November 16, 2019

My So-Called Life 12, Self-Esteem: Everyone Deserves Better

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:20 pm by Jenn

Ouch, this is painful

Summary: Angela voices over that some places at school seem reserved for certain people. She passes a classroom where Sharon is telling some friends that she regrets breaking up with Kyle before midterms. Angela voices over that there are lines that aren’t supposed to be crossed. There’s a spot in the boiler room where people only go for one reason…and now Angela’s there with Jordan, for that reason: making out. Look who got her guy!

Angela’s missing her (optional) geometry review for this, and she gets busted by her teacher, Ms. Lerner, who’s showing around yet another new English teacher. Ms. Lerner warns that she might not pass her midterm. Another teacher, Ms. Chavatal, pops in and says that Angela has low self-esteem. She introduces herself to the new English teacher, Mr. Katimski. The women think he’s a catch. I don’t see it.

Neither does Rickie, who’s in Mr. Katimski’s class. His classmates make fun of his real name, Enrique, and he tries to play along. After class, he complains to Rayanne about the classmates and Mr. Katimski. He does an impression of Mr. K, then realizes he’s standing right in front of him.

Later, Rickie tells Rayanne that instead of getting in trouble, Rickie got an invitation to join the drama club. He thinks he might consider it, if he was really bored, but not if Mr. K is in charge. The topic of conversation turns to Angela, who’s currently making out with Jordan again. Rickie thinks it’s romantic that they’re together. Rayanne is skeptical that it’ll last.

Patty comes home from work and finds Graham studying terms for his new cooking class. He’s worried that he won’t measure up to his classmates. Danielle spots an unfamiliar word and asks what “mediocrity” means. Hey, Danielle, next ask what “irony” means. Angela comes home in a great mood, which, of course, confuses her parents.

Angela goes upstairs to supposedly study for geometry, but instead she reminisces about making out with Jordan. She voices over that they barely talked during all that kissing, so when they did speak, it was meaningful. Like when she finds a leaf in his hair, and when he wonders whose stomach is grumbling. Jordan’s friend Shane comes looking for him, so Jordan hushes Angela and asks her to keep their trysts there secret. He’ll tell Shane he was there with a girl, but not who the girl is. Always the sign of a healthy relationship.

Back in school, Angela voices over that her life has become divided into two sections: kissing and not kissing. When she’s not kissing, she’s thinking about kissing. She’s missing all the geometry review sessions and is trying to be invisible in class. It’s easy, since the boys are much braver about answering questions and possibly being wrong. Angela gets a 59 and a “see me” on a quiz, which means she can’t stay invisible any longer.

Two of Angela’s classmates chat about their grades; the guy isn’t doing much better than Angela, but the girl, Abyssinia, got a 98. However, she tells the guy that she only got a 60 and will have to attend a review. The guy, Troy, offers to help her, since he got a 66. Wow, they’re somehow managing to reenact a plot from Mean Girls years before the movie even came out! Ms. Lerner chastises Angela for doing poorly in class and reminds her about the review sessions.

Angela hangs out with Rayanne after school and asks her not to tell anyone about her makeout sessions with Jordan. Rayanne notes that Angela’s letting Jordan control her. Angela points out that Rayanne pushed her to do stuff like this; now that she is, Rayanne’s criticizing her. Rayanne has made out with tons of guys and none of them control her. Rayanne says it’s because she leaves her emotions out of it. She’s the type of person who can handle the boiler room – Angela isn’t.

Patty is seeing Chuck out of the Chases’ house as Rayanne leaves for the night. Chuck notices a squeaky floorboard and asks where Graham is, obviously wanting to know why Graham isn’t keeping up with house repairs. Patty says he’s at a cooking class, a big step for his new life goals. She’s very supportive of this turning point of his. Chuck tells her they’re throwing away money; Graham needs a headhunter so he can get a job and stop living off the money Patty’s making. Chuck thinks she deserves better.

