The Conners showrunner Bruce Helford explains why the show revisited Becky’s alcoholism, saying he didn’t want to do a disservice to fans.
Showrunner Bruce Helford has revealed why incorporating Becky’s relapse plotline was needed in The Conners. The Conners launched on ABC in 2018 to substantial ratings. In the spin-off series, the eponymous blue-collar family (John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman, and Lecy Goranson) struggles to adapt to life after losing Barr’s matriarch to opiate overdose while also striving to survive on a modest income. Over the years, The Conners has cemented itself as a top comedy on television, leading the 18-49 demo and amassing massive critical acclaim for its depiction of real-life issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In season 3, the show has also featured some stirring callbacks to the original Roseanne and previous iterations, which has had a significant impact on the story’s direction in recent episodes.
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The Conners season 3 episode 14, “Money, Booze, and Lies,” found Becky (Goranson) reconnecting with her high-school honors rival, Mike Withers, over dinner. The reunion, however, ends up in a tragic detour from soberness after Becky succumbs to drinking wine to hide her alcoholism. In the next back-to-back episodes that aired Wednesday, the slip plummets into a full-fledged relapse as Becky starts hitting the bottle more often to cope with her terrible life choices and increasing distance with her infant daughter, Beverly Rose. The Conners ultimately discover the setback, and they jump right in to help Becky, offering some tough love to bring her back from the low point. Now, the executive producers have opened up about Becky’s spiral, explaining why it was necessary to revisit her drinking problem.
In a recent conversation with TV Line, The Conners showrunner Bruce Helford explained why Becky fell off the wagon. Helford said that when Becky got pregnant, she quit alcohol cold-turkey, and after she had her baby, she didn’t resume drinking even though she had stopped nursing. This arc, Helford explains, may have done injustice to those suffering from alcoholism as it’s not so easy for most people to stop drinking instantly. The Conners always attempts to showcase relevant issues realistically. Thus it did not fit the show to skip Becky’s predicament for the sake of narrative convenience, and it had to return to the problem again. Helford said:
“When she was going through her original drinking problem on the show, she stopped [because] she was pregnant. After the baby was born, she stopped nursing and could conceivably drink again [but she didn’t]. And we thought we may have done a little bit of a disservice making it look so easy that someone could stop cold turkey.”
“It isn’t so easy to [quit drinking] for most people, and our show is always trying to be a touchstone of reality in a world of sitcoms that often is not. She would definitely come up against this problem again.”
Helford also added that the upcoming season 3 episodes of The Conners would follow Becky through her recovery from alcoholism. Unlike the last time, when she stopped drinking all by herself, Becky will now go into rehab, and her journey there will be showcased in few forthcoming episodes. Helford also wants to navigate the impact of Becky’s relapse on her baby daddy Emilio. But he is saving that storyline for a potential fourth season. Season 4 hasn’t been announced yet, but discussions for a renewal are underway. And considering the collective positive response from fans and viewers, Helford believes that some good news is imminent.
Surely, it’s a bold decision on the part of The Conners to come up against Becky’s drinking problem again. So far, Becky has done a commendable job keeping things together, but now her relapse reflects authentically on the situation of many former alcohol-abusers who have been pushed to their brink due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Becky’s relapse is an intense and poignant storyline that teaches lessons about vulnerability and encourages people to realize that they would be loved and supported for being their genuine selves. So hopefully, in the future, Becky will emerge as a winner and get her life back on track so that her story becomes a motivational beacon for those who see themselves in her character.
Source: TV Line
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