November 30, 2019

My So-Called Life 14, On the Wagon: I Wanna Be Sedated

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

I have absolutely no words

Summary: Rayanne has been sober for 33 days, but she doesn’t seem to care. Angela voices over that she and Jordan are over, but still friendly. She hopes he’s about to tell her he still wants her and can’t go another moment without her. Instead, he starts complaining about Tino.

Mrs. K has told Rayanne that she has an oral fixation (which explains why she’s always eating lollipops), and Rayanne has a theory that it stems from not being breastfed by Amber. She’s done with sessions with Mrs. K, who’s worried that she doesn’t have a support system in place. Rayanne has felt distant from her friends, especially Angela, since her overdose. Rayanne says Angela’s just been busy with Jordan. Everything’s fine.

Rickie mocks an AA pamphlet Mrs. K gave Rayanne, though Rayanne has said she likes Mrs. K. Now she’s changed her mind, saying Mrs. K is too sensitive. She also thinks Angela’s the one who needs therapy. Jordan tells Angela that Tino quit the band, possibly taking the name Frozen Embryos with him.

Rayanne joins the two of them under the bleachers, so Jordan dismisses himself. Angela tells her about Tino quitting the band, which Rayanne has somehow not yet heard from Tino himself. Angela invites her to come over after school so they can regain some of the time they’ve lost while Angela was hanging out with Jordan so much.

Rayanne makes it to the Chases’ house before Angela and passes the time cooking something with Graham. Patty comes home and tries to treat Rayanne like any other friend of Angela’s. She’s happy to hear that Rayanne’s been sober for over a month. When Danielle arrives, Rayanne watches the three Chases acting like a happy family together. Patty invites Rayanne to stay for dinner, but Rayanne says her mom is cooking. Patty notes that Rayanne never thanked her for saving her life.

At home, Rayanne watches Sesame Street while Amber makes herself a margarita instead of cooking dinner for her daughter. Rayanne’s especially hungry because she missed lunch to have a session with Mrs. K. Amber has either forgotten about her sessions or never listened when Rayanne told her about them. Rayanne complains that she never gets a real meal, then complains that Angela ditched her at her own house.

Amber thinks Rayanne must have done something to make Angela mad at her. She thinks Rayanne can hang out with Angela while she’s with Jordan. Amber gets excited when she finds leftover Chinese food in the fridge, because now Rayanne can have her desired “real meal” without Amber having to cook anything. She tells Rayanne that Angela is a special kind of friend she needs to hold on to.

Jordan is still complaining to Angela about Tino. This should be enough to end her crush on him, right? Rayanne joins them in Jordan’s car, pretending she’s totally fine with Angela ditching her the previous day. Angela tells her that the Tino-less band has a gig lined up next week, but they need a lead singer. Jordan wants to mope alone, so he kicks the girls out of his car.

Rayanne realizes that she should be the band’s new lead singer. Angela doesn’t think it seems realistic. Rayanne notes that a month of sobriety doesn’t, either, but she accomplished that. Now she’ll have a good reason to hang out with Angela while she’s with Jordan. She begs Angela to present the idea to him.

Danielle has a boyfriend! Or at least she did. Now they’re “keeping it loose.” Patty wonders how much of her daughters’ lives she’s not aware of. Angela says that Rayanne has also complained about missing time with her. She and Patty are on different pages about whether Rayanne is still seeing a counselor or whether she’s done. Jordan comes by to give Angela a ride to school, and Patty asks if she’s ever going to get to meet him. Angela says Graham did, which should be good enough. She doesn’t think it matters anyway, since they broke up. Patty gets glummer when Danielle won’t talk about her boyfriend.

Jordan is STILL complaining about Tino. Angela asks about the possibility of Frozen Embryos having a female lead singer, like maybe, hypothetically, Rayanne. Jordan thinks that’s a ridiculous idea. Rayanne asks Rickie if he’s heard anything about being asked to join the band. Rickie tries to gently bring up the possibility that they won’t want her. Rayanne thinks her cuteness, singing voice, and tendency toward exhibitionism will be enough to convince them.

She wonders if Rickie thinks she’ll fall off the wagon. He says Angela gave him the impression they don’t want a female lead singer. Brian overhears and asks what Rayanne did. Rickie says she hasn’t done anything yet, but in the past, when she’s been excited about something like this, it’s led to disaster.

Sharon catches Rayanne singing to herself in the bathroom and compliments her voice. Rayanne pretends not to care about her opinion, then asks if she’s good enough to perform in front of people. Sharon suggests that she change her wardrobe. Rayanne tries to run the Angela situation by her, wondering why Angela wouldn’t put in a good word for her with the band. She realizes that Angela might be worried that Rayanne will make a fool of herself.

Rayanne goes to a Frozen Embryos practice, where things are falling apart without Tino in charge. The band members are so busy fighting that they don’t even notice Rayanne. Jordan calls Angela at home to tell her that Rayanne showed up at practice. Patty takes the phone from Danielle, telling her to respect Angela’s privacy, then listens in herself. Jordan says Rayanne’s acting like she’s high. Angela says she has nothing to do with Rayanne inviting herself there. Jordan mentions that they’re all just sitting around, drinking beer.

