Television

TV Critic’s Corner

Taking stock of lead characters on ‘The Conners’

As Darlene, Sara Gilbert continues to bring low-key style to “The Conners.”
Eric McCandless/ABC
Sara Gilbert and John Goodman on “The Conners.”

“The Conners” continues on its journey toward — what? Just telling the ongoing story of a family that doesn’t have a lot of money. It’s a bit rudderless now, in its post-Roseanne Barr era, but I do enjoy the ABC sitcom sometimes, not least of all because I love Sara Gilbert’s low-key style as Darlene.

But one thing has surprised me since the Conner family returned to TV in 2018: Lecy Goranson as Becky.

I don’t recall Goranson standing out during the original run of “Roseanne,” perhaps because she was too busy switching on and off with the Other Becky, Sarah Chalke. Becky was more or less in the background, a third-level character. But now Goranson is second lead to Gilbert, and she delivers some of the best zingers every week. Usually, the jokes are about how Becky is in such bad shape, but Goranson makes them double as expressions of survival and strength. Becky’s depression is both touching and funny. She embodies the spirit of the show now, as her financial straits threaten to — but never succeed in — bringing her down.

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Goranson has worked outside of the Conner-verse, but not a lot. And yet her delivery is precise and confident, like that of a seasoned comic. The writers clearly understand her gifts, and design her character accordingly.