Graham chats with a classmate, Hallie, while they wait for their teacher to arrive. She jokes that it’s like they’re in a Twilight Zone episode – they thought they were there for a cooking class, but they’re forced to make awkward conversation instead. Or maybe they’re in a human-behavior experiment to see how long they get along before they turn on each other. Hallie tries to bond with everyone, but no one wants to play along.

After class, Graham tells Patty that the whole thing was strange. He looks through the fridge for spicy mustard (which Rayanne would say means something about sex). Patty thinks Graham hated the class, so they should use the tuition money to hire a headhunter instead. Graham says that’s not what he meant. Later, in bed, he tells Patty that the teacher never showed up. The weirdness was Hallie being loud and annoying. However, she did discover that their teacher was absent because of food poisoning, and she got him to reschedule the class.

Shane catches up with Jordan as he’s on his way to meet Angela in their makeout spot. There’s a band playing that weekend, Buffalo Tom, and Jordan agrees to go see them with Shane. Angela’s very happy to ditch her studying to be with Jordan, who says he’s happy to see her. She tries to fish for an invitation to see Buffalo Tom with Jordan, but he doesn’t extend one.

Sharon runs into Rayanne in the bathroom and asks if she’s ever been to any classes. That’s a great questions, Sharon. She wants to know what’s going on with Angela and Jordan. Sharon can’t ask Angela herself, since Angela will think Sharon’s checking up on her. Sharon worries that Angela will end up getting hurt. Rayanne feels the same way.

Angela catches them together, and Sharon asks why she keeps skipping geometry review. Angela wonders why Sharon and Rayanne are suddenly talking about her. She preemptively refuses to talk to Sharon about Jordan. Sharon says that Jordan’s keeping Angela a secret, at least according to Rayanne. Rayanne says she only chats with Sharon because they care about Angela. She compares this to Angela’s concern over Rayanne’s drinking and drug use. Sharon agrees that the situations are connected – it’s about self-respect.

The girls question why Jordan would keep his relationship with Angela a secret. Does he think he’s cooler than her? That she’s not good enough? Angela says they’re just not like Sharon and Kyle, and don’t have to walk around holding hands all the time. Rayanne asks why that’s considered intimate anyway, since hands aren’t an erogenous zone. (She mispronounces “erogenous” and Sharon corrects her.)

Angela says that obviously Jordan does want to be seen with her, since he invited her to see Buffalo Tom with him. She just can’t go because of her geometry studying. Sharon says she might go – she’s been good long enough and has the right to screw up her midterms. Rayanne thinks she has an obligation to.

Ms. Lerner tries to strike up a conversation with Mr. K about how frustrating it is that some of her students aren’t doing well. Mr. K gets distracted when he sees Rickie and Rayanne walking by, and he invites Rayanne to join the drama club. She briefly considers it, if there’s a chance she’ll be able to play hooky from something else, but Mr. K doesn’t think that’ll happen.

He keeps calling Rickie “Enrique,” which Rickie says no one calls him. Mr. K thinks it’s a waste to have a name like Enrique and not use it. Since his name is Richard, he’s technically an Enrique, too. Rickie corrects that his Spanish name would be Ricardo. He’s short with Mr. K and makes it clear that he doesn’t want to join the drama club. Ms. Chavatal comes by Mr. K’s room and finds Ms. Lerner beating herself up for making a fool of herself in front of Mr. K.

Rickie and Brian complain to each other about their respective problems, not really listening to each other. Rickie’s annoyed with Mr. K, and Brian’s frustrated that Angela wants him to put his own life on hold to help her with geometry. Of course, it’s Brian, so no matter what he’s supposed to be doing, he’ll probably go by the Chases’ anyway and help Angela out.

Hallie starts chatting with Graham in class, but this time he’s less annoyed by her. She thinks their teacher, a famous chef, is drunk. She threatens to make a fuss if he doesn’t get it together. They deserve better. When Graham gets home, he tries to tell Patty about the class, but she has questions that take him out of his narrative. She’s made some curtains and asks him not to seem so surprised that she was able to sew them. Graham agrees with Hallie that the teacher was drunk.

