October 26, 2019

My So-Called Life 9, Halloween: Legendary

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:15 pm by Jenn

Keep up the good work, Danielle

Summary: Angela’s carving a jack o’ lantern as she voices over that Halloween is the chance to be someone else. Patty offers to loan her a flapper dress, which Angela has already declined ten times. She’s not brave enough to wear a costume to school. Danielle says she can’t be Catwoman, since another girl in her class is going to be Catwoman and will look better in the costume. Graham suggests she go as Madonna instead. Patty says Danielle wants to be something scary. “Who’s scarier than Madonna?” Graham asks. Danielle tells him that she peaked.

Patty gets a call from the guy she hired to replace Graham; he’ll be late to work today because of a chiropractor’s appointment. The parents say nothing as Angela and Danielle pick on each other. Patty tells Danielle that this should be a lesson not to leave things till that last minute. Danielle also rejects Patty’s flapper dress for the tenth time. Angela reminds her mother that she’s going to Rayanne’s that night. Patty tells her she mentioned that ten times. So everyone’s picking on each other in the Chase house this morning.

As the girls leave for school, Patty complains to Graham that his replacement, Boyd, isn’t as good as he is. She suddenly realizes that they don’t have costumes for Camille’s costume party that night. Graham suggests the flapper dress, but Patty says she hates it.

A few people at Angela’s school are wearing costumes, including Sharon, though people mistake her for a rat instead of a cat. Angela regrets not dressing up, even though she doesn’t know who she would be. Brian comments that people are walking around dressed like idiots. “I wouldn’t talk,” Angela shoots back.

Their English teacher (who’s dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi) tells them they’re going to start reading about ghosts. She notes that Jordan’s absent and asks if anyone knows him. Angela voices over that that’s a good question. She’s talked to him and kissed him, but does she really know him? The teacher asks her to tell Jordan to stop skipping class or she’ll have him expelled. She only has time to look after the good kids, not the bad ones.

In the hallway after class, Brian gets distracted by the sight of Rayanne shaving her legs in the girls’ bathroom. Rickie comes in dressed as Brian, saying that he wanted to be “everyone else” this Halloween. Angela joins them and Rayanne excitedly gives her something to wear. She’s annoyed that Halloween is boring this year. She thinks they should find Tino, since he’ll make it fun.

Sharon praises Rayanne for wearing a vampire costume, since hardly anyone else is dressing up. Rayanne compliments her rat costume. As Angela emerges from a stall, dressed like a 1960s schoolgirl, Rickie looks through a book she got in class and sees that it was once used by someone named Nicky Driscoll. Everyone but Angela recognizes the name. There’s an urban legend that he died on Halloween after a dance. He fell from the gym rafters while painting the room black and was impaled by a girl’s high heel. Rickie heard that he was hanging a banner that declared his love for some girl.

Angela thinks someone’s playing a prank on her, making her think Nicky used her book. Sharon shares a story she heard about electricity going out at the exact moment Nicky died. Rayanne’s aunt once rode on Nicky’s bike – the same aunt whose clothes Angela is wearing. Rayanne tells Rickie he looks good without makeup. Angela finds a ticket in her pocket from a 1963 Halloween dance – the same dance Nicky supposedly died right after. She asks Rickie what else he knows about Nicky (except she accidentally calls him Nicky Catalano).

Patty and Graham go to a costume shop, which is surprisingly well-stocked, considering it’s already Halloween. The owner tells them they’re out of Power Rangers costumes, so they better not want any. She thinks Patty should dress as Rapunzel, and Graham should be a pirate. Graham laughs at the thought of Patty dressing as Rapunzel. The owner says that if they’d come in the day before, she could have given them Bill and Hillary costumes. They should take this as a lesson not to leave things till the last minute. (Ha!) They accept the offered costumes.

At school, Angela thinks she sees a guy wearing 1960s clothes, but before she can get to him, he disappears, leaving Jordan in his place. She makes sure he knows that she’s in costume and wouldn’t normally dress like this. She passes on their English teacher’s message that Jordan needs to come to class or he’ll get kicked out of school. Jordan doesn’t care.

Rayanne finds Angela and tells her that she and Tino have arranged to have a séance at the school that night. They’re going to try to contact Nicky. Angela goes to the library and looks through the 1963 yearbook, voicing over that when someone dies young, “they stay that way forever, like a vampire.” The yearbook is dedicated to Nicky, and the picture looks just like the guy Angela saw in the hallway. Rayanne warns her that dead guys will break your heart.

