The Conners will be tackling “the reality” of the COVID-19 pandemic when it returns tonight, but showrunner Bruce Helford promises Season 3 will not be a downer.
“It’s not going to be depressing,” the EP maintains. “We’re not focusing on death and dying. We’re focusing on how to survive this [global crisis] with a smile on your face and a sense of humor.”
Here’s what else Helford divulged to TVLine about the new season, which kicks off Wednesday at 9/8c on ABC:
Halloween Is Not Cancelled | The Oct. 28 episode, which marks the directorial debut of cast member Michael “DJ” Fishman, will find the Conners celebrating their favorite holiday in the age of coronavirus. Teases Helford: “It will give people an idea of how to do Halloween without trick or treating.”
Timing Is Everything | Season 3 will pick up several months after the events of the Season 2 finale with the family very much “in the midst” of the pandemic.
Where’s the daddy? | After illegally entering the U.S. to be near his and Beck’s child in the Season 2 finale, Emilio assumes chef duties at The Lunch Box, which is providing takeout service only due to COVID-19. And as previously reported, Darlene and Becky will be forced to punch the clock at their late mother’s old stomping ground, Wellman Plastics.
Paging the Fire Marshall… | With both Ben and Louise now both taking up residence inside the Conner crib, the extremely crowded house “causes some difficulty” but also creates “a great sense of camaraderie,” per Helford.
Fight! | About that “difficulty,” Helford teases that an issue rises pitting Harris against Louise.
‘Bev’ Watch | Given that 92-year-old Estelle Parsons falls into a COVID high-risk group, don’t expect to see emotional terrorist Beverly pop in anytime soon. “We’re worried about putting her on an airplane or having her exposed to anything,” says Helford. “We hope to have her toward the end of the season.”
More Casting Fallout | Dan Aykroyd was slated to reprise his role as Dan’s newest poker buddy this fall but logistical issues related to the pandemic put those plans “on hold,” says Helford.
By the Numbers | Season 3, as of now, will consist of 19 episodes, roughly on par with Season 2’s 20-episode haul.