October 19, 2019

My So-Called Life 8, Strangers in the House: The Chases Get a Replacement for Danielle

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:28 pm by Jenn

Seriously, what teenager has a room like this?

Summary: Patty and Graham are at work, but he’s about to leave to meet with a potential client. She’s confident that he’ll land the account and wishes he didn’t get so negative. As Graham is leaving, Patty gets a phone call that leaves her speechless. At school, Angela and Sharon’s teacher gets a message that she quietly passes on to Sharon. Angela’s confused to see that Graham has come to the school to talk to Sharon. He tells Angela that Sharon’s father had a heart attack and he’s going to take her to the hospital. He asks Angela to go to the Cherskis’ house after school to keep her former best friend company.

Patty’s also at the Cherskis’ that afternoon, helping take care of the family while Mr. Cherski is in the hospital. Angela goes into Sharon’s room, which looks like it still belongs to a little girl. She voices over that they spent all their time there as kids. In flashback, she hangs out with Sharon after a tonsillectomy, telling Sharon to squeeze her hand as hard as her throat hurts. Patty leaves Angela behind while she goes to the hospital.

Graham waits with Sharon for news, but the doctors haven’t told Camille anything helpful. Graham spaces out a little as Camille talks about how she feels like she’s underwater. They’re able to see him on a TV monitor in the waiting area, and Graham is a little freaked out. Patty arrives and is more tearful than Camille is. Graham shares his anxieties with her – he and Mr. Cherski (Andy) are the same age, and too young for heart attacks.

The Chases offer to take Sharon to their house so she doesn’t have to be alone. Sharon objects but decides not to make a big deal out of things. Patty decides to stay with Camille, saying Camille needs her. At the Chases’, Danielle asks questions about Andy and death. Mainly, she wants to know who would give her away at her wedding if Graham died. Angela teases that it won’t matter, since no one will want to marry her.

Angela and Sharon greet each other awkwardly when Graham and Sharon get home. Angela finds a sleeping bag, voicing over that she wants to say something comforting, but she doesn’t feel like she has the right because she and Sharon aren’t friends anymore. As an act of kindness, she offers to take the sleeping bag so Sharon can have her bed. As Graham studies his face in a mirror, Sharon falls asleep in her clothes, curled up on Angela’s bed.

In the morning, Patty asks Angela to make an effort to be friendly to Sharon, even though they haven’t been on great terms recently. Angela doesn’t need to be reminded to be a good person. Patty tends to Sharon like her own child, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by Angela. Even though she’d be justified in staying home, Sharon goes to school, and Brian gets stuck in the band room with her while she’s yelling at Kyle for being unavailable. Brian lies that he didn’t hear anything, even though he was only a few feet away. Sharon goes to him for a hug and breaks down crying.

Rayanne and Rickie pass by the room, and Rayanne makes a dumb remark. Sharon feels ridiculous for crying on Brian’s shoulder and tries to act like everything’s normal. She tells him she’ll see him on the bus home, since she’s staying at Angela’s. Rayanne accuses her of throwing herself at Brian.

Brian uses Rickie as a sounding board as he tries to work out what Sharon might have meant when she said she’d see him on the bus. Is she interested in him? What does that mean for Kyle? Rickie thinks she’s moving out of her jock phase and into her sensitive-guy phase. Rayanne is totally jealous that Sharon gets to stay at the Chases’, and she tells Sharon that if she and Angela are going to be friends again, that’s fine.

Patty goes back to the hospital to be with Camille, who still doesn’t seem that upset about her husband’s heart attack. Graham comes by to get something for his meeting, which he postponed to help out the Cherskis. He brings Camille a tort he made the night before while waiting up for Patty to get home from the hospital. Camille is really impressed.

As Graham leaves to use the phone, Patty tells Camille that he’s sabotaging the account he’s going after, but she can’t say anything. Camille suddenly realizes that she could lose her husband, and she doesn’t know how she would survive without him. She’s not like Patty – she needs Andy. Patty looks across the room at Graham, possibly wondering how much she really needs him.

