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The Conners, Superstore, Bob's Burgers are looking more relevant than ever as working class shows

  • "The coronavirus crisis is exposing America's class divide (among other societal injustices), and so it seems both ironic and sadly fitting that the pandemic-induced (and necessary) shutdowns across Hollywood has led to even fewer shows able to speak convincingly and poignantly to the concerns of the very Americans most vulnerable to COVID-19," says Inkoo Kang. "Network TV probably has many more shows featuring doctors, lawyers, detectives and other professionals than it does struggling families. And while cable and streaming aren't without working-class characters (e.g., HBO's Insecure, Comedy Central's Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, Netflix's Gentefied), one gets the sense that striving protagonists like Insecure's Issa, Nora From Queens' titular figure and Gentefied's creative, entrepreneurial cousins will eventually sort themselves out; they're broke millennials searching for their path up. The Conners, Superstore and Bob's Burgers, in contrast, don't promise their characters the American Dream, unless there's a heavy price to pay (or, in the case of the NBC series, the lead actress being written out of the show). These shows, like few others anywhere on television, evoke the intractability of class that is the reality for so many Americans." The Conners, in particular, "has done Roseanne's legacy proud by becoming one of TV's best shows about working-class characters, especially in its focus on how money troubles affect intergenerational relationships and inform parent-child dynamics," says Kang. Showrunner Bruce Helford recently imagined the Conner family dealing with the coronavirus crisis. As Kang points out, "all the adults in the family would be out of a job, not for pathos' sake, but because the kinds of work they do — construction, operating a diner, getting an ad-supported tabloid off the ground — are neither 'essential' nor secure."

    TOPICS: The Conners, ABC, FOX, NBC, Bob's Burgers, Superstore, Bruce Helford