The Conners Pulled Off Perfect Reunion For Another Family Comedy

The Conners season 5 episode 11 pulled off a hilarious reunion for another family comedy when a guest star met one particular supporting cast member.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Conners season 5, episode 11.

In season 5 of the Roseanne spinoff The Conners, supporting star Emma Kenney is reunited with her Shameless co-star William H Macy, and the family sitcom handled this moment perfectly. It is never easy for a show like The Conners to pull off celebrity cameos. After all, the entire appeal of The Conners is that, like its predecessor Roseanne, the series is a relatively grounded look at working-class life in Middle America. This illusion would be pretty irreparably shattered if glamorous A-list stars appeared in Lanford every other week.


However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that The Conners can’t pull off celebrity cameos. Rock legend Joe Walsh’s Jesse was one of the funniest supporting characters in season 4, while William H Macy’s role as Smitty allowed The Conners season 5 to fix a cameo problem by connecting the guest star’s character to the canon of Roseanne. Not only that, but The Conners season 5, episode 11, “Two More Years and a Stolen Rose,” also saw Macy reunite with a former co-star in a perfectly handled meta-gag.

Related: Why The Conners Season 5 Has An Episode Banned From Reruns

The Conners Reunited Two Shameless Stars (Again)

The conners season 5 William H Macy shameless

In Shameless US, Emma Kenney played the daughter of Macy’s antihero. In The Conners, she plays Darlene’s daughter Harris, and the two former co-stars shared a brief conversation that acknowledged their history together with a bit of sly, self-referential humor. When Harris answered the door to Smitty, she insisted that she knew the familiar-looking older man from somewhere, only for Smitty to dismiss this as recognition from his television ads. The sitcom nature of The Conners meant that the show didn’t play up the meta-aspect of this reunion, but this ended up working in the show’s favor.

Earlier in The Conners season 5, Kenney’s character was reunited with another Shameless alum in the form of Ethan Cutkosky, who played Caleb in The Conners season 5, episode 4, “Parent Traps and Heart Attacks.” In that outing, as in “Two More Years and a Stolen Rose,” The Conners barely touched on the connection between the two actors before moving on to avoid getting too self-referential. This was a wise choice, as leaning into the “you look awfully familiar” shtick is both an over-used cliché and a choice that could make the comparatively grounded tone of The Conners feel too heightened and silly.

Why Smitty and Harris’ Conners Conversation Worked

Harris argues with Darlene's neighbor in The Conners

Since “Two More Years and a Stolen Rose” already featured a returning Roseanne character, Kenney and Macy’s reunion wasn’t the only meta-moment in the episode. Not only that, but the fact that Harris moved on from interrogating Smitty to mocking his Speedo-clad commercials re-established the normal sitcom tone of The Conners quickly, meaning the meta-joke didn’t outstay its welcome or disrupt the show’s narrative. As a result, the quick wit of The Conners ensured that the Shameless reunion didn’t feel out of place or mess with the tone of the Roseanne spinoff.

Next: Why The Conners Kept Two Major Roseanne Deaths Offscreen

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