'The Conners' Adds Transgender Character Played by Alexandra Billings

On Tuesday, Deadline reported that Transparent alum Alexandra Billings will appear on Season 3 of The Conners, which is currently airing. Billings will play Robin, a transgender woman who works as a supervisor at Wellman Plastics, which is where both Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and Becky (Lecy Goranson) are employed. Robin will reportedly be a friend and mentor to Darlene throughout multiple episodes during the season.

Billings' character lives in Lanford, the Illinois town in which the Conner family also lives. She will make her debut in the episode airing on Nov. 25. According to an official episode synopsis, Robin becomes a friend and mentor to Darlene, "which lands [Darlene] in an awkward situation between the boss and her sister, Becky," per TVLine. Darlene and Becky initially secured jobs at Wellman Plastics at the beginning of Season 3. As fans of the original Roseanne will recall, Wellman Plastics is the same location that both Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) worked at towards the beginning of the show's initial run.

(Photo: Eric McCandless via Getty Images, Getty)

In the Season 3 premiere, the family discussed the fact that Wellman Plastics would be re-opening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This news led Jackie to recall her time working at the location and, specifically, her relationship with the factory's former foreman, Booker, who was portrayed by George Clooney. Jackie even specifically noted that her former supervisor shared a resemblance to the famous actor, saying that she "shoulda hit that until I broke it." The show also included a flashback to a scene from the original Roseanne in which Jackie and Booker could be seen flirting with one another. During an interview with Newsweek, Gilbert, who also executive produces The Conners, shared that she loved that the show could feature such a fun, full-circle moment with Darlene and Becky following in their aunt and late mother's footsteps at Wellman Plastics.


"I love having things from the original show pop back in. I think viewers probably love it, and maybe I'm just kind of nostalgic, but I also love it," the actor told the publication. "Darlene is a character that everybody thought was gonna get ahead and break the poverty cycle, and she was smart and ambitious and driven. In spite of that, she's not, she hasn't been able to do it, and she's kind of back at square one this season. I feel like that's the truth for so many Americans who are smart and driven and do everything they can and can only get to a certain place in their dreams. So, that's relatable to everybody, no matter how successful someone might get, there are certain dreams we never achieve. I like what it's saying about this country socioeconomically."