“Live From Lanford” gets political with a direct urging for the audience to vote, while Dan’s love life remains complicated.
This recap of The Conners Season 2, Episode 12, “Live From Lanford”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
“Live from Lanford” proves a literal title in The Conners Season 2, Episode 12, as the cast delivered a political message in front of a live audience with a simple sitcom message: Go and vote. Obviously it came with plenty of jokes as well, but that was the gist of things as Mark (Ames McNamara) sat down to write a school report on the New Hampshire primary.
Of course, Mark’s youthful idealism was quickly combatted with deeply ingrained cynicism from the rest of his family, none of whom commit to a candidate since when you’re working class enough all politicians look pretty much the same. Mark’s attempts to call the White House switchboard as an example of democracy felt painfully naïve, and more to the point probably not worth doing at the best of times – who in the current administration are you going to get a decent conversation out of?
The best example of this political apathy is Harris (Emma Kenney), who despite being 18 and eligible to vote now expresses no desire to do so. The Conners Season 2, Episode 12 makes a point of undermining her with a direct appeal to the audience to go and vote, if only so you have the right to mock someone else’s choice, but Harris’s indifference felt the most truthful part of “Live from Lanford”.
What also worked, though, was the easy assumption that Mark would vote for Pete Buttigieg just because they’re both gay; Mark’s counter-argument – “Did all black people vote for Obama?” – is cheerily disproved by Ben (Jay R. Ferguson), who reminds him that they more or less did. It’s funny but also a telling reminder that people are likely to vote for someone like them since it’s easier to believe someone like them will actually represent them.
Mark also believes that Harris isn’t representing him either. By moving out – something that none of the Conners ever seem to do – he feels as though she abandoned him. Harris has occupied the role of generally uninteresting sulky teenager throughout this season, so it was nice to see her step up here and actually go out of her way to be there for her brother – she even offered him some sage advice about his closeted boyfriend, Austin, which was to dump him because he’s undeserving of Mark.
But The Conners Season 2, Episode 12 saved its best character drama for Dan (John Goodman), who was caught up in a misguided plan hatched by his children to get him sauced up so he’d admit his real feelings for Louise (Katey Sagal) before she went on tour with her band. But it backfired spectacularly since none of the kids knew that Dan and Louise had already broken up after he failed to properly commit to a relationship. Apparently he had an uncharacteristically superstitious plan to part ways with Roseanne and allow himself to commit to Louise, but now that is, at least temporarily, ruined. “Live from Lanford” might have had a political message, but its warning to stay out of other people’s business was the stronger and arguably more effective point it made.
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