The opening of The Conners Season 5 Episode 1 made me cringe at the way Darlene and Ben made fun of Jackie. It simply wasn’t funny.
After the lovely double-wedding, it felt particularly mean and made me wonder if the writers had gone tone deaf with their humor.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
The insensitive jibes were the trigger that led to Jackie overcompensating to prove she and Neville were really in love.
Of course, all that boisterous lovemaking would have been far less effective at annoying Darlene if there had actually been two separate bedrooms in the cabin.
All I could think when Ben was holding the old bar of soap with the hair wrapped around it from the bathroom was how much Darlene must have wished she’d held on to those airline tickets to Hawaii.
Even more humor about sharing the space would have been fun, but Nevile and Jackie’s squeaky bed was effective.
The best moments were when Darlene and Ben pondered whether the least painful option was to knock one another unconscious or take action in an attempt to break up the lovefest below them.
Darlene: If you love me, you will hit me with that canoe lamp and knock me out.
Ben: Well, sure, but then who’s going to hit me with the canoe lamp?
But I also enjoyed Ben and Darlene admitting that they are not the most demonstrative couple, and that’s okay.
The two of them have their own brand of affection, and it doesn’t matter whether or not Jackie or anyone else understands it. It works for them.
Ben: Remember that time we held hands at the county fair?
Darlene: That was weird. I felt like an idiot.
Ben: Me too.
Considering Ben booked the cabin, I was a little surprised that he and Darlene decided to bail on it so quickly. But then again, the threat of having to listen to Jackie and Neville in bed for even the rest of one night was pretty daunting.
I should give Darlene and Ben credit for lasting as long as they did. Between the icky, used bar of soap and that sofa straight out of the 1970s, I’m pretty sure I would have turned tail and run before my bags hit the floor.
But it certainly wasn’t the honeymoon for which the two had hoped, so going home early was the right call.
Little did Darlene know how much she was needed at home.
Mark was already feeling abandoned by his sister, who once again decided to live somewhere else, even now that they’d have separate rooms.
In Harris’ defense, she’s probably right not to live with her mom. They’ve had a rough go of it in recent years and are finally in a better place. Living in the same home could put a strain on that.
But to sensitive Mark, it felt as though Harris was saying she had no interest in being a part of her brother’s life.
He’d clearly been looking forward to spending more time with his big sister, not that Harris had any clue that was his expectation.
And no one seemed to have any idea that Mark was still communicating with Logan, never mind considering moving to Oklahoma to be with him.
Logan finding a new boyfriend while Mark was still in Lanford was likely a blessing in disguise. If Mark had moved there and the relationship fell apart, I’m not sure how well he’d deal with it when there was no one around to lean on.
Because Mark has shown that he doesn’t make the best decisions when depressed or under stress.
Mark wasn’t specific about when he had planned to head off to be with Logan, which was a little scary. Did he mean after he graduated from high school? Next summer? As soon as he’d packed a bag and found transportation?
I’m unsure how Darlene would have dealt with any of that. She has such high hopes that Mark will be the best of the Conners and go far.
Farther than Oklahoma.
I was proud of Harris when she tried to get her brother to give up the beer, but Mark was adamant. So then she broke out the tequila.
Yikes. Was she trying to get her little brother so drunk that he’d get sick, or did she just forget how potent tequila can be, especially on someone with no tolerance for alcohol?
Despite Harris’ completely irresponsible methods, it was a relief that she didn’t leave Mark alone to drink by himself.
Unfortunately, instead of being a trustworthy big sister, she got so drunk she flooded the hotel room.
Given that Roseanne died of an oxy overdose and Becky is a recovering alcoholic, perhaps someone needs to have a serious talk with Harris and Ben about the possible genetic links to addiction that may run in their family.
Having your heart broken doesn’t mean you get to self-destructive and be irresponsible. I know we’ve modeled nothing else, but still, you have seen good families on TV.
I believe Mark was mimicking how he’s seen his family deal with uncomfortable emotions.
Mark told Harris he was drinking that beer so he’d feel better. Hopefully, Ben and Darlene showing him how painful a hangover can be will help change his thinking about alcohol.
And as much as I don’t want to mention his name, didn’t it seem odd that no one mentioned Aldo given that he and Harris had recently broken up?
But let’s get back to Jackie and how the show made up for the mean-spirited jokes that Darlene made in the beginning.
Darlene: Why are you trying so hard to prove that you’re a better couple than us?
Jackie: How can you even ask me that after all the hurtful things you said about going on a honeymoon and how nobody would ever want to be with me?
Darlene: That’s how the Conners show love. We find one another’s emotional wounds, and we pour salt in.
Yes, the Conners have always been tough on one another, but Jackie was right. She’s listened to that kind of belittling from her mother her entire life. She deserves better from the family that actually loves her.
So what did you think, TV Fanatics?
Was this season premiere all that you hoped for after the joint wedding?
Despite the payoff at the end, was Darlene being funny or cruel?
And was Becky right? Was Darlene too easy on Mark?
Hit that SHOW COMMENTS button below to share your thoughts, then check back for our review of The Conners Season 5 Episode 2. And don’t forget, you can watch The Conners online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.