Brian visits Sharon at the Chases’, remarking that Angela’s room has changed since the last time he was there. She gives him and Sharon some time alone but can’t help feeling jealous of their sudden closeness. Patty pulls Graham away from the phone, where he’s on hold, and takes him to an empty hospital room for sex. Patty, no! All Graham can think about is the account they want to land.

When Patty wakes up the next morning, Graham is sitting on the side of the bed, thinking deep thoughts. Sharon is also thinking deep thoughts in Angela’s room. Angela leaves for school early, and Sharon decides to go there as well. Patty checks to make sure Graham’s ready for his rescheduled meeting. He doesn’t seem as enthusiastic about it anymore.

Rayanne hears Sharon crying in a bathroom stall at school and checks on her. Rayanne thinks she should be taking advantage of her father’s situation to play hooky. Sharon admits that she’d rather be with her mother, but it’s hard to be at the hospital. Rayanne tells her she should go anyway. Angela interrupts, and Rayanne tells her they need to take Sharon to the hospital. They’ll bring Rickie and Tino along. Angela comes up with an excuse to skip the field trip.

She catches Jordan sneaking a cigarette under some bleachers, where she’s come to cry. She voices over that she’s lonely, has no friends, and is a terrible person. But she tells Jordan she’s upset because of Andy’s situation. She moves closer and closer to him until he turns and hugs her. When someone spots them, Jordan quickly moves away and just says, “That’s rough. Gotta go.”

The Chase house is very quiet when Angela gets home, as everyone’s depressed except Danielle. Brian comes by and agrees to pay for the pizza the girls want to order. Patty approves of that idea, though at least she gives Angela money to pay for it so Brian doesn’t have to. She checks on Graham, who’s brooding and doesn’t want to talk. He promises to tell Patty how his meeting went later, but for now, he needs to keep brooding. Patty thinks that means he didn’t get the account. Graham decides he can’t be in the house right now and leaves.

Kyle calls Sharon, and suddenly Brian’s not hungry for pizza anymore. Sharon’s making other plans as well; Kyle wants to take her out. Angela blasts her for using Brian, then dumping him for Kyle. Sharon says that Brian’s in love with Angela, and she totally uses him, too. Angela denies that Brian’s in love with her, but Sharon says that Rayanne disagrees. She asks why Angela can’t be nice to her when she’s going through something horrible. Angela doesn’t know why Sharon needs more kindness when everyone else in the world is already showing it.

A little after midnight, Camille calls Patty to thank her for sending Graham to the hospital to sit with her. Patty was unaware, and also didn’t know that Sharon wasn’t in the house because she supposedly wanted to spend the night in her own bed. Graham praises Camille for how well she’s handled everything with Andy.

He asks if something brought on Andy’s heart attack, since he’s only 40. Camille has no idea, though she does think he works too hard. His boss even tells him to go easier on himself. But Andy loves his job, something Graham isn’t familiar with. A doctor gives them good news: Andy’s angioplasty was successful, and he’s going to be fine. Camille cries for the first time all episode, leaning on Graham for comfort.

Graham gets home early in the morning and tells Patty that a) Andy’s going to be fine and b) he landed the account. Graham didn’t know how to react because he didn’t want to land it. It means this is really his job and his life. Graham figures that Patty is just happy he got the account, and that’s all that matters. Patty says that’s not true. She’s proud of him…and he’s fired. If he’s not happy, something has to change. Graham doesn’t know what to do, but Patty says this is his chance to figure it out.

Rayanne and Rickie find Angela reading at school and tease that she’s avoiding them. Angela learns for the first time that Andy will be okay. Before she can pick on Rayanne for suddenly being friendly with Sharon, Rickie calls them both out on their crap. Rayanne’s jealous, and Angela doesn’t know how to react to Rayanne’s kindness toward Sharon. He assures them that they’re still each other’s friends and tells them to shut up.

