…and by “fans,” I am including myself in there as well.
If you’re a fan of Nashville, chances are that by now, you’ve suffered with the rest of us, the tragic death of Connie Britton’s character on the show, “Rayna Jaymes.” She died following surgery complications after a car accident.
I’ll get right to the point. This was devastating to a lot of fans, mainly because she was the main character on the show and many believe, the heart and soul of Nashville as well. She was largely the reason I began watching and quickly became a fan of hers.
There were rumors prior to the beginning of this season that Connie would be exiting sometime this year before the season ended. Other than an appearance on “Ellen” in which she stated that she would remain “for the duration,” nothing had really been confirmed. As I am a person who doesn’t like to get caught up in rumors, I prepared for both her staying and leaving. I began to detach myself from the character she played so very well just in case we found out it was time for her to move on.
Nashville currently resides on its second home, CMT, as its original network (ABC) canceled the show after last season. Following that cancellation, a lot of us as fans fought to show our support and to get the show back on the air. It did not take long before we were able to make that happen.
We spoke. They listened. Life doesn’t always work out that way, but oh, when it does…it’s beautiful.
To be totally honest, I could tell pretty early that Connie was ready to move on. When Nashville was initially cancelled and she was asked during an interview if she was upset about it, she said “yes.” She said yes. I didn’t feel yes, but she said it. I could sort of tell at that point. It was that, along with the fact that once it was announced that Nashville was returning, as far to my knowledge, she was the only cast member to not immediately say anything about it. She complimented the fans later on in interviews, but that was about it. Also (and not that she’s required to do this), she didn’t often speak much about the show whenever it was on. Don’t get me wrong; Connie is very busy in addition to having worked on Nashville, so I understood that she may not have been up to live-tweeting and all that as the other cast members did. By no means is that the measure of an actress’ commitment to a program. But there was just something about that absence that felt a little more permanent.
Last season, her character married her love interest on the show, “Deacon Claybourne.” This was a big deal to us as fans. They had gone through hell for the first 3 1/2 seasons, so this was something we all waited for. This may have been the last time I noticed that Connie seemed really excited about something happening on the show. She mentioned the wedding on Twitter about an hour before the episode, but again, that was the last time, as least as far as I saw, that she seemed really into it. I could be totally wrong about that and maybe I am. Just my two cents.
Anyway, following the death of “Rayna Jaymes” last week, fans were NOT happy. It wasn’t a complete shock to me, but a lot of fans were NOT shy in voicing their displeasure with the outcome. Many threatened to no longer watch, they blamed CMT for “letting” Connie leave, and everything else. Many have personally attacked Connie herself for one reason or another, saying that she “lied” about staying, she “has no loyalty to her fans,” and that she “owes it to us to stay.”
Here is why I feel Connie Britton owes us absolutely nothing.
When we sit down to watch a show, as excited as we may be about it, we have to realize that the world we are about to enter into is a fantasy world, and that all the characters we will meet are fictional characters who will be played by REAL people. These REAL people are doing this as a job and/or career. That means that just as quickly (so to speak) as they came to be in this fantasy world is how quickly they can leave us as well.
A lot of Nashville fans are upset at the fact that we fought so hard to bring the show back just so she could leave. But here’s what we have to realize. Connie did not ask us to do that. It wasn’t as if she asked or even encouraged us to do this when it happened. It would be something different if she had. Also, when a show gets cancelled, actors do not (as far as I know) sit around and wait for the possibility of it returning. Even in other instances where fans want a show to return, it’s not a guarantee, but again, this is their careers. So as much as we may be attached to a particular show (in this case, to Nashville), that doesn’t mean Connie has to be.
That is not to say she doesn’t care and appreciate us or the show. I cannot fathom this being the case. But first and foremost, this is a job for her. When it is time to move on, it’s just like when we feel it is time for us to move on from any jobs we have. The only difference is that her decision impacts a LOT more people. At any rate, it’s still a decision she has to make for HER.
People want to question her loyalty. Connie’s loyalty is to herself and to her son. Period. She does not “owe” us. I’m sure that bothers some of you, but she really doesn’t. The same way none of us would put everything in the world before our families, it is not fair to expect that from her.
And let’s say Connie forced the issue of staying just to appease her fans and it began to show in her acting. Then she’d be called everything in the book because of that, too. And respectfully, Connie will be 50 years old next week. I only mention that because many of us know how unforgiving some of us and show business can be toward women once they reach a certain age. Not that I agree with or in any way support that attitude, but that doesn’t matter what I think. It really doesn’t. Not with something like this.
Folks like to believe that we “make” celebrities who they are and for that reason, they “owe” us this and that. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “They would be nothing without us!”
Maybe there is some truth to that, but it’s still a lousy attitude as far as I am concerned. My reason is because we’re treating celebrities as if they’re asking us to support them as a favor and we just SO grossly have to be forced to do so. In other words, Connie would have to”beg” us to watch Nashville and she owes us because NONE of us wanted to do it. We had to be persuaded to watch every single week. Well that’s just not true. WE got enjoyment out of it as well. So we really need to stop making it seem one-sided. Only then would I understand the whole “she owes us” mindset.
Then again, we as fans turn on celebrities in a minute anyway. We love them one moment and hate them the next. I imagine that with Connie Britton, it won’t be much different. People have said that they will no longer be a fan of hers, they will not watch any new shows she’s on, they’ve been more harsh at attacking her stances in reference to politics and every other insult you could throw out there.
What do I think about it? Doesn’t matter what I think. Like I said in the beginning of this, Connie owes me nothing also. Sure, I’m sad at the fact that her character died. But as a person, I respect Connie’s decision to do what she feels is best for her, as unpopular as it may be to us. I would never want anyone to do something they don’t want to do.
And let’s think about this for a moment. If her lack of passion to remain on Nashville began to show in her acting, how fair would that be to us as fans? In the beginning, would we want her to give half-assed performances? So why would we find it “okay” to do now, all because we just want her to stay? If her heart isn’t it, then then she does not need to continue to hang on. She wouldn’t be doing the show justice, her fans justice, but most importantly, she wouldn’t be doing herself justice.
And at the end of the day, no matter what argument you want to throw at me, the bottom line is that the only person she “owes” anything to is herself. Only THEN can she give US her best.
Isn’t that what made us all Connie Britton fans in the first place?