I've been meaning to write about Connie for a week or so now, especially after listening to quite a few Connie-centered episodes at night recently, but I've had a post every other day for a few days, and I didn't want to do it too soon, but here it is.
I'm going to try to go as in depth as I did with the Mr. Whittaker review, but I didn't put nearly as much thought into this one as that one. So, here goes.
The first episode I ever heard Connie in was Connie Comes to Town, because it was the first story on the first CD in the first album I ever had. So, other than the single-story tapes we would sometimes get from Chick-Fil-A, that was actually the first Adventures in Odyssey episode I ever heard. I've always pictured Connie at more of a college-student type age rather than the high-school age she's depicted as in her first episode. I still can't imagine Connie any younger than 16/17 years old.
Besides Whit, I think she was the first long-term character to ever appear on the show (if you don't count Tom in Whit's Visitor). In this episode she is a rebellious teenager who just wants to make her own way in life, and doesn't really want anyone to get in her way. She appears on the show as a young-ish girl seeking a job so that she can make enough money for bus fares to Los Angeles so she can see her dad and her old friends. (How or why she thinks she's going to get there without her mom's knowledge I have no idea.) "Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to Front Street?" was her first line on the show. She was trying to get to an interview for a job at a fashion center. But then Whit offers her a job almost immediately after meeting her, and she takes it...as long as he's willing to pay as much as she was going to be paid at the fashion store. ; D
So Connie decides to stay, and throughout the first two albums, she learns a lot about Mr. Whittaker and his faith, and, especially in episodes like A Tangled Web, he acts as a spiritual mentor to her, but isn't really on her case about her being converted to Christianity. She is pretty hostile to the idea until she meets Pamela on her way to Los Angeles (a short trip, not permanent like before), a girl not too much older than her who witnesses to her. This happens in Connie, Part I, and in Connie, Part II, Connie makes the decision to repent, and surrenders her life to Jesus Christ.
Katie Leigh has done a phenominal job as Connie over the years, and Connie is often teased, on and off of Odyssey, for being the everlasting teenager. She (Connie, not Katie) doesn't graduate high school for 400 episodes, which is eleven real-life years! And when she does graduate, we see how much she really has changed, because she is willing to stand up against her principal when he told her that she couldn't use the name of Jesus at the end of her prayer.
Throughout the years, Connie stands up for her faith in numerous ways, including breaking up with a heathen boyfriend, trusting God through the times that Whit was gone in the Middle East, and seeking His will with her relationship with Mitch and his relationship to Novacom and the F.B.I. My favorite era with Connie has been the saga with Mitch and Novacom and the F.B.I. Probably my favorite album is Album 41 where she and Joann go on the trip to Washington D.C., and then she almost gets married (yes, I, like most people badly wanted her to get married). I agree with the writers' decision to have her decide to stay in Odyssey rather than to move to Budapest with Mitch though, because it would have changed the show. But I do think it would have been a solution to what else they would do with Connie, because she would be gone.
One problem that many fans have had with her throughout the years was that she almost always seemed to be bickering, mostly with Eugene. They did that for years and years, but, probably due to all of the complaining, their quarrels stopped right around the time that Eugene became a Christian. I have always really liked the quarreling because it makes me laugh, and I do the same kind of thing with my brother a lot, so I didn't mind when the arguing was brought back soon after Eugene's return and recovery from amnesia. But I've heard many people say that just as they thought that Connie had finally matured enough to stop all the bickering, it came back! And it seems like Connie has nothing else to do but argue with Eugene.
But after Mitch left, the writers have said that they didn't know what to do with Connie, so she was pretty much just in every other episode, tagging along, or being there to argue or give a woman's point of view. Thankfully, more recently, she started to write a book in response to Rusty Gordon's criticism of Odyssey. That gave her a solid thing to be doing amidst all the other storylines, so she didn't always have to be just tagging along. But I was really frustrated when The Chosen One aired, and Kelly destroyed Connie's book. I felt almost the same way Connie did for awhile, before I really thought about how much Odyssey might be changed if Connie got a book out to the public. During the next couple albums after that incident, we see a side of Connie I don't think we'd ever seen before--the unforgiving, grudge-holding person that came out only in little spurts whenever she was frustrated before. The situation is finally resolved in Chip Off the Shoulder when Connie tries to prove her forgiveness to Kelly by helping her find something that Kelly accused her of stealing.
After that episode, everything's well again, and the next thing we see Connie doing is helping with preparations for the judges who will come to discern whether or not Odyssey is the best small town in America. But after that escapade was over, in Albums 51 and 52 she's back to the guinea pig in The Inspiration Station, the arguer (and hair-cutter) in For the Birds, and the tag-alonger in The Mystery of the Clock Tower. I don't really have a problem with that, as, apart from the Novacom Saga, I've always liked Connie to be a side-story character rather than a main-story character. Maybe she'll play a big part in The Green Ring Conspiracy, but, although I know many Connie-fans would like her to do something big again, I would rather she didn't.
So that's my view on Connie. Despite all the criticisms, I really do like her character, and though she's not as well-loved (at least by me) as Whit, I would be sad if she ever left Odyssey, and the show would be a lot different without her.
Thank you for reading! Be looking out for a character review on "Mr. Meltsner" in the near future. Please comment!
P.S. I put some more special pictures up on the Special Pictures page. Enjoy! : )