November 9, 2019

My So-Called Life 11, Life of Brian: Whatever Happens, Happens

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

She deserves better

Summary: Angela voices over – no, wait! Brian voices over, as his mother calls through the house for him, that his mom is a behavioral psychologist and his father is a Freudian psychiatrist. Oh, that poor, poor kid. They disagree over whether he’s currently in latency. Brian tells us they actually disagree on everything. He’s using a telescope to spy on Angela through her window, thinking that she and her family are really normal.

Patty, Graham, and Danielle are in the basement, getting ready for Graham to embark on a project: wallpapering the bedroom. They’ve had the wallpaper for years and have never put it up. Graham wants something to keep him busy, now that he’s unemployed. Patty tries to get enthusiastic.

At school, Brian takes pictures and voices over that he joined yearbook to watch life without being part of it. However, this means he’s never in the picture. Guys, I don’t think he just means that literally. Sharon introduces him to a new student, Delia, who already seems to have a crush on him. Brian gives her the bare minimum of conversation. After Delia leaves, Sharon urges Brian to ask her to the World Happiness dance that’s coming up. She’s helping to organize it and wants to see more school spirit. Sharon tells Brian that Delia works at Big Guy Burger, so he can always run into her there.

Rayanne complains about the World Happiness dance, which Angela and Rickie agree must have been Sharon’s idea. Angela wants to go, thinking it would be fun in an “obvious” way. Rayanne tells her Jordan won’t be there, but Angela can always let Brian ask her. Angela doesn’t like the idea of having to hang out with him. A guy comes into the classroom where they’re talking and asks if a teacher is around. Rayanne sends him away, but first he compliments Rickie’s vest.

At home, Brian voices over about fisherman, who wait patiently for a tug on their line, then don’t panic when it comes. He’s semi-interested in Delia (whose last name, coincidentally, is Fisher), but he’s still constantly thinking about Angela. He wants to stop being her puppet. He promises he’ll never again show up at the Chases’ door with a dumb excuse to see her.

Cut to Brian showing up at the Chases’ door with a dumb excuse to see Angela. She’s not home, so Brian makes small talk with Graham, then helps him put up the wallpaper. He’s curious as to why Graham isn’t going to work anymore. Graham says he’s working on plans so he doesn’t blindly jump into his next job. It’s like wallpaper – you have to pick the right pattern because you’ll have to live with it for a long time.

Brian asks how he might go about picking a particular pattern. He knows he really likes one, but he’s not sure the other is right for him. However, the great one is out of his price range. Should he settle for the second, or wait until the first is cheaper? Graham says it depends how badly Brian needs wallpaper. Brian says he needs it badly, so Graham thinks he has his answer.

Brian goes to Big Guy Burger and sees that Delia is cheery and friendly to everyone. He guesses she comes from a small town where everyone’s nice and smiles at each other for no reason – the kind of town he hates. Brian tells Delia he stopped by because he was in the neighborhood. As he leaves with his food – which he immediately throws out, since he didn’t actually want it – he voices over that nothing ever happens in his life.

Delia follows Brian out and apologizes for not having much of a conversation with him; she was trying to stick to her regular script. She offers him a sip of her drink, and their hands touch when he takes the cup from her. There’s a car alarm going off in the background, and Brian voices over that it’s suddenly the best sound he’s ever heard. The two share a smile as Delia goes back inside. Brian isn’t so down on his life anymore.

At school, things aren’t so great for Sharon and Kyle. She’s waiting for him to ask her to the dance, which he’s dragging his feet on. She tells him she’s under a lot of pressure and doesn’t want to have to worry that she’ll be dateless at the dance she organized. Kyle asks her unenthusiastically, and Sharon warns him not to screw things up.

Brian voices over that he knows he needs to ask Delia to the dance, so he counts to three to psych himself up. Just as he gets to 3, the bell rings. He can’t force himself to speak to her, so he just leaves for class. He runs into Rickie, who’s not going to the dance, and says he’s probably not going, either. Rayanne snags Rickie as she leaves a session with the guidance counselor and tells him that she fake-cried when asked if she was going to the dance. But she hasn’t had a drink or taken any drugs in ten days.

Rickie tells Rayanne he’s thinking of asking some girl to the dance. He can’t keep his eyes off of Corey, the boy who complimented his vest, so Rayanne tells Rickie to ask him instead. Rickie can’t find the courage to do that, so Rayanne says she’ll take care of it. Rickie warns her not to say a word to Corey.

Patty oversees Graham’s wallpaper hanging, cautioning him to line it up correctly. She notices a bubble, which Graham says he can’t get rid of; it’ll be there forever and outlive them all. Patty gives him a continuing-ed brochure she picked up at a college while dropping off a print job. She’s circled some cooking classes, since they’ve talked about him becoming a chef. They can’t afford a culinary institute, so this is a good plan B.

