Chatting With Sara Gilbert & Ames McNamara about The Conners & Virtual School

I was so pleased to join Sara Gilbert and Ames McNamara for a relatable and engaging, moderated conversation about “The Conners” season 3, their dynamic as mother and son on the series, and the upcoming episode where their characters Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Mark (Ames McNamara) deal with the realities of virtual school. In the upcoming episode (airing Wednesday, April 21 at 9/8c on ABC), Mark is stressed and exhausted from studying for an important entrance exam, so Darlene steps in to help, but her plan backfires. Both Sara and Ames have dealt with these issues firsthand in their personal lives as well. It was so nice to have an engaging conversation about the series and how the show is depicting life’s new reality.

I currently have my two children at home distance learning. I have a first and third grader and it is definitely challenging. Some days are extremely hard, but I try to cherish these moments with them at home. I am grateful our school has given us the option to return to campus or stay home and Zoom live.

Christina: "In this episode that is airing on Wednesday, it has to do with distance learning, helping your child with school, studying, etc. What are you hoping your audience takes away after watching the episode?"

Ames: "I guess I would say I hope that the audience takes away that this is a problem. I think our episode helps illuminate more of the problems and it shows also how it does not just affect the kids, but it affects everyone in the family."

Sara: " I agree with Ames. I think it also shines a light on the inequities in our country. I think we have all seen how people with less means already were struggling but it put on spotlight on that and it furthered those struggles so it almost widened the divide between people who have more and people who have less. So they did not always have tablets or computers, or Wi-Fi access and so their kids would be falling further behind. So I like that this episode talks about how unfair that is and that it is really not a level playing field and how much stress that causes a parent who just wants the bet for their kid."

“The Conners” airs Wednesdays (9:00-9:30 p.m. ET) on ABC.

Sara Gilbert (Executive Producer; Darlene Conner on ABC’s “The Conners”)

Sara Gilbert endeared herself to millions of television viewers with her portrayal of the sarcastic yet loveable Darlene Conner on the long-running, hit series “Roseanne,” a role which garnered her two Emmy® nominations among numerous other accolades. Gilbert reprised her role as Darlene in the series revival in 2018, which premiered to record-breaking numbers, and she continues in her role as both Darlene and executive producer on ABC’s hit comedy “The Conners.”

Gilbert is the creator, executive producer, and former co-host of CBS’s award-winning talk show, “The Talk.” The show has won Daytime Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Talk Show / Entertainment” and “Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Hosts.” Sara most recently made guest star appearances on “Atypical,” a show following an 18-year old autistic boy who decides its time to take hold of the reins of his life and turn it into something amazing; and the YouTube Premium series, “Weird City.” The series co-created by Academy and Emmy Award-winning writer Jordan Peele and Emmy Award winning writer Charlie Sanders, centers around life in the not-too-distant future city of Weird.

Ames McNamara (Mark Conner-Healy on ABC’s “The Conners”)

Ames McNamara is a high-schooler from Hoboken, NJ. He has been acting in local musical theater since age 5 and professionally since age 8. He stars as Mark Conner-Healy on The Conners and also voices a lead role in a new animated show for pre-schoolers.  When he’s not acting, Ames likes to direct his friends in short movies, go on hikes with his family, read fantasy novels, and play tennis and soccer. He’s a huge Premier League and Formula 1 fan.  Besides continuing to act and direct, Ames hopes to work in environmental justice when he’s older, and ultimately to become president.


“The Conners” follows America’s favorite family as they continue to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford. Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. will continue to grapple with parenthood, dating, financial pressures and aging in working-class America. Through it all – the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails. The series stars John Goodman as Dan Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner-Healy, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner, Emma Kenney as Harris Conner-Healy, Ames McNamara as Mark Conner-Healy, Jayden Rey as Mary Conner and Jay R. Ferguson as Ben. “The Conners” is executive produced by Tom Werner, along with Sara Gilbert, Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez. The series is from Werner Entertainment.

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