The Conners: Jesse’s Return Perfectly Flipped A Sitcom Cliche

Jesse’s meaningless comment, and Aldo’s misplaced emotional reaction to it, underlined the difference between an unconventional, “dysfunctional” family like the Conners and a genuinely dysfunctional family like Aldo and Jesse’s. Even though earlier in The Conners season 4 plot, Harris defended her relationship with Aldo when Jesse told her to leave his son, Aldo instantly forgave his father because he seemingly wasn’t even aware that Jesse was actively insulting him. For his part, Jesse seemed equally unaware of the fact that his words weren’t a sweet send-off for his son and were instead a cold condemnation of his conduct.

While it sometimes seems like the Conners don’t care about each other because of how often and relentlessly they make fun of each other, the family does try to see eye to eye and do respect each other even when they disagree. However, much like The Conners uncovered That 70s Show’s lax parenting, the sitcom’s Jesse/Aldo scene underlined how hollow and meaningless a lot of sweet sitcom moments are when the father/son duo patched things up despite neither of them growing, changing, or improving in any way. The duo accepting their terrible relationship and treating their mutual disdain as if it was an achievement was an unusually dark sitcom subversion for The Conners, but it was an effective contrast to how the titular family constantly needle each other but ultimately have one another’s back, compared to Jesse and Aldo’s terrible setup.

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