January 4, 2020

My So-Called Life 19, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities: Unconscious Wishes

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Brian Krakow, forever alone

Summary: Angela wakes up from a dream she tells us she keeps having about Jordan. She’s trying to catch up with him in the hallway at school, but her shoes get stuck to the floor and he walks away before she can reach him. Sometimes Graham is there, mirroring Jordan’s movements. Sometimes it’s mixed in with her great-aunt’s funeral. Patty and Graham try to wave her over to the ceremony, but she leaves them. At the end of the dream, Angela finally catches up to Jordan and yells at him for hurting her. He just takes it, like he doesn’t care what happens to him.

Angela voices over that “hatred can become like food.” It gives you energy you can live off of. She goes downstairs, where Graham tells Patty that the restaurant investors are getting cold feet. Angela wants to share her dream, but no one wants to hear it. Patty says she dreamed about Tony Poole.

At school, Delia tells Sharon that she had a dream about Rickie. They were dancing in a vegetable garden. She asks how much Sharon knows about Rickie. She figures Sharon would know him because they’re both friends with Rayanne. Sharon denies that she and Rayanne are friends.

Graham and Hallie are fighting at the restaurant space; the investors’ drawback about putting up the money turns out to be because of him. Patty brings them some food, but Graham’s too upset to eat, so he goes for a walk. Hallie thinks Graham is right to be angry since she didn’t tell him as soon as she knew that the investors were nervous about him. On the other hand, the investors are right to be nervous because they’d be backing a chef who’s never cooked professionally before. Hallie thinks he’ll win them over if he cooks for them.

Patty tells Hallie that one of her ex-boyfriends wound up in the restaurant business, so she can contact him if Hallie wants advice. Graham returns and says what Hallie said after he left, about how he can win over the investors by cooking for them. Hallie and Patty pretend that he’s the only one who came up with that idea.

After an English class, Jordan and Sharon both approach Angela. She voices over that it’s weird to run into someone you’ve just had a dream about. It makes you worry that you’ll give something away about the dream. Sharon goes to talk to Mr. K, and Jordan tries to make small talk with Angela before revealing that Brian figured out the name for his reading difficulties.

Brian asks Sharon about Delia, but Sharon says she’s interested in Rickie now, since Brian didn’t treat her right. Jordan tells Angela that the Frozen Embryos have renamed themselves Residue. Angela asks why he’s telling her all this. He walks off, and Sharon comes back over, saying she can’t believe his nerve in trying to talk to Angela after what he did. She tells Sharon that she had her dream about him again. As Sharon is about to reveal what she dreamed, Mr. K interrupts and asks Angela to help sell tickets for Our Town. Sharon says she dreamed that she and Rayanne appeared in a charity water ballet together.

Jordan goes to a tutoring session with Brian but can’t focus – he’s upset about his failure to have a conversation with Angela. He’s pretty sure she hates him, and he deserves it. He tried to apologize to her, but he couldn’t figure out what to say. Brian thinks he just needs to say he’s sorry. He can’t believe that Jordan, who has the guts to approach any girl and get her phone number, is scared to talk to Angela.

Jordan asks Brian to help him figure out how to apologize. Brian says he did something unforgivable and created his own prison. There’s no way to help him with that; he’ll have to find his way out himself. Jordan thinks this kind of language would be perfect, so he asks for more. Brian refuses to get involved in whatever Jordan says or doesn’t say to Angela. They agree to work separately for the rest of the tutoring session, but Brian can’t help asking what Jordan has decided on so far.

Rayanne and Rickie are having a conversation in a school hallway about whether or not she’s a happy person. (She says yes, he says no.) Brian approaches, and after Rayanne leaves, Rickie says he’s signed Brian up to sell tickets to the play. Brian says he has no free time. Delia joins them and asks Rickie, who’s stage-managing the play, how she can get involved. He tells her she can help sell tickets. Brian brightly volunteers his help as well. Once Delia’s gone, Brian tells Rickie that, according to Sharon, Delia “has it” for Rickie. Rickie’s proud to be the object of someone’s affection.

Patty has gotten Tony Poole’s number from Camille and places a flirty phone call making arrangements to get together so she can ask his advice. Angela and Danielle eavesdrop, then reveal themselves and dig for information. Patty shows them an old picture in an album, trying to keep them from focusing on a picture of her hitchhiking.

She tells them she hasn’t seen Tony since high school, but she dreamed about him last night. She was taking out the garbage, and Princess Diana was there. (Apparently she shows up in Patty’s dreams a lot.) In the dream, Patty has longer hair and is wearing a white nightgown. Tony arrives on a motorcycle and they make out. Patty claims she doesn’t remember anything after that.

Danielle asks if Patty loves Tony more than Graham. Angela’s defensive about the question, but Danielle says she gets nervous that Patty and Graham might get divorced. Angela thinks there’s nothing to worry about – Patty and Tony are just going to talk for a little while. Someone can dream about a person she used to have feelings for but doesn’t anymore. It doesn’t mean anything.

Patty says she loved Tony a long time ago, but she chose Graham to spend her life with. However, she and Tony did have a lot of wild times together, and “it’s always tempted to lose yourself in someone who’s maybe lost themselves.” Eventually, though, you’ll want to leave your dream and go back to reality.

Later that night, Patty casually tells Graham that she called Tony and invited him over on Friday to talk about his experiences in the restaurant business. (He owns a Jeep dealership now. Also, he’s married.) Graham says he’s cooking for the investors that night. He doesn’t seem worried about Patty spending time with her ex alone, though.

At school, Sharon has told Angela that Delia has a crush on Rickie and wonders if he’s interested in girls. Angela’s surprised, since she thought Delia liked Brian. She spots Rayanne and the two ignore each other. Jordan’s trying to finalize his speech to Angela, with help from Brian. He wants to include something Brian has gotten from his parents about an unconscious wish. Maybe he had an unconscious wish to hurt Angela.

