The following contains spoilers for The Conners Season 5, Episode 22, “The Grad Finale,” now streaming on the ABC app.
The Conners executive producers Bruce Helford and Dave Caplan recently unpacked the big David Healy-centric twist in Season 5’s final episode, “The Grad Finale.”
The pair explained why Mark Conner-Healy (Ames McNamara) chooses Ben Olinsky (Jay R. Ferguson) over his father David (Johnny Galecki) in “The Grad Finale” during an interview with TVLine. “There are a couple of things in play here,” Caplan said. “One of the things we’re implying is that zebras don’t change their stripes; it’s one thing to talk a big game, and it’s another thing to show up, which is what parenting is about. You’ve got to be there, and you’ve got to show up, and what we’re saying is that David didn’t come through for [Mark] and Ben did. With all of the complications of being a Conner, Ben stepped up. Sometimes as a kid, when you’ve got a family that’s reconstituted, your eyes are not in the right place, and that’s what this episode is about.”
“It really felt like we were doing a disservice to the character of Ben, as well, to not have [Ben and Mark] bond over this thing that he has done,” added Helford. “He built a house for the family, he [convinced] Darlene to take that job and get Mark into college… We felt it was a major turning point that was required, so we went for it.” Helford and Dave Caplan also confirmed that they originally hoped to have Galecki make a guest appearance in “The Grad Finale,” however, the star’s busy schedule ultimately meant this didn’t pan out. Despite Galecki’s absence from the episode, Helford and Caplan insisted he is nevertheless “a big fan” of The Conners and maintains a “cordial” relationship with them both.
Will The Conners End After Season 6?
The Conners premiered in October 2018 and is both a spinoff from and a direct continuation of ABC’s Roseanne revival. The network made the decision to relaunch the Conner family saga after canceling Roseanne in May 2018 in response to a series of controversial tweets by the show’s lead actor, Roseanne Barr. The Conners picks up after the death of the fictional Roseanne character and focuses instead on her family, including her husband Dan (John Goodman), sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), daughters Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Lecy Goranson) and son D.J. (Michael Fishman). While this revamped premise broke away from the established Roseanne formula, it proved popular enough with audiences to sustain The Conners for five seasons and counting.
That said, Helford recently suggested that The Conners‘ sixth season may also be the show’s last. “I would not [say that] definitively because the numbers were so good this season, and we’ve all had a really great time… but it’s definitely a possibility,” he said.
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