Graham catches Patty eavesdropping and hisses at her to stop. Angela tries to keep Jordan on the phone, pleased that this is the first time he’s called her, but Jordan has more important things to worry about. Graham chastises Patty for listening in, though he’s pretty amused about it. She complains that that was the only way she could find out what’s going on in Angela’s life.

She adds that Jordan was the caller, and he reported that Rayanne’s drinking. She’s worried, but Graham thinks Angela’s lack of concern means everything’s okay. Patty has a feeling it’s not and wonders if she should talk to Amber. Later, Patty lies awake, trying to convince herself that everything’s fine. She doesn’t get why you can’t speak to other parents honestly about their children. Graham says that no one wants to be accused of not being a good parent. Every family’s business is their own.

Patty doesn’t think it would be that big of a deal to tell a parent that you’re a little concerned about his or her child. Graham notes that she wouldn’t take that kind of conversation well. Patty agrees, thinking that talking to Amber about Rayanne would just make things worse. She suggests having sex to distract herself from obsessing over the situation.

At school, Angela tells Jordan again that she had no idea Rayanne was going to crash the practice. She doesn’t want him to feel pressured to let her into the band. But the drummer, who’s Rayanne’s new boy toy, has made the decision for the group and brought in Rayanne as the new lead singer. Now Rayanne has a new guy to spend time with instead of Angela.

Guess who didn’t stop obsessing after all? Patty, who calls Amber to talk about Rayanne. Amber says she just had a dream about herself, Rayanne, Angela, and Jordan. She laughs at Patty’s claim that Angela and Jordan are over. Patty asks how Rayanne is, and Amber jokes that she’s no fun anymore since she’s on the wagon. Patty asks if she’s sure that Rayanne’s sober. Amber says she’s as sure as Patty is that Angela and Jordan are just friends.

At the next band practice, Rayanne doesn’t even get a chance to sing “I Wanna Be Sedated” before the other band members can’t get it together. At school, Jordan tells Rayanne that their audition at some club is that night. They still need to come up with a name. Rayanne says they’re not ready for an audition. Jordan tells her to just wear something tight. She wanted a chance and she got it. Now she needs to not screw up.

Rayanne borrows some clothes from Angela, who isn’t sure she can come to the audition. Rayanne tells her there will be plenty of people there, since Rickie invited half the school. Then she realizes the band never told her what they’ll be singing. She runs for some of the Chases’ booze and Angela scrambles to keep her from drinking. Rayanne laughs her off, just joking. At home, she gets ready for the audition, practicing with Amber. She’s nervous but knows she’s going to have an amazing night.

Patty tells Graham about her brief conversation with Amber, thinking Amber blew her off to get off the phone. Angela tries to passive-aggressively get her parents to let her go to the audition by saying she doesn’t even really want to go, but she feels like she needs to support Rayanne. She admits that things have been weird between them since Rayanne’s OD. She basically blurts out everything she’s been dealing with the past few weeks, then hugs Patty and thanks her for listening. Graham teases that Angela will ignore her for another month to make up for that. Patty notices the booze Rayanne poured but didn’t drink.

Brian shows up to the audition, reminding Rickie that he begged Brian to come. Rickie admits that he invited a bunch of people because he was afraid there wouldn’t be an audience. His voice is raspy, something that happens whenever he gets nervous. He prays before the audition, which is part of an open-mic night. The band still doesn’t have a name, so Jordan tells the MC that they’re between names. She misinterprets this, announcing them as Between Names.

The band starts playing, but Rayanne freezes up. When she finally starts singing, she’s not her best and can’t keep the rhythm. The audience is completely unimpressed and starts leaving. Rayanne runs off, but the band keeps playing, so Jordan steps in to sing. Rickie and Brian chase after Rayanne, who says that everyone – including them – must have known she would screw up. Rickie knows that Rayanne’s distress could lead to something bad.

He calls Angela, who’s at home, and Patty takes the phone, sensing that something’s up with Rayanne. The next morning, Patty goes to Rayanne and Amber’s place, where Amber starts babbling about the two of them, Rayanne, Angela, and Rickie maybe being part of the same karass, a group of people who get entwined in each other’s lives. Patty announces that Rayanne has been drinking again. Amber insists that she hasn’t, claiming she knows her daughter well enough to know she’s still sober.

Patty tells Amber that Rayanne is missing. She knows it’s not her place to tell Amber how to parent Rayanne, but Patty can’t stand by and watch Rayanne’s life fall apart. But Rayanne seems just fine – she’s at home, she’s sober, and she spent the previous night eating cookie dough with her mother. She even wants to go to school. Amber tells Patty that she’s a good mother, so Patty can stop looking down on her.

Patty gives Rayanne a ride to school in a weak attempt to smooth things over. Rayanne tells her that while she poured the drink at the Chases’, she didn’t drink it. She promises that she’s been completely sober since her OD. Patty asks why she stopped seeing Mrs. K, and why she didn’t tell Patty she’d stopped. Rayanne says she wanted to seem okay so Patty would approve of her staying friends with Angela. Patty gets that Angela means a lot to Rayanne. She says that they’re in the same karass, so Rayanne can call her Patty instead of Mrs. Chase. Rayanne thanks her for the ride and for saving her life.

