‘The Conners’ Executive Producer Opens Up About Dark Storyline Involving Mark

by Allison Hambrick

The Conners co-showrunner Bruce Helford discussed how the youngest member of the Conner family will evolve in the coming episodes. Mark Conner-Healy, played by Ames McNamara, is the son of Darlene Conner, played by Sara Gilbert, and David Healy, played by Johnny Galecki.

Mark contrasts with his family in that he prefers dressing in effeminate styles. At first, this creates some tension between him and his grandfather Dan, played by John Goodman. However, he does grow more accepting with time. In 2019, the series had an episode in which Mark comes out of the closet. This is met with love and support from his mother, Darlene.

As for how he’ll progress in the coming season, Helford explained that “like most Conner adolescents, he takes a turn.” The pressure of being in a magnet school causes Mark to become dependent on pills.

“That leads us into a few different things,” Helford told Entertainment Tonight. “You know, he has a boyfriend now. And there’s a lot of adolescent problems that he hasn’t shown signs of yet that are now coming to roost.” 

“We have great arcs for the rest of the season for him,” Helford concluded.

The Conners EP Talks Relationships on the Show 

Alongside co-showrunner Dave Caplan, Helford unpacked what the rest of the season has to offer.

“It’s a lot about the relationships,” Caplan explained. “And the Conners have had a tough go for so long and now a lot of them have a chance to find happiness. But with the Conners, it’s never that easy.” 

Each character gets their own slice of the drama. Darlene, for example, finds herself caught between starting a new relationship and being on good terms with her ex. Even so, Darlene’s new beau Nick will be “an important part” of her journey. Caplan said “they’re trying to live together more or less because he’s a part of the family in a way, but it’s complicated and messy and we love that.” 

Additionally, the other Conners all have relationship woes. Teenager Harris deals with her relationship with her boyfriend Aldo. Becky falls for one of her professors at college in a “problematic” twist. Then, fan-favorite Jackie, played by Laurie Metcalfe, has her own long-term relationship.

“This has been such a rewarding and a great relationship for Jackie,” Caplan continued. The writer did note that Jackie’s demons will “pop to the surface now and again” and complicate things. The age difference between Jackie and her boyfriend Neville has also been a significant talking point, especially by Neville’s older sister Louise. The only relationship likely to stay out of the hot seat is that of Louise and Dan, who married in season four.

“There’s going to be some big surprises coming into this season about where some of the Conners’ relationships go,” Caplan stated.  

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