Jordan steels himself and approaches Angela, telling her everything he and Brian put together. To an eavesdropping Brian’s despair, she’s really impressed with Jordan’s words. She’s ready to have a serious talk with her ex. Jordan thinks they just did, but Angela says his little speech can’t be the end of the discussion. He runs off before they can get any further.

At a tutoring session the next day, Jordan tells Brian that he was close, but he needs to say more to Angela. She seems “starved.” He wants to write everything down so he doesn’t screw up. Brian again refuses to help. Angela tells Rickie that Jordan’s speech was “like a dream.” Just as she realized that they could actually communicate, he ran off. Rayanne interrupts to ask for one of the posters they’re hanging up for the play. Her mother’s really excited that Rayanne’s in the show.

Angela leaves before the conversation can go deeper than surface-level, and Rayanne follows suit. She bumps into Brian, snapping at him, and he asks Rickie why she hates him so much. They start talking about Angela and Jordan, and Brian admits that he gave Jordan all the words to say to her. Rickie accuses Brian of using Jordan to express his feelings to Angela. Brian hadn’t thought of that before. Delia comes by and reminds Rickie that she’ll be selling tickets for the show. Brian says that she really likes Rickie. Rickie wishes he liked her back; it would make his life a lot easier. It could be his chance to be straight.

Graham and Hallie work on their menu for the investors’ meal. He mentions that Patty’s meeting with Tony and promises that he’s not worried about it, even if there will be flirting. Hallie and Graham agree that people can flirt without it meaning anything. Hallie notes that Graham can still act jealous – it would be “considerate.” Uh, to whom?

Brian hangs out late at school, writing down some thoughts on the back of an Our Town poster. He gives the notes to Jordan – they’re a letter to give to Angela. Jordan rewrites it in his own handwriting as Brian reads it in voiceover. It’s about how he wants to be holding Angela, and how he can’t tell her the whole truth. She can burn the letter if she wants, or tell Jordan to go to Hell, and it wouldn’t matter. He’d just send her a letter from Hell.

Angela rereads the letter on the bus to school the next day, then tells Brian that it showed her another side of Jordan. She thinks it’s incredible and shows how much work he and Brian have done together in their tutoring sessions. Brian asks what her favorite part was, but Angela says it’s too personal to talk about. As soon as she sees Jordan, she ditches Brian.

Angela tries to tell Jordan how much the letter meant to her, but he’s uneasy now about passing off Brian’s words as his own. He tells her that in his dreams, he always knows what to say, and Angela always forgives him. The real Angela must, too, because she kisses him. Brian sees, realizing that his hard work has paid off, but for someone else.

Rickie comes over to tell him to pick up his tickets at Mr. K’s that night. He notices the kissing, and Brian says it doesn’t matter. They’ll all be dead someday. He confesses to Rickie that he wrote a letter for Jordan. Rickie urges him to tell Angela the truth, but Brian doesn’t think it would be right. Jordan asked for help, and Brian can’t go back on that now.

Sharon runs into Rayanne in the bathroom, where Rayanne is crying over the fact that she doesn’t have any friends. Angela ditched her, Rickie isn’t fully there for there, and Tino’s not dependable. Rayanne thinks Sharon believes she doesn’t deserve friends. Sharon chastises her for being “non-shockable.” Rayanne thinks it’s refreshing, and Sharon admits that it is. She adds that she’s Rayanne’s friend, even if she’s not someone Rayanne would choose for friendship. Rayanne says she screwed up. “Duh squared,” Sharon replies.

It’s Friday, and all the Chases are going in separate directions for the evening – Graham to the investors’ dinner, Patty to dinner with Tony, Angela to Mr. K’s, and Danielle…eh, who cares? At Mr. K’s, Rickie tells Angela he knows about the letter, then reveals that Brian wrote it. Angela pretends she’d already figured that out.

Mr. K invites the students who’ve come to get their tickets out for pizza, but Angela just wants to go home. Rickie stays back for a minute to talk to Delia alone. He asks her to a movie, saying he thinks they would be good together. Delia says okay, though she knows about Rickie’s sexuality. He tries to hedge, about to say he doesn’t like to label it, but then confirms that he’s gay. This is the first time he’s said it out loud. Delia says she feels a little honored.

She confesses that she has a huge crush on him because he’s such an awesome person and a great dancer. Plus, Brian hurt her, and she wanted to have a crush on someone who wouldn’t hurt her. Rickie tells her that if he liked girls, he would be attracted to her. But really, who wouldn’t? Delia’s adorable.

Patty waits nervously for Tony at the house, but Jordan shows up instead. As Graham and Hallie serve the investors, Patty gets a call from Tony canceling their plans. She tells Jordan, after hearing his whole story, that he obviously never meant to hurt Angela. He says he felt safe because he could walk away at any time. He didn’t feel like he needed Angela, or anyone. Of course, he was wrong.

Jordan asks Patty if she always wears this much makeup. She explains that she was supposed to meet up with an old friend. He called to cancel because he’s sick and took too much medicine, then got scared to drive. Never mind that, when they were teenagers, he took all sorts of risks.

Graham and Hallie second-guesses their menu as the investors finish the meal. They’re very impressed with Graham’s work. Mr. K drops Angela off at home, where she sees Jordan’s car outside. Graham calls to tell Patty that the investors have signed on to the restaurant. He asks whether Tony’s still there and what it was like seeing him again. Looking at Jordan, Patty says it was like old times. Graham says he’s a little jealous, and Patty says she’s glad. Hallie and Graham congratulate themselves with a hug that’s juuuuuust about to turn into more when he says he needs to get home.

Angela’s still outside her house when Brian rides by on his bike. She asks him whether he wrote Jordan’s letter, and he corrects Rickie’s claim, saying that he just proofread it. Angela can’t believe she fell for what was obviously a bunch of lies. Brian says he meant every word. Well, the person who wrote it did. Probably.

