As the fall TV season kicks into gear, you can expect to see a lot of network favorites incorporating the reality of life in the time of coronavirus into their storylines, including ABC's The Conners. On Wednesday, the network revealed a preview for The Conners Season 3, which premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 9/8c. It's clear from the footage that the Conners' iconic couch is going to get plenty of use as the family grapples with social distancing and stay-at-home measures.
"We're Conners. We're gonna get through this the way we always do. We're gonna watch TV. We're gonna drink beer. And we're gonna blame all our troubles on the government," Dan (John Goodman) says in the promo.
Lounging with their favorite crocheted quilt might be business as usual for the Conners, but that doesn't mean everything will stay the same. Elsewhere in the preview, we see Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Lecy Goranson) packaging hand sanitizer bottles at Wellman Plastics — yes, that's the same Lanford factory that employed their mother and aunt in the first season of Roseanne, until the workplace became so toxic that they and several coworkers memorably called it quits.
But fans probably won't see a repeat of that iconic walkout scene happen with Becky and Darlene this time around. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday during ABC's fall preview panel, the cast revealed that while the new job will be difficult for Becky and Darlene, they will also be grateful just to have work in these tough times — even if it means butting heads after spending so much time together.
"We are shooting an episode right now that deals with [a] toxic work environment and problems that come up, so that is definitely a theme that we are touching on for sure," Sara Gilbert told reporters. "If you know anything about Becky and Darlene and their relationship can also be toxic," Goranson added. "So the fact that they're thrown together at the factory makes things a little difficult at home at times, but, like me, I think a lot of people are happy to be working right now. People want to bring home money and feel like they're part of something. So as much as there is — toxic is a strong word — but I would say workplace difficulties or conflicts that there is a gratefulness of going to work."
Gilbert went on to add that Darlene in particular will experience new emotional challenges as a result of the gig. "Darlene has a journey, and without getting too much into the specifics, she has always wanted to be a writer, so she has to reconcile where she's at with where she has always wanted to be in her mind," Gilbert teased of the character's arc in the new season.
As for what else is ahead on The Conners Season 3? Producer Bruce Helford revealed that much of the season will focus on how the economic crisis will impact the already-stretched-thin family. "It just seemed natural that we would be in the middle of this," he said about America's struggles with the pandemic and the resulting financial crises. For him, the goal of the new season is to "stay relevant and show them what it's like for a family that knows how to get through hard times but is thrown a curve like never before."
And while staying relevant also means The Conners will incorporate themes of the upcoming presidential election into the storyline — specifically, about "the polarization in America" — Helford confirmed audiences will not see another live episode like what was aired during the New Hampshire Democratic Primary in February for the Nov. 3 election.
The Conners Season 3 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 9/8c on ABC.