Chip Off the Shoulder
It's a slow day in Whit's End, and while Whit and Connie are having a conversation about whether or not Whit would give an extra cherry to the (nonexistant) king of Australia, a young man walks through the door, enthusiastic about the soda shop. He raves about the old-fashioned soda fountain, is amazed by the Wod-Fam-Choc-Sod, and finally turns to Whit, asking what the Bible says for him to do if he has a problem with envy. As Whit begins explaining what the Bible says about envy, the man bursts out laughing. "I mean, the old-fashioned soda fountain, a guy behind the counter giving advice from the Bible—hello, 1950's TV called and it wants its plot device back," he says. Connie doesn't understand why he knew all of what went on at Whit's End until he identifies her by her green sweater—Candy Connell, the name Rusty Gordan gave her in his story! Connie is furious, but the visitor is baffled when Whit informs him about how offended the people of Odyssey were over the book—he thinks Rusty was spot on. As he leaves, laughing uproariously, Connie is fuming at what people think of the town—"We're sideshow attractions!" she exclaims. Whit asks her what she's going to do about it, and Connie declares that she's going to finish her book.
Later, Connie is still furious—nothing is coming to her. All she has is "Chapter One: The". Whit wonders why she cannot write, but Connie identifies the problem—she already did everything, but since Kelly had erased it all, the computer on which she once worked only serves as a reminder of what she lost. Whit suggests that instead, she use a tape recorder and speak what she's thinking into it, then type it into book form. Connie is willing to try it, and Whit lets her borrow some of his recorders to get started.
After giving Kristyn an ice cream cake to take to a birthday party, Connie records a monologue about how much she enjoys her job and the reward of seeing how much people enjoy what she has created. Whit walks up behind her, startling her. Connie is sheepish at first, but then gets excited about her project; she tells Whit that she's been considering interviewing people around town—in fact, she decides, she'll interview the next person to walk through the Whit's End front door. However, Kelly herself is the next person to walk through the door; while Whit greets her warmly, Connie is aloof. When Kelly tells Whit that she's going to work on her project at one of the tables in the front, Connie abruptly suggests that she go to the library in case she needs to do some research. When Kelly leaves, Whit pointedly turns to Connie and tells her that Kelly knows why Connie sent her to the library; Connie gets defensive and denies that she did so because of her remaining resentment toward her, citing the birthday party as a potential distraction. Whit doesn't buy it and instead tells Connie to take Kelly a fudge marble ice cream cone—on the house. Whit also tells Connie to stop holding a grudge against Kelly.
At the Washington house, Elaine asks Tamika if she's seen Kelly. She hasn't, but she notices a note on the fridge—"I've gone out". Elaine wonders where she is and why she would think that leaving a note on the fridge would be sufficient; Tamika suggests that Kelly is at Whit's End, and Elaine immediately leaves to go find her. When getting into the car later, Kelly wonders what the big deal is—when she was seven, she went all over the place without her mom either knowing or caring where she was. Elaine tells her that she wants to know where Kelly is; Kelly is suspicious that Elaine wants her to be obedient to keep Elaine from looking like a bad mother. "I already am a bad mother," Elaine replies. "I've got a ten-year-old who writes me notes and leaves them on the fridge." Suddenly, Kelly panics—she can't find the folder for her project! She and Elaine go back into Whit's End. Whit hasn't seen it, but Kelly suspects Connie, who did see the folder when she came to bring her ice cream—Kelly thinks that Connie threw the project away as payback for Kelly deleting her book. Connie denies it, but Kelly refuses to either believe her or keep looking—she'll start over.
When Kelly talks to her about it later, Tamika is unsure—she's never known Connie to do something so petty. Kelly reminds her of Connie's out-of-character when Kelly initially erased her book—if she'd act out of character once, she'd do it again. Kelly thinks that since Connie had a chance for revenge, and she jumped all over it.
Kelly goes missing again, and has once again left a note—"I'm out. Be back by 9:00." Elaine is furious and begins searching for her. She searches in eight different places before finally finding Kelly crying at the library—like Connie, Kelly can't reproduce the work she did before. She and Elaine then begin to talk, and Kelly admits that she appreciates the fact that unlike her biological mother, Elaine actually cares. Elaine decides to take her back to Whit's End to look for the project again. Kelly is doubtful, but Elaine tells her firmly that she knows that Connie wouldn't take her project.
Meanwhile, Connie is having troubles of her own—she can't get enough good interviews for her project because many of the kids are angry with her because they think she took Kelly's project out of spite. Even Tamika questions her, pointing out that the way Connie has behaved toward Kelly since the book-deletion incident isn't behavior typical of someone who has forgiven the person who wronged them. Connie insists that she didn't take the project..."Not that I'm so upset that she lost it or anything," she mutters.
Kelly and Elaine arrive at Whit's End, and Kelly immediately goes to find the trash bag. Connie is annoyed that Kelly still suspects her, but Elaine reminds her that Kelly's been hurt so often by her mother and her mother's boyfriends that she's not used to trusting people. Whit turns to Connie and tells her sharply to let go of her grudge—Kelly needs someone in her life who she can trust. Connie goes to help Kelly, and ends up dumpster-diving after the trash bags she used after the birthday party the night before. Suddenly, Kristyn finds them, and after giggling at Connie's predicament, she presents the folder to Kelly; after the birthday party the night before, she had seen the folder and, thinking it was hers, put it in her backpack by accident. Connie gets out of the dumpster, and Kelly thanks her for being willing to do what she did. The two decide to forgive each other; even though Connie can't replace her book like Kelly got her folder back, at least Connie can treat her like nothing happened.
Kelly ends up with an A on the project, and Whit comes in with the recordings that Connie has been doing, suggesting to her that she submit it as an audio documentary. He also plays back some interviews for her, with peope doing the very thing she thought they would—enthusiastically describing everything that they love around town. One last interview plays of a girl talking about Whit's End—it's good ice cream, she says, and some really great employees—"that I'm learning to trust."
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Heard in episode
Mentioned in episode
|Rusty Gordon (Malone)||Connie Kendall|
|Robert Mitchell||Stanley (b)|
|Ed Washington||Elaine Washington|
|Tom Riley||Boy on Candid Conversations (a)|
- Multiple characters refer to Kelly's deletion of Connie's book. This occurred in #606: “The Chosen One, Part 2”. Tamika references the events as having occurred at least "months" prior to this episode.
- This is one of only three episodes in which Elaine Washington appears without Ed (the others being #626: “Life, in the Third Person, Part 1”, and #529: “The Mailman Cometh”).
- Kelly compares Odyssey to Sesame Street, the eponymous street in the popular and long-running children's program on PBS in the United States.
- The final interviewee on the documentary Whit made for Connie referenced the theme show to Cheers when she said that everyone at Whit's end "knows my name".
- When Whit has Connie listen to the recording, Connie mentions that a portable CD player is used to listen to the recording. However, when Whit plays the recording, the sound of a cassette player's play button is used. Also, the recording is played immediately, even though it should have taken a couple of seconds for the disc to start spinning, unless the player was paused at the beginning, in which case the disc would have already been spinning.