Angela goes to the Buffalo Tom concert with Rayanne and Sharon, the latter of whom says she should be home studying for midterms instead. Brian chooses that night to go see Angela, and learns from Danielle that she’s at the concert. Angela can’t find Jordan, so she’s ready to leave. Rayanne spots him just as Shane sees her and “that weird girl she always hangs out with.” Jordan ignores Angela, who tells her friends that she doesn’t think he saw her. He’s “busy,” so she’s not going to bother him.

Rayanne and Sharon wonder why Jordan is ignoring Angela when he (supposedly) asked her to meet him there. They urge her to approach him, so she does, but Jordan is cold to her. Sharon and Rayanne are almost as upset about that as Angela is. While Sharon follows Angela as she mopes away, Rayanne confronts Jordan for being a jerk to a girl he clearly likes. She warns that Angela won’t wait around forever.

Back at home, Angela voices over that there’s something about Sunday night that makes you suicidal, especially after you’ve been embarrassed by your sort-of boyfriend and you have a midterm you’re not ready for the next day. Plus, Brian has her textbook and Danielle is done with her juvenile homework. She shows off her report on crustaceans to Patty, who gushes over it.

Graham’s at another cooking class, which appears to be delayed again. Hallie has a question for him about risotto. Patty asks Angela if she feels ready for her geometry midterm. Angela says yes, but she’s going to call Brian for a study session. Patty says she’s glad Angela is staying on top of her math, since Patty was always bad at it and worried she would pass that badness down to her daughters.

Brian comes over and snaps at Angela for interrupting his own studying to ask for help with her own. She expresses regret but needs help anyway. Brian yells that he’s up to calculus, and is under a ton of pressure to always get good grades. “You have the option of insanity,” he tells her. His own inability to go crazy makes him crazy. As Graham comes home, Brian decides he needs to leave.

Graham tells Patty that his teacher has gone to rehab. She worries that he’s going to stay in the class just to spite her, since it was her idea. She’s learned her lesson; he should just quit the class. Graham says that, actually, he’s going to be teaching the class. Um, what? As he was telling Hallie why the risotto she tried to make for her fiancé didn’t turn out well, other classmates started asking questions. One said that Graham was easier to follow than the teacher, so the classmates asked him to take over. Graham is a little upset that Patty’s so surprised at his success.

Jordan leaves Angela a note in her locker asking to meet him in the boiler room. Knowing it’s a bad idea, Angela goes anyway, and they make out without discussing what happened at the concert. In fact, they start making out without even saying anything. Angela complains that Jordan is the way he is. He doesn’t know what she means. “Like how you are,” she says.

Jordan tells Angela she can leave if she’s not happy, so she starts to go. She stops and asks him to admit “that all of this happened.” She wants him to admit that he has feelings, and that he’s wrong for the way he’s been treating her. Also, he spelled her name wrong in the note he left her.

Mr. K bores an English class with a sonnet (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…”). Jordan is, for once, listening, and probably picturing the same person Brian is. Mr. K asks who Shakespeare is describing in the poem. She’s not the most beautiful girl in the world, but he loves her anyway. Jordan gets it, so Mr. K asks why Shakespeare is in love with the subject of the poem. Brian says she’s not just a fantasy. She has flaws and is real.

Angela cuts English to cram for her geometry midterm in the bathroom, praying that God will help her pass. Abyssinia is also there, and both consider skipping the test, since they’re going to flunk anyway. Angela knows Jordan is the reason for her laziness in studying. The two girls end up studying together, and by the time they need to make up their minds about the test, they decide to go ahead and give it a shot. But! Sharon bursts in and announces that the copier ate the test, so it’s been postponed until the next day. Angela says she’ll go to the final review session, but Abyssinia thinks she’s ready without it.

