Candice Bergen visits The Conners

Jay Ferguson, Candice Bergen, and Sara Gilbert star in The ConnersScreenshot: The Conners

Even as programming schedules remain unpredictable, The Conners has kept some traditions alive. Last October, Michael Fishman helmed the show’s Halloween episode (which tripled as a pandemic/election special), and this week, the cast welcomes its latest guest star, as Candice Bergen arrives in Lanford. Bergen, who recently led her own sitcom revival, plays Barb, the acid-tongued mother of Ben (Jay R. Ferguson), who is herself a Lanford native. But that doesn’t mean she hits it off with the Conner family—in this A.V. Club exclusive clip from tonight’s episode, “A Cold Mom, A Brother Daddy And A Prison Baby,” Barb more than lives up to her name.

Barb’s derision hits a little close to home for Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), though, unlike the disapproval of her own mother Bev (Estelle Parsons), she doesn’t have to just stand there and take it. Ben scrambles to make his mother feel at home, but he also jokes that she “must be exhausted from all that alienating.” A death in the family has brought Barb back to Lanford, but that’s not the only reason why things are a little tense between mother and son, who have never been particularly close. Ben and Darlene, on the other hand, are closer than ever—they’re living together in the Conner home (along with Dan, Harris, Mark, and Mary). Season three will continue to explore their relationship, as The Conners keeps on trucking/following COVID-19 safety guidelines during production.

“A Cold Mom, A Brother Daddy And A Prison Baby” airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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