Ames McNamara plays Mark on The Connors, the hit show on ABC. I recently interviewed him and Sara Gilbert to find out more about them and their lives on and off of the set of the show. They had a lot to say and I'm excited to share it!
I met Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman from The Conners when I visited the set of Roseanne before the reboot a few years ago. I had a blast learning a ton about the cast and characters while also getting to play around on the set. Don't miss it!
The Conners Interview with Sara Gilbert and Ames McNamara
You've dealt firsthand with the same issues that Darlene Conner and Mark are experiencing. Can you share some of your own experiences with school and distance learning?
Ames McNamara: I've experienced a lot of virtual school. It's not the same as in-person, but it's the best we can do right now.
I'm able to relate to everything that Mark is going through because its stuff that's happening to me and to so many kids right now.
Technology is amazing but it's not perfect. I feel personally lucky to have had amazing teachers who have helped me through my virtual school experience and really made it engaging.
In the newest episode of The Conners, Mark is stressed and exhausted from studing for an exam and Darlene tries to help, but her plan backfires. What do you hope the audience takes away from that episode?
Sara Gilbert: The episode shines a light on the inequities in our country.
I think we've all seen how people with less already were struggling, but it puts a spotlight on that. It widens the devide between people who have more and people who have less. They don't always have tablets or computers, or wifi access, so kids would be falling further behind.
What I really like is that this episode talks about how unfair that is. That it's really not a level playing field and how much stress that causes a parent who just wants the best for their kid.
Ames McNamara: I think the episode helps to illuminate more problems. It also shows how it doesn't just affect the kids, but it effects everyone in the family.
Darlene does a really good job of trying to blow up the myth of meritocracy. The Conner's addresses this idea often. Why do you think it's important for the series to show that not everyone gets ahead just by working hard?
Sara Gilbert: I think it's important to show because the only way we can change things is to first have some awareness around it. Then we can hopefully be able to take some action.
Something that I love about our show is that we get to address the fact that this fictional group represents a lot of people who are kind, smart, intelligent, funny, good people that can't break the cycle of poverty. They can't break through the levels of how unfair things can be in this country.
Ames McNamara: It's not like these inequalities didn't exist before the pandemic, but it's widened the gap. It's brought more attention to it, which I think is a good thing.
What is your least favorite subject to do through distance learning?
Ames McNamara: Every subject has its different challenges in distance learning. At my school, we have this really great program for languages. I take French. It's really in-depth and my teacher is a native French speaker. It's immersion French.
But it's a lot harder to learn a language online. There's something about being there in person and face-to-face. Just being able to talk in a classrom that makes learning a language a lot easier.
Sara Gilbert: You should all know that Ames is the best student I've pretty much ever met.
It's funny because we have the same teacher who was my teacher on the original Roseanne. We just laugh at the differences. When it was time to go to school, I'd like, hide, or go get food, or try to get in another scene…anything to get out of school.
But Ames is excited to get back to it. he checks his watch, wanting to make sure he gets to class. It's a big difference.
At the beginning of the show there were a lot of positive and important conversations about how to talk to kids about sexuality. How has that changed as the show has progressed?
Note: Mark, the character Ames McNamara plays on ‘The Conners', is gay.
Ames McNamara: It's great to have representation. One of the great parts about playing mark is that you can see someone who's coming to terms with himself and who he is, as he's growing up.
You can see how his family has really been super supportive of him and how they're trying to navigate it. That's something that's sparked conversations, and it's something that's really good to be shown on TV.
It's definitely part of peoples' lives. Any person out there, who's questioning who they are. As you grow up, you find yourself. I think that's one of my favorite parts about playing Mark, and it's also one of my favorite parts about the show.
Thank you to ABC Television for inviting me to participate in this interview.