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The Conners Season 5 Finale EP Explains The Unexpected Roseanne Character Twist-TGN


  • The Conners season 5 finale took a bold step in redefining relationships, particularly that of David, solidifying him as a bad and absentee father.
  • The showrunners justify the decision due to Johnny Galecki’s scheduling conflicts and the desire to explore the relationship between Ben and Mark.
  • The twist opens up new storytelling possibilities, allowing the show to focus on Ben’s role as a father figure and explore non-traditional family structures.



The Conners executive producers explained why The Conners season 5 finale ruined a beloved Roseanne character, possibly for good. The ABC sitcom, known for its relatable portrayal of a working-class American family dealing with real-life issues, has often mirrored its narrative twists with off-screen realities. In The Conners season 5, as Mark celebrated his graduation, the series took a bold step in redefining relationships and character arcs, particularly that of The Conners’ David (Johnny Galecki). Amidst these significant changes, the showrunners have shed light on their decision-making process, revealing the practical and creative factors that influenced the unexpected character twist.

The ABC comedy wrapped up its year with an episode revolving around Mark’s graduation. While Darlene’s son looks forward to the future, he must also make peace with his past. In The Conners season 5, episode 22, “The Grad Finale,” the sitcom solidifies its stance on David as a bad and absentee father. After holding hope that he will attend Mark’s graduation, Darlene’s son comes to terms with the reality of their relationship. The Conners season 5 twist ultimately highlights the fact that families are not just bound by blood but also by the bonds they choose to forge and maintain, and the executive producers had a lot to say about it.

RELATED: The Conners Season 4 Ending Explained

What The Conners Showruners Said About David’s Twist

In a new interview with TV Line, executive producers Bruce Helford and Dave Caplan justify their decision to ruin David’s image. Additionally, while The Conners underutilized David in early seasons, the producers give a clear reason why. Read their answers below:

HELFORD | “You know, we’re approaching the grand bow of the show, maybe next season or whatever, and there’s only so long we can go (without seeing David). And Johnny is just too busy. We love him, and he would love to be doing stuff with us, but it just hasn’t worked out scheduling wise. And Dave, you can address the relationship with Ben…”

CAPLAN | “There are a couple of things in play here: 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.”

HELFORD | “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. 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.”

The show’s decision to steer David’s character towards being an absentee father wasn’t made lightly, especially considering the longstanding emotional investment of the audiences in the Conner family saga. The creators balanced the nostalgia for the past with the narrative’s forward momentum, reflecting on the character’s history while also pushing the boundaries to embrace new dynamics. This pivot not only reflects the complexities of real-life family relationships but also positions the show for new storytelling possibilities as it potentially nears its grand conclusion.

RELATED: 8 Unanswered Questions The Conners Season 6 Must Address

Why The Conners Needed To Ruin Roseanne’s David

Blended image of Mark smiling while holding an instrument and Darlene looking concerned in The Conners

In a year full of surprise cameos, David’s return in The Conners season 5 could have perfectly capped off the year, especially considering how big of a role he had in Roseanne. It would also allow for a sentimental reunion between Mark and his father during his graduation. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out because Galecki’s schedule is too full.

Determining David as an absentee father would allow the executive producers of The Conners to not consider him in any big storylines concerning his kids. The last time the character was in the Roseanne spin-off, it seemed like he was finally starting to make amends to his kids, but since then, he hasn’t shown up. Even when Harris became accidentally pregnant, he wasn’t even referenced at all.

Where to watch The Conners

The Conners Season 6 Can Focus On Ben Being A Father Figure

Ben and Darlene on the couch in The Conners

The Conners could end with season 6, but the David character twist opens up new avenues for storytelling. The sitcom can now focus on Ben’s role as a father figure to Mark and Harris, which the show hasn’t tapped into because of the kids’ connection to David. Ben stepping into that role has been simmering in the background for a while. Now that Darlene’s former flame isn’t in the picture anymore, that’s no longer a problem. The potential shift in focus following The Conners season 5 is more than just a plot adjustment; it’s a significant character development arc that allows for the further exploration of non-traditional family structures.

Source: TV Line

  • The Conners Season 5 Finale EP Explains The Unexpected Roseanne Character Twist-TGN

    The Conners

    Release Date:

    John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Macaulay Callard, Laurie Metcalf, Lecy Goranson, Michael Fishman, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara, Jayden Rey, Maya Lynne Robinson, Jay R. Ferguson

    Comedy, Drama



    The Conners is a spinoff of Roseanne, a popular sitcom beginning in 1988 that starred John Goodman as Dan Conner and Roseanne Barr as Roseanne Conner. After the Roseanne revival was canceled in 2018, The Conners continued the storyline of the lovable middle-class family and their lives in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois. The Emmy award-winning series brings back Dan’s children, Darlene, Becky, and DJ, played by Sara Gilbert, Alicia Goranson, and Michael Fishman, respectively.

    Dave Caplan, Bruce Helford, Matt Williams


    Streaming Service:

    Bruce Helford, Matt Williams

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