlene's storyline in Season 5 of The Conners highlighted Roseanne's flaws, proving up to this point.

More: The Conners season 5, episode 13 release date (and hiatus explained)

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