‘The Conners’ Star Ames McNamara Describes Emotional Moment With Darlene

by Allison Hambrick
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Conners actor Ames McNamara opened up about the strong bond shared between his character, Mark, and his mother, Darlene.

“I think there’s always so many emotional scenes between Mark and Darlene in Mark’s bedroom where they’re talking about all these serious topics,” McNamara explained to CinemaBlend. “So it’s always great to work with Sara. I think she’s such a great team partner, and I really enjoy doing these type of things with her because it makes it easier for me. But I think, like you’re saying, playing it for laughs: that’s sort of what the Conners do. In spite of all this adversity, they are trying to make light of it and trying to make the best of it through humor.”

Throughout the series, Darlene has always been there for Mark in times of trouble. Since the start of the series, he has been the black sheep of the family, preferring effeminate styles and activities. As a result, his relationship with his grandfather Dan, played by John Goodman, is noticeably strained. Even so, they always come through for each other. In 2019, Mark comes out of the closet, which was met with love and support from his mother, Darlene. You can say a lot about The Conners, but they love each other.

When discussing how the series will move forward with Mark’s story, showrunner Eric Caplan said: “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.” 

The Conners Star Unpacks Heavy Storyline

In addition to discussing Mark’s relationship with Darlene, McNamara revealed how he feels about the latest turn in his character’s story. Overwhelmed by the pressures of being at a magnet school, Mark finds himself dependent on another character’s ADHD medication.

“I think for one, it was really fun for me to sort of bring this different side to the character, and to get to showcase that there’s more to Mark than what we’ve been seeing,” McNamara said. “And I think he’s dealing with a lot of stress right now with school, and just all the other Conner problems are impacting him as well. I think that, even though, obviously what’s happening is what’s happening, there’s still motivation — this honest motivation behind it — to really try and make a better life for himself.”

However, McNamara expressed that things may pan out for Mark. While he is over-ambitious, he has an amazing support system. Before his self-destructive tendencies get the better of him, the rest of the Conners might just step in.

“Because, you know, it seems like addiction and substance abuse problems are something that can generally have a family history,” said McNamara. “But I think that one thing that will really help Mark is that he does have this strong family support system, and that can help him sort of overcome the stresses that he’s dealing with right now, and the problems that he’s facing. But I think that this won’t be a long-term problem for Mark. I think this is just a phase of him growing up and trying to find independence, and trying to find his way in the world.”