Brian asks her to just forget the whole conversation. But he’s glad that the letter made her happy. Maybe that’s all that matters. To the writer of the letter, at least. Jordan comes outside and takes Angela away for a ride, assuring her that Patty said it was okay. She goes off with him, not completely happy about it, and leaves Brian behind, also not completely happy. So basically no one’s happy at the end of the series, except maybe Rickie and Delia. Yay?

Thoughts: The big question: If the show had come back for a second season, would Graham have cheated on Patty with Hallie? I say yes.

Imagine if this had been Dawson’s Creek. Mr. K’s class would be reading Cyrano de Bergerac to underline Brian and Jordan’s scheme.

Those 19 episodes flew by, and we’ve come to the end of the series. I…don’t necessarily feel more fulfilled having seen it. I’m sure it felt more unique when it first aired, and I might have found it more relatable when I was younger, but now…it was fine. Just fine.

Up next: more school.

December 28, 2019

My So-Called Life 18, Weekend: Life of the Patty

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:24 pm by Jenn

Look at all of us, displaying perfectly normal behavior! There is nothing weird about this!

Summary: Angela voices over…oh, no. No, no, no. Danielle is narrating this episode. Sigh. Okay. Danielle voices over that her whole life has been spent waiting for something to happen. She pretends to play on a Gameboy while Patty and Camille discuss clothes. Camille insists that Patty will drive Graham crazy (in a good way) if she wears a backless dress. Patty doesn’t think it’s her style. She mentions that Graham is at a meeting with Hallie, then tells Camille to shut up.

She claims to be okay with it, just annoyed that he’s not home when Neil and his girlfriend Marla are coming over soon. Camille can’t believe that Neil and Marla have been together for six years. Patty says it’s like a prison sentence. Danielle voices over that she has the power of invisibility. Suddenly that power fails and Patty remembers she’s there. She tries to send Danielle to the kitchen, but Danielle says Angela and Rickie kicked her out of there. Patty sends her away anyway. Danielle claims that her life is just different people kicking her out of different rooms.

Patty tells Camille that she and Graham haven’t had any time alone for a while. She knows they won’t really be alone, since they’re spending a weekend away with Neil and Marla, but she’s comfortable with them (or at least with Marla). She thinks their marriage needs this little trip. Camille has a better idea of what they need and gives Patty a box containing some handcuffs.

Danielle goes to the kitchen, where Angela immediately tries to send her off somewhere else. Rayanne calls asking for Rickie; he tells her not to put him in the middle of her fight with Angela. After Camille leaves, Patty chastises Angela for kicking Danielle out of the kitchen. She wants to make sure Angela is a responsible caregiver while Patty and Graham are gone. Angela says nothing will happen; it’ll just be her, Danielle, and Rickie hanging out all weekend.

Rickie’s still on the phone when Angela goes back to him, calling him Enrique. Rickie decides to hang up and avoid any awkwardness. Patty stashes the handcuffs under a pillow on the bed as Graham comes home and tells her he’s late because Hallie had car trouble. He looked under her hood (Patty seizes on that), trying to be all manly and stuff, since Hallie and Brad broke up. Patty doesn’t think he told her that before.

Neil arrives, but not with Marla. His new girlfriend is Cheryl. He gives Danielle a present, which she pretends to love, though she voices over that he gives horrible gifts. Graham pulls his brother aside for an interrogation, and Patty ditches Cheryl in the foyer to join the conversation. Neil says he and Marla broke up again, but he’s sure Patty and Graham will love Cheryl.

Cheryl talks the entire car ride to the bed and breakfast where the couples are staying. She excitedly tells the story of how she and Neil met, then laughs like some sort of wild animal. She searches her purse for pot, which, honestly, would probably make Patty and Graham bearable for the weekend. Angela tells Rickie he can go hang out with Rayanne, but he promises he wants to stay with the Chases. Angela asks if Rayanne asks about her. Danielle is thrilled to be with her older sister and her cool friend, even if Angela barely acknowledges her existence.

Camille made a good call picking out lingerie for Patty, but it’s hard for her and Graham to get in the mood when they can hear Cheryl laughing through the wall. Graham wants to forget about her and not let her ruin their weekend. Instead, they keep laughing over Cheryl’s mannerisms and loudness.

The next morning, Rayanne goes to the Chases’ claiming she’s there to get money Rickie owes her. She finds him on the phone in Patty and Graham’s room and makes herself comfortable on their bed. Rickie reminds her that he’s staying there the whole weekend, so he can’t hang out with her. She asks if Angela asks about her.

Rayanne finds the handcuffs and thinks Graham and Patty have been putting them to good use. She handcuffs herself to the headboard, joking about the dirty talk the couple must exchange. Rickie suddenly realizes the key is missing. When Angela comes in, Rayanne tells her she might be staying a little longer than expected.

Patty calls Camille and asks her to go to the house and check on the girls. She’d also like Camille to make sure the handcuffs get hidden in a safe place. At breakfast, Cheryl and Neil argue about what he says are crazy beliefs. No, not her spirituality or belief in aliens or anything like that – she doesn’t agree that the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates were as great as he thinks. Patty suggests that the couples go ice-skating. She wants to plan out all the day’s activities. The guys disagree, but Cheryl thinks ice-skating is a cute idea, and Patty is equally cute.

Rayanne tells Angela that the handcuffs she’s currently trapped by belong to her parents. Angela denies this, of course. Danielle joins the group, refusing to leave a room in her own house. Rayanne and Rickie cuddle on the bed, trying to hide the handcuffs from her. Camille and Sharon come by, and Camille tries to sneak up to the bedroom while Sharon shows Angela her new jumpsuit. Angela stops Camille from going upstairs by asking to talk about justice.

Cheryl is impressed that Patty runs her own business. It’s something Cheryl would love to do someday – “that, or have a cappuccino cart.” She has lots of paths open to her, but Patty has a settle life, with all her choices behind her. Cheryl thinks that must be comforting. Patty says it is. She shares the day’s schedule with the others, and Cheryl asks Patty to plan her whole life for her. Neil and Cheryl quickly screw things up by deciding to go into town to buy booze, since the bed and breakfast doesn’t offer any. Patty sends the others off while she rents their skates.

