“The Preemie Monologues” touches on the unglamorous financial realities of parenthood as Beverly Rose comes home from the hospital.
This recap of The Conners Season 2, Episode 3, “The Preemie Monologues”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
What I like about The Conners is that, despite being a network sitcom full of famous people, if you squinted a bit it could pass for reality. Almost, anyway. There is, of course, that patina of television ridiculousness, the kind of thing you need to mine jokes out of every situation. But the essential elements feel truthful. The Conners Season 2, Episode 3, “The Preemie Monologues”, is about a teenager acting out, a grown woman forced to abandon her pride, and the crippling financial reality of what it means to be a parent. Now doesn’t that sound familiar?
You can see it in the little things. The house is out of toilet paper because Darlene (Sara Gilbert) is too preoccupied with her complicated sex triangle to have replaced it. And Harris (Emma Kenney) knows that her mother is sleeping with both her father (Johnny Galecki) and Ben (Jay R. Ferguson), and lying to them both about it. What at first seemed like insufferable teenage whining is actually rooted in a legitimate conflict of interest. She doesn’t want her mum messing her dad around, even though, as Darlene is quick to remind her, her dad abandoned her. It’s complicated.
Also complicated: Becky (Lecy Goranson) feels inadequate about not being able to provide for baby Beverly Rose. She isn’t entitled to government support because she apparently made too much money in tips, but she nonetheless doesn’t have two quarters to rub together. She’s welcome to move in with everyone else, but to her, that feels like admitting defeat. She attempts to go back to work with Louise (Katey Sagal) but quickly has a meltdown when a customer only tips her $2. It’s like trying to put out a fire by spitting on it.
The rest of the family are taking it in turns staying with Beverly Rose during the night in The Conners Season 2, Episode 3, but Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) is driving everybody bonkers trying to teach the baby Mandarin phrases. Dan (John Goodman) tries to take her shift politely, but in the end, has to explain to her that she’s getting on everyone’s nerves, creating more problems in her attempts to find solutions. She doesn’t take it well, leading to the best joke of “The Preemie Monologues”, when Becky is led into the renovated basement and she reveals she picked out the bedspread: “I hope that’s a solution and not a problem”.
Dan takes the night shift with Louise, and accidentally calls her Rose. It’s a touching reminder of loss — another note of truth that The Conners is able to hit — that she handles well. Dan explains it’s only because he feels so comfortable around her, and suggests that they start spending more time together — he might even stretch to dinner once a week. Although with Becky and Beverly Rose now living in his basement, you have to wonder if it might be a stretch too far.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.