As The Conners gear up for their third season premiere on October 21, the entire family is handling the coronavirus pandemic with some “humor” and “caution,” according to the show’s star Ames McNamara, who plays Mark Conner-Healy.

“Mark is wearing a mask and a shield. That’s definitely a source of comedy. I also do temperature checks. There are definitely some fun things related to COVID,” the 13-year-old actor told J-14 exclusively about what fans can expect from his character. “I was impressed with how well he was handling it.”

In typical The Conners fashion, viewers can look forward to watching the family “make it work” and seeing how each character deals with the pandemic differently. But aside from the comedic aspect, Ames also explained that Mark is “worried about COVID” and is “very aware of all of the rules and guidelines.”

“He’s just trying to make sure that his family follows all of the rules and stays safe,” the young star said. “Just like every kid in the country, he is trying to navigate distance learning and he’s definitely feeling the stress of the whole situation.”

Production on The Conners was put on hold earlier this year due to the ongoing health crisis. When the cast officially returned to set, Ames said, at first, he was “little bit scared” about all the new safety protocols. He also said the biggest change was not filming in front of a live audience, which was something he “missed” this year.

“We have so many good protocols and I feel so comfortable on set and our whole crew has made it so easy to come back,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised.”

Ames has played the role of Mark since The Conners started in 2017. He told J-14 that it’s been “so cool” for him to play the gay character on TV for the past three years.

“In terms of change and people trying to find who they are, it’s been good for them to see themselves reflected on TV,” he said. “It’s been so cool for me to be able to do that for people.”

The Conners premieres on ABC Wednesday, October 21 at 9 p.m. ET.

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