Angela’s idea of a conversation about justice is really about whether she should be allowed to return clothes she doesn’t like. Sharon thinks she means a shirt she gave Angela for her birthday. Camille finally gets fed up and goes upstairs, where she finds Rayanne pretending to be sick and convalescing in Graham and Patty’s bed.

Angela cracks up so hard that Rickie thinks she’s choking. (The story is that a crew member got this reaction out of Claire Danes by appearing just off-camera in his boxers.) Camille is skeptical, even though all the kids back up the story, and pulls Angela outside to ask if Rayanne’s “illness” has anything to do with her drinking problem. Angela says no, and Patty definitely knows she’s there. Camille decides to let it go.

Patty’s been waiting for the rest of her group for a while, but they’re still off on their shopping trip. She tries to chat with Warren, the owner of the bed and breakfast, who, for someone in the hospitality industry, could stand to be a little more hospitable. Patty admires a happy, romantic couple who are keeping their plans to go ice-skating, unlike Patty, who has to skip it because apparently she can’t just go do stuff by herself.

Angela, Sharon, and Rickie try to explain the handcuffs to Danielle, who says she’s not interested. She’s lying. Patty makes an origami swan. Warren isn’t interested, for real. Her group returns with brandy and an inside joke. Cheryl’s wearing Graham’s sweater, since Neil wasn’t chivalrous to give her his jacket.

Rayanne asks Rickie to leave the bedroom so she can talk to Angela alone. Angela doesn’t want to talk about the whole Rayanne/Jordan thing, since talking won’t change what happened. Rayanne doesn’t want to talk about it, either – she has to pee, and she needs Angela to get her something to do it in.

Guess who has the handcuff key? Patty! She tells Graham about the handcuffs, and he seems bummed that she didn’t bring them. He’s also surprised that they’re something Camille has. Angela keeps denying that they belong to her parents. Sharon has an idea of who could help them get Rayanne out of the handcuffs without a key. Angela adamantly says no.

But, oh, yes, here comes Brian to try to brain things out. Danielle’s response to him brushing by her and touching her shoulder is exactly how Angela reacted to Jordan at the beginning of the series. Brian suggests wire shears, which any “normal dad,” like Graham (but not Brian’s father), would have. Danielle says he doesn’t. Brian says they can go to the hardware store on Monday.

Graham, Neil, and Cheryl pass the brandy around at dinner while Patty talks about all the stuff they can do tomorrow. She skips the booze, not wanting to break the rules. Cheryl says Patty’s the most adult person she’s ever met. But even adults give in to peer pressure every now and then, and Patty asks for the “hooch.”

Danielle gazes at Brian adoringly while he tries to puzzle through the handcuffs conundrum. He suggests finding a place that sells the same kind and getting a new key. Sharon says a store called the Pleasure Center could suit their needs. Everyone nominates Brian to go check it out, and Sharon agrees to take him.

Patty’s had plenty of brandy and has to try to play it cool when Warren comes over to chat with the group. Graham says he likes the food, but Patty stage-whispers that he’s lying because he’s a food snob and hates anything he doesn’t cook himself. Either Warren is too clueless to notice that the table’s been drinking or he doesn’t care. Patty celebrates with more hooch.

Brian and Sharon return to the Chases’ with Kyle and a friend (the guy Rayanne hooked up with previously), having run into them near the Pleasure Center. Sharon makes out with him on the porch while Brian tries to unlock Rayanne’s handcuffs. Rayanne realizes the key is the wrong size. Cut to Kyle entering the bedroom just as Rayanne yells, “No, it’s too big!” To make things weirder, Angela, Rickie, and Danielle are all piled on a chair in the corner. Kyle tells his buddy and the two laugh at the antics.

Patty (wearing a flower in her hair) and Cheryl are definitely buddies now, and Graham seems unamused. Warren returns to the table, trying to politely get the couples to leave so they’ll stop bugging the other guests. He does agree to get Patty an ice cream sundae, though. Patty spills brandy on her shirt and jokingly asks to borrow a sweater. When she starts to take off her shirt, Warren gets fed up and sends the couples to their rooms. Patty argues that she’s an adult, but Warren isn’t so sure. Graham and Neil carry her out of the dining room as she babbles about ice cream. “I really admire her,” Cheryl coos.

Danielle goes to check on Rayanne during the night, and Rayanne asks for some booze. Danielle tells her underage drinking is wrong, and her parents say Rayanne is a bad influence. She asks why Rayanne does the things she does. Rayanne says that when she looks at herself, everything’s in slow motion. She thinks something has to happen, but it doesn’t, so she has to make it happen.

Patty wakes up hungover the next morning and learns that the couples have been asked to leave the bed and breakfast. Angela finds Danielle and Rayanne sharing Patty and Graham’s bed. Patty apologizes to Neil and Cheryl for her behavior the night before and invites them to do something when they get home. But Neil and Cheryl have broken up, and he’s apparently ready to go back to Marla.

Brian’s next plan is to take apart the headboard to slip off the handcuffs. Instead, he breaks the bed. At a gas station on their way home, Patty apologizes to Graham for making a fool of herself, but she’s annoyed that he ditched her at the bed and breakfast. Really, though, she’s mad that he was late getting home two nights ago because he was with Hallie. Cheryl interrupts to say that she had a great weekend and they should do it again sometime. Just without Neil.

Brian finally frees Rayanne, who wants to run off to try to make the most out of what’s left of the weekend. Angela yells at her for causing trouble, then leaving Angela to deal with the fallout. She calls Rayanne a curse on her life. As Rickie and Sharon are trying to keep the two of them from killing each other, Danielle answers a phone call and reports that Graham and Patty will be home in 20 minutes.

