The fourth season of “The Conners” began with a live episode, which ended with a moving homage to comic Norm Macdonald, who died last week at the age of 61 after a long, private battle with illness.
“Oh, ‘The Conners’ is live right now in front of a fully vaccinated studio audience,” star and executive producer Sara Gilbert announced to the camera in the episode “Trucking Live in Front of a Fully Vaccinated Studio Audience.”
“Wait, what?” says the narrator. Laurie Metcalf answered, seeming surprised while also breaking the fourth wall before the two of them entered the already-in-progress opening scene.
Darlene (Gilbert) struggles to negotiate difficulties in her relationship with Ben, played by Jay R. Ferguson, in the opener, which continued one of last season’s themes.
Darlene, in an attempt to save their relationship, made a deposit on an apartment to show her dedication to him. When the camera followed Gilbert as she rushed from one set to the next to find him, it gave another chance to highlight the fact that the program was shot live.
“Run, it’s a lot further than you think,” Metcalf cautioned. “It’s the set across the street from Wellman’s Plastics.”
John Goodman added, “Look at her go.”