The Conners’s Returning Roseanne Character Can Reveal A Missing Arc
Now that The Conners season 5 has promised the return of a Roseanne character, Martin Mull’s Leon Carp would be a perfect fit. For years after the off-screen death of Roseanne, The Conners struggled with the outsized legacy of its former title character. While the rest of the family sitcom’s sizable cast remained a part of The Conners, the first few seasons of the spinoff had a hard time finding the right tone for a show that was essentially Roseanne sans Roseanne. According to showrunners, however, one Roseanne character will reappear for the first time in The Conners season 5, helping them deal with this complicated legacy.
After a few seasons, The Conners‘ attempts to erase Roseanne became tough to ignore. As such, The Conners season 5 has seen the show’s characters talk more fondly about their late matriarch, and returning characters like Roseanne’s mother Bev have offered Jackie and Dan opportunities to discuss the character’s good qualities. This has been a positive development, but what The Conners really needs is to bring back one of Roseanne’s most pivotal supporting stars. Martin Mull’s Leon Carp, who played a major role in Roseanne, has not yet appeared on The Conners, and his return in season 5 would clarify at least one major plot hole.
Roseanne’s Leon Carp Explained
Leon Carp was Jackie’s fussy, strict boss when she worked in the Luncheonette during the early seasons of Roseanne. Roseanne discovered he was gay early in the show’s run, and he later married a more laid-back attorney in a landmark of LGBTQ+ representation in prime-time television. However, since Roseanne’s revival retconned Dan’s death and the rest of the show’s divisive season 9, Leon’s fate after his wedding isn’t entirely clear in the timeline of The Conners. Leon was last seen buying The Lunchbox from Beverly after the Conner family won the lottery, but none of these events took place in The Conners, so his role on the show is unclear.
The Conners Never Mentioned Leon’s Later Life
Since The Conners season 2 revealed that Beverly actually still owned the Lunchbox and was continuing to profit from leasing the property, it realistically stands to reason that Leon Carp might still have been working there during the events of the spinoff. However, even Bev’s return in The Conners season 5 hasn’t prompted any reference to Mull’s character. Whether Leon Carp continued working in the Lunchbox before Jackie bought the place (and when he quit) is not yet clear, since The Conners hasn’t addressed his existence. Fortunately, there is ample opportunity for The Conners season 5 to fix this.
Leon’s Return Makes Perfect Sense For The Conners
According to The Conners showrunners, a Roseanne supporting star who has not been seen since the original 90s series will appear on the spinoff in season 5. While the creators have not said whether this will be Mull’s Leon, this could be a perfect chance for The Conners to explain his fate. Most of The Conners recent season 5 guest stars have been borrowed from other hit shows instead of returning characters from Roseanne, meaning Mull’s appearance would be ideally timed. Not only that, but the one major returning Roseanne character who has played a role in The Conners season 5, Bev, had a pivotal part to play in Leon’s confusing departure from Roseanne.
Why Leon Carp Could (And Should) Return To The Conners
In Roseanne’s version of events, Leon was last seen running The Lunchbox. In The Conners timeline, Beverly never sold the establishment, meaning her decision not to give the restaurant to Leon could have reshaped his unseen, off-screen life. Unfortunately, screen veteran Fred Willard, who played Leon’s husband Scott, passed away in 2020. However, Mull himself could appear as Leon and, after Jackie’s brutal arc, The Conners season 5 could do with a lighter story from one of the original sitcom’s most consistently hilarious guest stars. After all, Mull is a comedy veteran who is always a welcome screen presence.
Furthermore, Leon’s status as one of the most visible early LGBTQ+ characters in sitcom history would make his return to The Conners perfectly timed. Darlene’s son Mark has been absent for much of The Conners season 5 and, in his one major appearance, discussed how hard it is to be an openly gay kid growing up in Lanford. It would be moving, funny, and poignant to see Mull’s character give Mark some advice on how to survive his middle-American hometown as an LGBTQ+ person, and this would allow The Conners season 5 to utilize a character who hasn’t been seen since the final season of Roseanne wasted his potential.
Episodes of The Conners air Wednesdays on ABC.
Next: Why Mark Is Missing From So Much Of The Conners Season 5