She has a magazine with Kurt Cobain’s picture on it and says she can’t look at it. Angela says that it feels like some people have to die young; it fits them. She thinks having a séance would be sick. She doesn’t believe in ghosts anyway. Rayanne notes that she ran to the library to look up Nicky right after she saw the guy in the hallway, so obviously she does believe in ghosts.

Brian interrupts Rayanne and Rickie while they’re talking about the séance (Rickie wants to skip it) and says Rickie can return his clothes any time. Rayanne says he won’t need them past Halloween. The whole point of him wearing them today is that he wouldn’t normally wear them. Brian asks if they’re going to a party, but Rayanne ignores him. She mentions the séance, and Brian isn’t sure if he’s invited. Rickie admits that he believes in ghosts, so the whole thing spooks him a little.

Patty comes home from work complaining about Boyd. She wants to fire him, by which Graham thinks she means she wants him to fire Boyd. Danielle has dressed up as Angela, complete with red wig, and scares her parents by making them think she’s gone emo along with Angela. Graham encourages Patty to give Boyd another chance. As they get dressed for their party, Patty says it’s reasonable for her to fire someone who isn’t working out. Graham says he’ll do the firing if she really needs him to. It’s scary for her to think about it, but Graham says there are worse things in the world. His pirate costume makes him bold.

Sharon comes by to pick up something of Camille’s and gives Danielle some pointers on impersonating Angela. Sharon says she has plans with Kyle, but it looks like she wants to hang out with Danielle instead. Brian shows up at the school, saying he’s locked out of his house and his keys are in Rickie’s pants. Angela and Rayanne have a good laugh over that.

Danielle and Sharon have a great time trick-or-treating together. Danielle says she hates Angela and wishes Sharon were her sister. Sharon points out that she’s dressed as the person she claims to hate. Tino is a no-show at the séance (shocking!), so Rayanne comes up with a new idea: Break into the school and write “Nicky Driscoll was here” on the gym floor in red lipstick. They’ll become legends, like Nicky. Rickie reminds her that Nicky became legendary because he died.

Angela notes that they’ll set off an alarm if they break in. Rayanne teases that Brian the nerd probably knows a nerdy way in. She realizes he really does, so she tells him he needs to come in with them so they can get back out before any cops possibly show up. Brian gives in, showing them a way in through an old storage area. He thinks Angela is risking screwing up her whole life by pulling this stunt. Angela says that at least she’ll know she’s alive.

The kids make it to a stairwell, where Angela thinks she sees Nicky passing by the door. She follows him, and Rayanne and Brian accidentally get locked in the stairwell together. They head back to the storage room, telling Angela to meet them in the gym. The lights go out and Brian doesn’t know how to turn them back on.

Angela goes looking for Nicky, following the sound of the song “Blue Moon” playing in the gym. It’s decorated for the dance, and two girls in 1960s clothes appear, talking about Nicky. Rickie’s still outside, where some guys are hanging out, including Jordan. He explains that the other guys come every year to make a mess, and Jordan’s sick of it. He’s trying to find out who egged Tino’s car. Jordan says that it’s always the same, but he comes anyway because something cool might happen and he doesn’t want to miss it.

Angela listens in as the girls in the gym talk about Nicky. One says he and his loser friends went to the cemetery. She doesn’t want to keep hanging out with him; he’ll just drag her down to loser status. She gets rid of the rose he gave her, and Angela picks it up. She hears yelling in the hallway and runs out to see Nicky.

Patty passes out candy at home, happy to be around sweet children for once. It’s almost time for their party, but Graham wants to make them late by getting romantic. They get interrupted by more trick-or-treaters. After the kids leave, Rapunzel and the pirate make out. When more kids show up, Graham just hands one of them the whole bowl of candy. The parents go back to their makeout session, and Patty tells Graham to leave his tights on a little longer.

Rayanne blasts Brian for letting the door shut behind them because he was checking out her legs. He starts to ditch her, but she confesses that she’s afraid of the dark and doesn’t want to be left alone. He asks if there’s a reason she’s afraid of the dark. Rayanne explains that when she was a kid, her father would come home high and lock her in the basement. She’d sleep at the bottom of the stairs, the only place where she could see light through the door.

She starts to cry and Brian comforts her, but she laughs and says she was lying. She doesn’t know why she’s afraid of the dark. Rayanne continues that she saw Brian watching her while she was shaving. Brian says that since his hobby is photography, he just notices stuff. Rayanne says her hobby is being stuff that people notice. She asks him seriously not to leave her alone in the dark.