Everyone cleans up the house and fixes the bed together, and when Patty and Graham arrive, it all looks normal. The kids all pile on the bed and pretend they’ve just been watching TV together. Patty puts the handcuff key on her dresser and Danielle nabs it and slips it to Angela. The girls give their mother a big hug to distract her while the others unlock the handcuffs still stuck on Rayanne’s wrist. Then everyone takes off.

Patty realizes that with everything else going on all weekend, she and Graham never got the chance to reconnect. They head to the bed together and find the handcuffs, realizing that Camille never picked them up. They decide to put them to use. Graham asks too late where the key is.

Angela sees her guests off but asks Rayanne to stay behind, though it’s just to get the key back. Angela dubs this the weekend from hell. Danielle says it was the best of her life. Angela thanks her for being cool but doesn’t want to go so far as to spend next weekend with her, too. Upstairs, the fishing show the kids were pretending to watch is still on as Graham looks for the missing key to free a handcuffed Patty. He gets distracted by a big fish, then suggests finding wire shears. He thinks he can borrow some from Brian’s father.

Thoughts: Cheryl is played by Laura Innes, in a role that’s about as far from Kerry Weaver as you can get.

I hate when TV characters use other people’s full names when there’s no need to. Stop saying “Hallie Lowenthal”! We know her last name! We know who you’re talking about! We’re not going to mix her up with Halle Berry!

There’s a nice little throwaway moment where Rickie calls Mr. K to say he’ll be home for dinner the next night. His aunt and uncle never cared where he was, but Mr. K does.

December 21, 2019

My So-Called Life 17, Betrayal: Sweet and Innocent

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

Bad! Idea!

Summary: Angela voices over that she spent a long time obsessing over and being in love with Jordan, but one day…she got over him. She gleefully dances around her room in her pajamas, the happiest we’ve ever seen her. She feels like Jordan has been surgically removed from her heart, and she’s free.

At school, people are auditioning for a production of Our Town. Abyssinia reads for Emily, doing such a good job that Rayanne, who also wanted to play Emily, gets psyched out. Angela thinks Rayanne can do just as great a job. Rayanne admits that she just channels Angela when she reads the part. Angela’s surprised that Rayanne sees her as sweet and innocent. She wouldn’t if she knew about the dream Angela had about Corey last night. (Rickie’s been there.)

Angela insists that she’s over Jordan. She’s gotten that they were never really meant for each other as anything other than friends. She feels like she’s gotten her life back. Mr. K calls for Rayanne to do her audition. Angela tells Rayanne that acting is like lying, which means Rayanne is a great actress. Rayanne teases her again about being like Emily, then goes up on stage.

Brian videotapes Sharon and Delia as they work on the school yearbook. He’s putting together a kind of video yearbook, but no one’s going to watch it unless they want to see a bunch of shots of Sharon’s chest. Okay, maybe a lot of people will watch it. She tells Brian to get a lot of shots of the places people hang out the most. Brian doesn’t know where those places are.

Rayanne is sure that Abyssinia got the role. Rayanne didn’t cry enough like Angela. As she demonstrates, Rickie comes up and asks why she’s crying like Angela. Heh. They spot Corey passing by, and Angela starts to tell her friends about her dream. He stops by to compliment Rayanne on her audition. Angela starts a conversation with him after she sees Jordan down the hall. She voices over that she likes Corey and really does want to pay attention to him, not just pretend she is because Jordan’s watching. She offers to help out with the sets for the play.

At the Chases’, Graham tries to avoid a call from Hallie. Camille calls and asks Patty to contribute to a church clothing drive. Graham says he has a couple of things to donate. Patty says he has more than a couple of things. He agrees to let her clean out his closet if she’ll answer the phone and lie to Hallie so he doesn’t have to talk to her.

Brian films at a …bar? Okay. It’s called Louie’s. Rickie and Rayanne are there, and she’s drunk. She’s trying to convince herself that she doesn’t want to be in the play anyway, since it’s dumb. Rickie’s tired of just watching Rayanne drink, so he leaves. She goes to hang out with Jordan, and they head outside to share a flask.

He tries to talk about Angela, who Rayanne says talked her into auditioning for the play. She knows she could never be Emily. Angela could, though, since she’s just like Emily. She’s so innocent that she doesn’t even know it. Jordan asks if Angela’s into Corey. Sometimes he feels like he really knows Angela, but other times, it feels like they’re strangers. They start giving each other meaningful looks, and then there’s touching, followed by kissing. Ruh-roh! They stop there, but then Rayanne invites herself into Jordan’s car. Brian’s filming the whole thing. Double ruh-roh!

The next day, Brian has a hard time looking at Angela at school, and Rayanne avoids her altogether. This makes Angela feel lonely. She runs into Corey, who invites her to help painting sets after school. Rickie invites himself along. Jordan avoids Corey, then approaches Rayanne, who’s waiting for the cast list to go up. They briefly mention the previous night but clearly don’t want to talk about it.

At the Chases’, Patty and Camille are sorting clothes for the drive when Hallie comes by. She thought they were meeting at the house, not their office. The three women bond over how many notes they have to write themselves to remember things. Graham calls, having guessed Hallie would be at the house, and Patty relays a message to bring home paper towels. Hallie coos over one of the girls’ dresses from childhood. Patty invites Hallie to come over for dinner again sometime, clearly not aware that she and Brad broke up.

Sharon asks Brian if he taped anything interesting at Louie’s. Brian is vague and refuses to hand over the tape. He sends Delia away (that’s not going to help their already shaky relationship) and fills Sharon in. Later, Sharon spills everything to Delia in the bathroom, wondering if she’s obligated to tell Angela. If she does, she’ll come across as saying she warned Angela that Rayanne was a bad person. But Sharon would want to know if she were in Angela’s place. It’s a moot point, because Angela was in a bathroom stall and heard everything.

