Ben and Darlene’s rushed reunion fell flat in The Conners season 4 finale, but season 5 can fix this by finally letting the couple be happy together.
Although Ben and Darlene are technically some of the most important characters on The Conners, season 4 wasted their chemistry, and season 5 needs to fix this issue now that they are married. Ever since Roseanne became The Conners, the sitcom spinoff has used Ben and Darlene as its central couple. Although Roseanne’s widower Dan remarried, his new wife Louise was not utilized as a replacement for the show’s former title character.
Instead, Sara Gilbert’s fan-favorite Darlene became the de facto lead character of The Connersand her messy on-again, off-again relationship with Ben replaced Dan and Roseanne’s romance as the focus of The Conners. In theory, this change could have allowed The Conners to focus on members of the sitcom family’s younger generation and would have effectively allowed Darlene to replace Roseanne as the main character. However, the chaotic messiness of Ben and Darlene’s romance prohibited this change from occurring until the tail end of The Conners season 4.
While Ben and Darlene have been the central couple of The Conners since Roseanne’s death, the series has wasted their potential by having the couple break up and make up (often with too much venom and vitriol) instead of growing together. While this did allow Darlene to undergo some character development while she was single in The Conners season 4, the plot led to an underwhelming and rushed reunion for the duo at the end of the outing. Now that they are married, Ben and Darlene’s inconsistency is something that the sitcom spinoff now needs to fix in The Conners season 5.
Ben and Darlene’s Story Explained
Initially co-workers at a local newspaper, Ben and Darlene butted heads as soon as they started working together. Of course, in classic sitcom fashion, this dynamic soon turned into sparks flying, although it was a while before the couple admitted their feelings for each other. Although they started hooking up in season 1, Ben and Darlene’s relationship was thwarted by Darlene’s reunion with David and her later affair with Jeff. Both of these problems contributed to the couple’s repetitive cycle of breaking up and making up throughout seasons 2 and 3 of The Conners, although it wasn’t until the season 3 finale that the duo split up seemingly for good. When Ben rejected Darlene’s marriage proposal, it seemed as though the duo was done for, and Darlene began the hard work of learning to be happy on her own.
How The Conners Season 4 Reunited Ben and Darlene
Across the duration of The Conners season 4, Darlene worked on herself and ended up in a more stable place than ever before. Despite pressures like her son Mark’s college admissions scheme and her daughter Harris’s ill-fated relationship with Aldo, Darlene managed to find happiness in her own company and even started looking for a new home so she could move out from under her father’s roof. It was this plot line that simultaneously proved Darlene was definitively over Ben while also ironically giving the couple a route to their reunion, as Ben grew more and more impressed by the self-sufficiency that Darlene displayed since their breakup.
Why Darlene & Ben Didn’t Reunite Earlier In The Conners Season 4
At first, Darlene felt that Ben was trying to engineer a reunion with her and sending her mixed messages. While she wasn’t entirely correct (at one point saying that her coming across Ben on a date was proof that the duo was destined to be together), Darlene did hold fast and avoided her ex where possible. By the second half of The Conners season 4, however, Ben and Darlene’s reunion made more sense as he offered to co-sign a mortgage with her to help the character get the loan. Darlene politely declined the offer, not wanting to be inextricably linked with Ben. Then, when Darlene decided to renovate the local funeral parlor into her new home, the duo was forced to work together after all and the project inevitably rekindled their old flame.
The Problem With Ben and Darlene’s Season 4 Reunion
Even though the pair was always destined to end up together, The Conners season 4 dragged out Darlene’s solo character development for long enough that the series then needed to rush their reunion. When Darlene fell through a roof and Ben saved her, the couple kissed, and he immediately proposed while Darlene was bed bound in a hospital during the next scene. This admittedly gave the season 4 finale a double wedding (since Darlene’s aunt Jackie and Neville were already due to tie the knot), but it came off as rushed when the couple could have kissed in one episode, reunited in the next, and reconsidered marriage. in the next. After such a slow buildup, Ben and Darlene’s payoff was far too fast for a sitcom that isn’t known for its speedy storytelling. Thus, The Conners season 5 needs to bring some romance back to the couple’s frenetic relationship.
How The Conners Season 5 Can Fix Ben and Darlene
Fortunately for Ben and Darlene (and fans of The Conners couple), their marriage can be the beginning of the couple’s romantic adventure and not the end. Throughout their courtship, the duo was at odds as often as they were in love. While conflict is key to comedy and drama alike, the believable working-class issues that the Conners consistently face mean that the couple will not be short on external sources of conflict as they begin their marriage. Mark needs money for college, the pair is still in the process of building their new home, and, even once they move in, they will need to work around the less-than-ideal presence of Becky and her daughter Beverly Rose in their new house.
Ben and Darlene will be faced with plenty of problems that come from outside their relationship. It would be a compelling surprise to see the duo face these issues as a united front like Dan and Roseanne before them, instead of returning to their usual status quo of in-fighting. After four seasons of seeing the couple fight, The Conners viewers are well aware that the tumultuous couple Ben and Darlene can work against one another, but season 5 could effectively reinvent the couple by proving that they can work together and take on the world as a unit.
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