Things are getting pretty serious between Becky and Tyler on The Conners.
As TVLine was first to report, Sean Astin will reprise his Season 5 role as Becky’s love interest when the ABC comedy returns for Season 6. “He’s in two of the first five episodes, and we’ve got plans for more of him,” executive producer Bruce Helford tells TVLine. “It’s really nice because it’s the first time since Mark from the Roseanne days that we’ve really found someone where the chemistry is right for Lecy Goranson and for the Becky character.”
More from TVLine
Early episodes will see Becky introduce Tyler to Dan, Jackie and Darlene (as seen in the promo above) — and later, her daughter Beverly Rose. That said, Becky is being “cautious, trying not to make a misstep,” fellow EP Dave Caplan explains. “It’s complicated when you have a kid and you bring someone new into your life, so she’s being really careful with that” — and neither Becky nor Tyler want to do anything that puts their budding romance at risk. “They want to see if this relationship has what it takes to go the long haul.”
Season 6 will also see Jackie take stock of her life and how far she’s come despite a lack of self confidence. “Originally, her goal was to make the Lunch Box a success to show her mother that she could do it,” Helford points out, “but that’s not the situation she finds herself in at the moment.”
In the Wednesday, Feb. 7 opener, viewers will learn that Jackie has been “shirking her duties at The Lunch Box,” Helford tells TVLine. “She hasn’t been doing what she needs to do, and Louise and Becky are really frustrated by how it has impacted business.” In an effort to turn things around, “Becky reaches out to a restaurant rescue show, and who shows up but Nick Offerman!”
It’s a reunion for Helford and Offerman, who worked together on another ABC sitcom, George Lopez. Twenty years later, the newly minted Emmy winner guest-stars on The Conners as “a very successful chef and TV host, and it’s crazy fun to watch him interacting with John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert and Lecy Goranson.”
The premiere will also see Dan and Darlene embark on a road trip to Chicago, where Darlene lived and worked as a copywriter before she moved back in with her parents in 2018’s Roseanne revival. The outing sees Darlene bump into an old coworker, and offers some fresh perspective on the relationship between father and daughter. “It’s really about how you never stop being a parent, even when you have adult kids,” says Caplan.
The following week marks the return of 96-year-old Estelle Parsons, who’s back for Episodes 2 and 3 as emotional terrorist Bev. “There has been a lot of speculation about her,” Helford acknowledges, coming off of last season’s discovery that Roseanne and Jackie’s mother is deep in throes of dementia. “There’s a big surprise twist in these couple of episodes… and anybody who is a Bev fan is really going to enjoy these.”
Last season, Darlene accepted a position as a lunch lady at Stephen A. Douglas University to help pay Mark’s way through school. Now that Mark is a college freshman, early episodes will show how mother and son navigate their new roles and occupy this unlikely shared space. “The focus right now is how he’s settling into college, and how she’s able to help him,” Helford says. As for Mark’s big sister Harris, “she’s moving in a different path [and] wrestling with what she wants to do with the rest of her life.”
Meanwhile, Darlene’s husband Ben “is looking at the big 5-0,” Caplan teases. “He’s got some mental gymnastics that he’s negotiating, and what it all means — all while having to work harder to make up for the sacrifices Darlene has made by taking the lunch lady job.”
Last but not least are Dan and Louise, who are “working hard this season to try and get their finances righted and get a handle on the mortgage,” Helford says. Louise, who’s been working at the Lunch Box, will also “branch out on a venture of her own.”
“Louise has always been someone who needs a challenge,” Caplan says. “She’s off the road and she’s no longer a rock-and-roll musician, and it’s been an adjustment for her — and by extension, for Dan. She’s trying to find that next mountain to climb, so they’re negotiating that, as well.”
The Conners Season 6 — which will consist of 13 episodes — premieres Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 8/7c on ABC.
The Conners: 5 MIA Roseanne Characters’ Absences Explained
Best of TVLine