Brian is bursting to talk to someone about what he saw, so he picks Rickie. Later, Rickie joins Angela and Corey with the stage crew, feeling awkward for knowing something that could hurt Angela. Angela tells him first, though she thinks Sharon lied about Rayanne sleeping with Jordan because Sharon’s still jealous. Rickie confirms that it really happened.

The next morning, Angela surprises Brian at home, where he’s listening to music in bed, shirtless. She wants the tape so she can see for herself what Jordan and Rayanne did. Brian tries to keep it from her, thinking that watching it would just make her feel worse.

In gym class, the girls are doing gymnastics. Angela jumps the line so she’s partnered with Rayanne, but the bell rings before they have to actually interact. In the bathroom, Rayanne taunts that Sharon now has a great excuse to never talk to her again. She thinks Sharon was eager to tell Angela what happened. Sharon says she just wanted to protect Angela and tell her the truth, like any real friend would. She says Rayanne brought this on herself. Rayanne thinks Sharon’s happy with how things turned out, but Sharon says she’s not.

Graham and Hallie meet up at a restaurant, though she hates the food there and has brought her own. She guesses that Graham hasn’t read her prospectus yet because it means their plans become real. He tells her she can be a real pain, but he says it in a nice way. Hallie says she’s a Jewish girl from Texas, Graham’s worst nightmare. Patty’s worst nightmare, maybe. She tells him he’s hard to deal with, too. He tells her he’ll finally look at the prospectus.

Rayanne goes to the Chases’, but Angela’s still at school, painting scenery. Patty invites her in, and Rayanne asks her not to tell Angela she was there. She figures Angela has told Patty what happened, which of course isn’t right, since Angela never tells Patty anything. Patty catches on that Rayanne hooked up with Jordan. Rayanne guesses that Patty hates her, but Patty just says she can understand how Angela feels. Rayanne admits that she’s never hurt anyone this badly before. She guesses that means Angela really matters to her.

At school, Brian gets nervous when Jordan approaches him. Brian destroys the tape, saying that won’t matter anyway, since it doesn’t erase what happened. Jordan just wanted to talk about tutoring, and had no idea the tape existed. Rayanne confronts Rickie for freezing her out, though Rickie doesn’t think she should be surprised. Rayanne whines that Angela won’t even let her tell her side of the story.

Rickie goes into the girls’ bathroom looking for Angela (poor Delia gets surprised), who’s understandably furious with Rayanne and Jordan. He tells her that both of them are avoiding each other, so she definitely won’t have to see them together. He advises her to stop letting Jordan and Rayanne’s actions affect her. She has to live her own life. Angela decides it’s time to stop being an innocent doormat.

The cast list is up, and Rayanne is shocked to see that she’s been cast as Emily. Her first instinct is to share the news with Angela, who doesn’t care. Camille has heard that the girls aren’t speaking, so when she’s over at the Chases’ again, she asks Patty for details (Sharon won’t tell her the gossip). Patty pretends she doesn’t know. Camille tells her that she doesn’t like Hallie. Patty just appreciates that she and Graham get along well. Camille says that’s a great sign. If they start fighting, it means there’s passion there.

At school, Jordan tries to talk to Angela so he can give her back a pen she loaned him. She says it’s not hers but takes it anyway. He asks for it back, if it’s not yours, but she refuses. She throws it in the trash right in front of him. Brian’s hanging out with the stage crew, talking to a girl about his directorial style (“like Tarantino, only less violent”). Angela shows up dressed up like Rayanne and pulls Corey aside. Doing her best Rayanne impression, she asks him for a drink. He’s surprised, which she thinks is because she comes across all innocent. She kisses him, but he’s not ready.

Rayanne comes over and calls Angela out for acting so different. She tells Angela she got the role she wanted, but Angela doesn’t care. Rayanne says Angela isn’t the only one who got hurt. Angela only lost a selfish friend and a guy she never really had. Rayanne has lost a great friend – “everything.” After Rayanne leaves, Rickie tells Angela he’s glad she got the part, because she really wanted it. He’s on Angela’s side in the fight, but he also feels for Rayanne. She’s always wanted to be Angela, in a way, and getting the role of Emily meant she could be Angela, even if just for a night.

Rickie then asks why Angela is going after Corey when she knows Rickie likes him. Angela reminds Rickie that he said he was over Corey. That doesn’t mean it hurt any less for Rickie to see his friend pursuing his crush. Angela realizes she’s the Rayanne of this situation.

Patty gives Graham a shirt she bought him to replace some of the old stuff she made him donate. She tells him about Angela and Rayanne’s fight. Graham thinks Rayanne did something low, though Patty notes that Angela and Jordan weren’t together. Graham doesn’t think that’s the point – Rayanne did something self-centered.

Patty admits that she dated a guy Camille had a crush on in college. Camille was mad for a while but eventually forgave Patty. Graham realizes that Patty slept with five guys before him, not four like she’s always said. She tells him the new shirt is for the restaurant. He complains about how Hallie’s always late and never parks legally. Patty tentatively asks if they ever fight. Graham says yes, but it’s never that major. Patty gets him back by flushing the toilet while he’s in the shower.

Mr. K oversees a play rehearsal, where Rayanne’s line readings aren’t exactly spectacular. Mr. K enlists Angela to take an absent girl’s place in a scene with Rayanne. He tells Rayanne to stop acting – her character is dead, and she’s just now realizing how precious every moment of her life was. Rayanne only needs to imagine what it’s like to take something for granted, then lose it.

This time, Rayanne does the scene beautifully, reading lines about not realizing how wonderful things were until they were over. She’s ready to go back to her grave, but first she wants one last look at the world so she can say goodbye. Once she’s said it to her loved ones and family, Angela’s character asks if she was happy. Both girls are crying. “Emily” says she should have listened to Angela’s character, but everyone’s blind. The girls leave the stage in opposite directions.

Thoughts: I’m so mad I used “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” as a previous recap title.

I’ve never noticed how much A.J. Langer looks like Blake Lively.

