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Darlene’s Concern About Mary’s Depression On The Conners Season 5 Episode 4 Harkens Back To Her Own Complicated History

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Darlene’s journey with depression began in Season 4 of Roseanne. In Darlene Fades to Black, we learn that the teenage girl slipped into an episode of depression after an injury ended her time on the basketball court. She spends a lot of time in black clothes, lying on the couch and staring into space. When Roseanne Conner (Roseanne Barr) asks Darlene how she can help her, Darlene, much like Mary, simply says that she wants to be left alone. The episode doesn’t give Darlene’s depression a nice little berth – instead, Darlene gradually emerges from her rut and becomes her sarcastic old self throughout the rest of Roseanne.

Much of this is because Darlene meets David Healy (Johnny Galecki), her brother-in-law, who continues to help her get out of her shell. But for every step forward she takes, she takes a parentally displeased step back; Running away with him, secretly taking him to her off-campus apartment while she was studying, and other incidents. But the relationship in which she is domineering towards the rather passive David is definitely beginning to relieve her of her depressive affect.

In the 1990s, the word “depression” wasn’t often spoken by characters, but in this episode of “The Conners,” Darlene and Becky Conner-Healy (Lecy Goranson) directly describe Darlene’s earlier emotional state as depressed. Things end differently for Mary; By the end of the episode, we find out that she is actually not suffering from depression at all, but is actually in a relationship with her first boyfriend. In an amusing twist, she treats the boy the way Darlene used to treat David, leading Becky and Darlene to express their sympathy for him.



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