Mr. K flags down Rickie in the hallway, and Rickie says he’s absolutely, positively not going to join the drama club. He’s not the sort of person who joins things. Mr. K thinks he’s hesitant because it’s not cool. He just wants Rickie to fulfill his potential. It’s like Mr. K is a track coach, and Rickie can run really fast, so Mr. K needs him on his team.

Rickie yells at Mr. K to stop calling him Enrique. Mr. K says he also hated his name in high school. Rickie denies that he hates his. Mr. K is happy to hear that – no one should hate who they are. After Mr. K leaves, Rickie puts his name on the sign-up list for the drama club. Rayanne sees it and grins – he signed himself Enrique instead of Rickie.

Brian watches Angela as she chats with her friends, then sees Jordan watching her as well. As Buffalo Tom plays over the scene (“I held her hand too tight… I’m not a thoughtless guy…”), Jordan approaches Angela in the busy hallway and asks if they can go somewhere. He takes her hand on their way to make out. Sharon calls after Angela not to forget her geometry review, but Rayanne says it’s too late – she’s already forgotten about it.

Thoughts: Mr. K is played by Jeff Perry.

Abyssinia’s full name is Abyssinia Churchill, which sounds like a character from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

What do you think Sharon normally does for fun? Do you think she ever actually has fun?

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    This one kind of surprised me how it started out, because last we saw Angela and Jordan together was at the dance where he did the… lean… into her and all, asked her a cryptic question, then bailed. Now they’re making out in the boiler room all the time? Weird.

    Katimski was fun. Kind of addled, but good-natured and seemed sweet with good intentions. Maybe that’s what Lerner was noticing. We don’t see much of the other male teachers so maybe he’s also the only single and straight one (or so she thinks!). Kind of a dumb subplot, though. We aren’t watching this show for the teacher drama.

    Abyssinia immediately hiding her A grade was triggering as that’s the sort of thing I’d do in school too. Then I started going to honors-level classes with a bunch of other nerds and it wasn’t an issue anymore, so that was nice. But before that, you’d get dirty looks and rolled eyes and shit. Ugh.

    The less we see of Chuck on this show, the better, I say. What an obnoxious blowhard. I applaud Patty for sticking up for Graham, though.

    The introduction of Hallie Lowenthal! I was dreading it because I had bad memories of it from my first watch of the show, but now I see it with different eyes, and her exuberance and enthusiasm is so anti-Patty it makes sense why Graham is all at once bewildered, annoyed, intrigued, and amused. She is who she is and doesn’t really care what people think of her, and she seems to think Graham is pretty talented, so that’s two strikes against Patty who really cares what people think about her (especially appearances) and doubts Graham at every turn. Trouble!

    Loved how their mutual affection for Angela brought Sharon and Rayanne together again. And that Rayanne straight up tells Angela that’s why they’re in cahoots. And oh, that Buffalo Tom concert was awkward. The best part was Rayanne telling Jordan to get his shit in gear regarding Angela, though. Even better that he listened to her and didn’t talk back even though we know he’s not Rayanne’s biggest fan.

    Angela begging Brian to explain Geometry to her was pretty adorable but good for him for not falling for it. I liked how he and Jordan bonded over that sonnet, and even better that Angela wasn’t in the class that day.

    Graham was damn right to be hurt by Patty’s reaction to him teaching the class. But why was he surprised by it? She’s never been bowled over or super complimentary of his cooking in the past like others have been (Camille, Angela). It’s still hard to watch, though.

    I never caught that he signed himself up as Enrique! That’s perfect.

    Jordan walking Angela down the hall while holding her hand was the perfect high school thrill moment for someone like me who had instead spent most of her high school days doing dorky shit like trying to time her walks down a certain hall so she’d look casual walking past the hot quarterback’s locker instead of like she planned it… seventeen times a day. Oh the latent cringe all these decades later.

    P.S. From her haiku, we all know what Sharon does for fun… in her basement. But now that Kyle’s not an option, it’s a good question.


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