How in the world did Sharon think her conversation with Delia in the bathroom wouldn’t get back to Angela (before she realized Angela heard them)? She wasn’t exactly being quiet.

’90s music alert: Violent Femme’s “Blister in the Sun”

 

December 14, 2019

My So-Called Life 16, Resolutions: New Year, Same Problems

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:22 pm by Jenn

I want to hug him even more now

Summary: It’s 11:58 on New Year’s Eve, and Angela’s thinking about resolutions. She’d like to stop getting so caught up in her own thoughts. In her own voiceover, Sharon resolves to not have sex with Kyle or anyone else unless she really loves them. This resolution is made while naked on a couch with Kyle. His resolution is to spend more time with his dog…and Sharon. Nice save, Kyle’s voiceover. Mr. K decides to give up coffee, which he thinks will be easy. Brian resolves to stop obsessing over Angela. Good luck, Krakow. Danielle wants to get Patty to let her wear makeup. Rickie wants to feel like he belongs.

Angela wonders if not thinking will turn her into a shallow person. She’ll have to rethink overthinking. Rayanne wants to stop drinking, for real this time. Patty resolves to be less judgmental and suspicious, and more supportive. Graham resolves to make it clear to Hallie that he’s not going into business with her. He’ll also try to stop having long talks with her. Jordan, alone in his car, is just now realizing it’s New Year’s Eve. Angela decides she can still be introspective, so her real resolution is to stop doing Jordan’s homework. Dick Clark counts down to midnight, and Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie give each other celebratory kisses.

A couple days later, Rickie makes pancakes for the Chases and tells Danielle where her missing sweater is. He’s a better parent than Patty and Graham. They’re thrilled with what a great house guest he is, but they’re concerned that they haven’t heard from his aunt and uncle, who are supposedly going to take him in. Rickie hears them talking about how he can’t stay with them forever.

At school, Mr. K has a classroom full of apathetic students. His last few hours without coffee have left him a little agitated. The students are reading The Odyssey, so Mr. K asks Rickie what Odysseus wants. Rickie can’t answer. Mr. K tells the students to write two pages answering that question.

Elsewhere, Angela breaks her resolution by doing Jordan’s homework in his car while he just lies around, doing nothing. He notes that this is wrong; he’s taking advantage of her. Somehow, it would be different if they were still together, but since they’re just friends, it has to stop. Angela calls this a victory in sticking to a resolution.

Sharon avoids Kyle in a hallway, accidentally interrupting Rayanne during a makeout session. Kyle comes looking for her and confronts her in front of Rayanne (her makeout partner flees). Kyle announces that he loves Sharon and doesn’t care who knows it. After a cooking class, Graham tries to keep his resolution by telling Hallie he won’t start a restaurant with her. She’s not shocked by this news, but she also won’t drop the subject. She thinks he can still give his opinion even if he’s not involved. She’s found a location and wants to know if he likes it.

Danielle fails to convince Patty to let her wear makeup, even if she doesn’t leave the Chases’ property with it on. Graham comes home and tells Patty he let Hallie know he’s not working with her. Patty wants to make sure he’s bowing out because he wants to, not just because she wants him to. Rickie packs up his things and tells the Chases he’s off to move in with his family. His new resolution will have to be finding a place to live.

All of Mr. K’s students hand in their Odysseus essays except Rickie, who fell asleep in class. He claims he couldn’t write his paper because he stayed at the Chase’s last night and had to take Danielle to the emergency room with a headache. When Angela comes in, she almost blows his lie. She urges Rickie to tell Rayanne that everything’s okay, since she thinks Patty kicked him out of the Chases’ house.

After Rickie leaves, Mr. K follows up on his story, but Angela says he’s back with his family now. She hopes everything has calmed down at his house. Angela then starts to ask what a person who’s smart but struggling in school can do for help. He tells her about a peer tutoring program and she signs Jordan up.

Rayanne successfully climbs a rope in gym class while Sharon struggles to do sit-ups. Rayanne teases her about Kyle’s declaration of love, which must mean Sharon’s fulfilled. Sharon says they broke up, but then he called on New Year’s Eve and she got weak. Rayanne says Sharon should be more like her; she was with that guy she was making out with (Sharon has to tell her his name) but they’re not in love.

Sharon pretty much admits that Kyle loves her but she was just using him because she got hot while watching Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It. The post-breakup sex was better than it was when they were together. Sharon decides she needs to tell Kyle the truth. She repeats her resolution to abstain from sex until she’s in love with her desired partner.

Graham and Hallie meet up at the space she wants for the restaurant. She tells him that Brad thinks Graham is secretly desperate to open the restaurant with Hallie. She really wants to know what Graham thinks about the space, and when he says he loves it, she thinks he’s agreeing to work with him. Brad’s other theory is that Graham will cave in at the last minute.

Neil’s over at the Chases’ again, and Patty brings up the restaurant. Graham hasn’t said anything about it to his brother. Neil hasn’t heard about Hallie, either, though he tries to pretend Graham has mentioned her. When Graham gets home, Patty dismisses herself and lets the brothers talk about Graham’s recent activities.

At school, Angela tells Jordan that she signed him up for tutoring. Brian has been matched with him. Jordan is surprisingly okay with all this. Rickie ducks out of Mr. K’s class, where, for some reason, he’s having two groups of students yell at each other. He tries to call his aunt and uncle but learns that they’ve moved away and haven’t left a new number. Mr. K finds him getting upset but doesn’t follow when Rickie walks off.

Rickie comes in early the next day, asking to speak to Mr. K about The Odyssey. Mr. K gives him a donut, not seeing the point in eating it now that he’s no longer drinking coffee. Rickie asks for an extension on his essay about what Odysseus wants. He promises he read the book and gets it. He admits that he doesn’t have a place to live right now, but he’ll be okay. Rickie lies that he’s still staying with the Chases’, though being with such a happy, normal family makes him feel lonelier. He worries that that makes him feel ungrateful.