After school, Angela goes to see Sharon and tries to make small talk. Sharon’s upset that Angela didn’t seem to care that Andy could have died. Even strangers were nice to her. Angela says she didn’t know what else to do. She thought she was the last person on earth Sharon wanted to deal with. Sharon says Angela’s the only person she wanted to deal with.

Both girls cry as Angela says it didn’t seem like Sharon wanted her help. They hug and admit they miss each other’s friendship. Sharon says that Angela’s coldness toward her hurt. Angela tells her to squeeze her hand as hard as it hurts.

On her way back home, Angela comes across Brian, who’s outside fixing his bike. She tells him Andy will be okay, which Brian already heard from Rickie. She thinks that since Brian and Sharon are kind of friendly, he would want to know. Brian says they’re not close. Sharon needed him, or at least someone, and he was there, so they hung out. Anyone else could have filled that role. Angela disagrees – she thinks Sharon needed him specifically.

Brian asks why. “Because of certain ways that you are,” Angela replies. He asks if she’s given this thought. She heads off, voicing over that there are multiple ways to be connected to people. Some are unspoken, like her connection with Jordan. There are connections you have with people you’ve known forever, who know you in ways others don’t, because they’ve seen you change, and let you change. At school, Angela and Sharon pass each other with their separate groups of friends but flash each other big smiles.

Thoughts: Sharon’s bedroom looks like a guest room you’re never allowed to set foot in because your mom wants to keep it impeccably clean at all times, even though you never have overnight guests.

People on this show really have to stop layering clothes with different patterns over each other.

Graham is having the weirdest midlife crisis ever.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I was looking forward to this episode because it’s one I remember particularly well for some reason.

    It makes complete sense why Angela would feel pretty awkward about the whole Sharon thing. Their relationship is so fractured at this point and they don’t have much in common anymore, and Sharon’s still nursing some really hurt feelings about Angela pulling away from her. It makes me wonder exactly how the fracture happened, because from the way Sharon’s acting, it wasn’t a gradual thing but was kind of abrupt. Like one day Angela just started hanging out with Rayanne and wouldn’t answer Sharon’s calls? That would really piss me off if there was no explanation. But from the pilot, it didn’t seem like Angela *had* an explanation, just that she wanted to change her life up a bit. Typical 15yo things and completely understandable in hindsight, but really painful to go through with friends. I never really had that situation come up as my close friend group from HS was kind of formed around that time and before that I didn’t really have a best friend so to speak. It seems like if Angela hadn’t pulled away from Sharon, Sharon was going to pull away from Angela, as their friends groups were clearly kind of divergent and their interests were changing. Angela just got there first.

    I vaguely remember when I first watched the episode I thought the idea that you could go to the hospital any time of day or night was kind of neat. With the benefit of experience, I know now that isn’t really entirely accurate, especially in COVID times.

    I felt bad for Angela in this one because she clearly wanted to do the right thing but didn’t feel like it would be appropriate. Kind of wish I could have reached through the screen and told her “Give her a hug anyway. You both need it.” Brian comes out as the hero in this one even though secretly he’s wondering about a possible romantic angle, but then again he’s 15 so of course everything relating to a female has to have a sexual angle to it. I like how Rickie was nonjudgmental about it and was just casually supportive. And Rayanne actually coming through with a kindness even though it’s half self-serving! And Jordan with a well-timed-ableit-brief-hug!

    The blowup in the kitchen was well done. Neither lets each other off the hook though I think Angela was a little excessively harsh considering the circumstances. It’s kind of amazing that Sharon still wants to be with Kyle at all after he completely ghosted her right after her dad’s heart attack, though.

    Patty made the right call, though I marvel at the fact that Graham was able to work with her as long as he did. Makes you wonder what he used to do before the printing press. Why can’t she just be pleased with his abilities as they are instead of always finding something to criticize or belittle about him?!

    The scene in Sharon’s bedroom at the end always brings me to tears. I like the fact that they made it clear Angela spent hours there that night talking with her. They don’t mention Sharon having a sibling, so did her parents get the other bed in Sharon’s room for Angela since she spent so much time there as a kid? That’s oddly generous.

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