Angela spots Jordan on her way out of school and tries to make small talk. She thinks people obsess over stupid things to keep themselves from thinking about important stuff. Like, for example, the dance. As if it’ll actually make the world happier. Jordan hasn’t heard about the dance, despite all the posters advertising it. Angela passive-aggressively angles for an invitation, but Jordan has a philosophy about not making plans. That just leads to obligations. He just likes to let things happen naturally – “whatever happens, happens.” Jordan starts to drive off without her, so Angela pretends she needed to go back inside anyway.

Brian finds Delia in a classroom but chickens out before approaching her. She spots him, so he comes in and pretends he’s been busy all day. He helps her with whatever she’s working on, and their close proximity gives him an erection – his first from “actual physical contact.” Angela walks by the room and pauses for a moment, probably confused as to why Brian’s hanging out with a girl.

Brian goes back to the Chases’ for more wallpaper assistance/advice from Graham. He reveals that he’s chosen his “wallpaper,” and he thought it was what he wanted, but the other wallpaper still makes him happy. Graham finally tells him he knows they’re not talking about actual wallpaper. Wait…they’re not??

Patty comes in and asks Graham if he had a chance to look at the courses. He only has a day left to register, so Graham casually says he’ll wait until the next semester. Patty notes that some big-time chefs are teaching, like one who Graham is pretty sure is dead. She thought Graham was planning on doing this now. Graham, like Jordan, would rather let whatever happens happen.

After school the next day (I guess), Delia asks Brian if he’s thought about going to the dance. She needs to set her work schedule, so if she’s going to go, she needs to decide pretty quickly. Rickie’s still keeping an eye on Corey, so Angela tells him that Rayanne said he has a crush. She can obviously relate to having feelings for someone you don’t have a chance with.

As Brian puts forth some sort of debate-style offer to go to the dance with Delia, Rickie tells Angela that they should go to the dance together. They’re happy to not attend alone. But Corey approaches and says that Rayanne has already invited him to go with her and Rickie. Angela says she’ll tag along, but Rickie doesn’t want it to look like a double date. However, if she doesn’t come, it might look obvious what Rayanne’s trying to do.

Angela says she’ll bow out, then immediately goes to Brian. She figures out that he already invited Delia to the dance, though Brian brushes it off like it’s not a big deal. Angela tells him about Rayanne’s matchmaking scheme, then babbles as Brian realizes what she’s about to do. She tells him it would be “convenient” for the two of them to go to the dance together – just to drive there together, not go as dates, since he’s already going with Delia. Brian stays calm as he agrees.

Rickie interrupts while Rayanne’s flirting with a guy (“can he excuse us?” Hee!) so he can confront her about the Corey setup. He’s annoyed that she meddled after he told her not to. He’s also annoyed that Corey painted Rayanne’s shoes with colorful stripes. Rickie says he’s overlooked Rayanne’s crazy plans in the past, and he’s willing to overlook this one, but she’d better keep her mouth shut while they’re at the dance.

Rayanne says she’s not going, since she’s not ready to attend a school function. “Who cares about your stupid drinking problem?” Rickie exclaims. “This is my life!” She tells him she’ll call Corey and explain everything. It’ll all be fine. “Fine” for two guys to go to a school dance together in 1994? Sure.

Brian thinks for a while in his room, then goes to see Delia. He tells her he forgot about a previous commitment. He voices over that he regrets backing out of the date, but that doesn’t stop him. Delia guesses that he already made plans with another girl. She tells him that the timing of the plans shouldn’t matter – he should go with whoever he wants to go with. She just wants him to be honest. So Brian is, telling her he’d rather go with the other girl. Delia cries and tells him to go away.

Patty has gone behind Graham’s back and enrolled him in cooking classes. She pretends it’s because he was busy with the wallpaper and didn’t have time. She also knows he can have trouble focusing. Graham is mad about her meddling. It’s not just that he likes to cook – it’s the one thing he’s good at. Brian shows up, dressed for the dance, which surprises the Chases. They think Brian and Angela are going as a group with Delia. Brian lies that she had a family emergency and can’t go.

Later, Patty tries to apologize to Graham, who’s transformed the bedroom with the wallpaper. She notes that that’s something else he’s good at. They laugh over Angela’s discomfort when she found out Delia wasn’t coming, which leaves her alone with Brian. They think it’s funny that Angela’s going to have a bad time. Patty semi-apologizes for nagging Graham and says she’ll get him out of the classes. He tells her not to. He needs to see if that probably-not-dead chef is still good at it.

People seem to be having a good time at the dance, so Sharon should be pleased. Rickie and Corey are sitting in the stands, having a great conversation. Corey asks where Rayanne is – she never called to explain the setup. He’s disappointed that she’s not coming, since he wanted to ask her how she likes her sneakers. Rickie says she’s “changeable.” Corey says he had a picture of how things would be, and they’ve turned out differently.

Brian tries to make himself start a conversation with Angela, apparently not getting that she would clearly rather be with anyone else. He goes to get her a drink, and Rickie asks if he can hang out with Brian and Angela. Brian tries to be gently as he says they’d like time alone. When he goes back to Angela, she asks what they were talking about. She’s upset when Brian says he told Rickie to keep his distance so they could have privacy. Angela has no idea why they would want privacy. What does Brian think is happening?

