Season 4 of The Conners was a pretty bleak outing for a TV sitcom, leaving fans wondering if more grief is in store for season 5. The comedy series has been known to tackle heavy topics like addiction, unemployment, and poverty. Though it shares DNA with classic sitcoms of a bygone era, the show is blue-collared and grounded. However, season 4 of the series went even darker than in previous years.
The Conners faced a lot of real-world issues in season 4. Topics like mass shootings and a weak job market likely resonated with viewers. The season also had what felt like needless melodrama and drawn-out misery plots. The new character Aldo provided some comic relief. His dad, played by Joe Walsh, even popped in. However, Harris’s relationship with the knucklehead mostly resulted in a prolonged feud with her mother Darlene. At the same time, newlyweds Dan and Louise essentially sniped at each other the entire season.
Season 4 of The Conners was more dramatic than previous seasons, which made it more impactful overall. However, this change in tone detracted from the sitcom genre since character comedy was no longer the focus. As a result, fans are wondering if season 5 will adopt this same approach.
The Conners and Roseanne have always been grounded, but never outright bleak
When Roseanne debuted in the 1980s, it was a breath of fresh air. The Conners were blue-collared, lower income, and rough around the edges. it was a sharp contrast to family comedies that featured upper-middle-class professionals such as The Cosby Show. When the show was rebooted several years ago, it held true to its origins. Even decades later, the family still struggled financially. The aging characters also had trouble with medical benefits. Still, there were laughs to be had, and the family rarely lashed out at each other.
Furthermore, the show was forced to write Roseanne out. She was killed offscreen, a victim of the opioid crisis. Going forward, The Conners would always have a tinge of sadness. Still, the show in all of its incarnations dealt with social issues. The dour tone really lies with the relationships within the family.
Season 4 of The Conners felt off because the characters were often fighting with each other. Normally, the family is banding together to fight outside conflict. Again, it made for a distinct season and had some hard-hitting moments. However, it’s likely that the show will pivot to having the family deal with external issues. The Conners season 5 might still touch on Mark’s difficulty in paying for college, as long as the conflict is presented as the Conners versus the world rather than one family member against another. Fans will probably enjoy seeing the show return to form, rather than another season of infighting.