“Throwing a Christian to a Bear” was a laidback episode that struggled to make a clear point, but it was good enough fun that you barely noticed.
This recap of The Conners Season 2, Episode 10, “Throwing a Christian to a Bear”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
It’s the eve of the Bears vs Packers game, and that’s a big deal in the Conners house. Dan (John Goodman) has his food prepared, and his stern warnings to dispense: Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) has to stay away from Fantasy Football, Harris (Emma Kenney) will be in attendance, and Becky (Alicia Goranson) will be taking the big step of bringing along the guy she’s seeing: Wyatt (Tim Baltz), who, according to Darlene (Sara Gilbert), must be a millionaire because he tips.
Becky met Wyatt when she was an alcoholic; now that she’s sober they’re giving it a proper go, but she’s still slightly terrified by the prospect of sober sex and all the intimacy that implies. Speaking of which, Ben (Jay R. Ferguson) has moved back to Lanford to start a magazine with Darlene, but following his recent failures, he has been in bed for a week and sees having a shower as his only major plan. But they have a meeting with a loan broker to secure funding, and he needs to smarten up if he wants to get back on the horse.
The Conners Season 2, Episode 10 attempts to show how important football — and being a Bears fan specifically — is to the family, so it’s full of the most quintessential football-fan cliches imaginable. When Mark (Ames McNamara) confesses to Dan that he doesn’t like the sport, he’s stunned. “I do still love you, but everything’s different now. I understand this gay thing, but this is a choice.” To win him over Dan explains how his own grandfather bought him a Bears hat at the very first game he attended, and he passes that on to Mark — much to D.J.’s (Michael Fishman) displeasure — as an example of legacy. That’s why football is important. And that’s why Wyatt, who arrives mid-game dressed in full Cheesehead regalia, is a problem.
That’s where the “Throwing a Christian to a Bear” title comes in. But Wyatt’s a problem for more reasons than that he simply supports a rival team. He turns up with homemade trail mix — his secret ingredient is mango, for zest — and organic IPA beer. He has factoids. And he’s also a devout Christian who is appalled at the Conners cheering for an injury, at how seriously they take the game, and at their dietary choices. He’s judgmental and holier-than-thou and makes no secret of the fact. The underlying theme of The Conners Season 2, Episode 10 is, I think, that the wholesome family unit, despite their unhealthy diet and obsessions, is much more worthy of respect than this guy who judges them for those things. But the Conners are so unpleasant to Wyatt even before his personality comes across that I’m not sure the episode makes the point it’s trying to; the fact he’s a jerk just seems like a get-out-of-jail card to excuse their behavior.
Anyway, in a brief deviation to the loan broker meeting, Ben arrives late and keeps bringing the mood down with his self-loathing; he eventually leaves, so Darlene has to negotiate on their behalf. When she returns home she finds him there and he confesses that he’s afraid of failing again — especially now that his failure will also mean failure for her and her children. They find common ground over a silly argument, which is a much better example of how real-life relationships work than anything involving the Bears and Wyatt.
Naturally, Wyatt and Becky leave, and then they argue when Wyatt disparages her family, calling them toxic. She understandably gets very defensive about this and they fall out, one assumes for good. Later, Becky speaks with Dan about how embarrassing it is to still be picking the wrong men at her age, but he lets her know that she’ll find the right guy when she needs to — again, a better family moment than the subsequent follow-up, with everyone going nuts for an unlikely Bears comeback. “Throwing a Christian to a Bear” was a laidback episode that felt like The Conners relaxing a little more than is advisable, but hey — at least the Bears got a win.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.