Brian says they might want to dance, which Angela thinks is a ridiculous idea. He says they should just see how things progress. He doesn’t even believe in making plans – “whatever happens, happens.” Angela says that’s the dumbest thing she’s ever heard. They both see Delia talking to Rickie, which alerts Angela to the fact that Brian lied about her not coming to the dance. She calls him heartless and says he doesn’t understand people.

Angela starts to leave, then stops when she sees Jordan at the dance with his friends. Brian thinks it’s ironic that Angela would call him heartless when she’s the same way. As Jordan sees that Angela has spotted him, Brian approaches Delia and apologizes for being…well, heartless. Sharon and Kyle join them, and Sharon says she’s glad Delia came even without a date, because there are tons of cute guys for her to meet.

Angela joins Rickie outside and learns that Rayanne didn’t explain things to Corey. Killing her would only solve half of Rickie’s problems. The other half is that Rickie feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere or with anyone. Angela gives him a comforting hug. Jordan and his friends pass him as they leave for more interesting places, and Rickie tells Angela it’s okay if she wants to go talk to him.

Brian starts to come outside but goes back in when he sees Angela and Jordan together. Jordan does what he does best, leaning over Angela as if he wants to kiss her. He asks her why she likes this. She doesn’t know what he means. “Like how you are,” he replies. Angela still doesn’t know what he means, but he goes off with his friends without explaining.

Back in the gym, Delia and Rickie find themselves standing near each other, so he invites her to dance. It’s awkward at first, but then Rickie just goes for it, dancing like he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him. His enthusiasm is contagious, and Delia joins in. Even Kyle’s impressed. Brian just watches from a distance as the girl he could have had fun with has fun with someone else.

Angela finally goes back in and apologizes to Brian for ruining his night. All he can think about is how great her hair smells. They both say school dances are dumb, so it doesn’t matter. She asks him to dance, but he says, “Not with you.” He backtracks, saying he doesn’t care about dancing that much. Angela says she doesn’t, either. So they just stand and watch while the rest of their classmates enjoy their lives.

Thoughts: Delia is awesome and Brian sucks for hurting her.

It’s 1994, girls. Time to grow backbones and ask boys out yourselves.

Delia manages to adorably combine two major ’90s trends with a plaid scrunchy.

’90s music alert: “What Is Love?” by Haddaway

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    Now THIS episode is one I’ve been waiting for, just for the final scene of Rickie and Delia dancing. I just loved it so much, it completely transformed the way I think of “What Is Love?” so instead of thinking of that stupid SNL skit I get to think about Rickie and Delia ripping it up on the dance floor.

    How creepy and stalkerish is Brian with that damn telephoto lens trained on the Chase home? Ugh. Gross.

    Delia’s adorable. Full stop. Brian’s a moron. I love how she’s pretty straightforward about everything, especially the dance. She doesn’t see the point in batting around the bush and that’s pretty much all Brian knows how to do. Even if they’d actually become a couple, she would have gotten so sick of that crap so quickly.

    Again with Patty trying to control Graham… as I watch the way she treats him, I’m less and less surprised he gravitated towards Hallie. She seemed to like him just the way he is. With Patty, there’s always a flaw.

    Rickie’s face when he first spotted Corey! The visual embodiment of a major swoon. And Corey was super sweet with him, if a bit oblivious to the fact that this kid is head over heels for him. Even if Rickie confessed it, I feel like Corey would be cool about it. But now I’m reminded how Angela pursues Corey later to try to get back at Rayanne and Jordan. Ugh. Rayanne meant well with trying to engineer something with the dance, but damn, she could have really gotten Rickie hurt in the process. Just because she flits through relationships doesn’t mean everyone around her is the same way. It’s such a bummer, your line about two guys going to a school dance together in 1994 not being accepted, because it seems like it’s always been okay for two girls to go together to school events like that, but the guys are held to a different standard.

    I do like Graham and Brian’s relationship, such as it is. The wallpaper discussions were very amusing and Graham never treats Brian like a child about it.

    The more they show of Sharon and Kyle the less it makes sense why they’re together at all. Why would you *wait* to ask your girlfriend to a school dance? She always seems majorly irritated with him, especially in the last scenes at the dance — the look on her face was inscrutable but it wasn’t one of affection. Confusion, embarrassment maybe? Or maybe jealousy, like why wasn’t he out there dancing with her? I couldn’t parse that one.

    I like how quickly Angela picked up on everything Brian did, not like it was hard to catch onto it with Delia right there and all. I was a little surprised she didn’t go apologize to Delia, though. That would have been a nice gesture. Brian was a jerk to ditch her, but if Angela hadn’t asked to third-wheel it, it wouldn’t have been an issue. Maybe this is also why — at least from what I recall — Angela and Delia never really warmed up to each other. She was always more Sharon’s friend, and was probably way too bubbly for Angela anyway.


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