She tracks down Rickie, who’s furious with her for disappearing the night before and making him worry. He was terrified that she had started drinking or using again and would end up dead. Angela finds Rayanne on some fire escape or something (I don’t know) and tells her how scared she and Rickie were. She thinks Rayanne’s mad that she didn’t come to the club. Rayanne admits that she made a fool out of herself at the club, which Angela has seen many times. She knew Angela wouldn’t come.

Rayanne says she’s tired of seeing the looks Angela and Rickie give her. They obviously think she’s going to lose control at any moment. She knows Angela thinks she’s too messed up for them to continue being friends. Angela promises that’s not true. Nothing’s changed. Angela voices over that they both know that’s not completely true. Rayanne misses when Angela would come to her for advice, before her whole life became about Jordan. Angela says she should have come to the club to be there for her friend.

Rickie joins them and Rayanne apologizes for the night before. Later, the three friends go to a James Dean movie and talk about guys they like. Rayanne has a thing for Latinos, like Andy Garcia and Luis on Sesame Street. She admits that she still watches the show every day. Rayanne turns the theme song into a kind of lounge performance, entertaining everyone in line for the movie. Angela and Rickie are happy…until Rayanne grabs someone’s beer bottle and takes a drink.

Thoughts: This episode was directed by Jeff Perry (Mr. K).

Remember when we all had landlines with multiple extensions and you could listen in on other people’s calls? Cell phones really cut down on siblings eavesdropping on each other.

Between Names actually isn’t a horrible name for a band. I’ve heard much worse.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    As soon as I realized what episode this was going to be, I cringed automatically. Poor Rayanne. I think of her whenever I hear that Ramones song now too. Oof.

    It’s fascinating how closer Angela and Jordan seem to be now that they’re no longer kissing friends but actual friends. It makes sense that she’d be spending less time with Rayanne and Rickie if she’s also hanging out with Jordan, though her distance from Rayanne post-OD makes a lot of sense too. You’d think Mrs. K might have mentioned to Rayanne that overdosing scares your close friends and they may be reluctant to get close again in case they actually lose you the next time you imbibe. Why does that not come up at all, because it’s a really logical result of an overdose in front of your friends!

    I forgot to include Rayanne in an earlier comment as someone else who celebrated Graham’s cooking (whereas Patty is mute on the topic). No wonder he likes having her around. That was a cute little friendship too.

    Again… Amber doesn’t seem to realize the longterm impacts an overdose might have on those closest to her daughter, mainly because she doesn’t seem to be suffering any of those longterm impacts herself since she drinks a fucking margarita in front of her alcoholic daughter for god’s sake. Really chafed me how somehow it was automatically Rayanne’s fault if she and Angela weren’t getting along. Angela’s flawed too, honey. It’s nice she can recognize the positive influences on Rayanne’s life, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of Rayanne’s feelings of self-worth either.

    The pop-in at Jordan’s car (along with the pop-in under the bleachers) is the kind of thing that you’d think Rayanne would be a little embarrassed about, foisting herself into a situation she wasn’t invited to, but to her credit she doesn’t seem to embarrass easily (except on stage, of course). The whole thing is super cringey to watch though.

    I loved when Graham busted Patty for eavesdropping. That was really funny.

    Amber may be an ass about her daughter’s obvious problems, but she’s no idiot. She caught on to Patty very quickly and was able to serve it right back at her. It isn’t every day when Patty Chase is left speechless.

    Angela was kind of a jerk for not going to the audition. It would have meant the world to Rayanne and she knew it, and Rickie knew it, and still, she didn’t go. If even Brian could make it, Angela could have gone!

    I liked the fire escape scene, though watching Angela and Rayanne’s friendship evolve has been more interesting than I remember from my first watch of the show. Angela hooked up with Rayanne because Rayanne represented a change from her normal boring humdrum suburban existence, but now that she’s starting to understand herself more, her dependence upon Rayanne for excitement and interest is waning a bit. You can see it in Angela’s outfits in this episode as I think they were much closer to average than the usual excessive layering style she’d adopted when she and Rayanne were closer.

    Plus, I think it’s fair for Angela to acknowledge that maybe she and Rayanne are fundamentally more different than either of them really wanted to admit; Rayanne likes a fast-paced exciting dramatic life and Angela seems to get exhausted by that more quickly (as do the rest of us). And the things that Rayanne needs out of her friendship with Angela seem more based in making sure Angela sees her as living some sort of idolized lifestyle, but after the OD that’s obviously not the best lifestyle for anyone so it’s hard to keep pretending the crazy wild lifestyle is still going to be the same when she’s 100% sober. As I rewatch this I find myself trying to remember why Rayanne and Jordan hook up in the first place (a few episodes from now) and it’s becoming clearer bit by bit. I’m dreading it, though, because that was such a painful episode to watch.


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