When is a house more than a house?
On The Conners Season 4 Episode 13, buying a house meant more than just owning property. For Darlene, it was a way to reestablish her independence.
Unfortunately, like many people in real life, Darlene found that the process wasn’t going to be easy.
It’s depressing to think that simply being a single woman means that Darlene has two strikes against her when it comes to buying a new home.
Darlene may be able to get a loan, but since she’s not a man and not a part of a couple, she’s seen as a liability. Ugh.
So Darlene had to ask Ben to pretend to be in a relationship with her in order to fool the realtor and the seller.
Darlene: The realtor says that I have to be part of a couple to have a real shot with the seller. Apparently, any big, dumb sack of male DNA will make me more attractive as a buyer.
Ben: If you’re asking me to pretend that we’re a couple, then I need to be wooed. Tell me I’m pretty.
Darlene: Okay, you’re a big, dumb sack of pretty. Now, will you go?
Ben: Now that I feel good about myself, yes.
At first, I wasn’t thrilled with this arrangement. Ben and Darlene need to get out of one another’s orbit.
Their breakup was messy, and with Ben hanging out at the Conner house, partnering with Dan at work, and being a part of Darlene’s kids’ lives, moving on seems almost impossible.
But this was the first time that Darlene and Ben felt like friends since long before they’d broken up. Ben sincerely seemed to want to help Darlene get back on her feet and start a new chapter of her life.
When he offered to cosign the loan so she could outbid the other couple, it wasn’t a ploy to get back together. It was a generous offer only made to help out a friend.
That said, I’m relieved that Darlene didn’t take him up on it.
It’s true. Even as a child, Darlene was fiercely independent. So how did she end up living with her father and needing Ben’s help to buy a home?
Darlene got married young and had two kids, and then David left her to raise them all on her own.
When Darlene lost her job, she had nowhere to go and no one else to ask for help but her parents. It wasn’t about Darlene losing her independence as much as having to trade it in for the good of her family.
She really had lost her way, partly due to her own choices but also due to circumstances beyond her control.
Would she be more financially stable if she and Ben had stuck it out? Absolutely, and that’s why it’s easier to get a loan as a couple. Two incomes are better than one.
But remaining in an unhappy relationship wasn’t suitable for Ben or Darlene. Hopefully, they’ll each find their way forward as friends.
I’m not rooting for a reconciliation, at least not yet. But suddenly, I’m not ruling it out.
If they are both able to grow into more independent, happy people separately, maybe there’s hope for them as a couple. I don’t know if that’s where they’re headed, but I’m open to the possibility for the first time all season.
Elsewhere, Becky and her professor had started dating but had to sneak around, so he didn’t lose his job for having a relationship with a student.
This storyline got weird quickly, mainly because it’s been so rushed. Their relationship went from a mild flirtation to an all-out affair within the span of two episodes.
I can’t root for them because they are barely a couple. Their romance feels manufactured to create some sort of drama. And if the actors have any chemistry at all, it’s had no time to show itself.
But what bothered me most was when Becky told everyone she was single.
Isn’t she still married to Emilio? I know he’s in the country illegally and is supposed to still be in Mexico, but they are still married. How will Emilio ever get a green card if Becky is openly dating other people?
Wasn’t Emilio supposed to apply to reenter the US again in two years, and aren’t we at two years?
The whole reason Becky married him was so he’d have a better chance of being allowed back in the country. I can’t imagine that Becky actively dating other people will help that cause.
But it’s been so long since the show mentioned Emilio’s immigration status or his marriage to Becky that I’ve begun to wonder if they’ve dropped the entire storyline much as they did with David being in Lanford to reestablish a relationship with his kids.
Even without those complications, Becky and her professor are a boring couple.
The best part of this story could have been the comical outcome of Becky going on a fake date, but we never got to see that happen, only hear about it after the fact.
Overall, this installment of The Conners missed the mark.
Darlene is still searching for independence but going nowhere. Ben and Darlene have finally found steady ground as friends. And Becky’s love life is headed for a train wreck, but there was little humor or emotional punch in any of it.
I hope the writers can find their funny bones soon, or at least pick up the threads to some of those unanswered questions where Becky’s marriage is concerned.
Am I being too harsh? Hit that big, blue, SHOW COMMENTS button down below and tell me so.
If you’re hoping for better, too, then check back in for our The Conners Season 4 Episode 14, and until then, you can watch The Conners online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.