The Conners: How Katey Sagal’s Filming Break Changed Louise’s Season 4 Story

Although The Conners season 4 missed out on Katey Sagal’s Louise for a long stretch, the character’s arc could be all the stronger for it. When Louise first arrived on The Conners, her role on the show was not particularly clear. Established as a potential love interest for Dan back in The Conners season 1, she was soon downgraded to friend status when Dan made it clear that he was not over his late wife Roseanne.

However, The Conners soon showed that Louise is no Roseanne replacement and, as Sagal’s character established an identity of her own, Louise’s romantic rapport with Dan improved. By The Conners season 3, the duo were dating and by season 4 they were married, only for an ill-timed real-life accident to inhibit Sagal’s filming availability. However, the otherwise uneven season 4 has largely managed to fix this issue, fast-tracking Louise’s character arc and making The Conners more dramatic and compelling as a result.

Related: The Conners Has Forgotten To Properly Tell Harris’ Broken Story

Sitcom legend Sagal was hit by a car in late 2021, prompting a lengthy break from filming as she recuperated. This resulted in Louise and Dan spending a huge chunk of The Conners season 4 apart,  meaning that the anticipated shift in the family’s dynamic was delayed, as the new arrival never really arrived after the wedding. However, shortly after returning, Louise suggested a plan to help Becky and Darlene move out, proving that her proactive presence would shake up the eponymous family. Meanwhile, the plot of "Big Negotiations and Broken Expectations” (season 4, episode 17) got Louise’s arc further back on track with an explosive fight between Dan and Louise that directly addressed how much her presence reshapes the family.

This has all been somewhat unexpected, as Louise received a surprisingly muted return in the otherwise dramatic shooting episode ‘Triggered" (season 4, episode 15). However, Louise drawing attention away from Jackie and Becky’s struggles in that episode would have been poorly-timed, whereas sidelining her character throughout that outing proved she could be supportive when the Conners needed her to be. This made it all the more effective when the idea of Becky and Darlene (or Dan and Louise) moving out forced the family to face the reality that Dan’s marriage reshapes their dynamic.

While the shooting episode showed that Louise was a caring addition to the family, "Negotiations and Broken Expectations” proved that she would not let Dan forget about her to help out his adult children. While this could have seemed callous, the fact that Louise quietly helped out Darlene and Becky in an earlier episode by suggesting that Dan build them a house proves she does care about them. As such, Sagal’s slow-burn return to The Conners has given her character a more satisfying arc wherein Louise can stand up for herself within the titular tight-knit family while still proving that she cares about them at the same time.

More: The Conners Brought Back Roseanne’s Secret Weapon

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