We're only one week removed from the midterms and ABC’s The Conners was already looking ahead to the 2020 campaign on Tuesday’s episode, “The Separation of Church and Dan.”
Darlene’s (Sara Gilbert) son Mark (Ames McNamara) has been assigned to do a poll on politics for a school project and his very liberal Aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) volunteers to take him to the mall to conduct the poll. Based on her cynical comments, however, it’s obvious things aren’t going to go well.
When Mark says his class is learning about democracy, Jackie quips, “Oh, it's a class in ancient history, eh?” She later adds, “I think it's great that you're hungry to learn about how democracy is supposed to work, 'cause it's up to you young people to snatch it back from special interests and breathe new life into this noble experiment that we call America.”
As expected, Jackie just can’t keep her opinions to herself - she badgers a Republican voter, implying he doesn't like kids - and ends up ruining Mark’s project:
Jackie: Now, you remember how, back at the house, everybody was arguing about religion. Well, the same thing happens with politics because it's very personal, it's very private. So, as a pollster, your job is just remain neutral and just -- you know, just record the answers. Okay? Democracy in action. Go get 'em.
Mark: Hello! I'm doing a political poll for school. Are you voting Democrat or Republican?
Jackie: Blue wave! 2020! Sorry!
Mark: Aunt Jackie, you scared her.
Jackie: Yeah, sorry. I just felt a rush of hope, and it just got away from me. Carry on.
Mark: Hi, I'm doing a political poll for school. Are you registered as a Democrat or Republican?
Mark: Did you vote for higher property taxes to pay for funding of the arts?
Jackie: I'm Jackie, I'm the aunt of the pollster. Quick follow-up question. So, there's proof that communities with more arts programs have less crime, and it enriches our kids' lives, and you like kids, right?
Man: Nice bait, but I'm not taking it. I work hard to pay my property taxes, and there are a lot more important things to spend money on than the city wasting my taxes on a giant mural of a crying polar bear underneath a beach umbrella.
Mark: He's not crying, he's sweating.
Jackie: So, you've never wasted money, you and that ridiculously huge pretzel.
Man: You want to talk about wasting money? How about ObamaCare?
Jackie: How about the wall?
Man: Fake news.
Jackie: Fake news!
Mark: Thank you! Aunt Jackie, we're not supposed to take sides. You're messing up the poll.
Jackie: I know. I get it. Ohh, here we go.
Mark decides to turn the project into an essay after the disaster at the mall. “It's about how people don't listen,” he tells Jackie. “They just yell at each other. And if we don't start listening and being nicer, we'll never be able to get along.”
Out of the mouth of babes! Well said, Mark. Well said.