Darlene, Darlene, Darlene...
That's the mantra that kept running through my head while watching The Conners Season 2 Episode 2.
As frustrating as it was to witness my favorite character making horrible choices, The Conner family was still able to make me laugh out loud and break my heart all at once.
The most immediate heartbreak was Mark's.
While many kids struggle to figure out who they are, Mark seems to know.
But he's also learning that there are a lot of ignorant, hateful people in this world who will ostracize him for simply being who he is.
Hey, it’s not contagious, lady. Your kid’s not going to catch being gay any more than he’s going to catch being a cranky, old wench like you.Darlene
Mark's first experience finding a boyfriend began about as sweet and innocent as possible.
Mark: I guess he’s my boyfriend. When we found out that they were going to start serving personal pizzas at lunch we got so excited that we kissed.
Dan: I get that.
Was the school's policy on public displays of affection too much?
In this day and age, it's difficult for schools to decide what keeps their students safe and what constitutes innocent affection.
The one upside was that the policy didn't discriminate based on gender. It was the kissing they deemed inappropriate, and not whether it was kissing between the same genders or opposite genders. That seems like a small step in the right direction.
Mark has to navigate a very confusing world.
His parents are incredibly supportive of him being exactly who he is, yet Austin was quick to turn his back on Mark.
When Austin's grandmother mocked Mark's nail polish, he decided to get rid of that means of self-expression and that small act showed how this entire incident was crushing Mark's spirit.
David stepped up at that moment and tried to encourage his son to be the amazing person he has always been and hang in there until the rest of the world caught up.
What’s important is that someone wonderful will eventually come along. I think the hard part is that you know who you are at a very early age and that’s great, but until the rest of the kids catch up it might be a little lonely.David
It's gratifying to see David and Darlene being such wonderful parents, at least until the reality of their secret affair comes crashing down around them.
What I had failed to realize during The Conners Season 2 Episode 1 was that David didn't know that Darlene was still seeing Ben.
Sometimes, people can be brilliant in many ways, yet incredibly stupid in others. Right now, that describes Darlene.
Darlene: You can’t make me feel worse about myself than I already feel right now.
Jackie: At least let me try.
Ben knows that something is off with Darlene but he's assuming it has to do with her mother dying, her father being newly widowed, or the stress of raising two kids.
Ben is openly worried about Darlene which makes her behavior all the crueler.
Then there's David, who appears to be just as much in the dark about Darlene still seeing Ben as Ben is about his girlfriend sleeping with her ex.
Much like Jackie, I love David but I don't feel that Darlene and David make a healthy couple. There's very little balance in their relationship. Darlene makes the rules and David goes along for the ride.
I was proud of David when he stood up and said he wanted to tell the kids they were back together. He clearly thinks this relationship is permanent.
Going to couple's counseling is a positive step, but Jackie was right, any qualified therapist is going to unearth Darlene's secrets.
And then what?
The last time things got difficult for David after his brother died, he left Darlene and the kids, and it took him years to find his way back.
If David finds out that Darlene has been lying to him, will he take off on the whole family once again?
There's little doubt what Ben will do. The odds are he'll dump Darlene and who could blame him?
But let's hope Darlene's relationship issues get resolved before the kids get dragged into this because they have enough problems.
Finally, there's Becky and baby Bev.
Things are often chaotic after someone has a baby, and Beverly Rose being born early and ending up in the NICU only added to Becky's stress.
When Becky knocked that bottle of breast milk to the floor, spilling the contents after spending days struggling to get those nutrients for her child, I wanted to cry right along with her.
Becky will undoubtedly make plenty of mistakes along the way, but she adores her baby girl. If he didn't she wouldn't be this concerned about screwing her up.
You think your baby’s never going to love you? Do you know all the awful things we did to you as a baby?Dan
It was one of those moments when Becky needed her mother, but Roseanne's gone.
Thankfully, Dan was more than able to step up and console his daughter when she needed it.
So what do you think TV Fanatics?
Do you like how the show is handling Mark navigating the pitfalls of growing up as a gay teen?
How long will it take for Darlene's dueling relationships to crash and burn and who will figure out her deception first?
Do you feel any empathy for Darlene's predicament or do you consider this a disaster of her own making?
And with the baby's father having gotten deported, who will step up and help Becky when she finally gets to bring little Beverly Rose home?
Check back for my next review 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.