Is Darlene a worse parent, sister, daughter, or niece?
During The Conners Season 2 Episode 7, she fell to the bottom of the list in all of those categories, and as painful as it was to watch, I also couldn't tear my eyes from the screen.
It also made me laugh on several occasions, which is I believe The Conners is one of the best sitcoms on TV.
How could Darlene Conner be the villain in her own family, especially when she's so convinced that she's doing the right thing for everyone involved?
Jackie: Hey, don’t yell at Becky because you’re in over your head in all parts of your life.
Darlene: Hilarious coming from you.
Jackie: No, you know what’s hilarious? It’s the person who was sleeping around and neglecting her kids is the one telling everyone else how to live their life.
When it came to Bev's money, Darlene was convinced she had all the answers, and it was both arrogant and irritating in ways big and small.
Dan specifically asked her to make an effort to smooth things over, at least long enough to have the entire family around one table for Thanksgiving, but Darlene couldn't even send a text without letting Becky and Jackie know that she was right, and they were wrong.
Things only got worse from there.
No wonder Dan invited over Louise as a buffer, leading to Jackie's hilarious color guard routine that she still remembered from high school.
I'd say that only Jackie could hold a grudge that long, but Louise wasn't quick to let it go, either. If Dan and Louise's relationship ever gets out of the friend zone, her rivalry with Jackie could make it all the more interesting.
But Roseanne is still an overwhelming presence in not only Dan's life but the rest of the family's as well, and the pain over her loss bubbled up as Jackie and Darlene verbally tore apart one another.
Jackie: You think you’re the almighty decision-maker around here? You think you can replace Roseanne as the mom of this family? What a joke.
Dan: Jackie, that’s enough.
Darlene: You want to talk about my mom. Let’s talk about her because she spent her entire life trying to fix you and every time she picked you up you fell down. You know why? Because you’re a loser and you were the bane of her existence.
Rosie would have slapped Darlene herself had she had been there. Jackie wasn't just Roseanne's sister but her best friend, and neither of them was ever perfect.
They each had their share of failures; perhaps Jackie's seemed more apparent because she was single with no one else to lean on but her sister.
Becky and Darlene's relationship doesn't seem nearly as close as Rosie and Jackie's which is a shame.
Darlene exasperated me further when she told Becky that things would be better if they could drink together.
Becky has been fighting to stay sober for the good of herself and her daughter. It was selfish and insensitive even to hint that Becky having a drink would somehow make things easier for Darlene, especially since most of Darlene's problems are self-made.
It wasn't nice of Jackie to call out Darlene for neglecting her kids while she bounced between two men, but her assessment wasn't wrong, either.
However, the moment Jackie hit Darlene, Jackie was horrified. The way Beverly has berated Jackie all of her life assured that Darlene's words tore into an open, emotional wound. At least Jackie was self-aware enough to regret what she'd done and deliver a tearful apology.
If not for Dan sharing his perspective, it didn't sound as though Darlene regretted anything, and we have proof in this The Conners quote:
Darlene: I can’t believe she slapped me.
Dan: Really, I can’t believe she waited this long to slap you.
Dan: Think about it. As far as she’s concerned you stole her inheritance.
Darlene: Well, that’s her problem.
Dan: No, it’s our problem, the family’s.
As Dan pointed out, there has to be a compromise that minimizes the risk to Bev's investment while still allowing Becky and Jackie to take a chance on reopening the Lunch Box; Darlene just hasn't been willing to explore those options.
It took DJ, Mark, and Mary to pull Darlene's attention to the fact that the decision she was making in the hopes of protecting the family was tearing it apart instead.
And finally, Darlene relented. Do I think the drama is over? No, it's only just begun, but the Conner family is good at struggling to make something a success.
Whether that struggle becomes a victory or a failure, it's sure to be entertaining.
Because the struggle of surviving while poor is something The Conners do extremely well. Take Dan using the brick to get the toaster to work.
As someone who has frequently had to jerry-rig things for them to keep working when there was no money to get them fixed or buy something new, that small scene had me laughing out loud.
It reminded me of the original Roseanne when Rosie tried to teach the kids how to feed a family of five on a minuscule budget creatively, or when she chose which bills to pay by how far behind they were or if any vital utilities would be turned off due to a final notice.
Surviving while poor takes more work than anyone who has money will ever realize, and the Conner family has been highlighting that for decades.
And now we get to Darlene as a parent.
When it comes to Harris, the tough, smart Darlene Conner we've known and loved disappears.
First, she rescinded Dan's ban on having Odessa in the house.
It's Dan's house, and Odessa and Harris tried to take his motorcycle and then damaged it. He had every reason to tell Odessa she wasn't welcome there any longer, and Darlene whining about Harris' poor attitude wasn't a good enough reason to lift it.
Darlene: DJ, Mary, Mark, Harris, they’re all going to be there.
Dan: Sure, but they’re all boring.
Darlene: Alright, fine, what about Odessa? She’s not boring, she’s a thief and a pothead.
Dan: Nope, I banned her from the house.
Darlene: Oh please, just this one day. I really cannot take any more of Harris moping around here.
Dan: Sure you can. The whole family spent the last 40 years putting up with your moping.
Then it took Jackie to point out that Odessa and Harris smelled of weed after hanging out in Harris' room. It's not that Darlene didn't know, or at least suspect, what was going on, it was that it was easier to remain oblivious.
When Darlene learned that Harris has been lying to her for weeks about Odessa living with her parents, not only didn't she punish the teen, but she allowed Harris to go to Odessa's anyway.
Why? Because it's easier than being the bad guy in her daughter's life.
And where is David with everything? If he lives in Lanford, he should get involved in making some of the decisions whether he lives with Harris or not.
Will Harris return home the next day? She might, or she and Odessa might take off. Darlene has given the girl more than enough rope to hang herself with, whether she uses it or not is anyone's guess.
The Conners Thanksgiving was heartbreaking, powerful, and funny. Did you yell, gasp, and laugh?
As difficult as it is to ask for more than that, it's hard to imagine what Chrismas will bring.
Don't forget to hit the big, blue, SHOW COMMENTS button below, and share your feelings on "Slappy Holidays."
Check back in for my review of The Conners Season 2 Episode 8, and until then, you can watch The Conners online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.
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