One of Nicky’s friends urges him to help hang up a dummy dressed like their principal. Nicky warns that they’ll get kicked out of school. He looks right at Angela, though the girls in the gym didn’t see her. Brian calls his parents to lie that he’s spending the night with a sick friend. Rayanne coaches him on what to say.

Angela approaches Nicky, who takes back the rose. He knows the girl he gave it to thinks he’s a loser. He decides to help his friend with the dummy after all. Angela warns that he’ll get hurt. Nicky replies that at least he’ll know he’s alive. Angela tells him he’s not; he threw his life away for no reason. Nicky dismisses her and goes into the gym, dropping the rose in the hall. The door locks behind him and Angela can’t follow.

The next morning, Danielle returns the clothes she borrowed to Angela’s room. Patty thinks she’s happy to be herself again. Danielle leaves Angela a couple of pieces of candy, since she didn’t go trick-or-treating. Rayanne and Brian wake up next to each other, screaming when they realize they slept together. Rayanne finds Angela in the hallway and rushes her out before anyone can see them.

Patty calls Camille to say she and Graham are sorry they missed the party. She lies that they were going to show up as Bill and Hillary. Graham questions her lie, and Patty says it seemed easier. She doesn’t get Rapunzel’s deal anyway – people only know she had long hair and was imprisoned. Graham says she let her hair down for her rescuer to climb up to her. He asks if Patty wants him to fire Boyd. She says part of her wants him to. Graham says that part of her wants him to want her to. But when Boyd calls, Patty takes care of it on her own.

Rickie returns Brian’s clothes to him and says Rayanne already told him about her night with Brian. She said it was a waste of time and nothing happened. Brian, who clearly feels otherwise, pretends to agree. Patty returns her and Graham’s costumes to the store, where the owner guesses that her bodice was ripped. Apparently that happens all the time; Rapunzel just has that magic. She doesn’t charge for the damage. Patty tries to ask a question, and the owner guesses that she wants to keep the costumes. But what would they do with them the rest of the year? Patty just keeps a handkerchief instead.

Angela spots Jordan in the hallway before English class, which he’s skipping again. He thinks the teacher has been waiting for an excuse to kick him out because she knows he’s a loser. Angela says the teacher doesn’t know him, so he can’t let her decide what he does. Jordan says maybe he wants to get kicked out. Angela tells him that that doesn’t mean people can’t try to stop him. She knows that Jordan doesn’t think she can understand, but she does. She heads to class, and a few moments later, Jordan follows. Angela opens her/Nicky’s book and finds a flattened rose inside.

Thoughts: How awesome that this episode came up right before Halloween.

I can see Patty as Hillary, but I can’t picture Graham as Bill.

Rickie, please hang out with Brian more. You need better influences in your life.


  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I always thought this episode was kind of lame, but it did have its moments. Danielle dressing up and acting just like Angela was brilliant. I think she tucked her own hair under the flannel and temporarily dyed it red. Her gesture with the candy at the very end was very sweet. I wondered too if the reason why Sharon was more willing to go hang out with her instead of Kyle was because this was a way to hang out with Angela again!

    Sharon’s rat-cat outfit was pretty revealing for someone who was really self-conscious a few episodes ago, so it’s nice that she’s grown more comfortable with herself. I wouldn’t have the guts to wear something like that even now.

    The Nicky Driscoll thing… kind of interesting. But kind of dull to me, even if he was a cute kid. I liked the spooky aspect of it all, though, and the Rayanne/Brian subplot was fun.

    There was a moment when Rickie was talking to Jordan outside the school on Halloween night that I thought was really kind — Jordan’s talking about how sick he is of the same old same old every Halloween, but then before he leaves he gently warns Rickie to make himself scarce because his friends are really wasted. I thought that was sweet of him to look out for him that way.

    Graham did look good in that pirate costume. We never got to see the tights, though.

  2. Aaron said,

    Thank you for this deep dive in to an admittedly challenging episode. I’m writing a book about the making of My So-Called Life and we’re currently having a spirited discussion of this very episode on the book’s Facebook page here, if you’re interested in weighing in further – thanks! https://www.facebook.com/msclbook/posts/pfbid02BtbJjhAPwnb4KjvhdVbtDpLT4ogXdGCTD1RHdpSJm5gPKwervZyPaKzSYM2W24Dil

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: