‘The Conners’ Star You Forgot Played This Memorable Role on ‘Seinfeld’

by Caitlin Berard

With its iconic cast and nostalgia-fueled charm, The Conners began building its now impressive list of guest stars in the very first season. From Patton Oswalt to Justin Long to Dan Aykroyd to Danny Trejo, there’s no shortage of actors interested in becoming part of Roseanne history.

One of the series’ most impressive guest stars yet, however, was none other than Seinfeld‘s Jason Alexander. In Season 4 of The Conners, the Seinfeld icon is featured not once but twice! His first appearance occurs in Episode 2, “Education, Corruption, and Damnation.”

In it, he plays Pastor Phil in an AA meeting Becky is attending. The second appearance is in the very next episode, “Sober Sex, Plastic Silverware, and Losing My Religion,” in which he plays the same character.

In the pair of episodes, Darlene is struggling with her own outlook on life after being rejected by her estranged boyfriend Ben. To help cope with the distressing situation, Darlene joins Becky at her AA meeting, which is led by the quirky Pastor Phil (Jason Alexander).

In a 2021 interview with TV Insider, Jason Alexander described his character. “With the full acknowledgment that I am neither Christian nor a man of the cloth, my guess is that term relates to his self-deprecating humor and the somewhat torturous path he took to the pulpit,” he said.

“[Pastor Phil has] quite a self-destructive and unhappy past,” Alexander continued. “He is certainly not without sin.”

‘The Conners’ Showrunner on Handling Darlene and Ben’s Relationship

Darlene and Ben started out Season 4 on shaky ground. It was their uncertain future, after all, that led to Darlene’s meeting with Pastor Phil. By the end of the season, however, the pair were beginning their life as newlyweds.

It was a rocky road, and a story that some fans feel was a bit rushed. But in an interview with Cinema BlendThe Conners showrunner Bruce Helford explains why their chosen route was the best way to go.

“Well, if you start the season with one wedding, you got to end with like three of them, right?” he said. “I mean, it’s gotta be bigger. We had lots of things we wanted to accomplish, and things to set in… Really, a lot of it is about setting next season in motion.”

“We tried to do the rekindling,” the Conners producer continued. “I mean, it’s there in subtle ways. Obviously, the opposite of love is indifference, and so Ben and Darlene were hardly indifferent toward each other the whole season long. They found a comfortable relationship in battling each other, and all that.”

“And I think that in her proving her independence, which he wanted to see, because it was her lack of willingness to be independent that got her into all the mess with her and David and all that stuff. So we tried to extricate them without making it obvious and then bring them together in some credible way.