It’s ridiculous that in 2021, women making more than men is still a standard sitcom trope like it was in the 1970s, and ’80s, and ’90s, but here it was once again on The Conners Season 3 Episode 9.
I wish I could say that it’s absurd that this is still an issue, but I can’t. I’m not even going to touch on the gender pay gap because that’s not what this particular plot was about.
This was about Darlene getting a promotion and how Ben’s fragile male ego crumbled.
Am I too harsh on Ben? Maybe.
He hated his job at Instacart. He’s a writer, and not having that creative outlet was starting to eat away at his soul. I have sympathy for Ben’s plight.
But wait a minute…Darlene’s a writer too. It’s not like working at Wellman Plastics is her dream job. She took the job because they’re broke and have bills to pay.
So why does Ben get to bail on his crappy job while Darlene has to suck it up and schlep to work every day?
Perhaps that itself is a historical role reversal, but it doesn’t look good on Ben, and not because he’s the male in the relationship but because he’s in a relationship.
Darlene got a promotion! She’s worked hard and sacrificed for this, and instead of having her significant other help her celebrate, he got drunk and wallowed. Talk about taking one of Darlene’s few triumphant moments and making it all about his depression and bruised ego.
You’ve never had the chance to buy my love before, but now, you can.
And then Ben spent $400 on podcast equipment without ever having mentioned it to Darlene.
Darlene rightfully told Harris that her new boots weren’t a priority because there were bills to be paid, and not just paid but moved out of arrears.
Yes, Ben works and makes his own money, but if they live in Dan’s house to pool resources, then spending as much as $400 is something that deserves a serious discussion.
Did Ben not talk to Darlene about it because he was afraid she’d be dead set against it and didn’t want to fight, or did he not even think about having that conversation with her?
I’m not sure which answer is worse?
Overall, Ben’s a great guy, but what the hell? Could he really not work at least part-time for Instacart while also working on his podcast?
Suddenly, Ben didn’t feel so much like a responsible adult, but more like a kid with a new toy who couldn’t wait to play with it and had no time for his homework.
And dear God, can someone please have Ben trim that beard already before it covers his whole head. I know things are difficult in the time of Covid, but that doesn’t mean he has to look like the Wolfman.
I have to give Darlene credit where it is due. I know far too many women who have been in Robin’s shoes, where their spouse becomes surly when they feel their wife is outperforming them in the workplace.
Swallowing her pride and putting up with that isn’t who Darlene is, so she called Ben out on his behavior.
But in the end, did it change anything? Ben got his way. He quit the job he despised and got to forge ahead with his new dream, and I hope it works out.
Darlene loves Ben, and she wants to see him happy, so she’s willing to support him in this new venture. If it works out, it could be great for both of them.
But if it isn’t successful, then I see some rocky times ahead for this couple.
Back at the factory, we learned that Becky is now a Union Rep, which should give her and Darlene even more opportunities to butt heads at work.
Becky: Congratulations! You may be surprised to hear this, but I’m a little bummed. We’ve been having fun working together.
Darlene: I’m still going to be on the floor, but now I can make your life miserable if you displease me.
Becky: Right, and as Union Steward, one misstep on your part, and I can shut down the factory.
Darlene: See, this is going to be fun for everybody.
That the show has come full circle back to Wellman Plastics is both wonderful and depressing. Wonderful in that there’s nothing better than a bit of nostalgia that reminds us of the original series.
Depressing because the Conner kids are struggling as much as their parents ever were, or even more so. At least their parents were able to buy a house; that doesn’t seem to be something any of the Conner kids are close to accomplishing.
Finally, we have Jackie and her psychoactive herbal tea.
Yes, this was a lame plot, but it had two upsides.
First, I enjoyed Louise and Jackie interacting without turning into an argument concerning Dan or Neville. This was simply Louise trying to help Jackie out.
Second, I hope Jackie’s newfound self-esteem allows her to have more of a story this season.
Unfortunately, the pandemic probably sidelined any storylines that may have been planned for The Lunchbox. With no customers allowed inside, there’s only so many times we can see Jackie delivering take-out.
I’m not 100% sold on Jackie and Neville, but I’m willing to go with it. Jackie deserves some unconditional love; I hope they can build a compelling storyline around it.
So tell me, TV Fanatics, what did you think of Ben’s mini-meltdown over Darlene’s promotion?
Were you surprised that Darlene wasn’t angrier about Ben quitting his job without talking to her first?
Does Ben’s podcast, “Whatever Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Hungry,” have any real potential?
And do Jackie and Nevile have a shot at being happy?
Hit that Big, Blue, SHOW COMMENTS button down below and tell us if this is the story you want to see for Ben and Darlene?
And until next time, you can watch The Conners online any time here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.