Fans of The Conners were devastated when single mother Becky suffered an alcoholism relapse after drinking a glass of wine with a friend in Wednesday's two-part episode, sending the character into a dark and emotional tailspin. Showrunner Bruce Helford spoke to TVLine about this dramatic development and what it meant for the rest of the third season of the ABC sitcom. "When she was going through her original drinking problem on the show, she stopped [because] she was pregnant," Helford explained. "After the baby was born, she stopped nursing and could conceivably drink again [but she didn't]. And we thought we may have done a little bit of a disservice making it look so easy that someone could stop cold turkey."
"It isn't so easy to [quit drinking] for most people, and our show is always trying to be a touchstone of reality in a world of sitcoms that often is not," Helford said. "She would definitely come up against this problem again."
Helford also revealed that the character would be going to rehab and that audiences would see that experience play out onscreen. "She's going into rehab," Helford said. "We're dealing with it a bit more realistically…There are a few episodes [that cover] her journey. We definitely see the process that she goes through."
Helford hopes to explore Becky's relationship with her baby daddy, Emilio, and how her relapse affects them in the fourth season, but the show has yet to be renewed. "It's being discussed," Helford admitted. "I think we do well [in the ratings]. When you get the DVR numbers, the audience is very loyal to us…. And we all love this so much, so the will on our side is certainly there."
However, should the worst happen and season three is the end of the road for The Conners, Helford has some thoughts about the season finale functioning as a series finale. "It's a very satisfying end of a season, I'll put it that way," Helford said. "I don't know if I would consider it an end of a series. But it's definitely going to be a very satisfying end-of-season show for the audience." You can stream The Conners on Hulu in preparation for the final stretch to see how the family helps one of their own through such a dark time.