‘The Conners’ Star Ames McNamara Opens Up About Mark’s Dark Storyline

by Allison Hambrick

The Conners actor Ames McNamara discussed the emotional turn Mark Conner-Healy’s story took in recent episodes of the series. In the episode “Spills, Pills and The Midnight Lasagna,” Mark finds himself struggling to maintain his honor roll average at a magnet school. As a result, he develops an addiction to 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 told CinemaBlend. “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.”

While addiction is something that runs in the Conner family, McNamara thinks family will be the thing that helps Mark overcome his substance abuse issues. After all, this family has been through far worse.

“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. But it’s unfortunately turning him to some bad things.”

The Conners Star Talks Family Bonds

Additionally, McNamara thinks the key to recovery rests on one thing: Mark’s relationship with his mother, Darlene. Throughout the series, the two shared an incredible bond. Even after Mark came out of the closet, Darlene held his hand through it all.

“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. “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.”

Despite these hardships, McNamara seemed positive about Mark’s future. With a family like The Conners, Mark is lucky to have the support needed to survive such a high-pressure situation.

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