If you haven't made a post about it already, I would love to hear your thoughts on Connie's relationship to the "Love Interest" trope!
This is honestly the first thing that immediately charmed me about Connie’s character and writing in Bubble Buddies, but the basic thing is:
Steven clearly Likes Her, but he doesn’t participate in any of the stereotypical tropes that tends to plague Love Interest Interactions. We don’t see him ogling an unaware Connie, and overwhelmingly, it’s emphasized time and time again that he should talk to her.
His initial attempt at just ‘playing it cool’ is sort of lightheartedly made fun of, Connie doesn’t realize he’s talking to her.
And Steven is never apologetic or dismissive of his fondness for Connie except, again, early in Bubble Buddies when this is clearly displayed as a product of awkwardness and nervousness. We don’t have him going “Uh, she’s not my girlfriend”
A lot of this awkward, stilted, stereotypical dance that fictional love interests tend to do around each other is stripped away and what we see in its place is a wonderful, organic friendship between two characters who mutually enjoy being around each other, who comfort and support each other, who share moments silly and serious, sentimental and trivial.
The characters have this wonderful and charming synergy that’s excellently written and frankly I think pretty much any fictional love interest trope should take note. And part of it that’s so charming is Connie and her desires are presented just as strongly and clearly as Steven’s are. We don’t have, say, episodes of Steven working desperately to try and spend time with Connie when she herself is just sort of Vaguely Around, acting as a living plot device.
Nothing is one-sided about how Steven and Connie relate to each other. They’re presented as opposites yet counterparts- Connie even has a mainly blue character motif to Steven’s mainly pink one, they wield a matching sword and shield; character-wise, Steven’s sincerity encourages Connie to be more frank with her parents about how she feels and what she wants, while Connie is a continuous force in helping Steven open up rather than bottling his own feelings, even as simple as talking him into venting about what happened in An Indirect Kiss.
And the other thing that’s nice is the Love Interest Role only really marks where Connie is with Steven. We have her developing and exploring other relationships, big time. Nightmare Hospital is pretty much, front and center, entirely about Connie’s relationship with her mother, and Steven takes a supporting side role as Connie’s love interest, arguably.
Is Connie a love interest? Absolutely, and that’s not bad. The important thing is that her role as a love interest never defines her, and it doesn’t define the way she relates to others. And the biggest thing that appeals to me is she’s never a love interest as an object of desire- but always a love interest as someone who shares an unmistakable bond with some fledgling, youthful romantic suggestions between her and Steven.