Rickie continues that he was living with his aunt and uncle. Once his story is out, Mr. K takes him to Mrs. K so they can discuss his options now that his aunt and uncle have moved. Mrs. K knows of a place called Pride House that could take him in. Mr. K is pleased with the idea, though Rickie won’t get his hopes up yet. After he leaves, Mrs. K tells Mr. K that Pride House has a waiting list, and they don’t even know if Rickie is qualified to live there. He’ll have to find a place to stay for at least a few weeks.

Brian tries to make some cheerful conversation with Sharon, even asking how Delia’s doing. He wants Sharon to switch with him in the tutoring program so he doesn’t have to tutor Jordan. Brian spots Kyle and asks Sharon if they’re back together. She says she can’t discuss it. When she asks why he can’t tutor Jordan, Brian says he can’t discuss it, either. It makes him feel like a hypocrite. Sharon knows how he feels.

Brian says he doesn’t respect Jordan, so wouldn’t tutoring him be like using him? Sharon’s distracted by a bear Kyle gave her and babbles that using someone is wrong, but she won’t let Brian back out like a coward. He needs to tell Jordan the truth – he made a mistake and doesn’t want to use him anymore, but also doesn’t want to hurt him. “I’m supposed to say all that to Jordan Catalano?” Brian asks, confused.

He winds up with the bear, which he takes to the tutoring session. He tells Jordan he’s not the right person to tutor him, so Jordan should find someone else. When Jordan asks about the bear, Brian says a girl gave it to him (technically true). Jordan watches him interact with a girl who asks for a pencil and tells Brian that the girl would totally sleep with him. He urges Brian to get her number. Brian finds the idea laughable, so Jordan does it for him. Maybe while Brian’s tutoring Jordan in English, Jordan can tutor Brian in dating.

Angela comes in and interrupts the guys as they’re actually getting along. While Brian gives them a moment together, Angela offers to tutor Jordan if it’s too weird for him to be with Brian. Jordan says he’s okay with it. He’d accept sex from Angela, though. She laughs loudly, which Jordan will take as a no. It’s definitely the best laugh Angela has had since 1995 began.

Mr. K tries to give Rickie some news, but Rickie first thanks him for taking him to Mrs. K so he can get some help. Calling him Rickie instead of Enrique, Mr. K tells him he’s on the waiting list at Pride House, which is good, but not what Rickie wanted. Until he can get in, he’ll stay in a “facility.” Rickie is understandably concerned about what that means. Mr. K says he’s confident that things will work out, but he doesn’t seem that confident.

Patty comes home to find Graham on the phone with Hallie, also having what’s probably his best laugh so far in 1995. Patty asks if Graham is or isn’t considering going into business with Hallie. Graham says he’s not. She asks what his New Year’s resolution was. Graham lies that it’s to exercise more. Patty lies that that was hers, too.

Rickie’s “facility” appears to an overcrowded group home for foster kids. He sneaks out in the middle of the night. The next day, Mr. K goes to the Chases’, thinking Rickie went there. Patty offers him coffee, which makes him more upset. He can’t believe the Chases just let Rickie leave without confirming that he had a place to go.

Patty starts crying, and Mr. K realizes he’s come on too strong. Graham doesn’t even know who he is. Patty admits that she’s felt horrible about the situation since Rickie left. Mr. K apologizes for taking out his anger on the Chases. He tells them that Angela’s a good student but doesn’t work to her full potential. When Patty offers coffee again, Mr. K accepts.

At school, Sharon tells Rayanne that she needs to tell Kyle the whole truth. She doesn’t want to end up like Rayanne. Kyle returns the bear to Sharon, having found it in the boys’ bathroom, and invites her to watch Thelma and Louise with him. Sharon tries to turn him down, but guess who’s in the movie? Brad Pitt. She can’t resist him (or Kyle).

After Mr. K leaves, Graham and Patty lament Rickie’s situation but aren’t going to do anything proactive to help him. Graham decides this is a good time to come clean about wanting to open the restaurant with Hallie. He missed Angela’s birth because he was stuck in an airport. He missed college and Woodstock. He doesn’t want to miss this. Patty promises to be completely supportive. Graham wonders what she was steeling herself to hear from him. Brian is still thinking about how impressive Jordan was in just approaching the girl and getting her number for him. Jordan tells him they’ll start with the basics, then move on to asking girls for their numbers.

Rickie calls Mr. K from a pay phone to let him know he’s okay. Mr. K says he talked to the Chases’, and Rickie can go back and stay with them. Rickie insists he’s fine and found a place to live, though he won’t give any details. Mr. K isn’t surprised that he doesn’t feel like he can go back to the “facility.” He believes Rickie when he says he has a place to spend the night.

Hey, so guess who’s gay? Mr. K! His partner, Ted, has clearly heard all about Rickie and knows Mr. K has been worried about him. Mr. K is sure Rickie will end up fine, but it’s these few weeks before he can get into Pride House that won’t be fine for him. Ted knows Mr. K would like to invite Rickie to stay with them, but Mr. K is worried that news of his sexuality would get out and he would lose his job. He doesn’t want to think of himself as the solution to Rickie’s problems; that’s egotistical.

Graham meets up with Hallie at the restaurant space and tells her Patty’s totally on board with their plans. Hallie hopes that she hasn’t pressured Graham into this. She wants to make sure he’s only there because he wants to be. She says that Brad has another theory (does this guy do anything other than theorize?). Then she reveals that the two of them broke up. The new year has made them both take stock of their lives and come to some realizations. Graham asks for Brad’s third theory, but Hallie won’t share it.

Rickie shows up at Mr. K’s door while he and Ted are having dinner. “It just got so hard to be alone,” he tells Mr. K, crying. Mr. K hugs him, then welcomes Rickie into his home.

Thoughts: I’m surprised Rickie hasn’t moved in with Rayanne. Amber probably wouldn’t even notice.

So Mr. K is the only teacher in the school who actually cares, huh? No wonder everyone gets away with skipping so many classes.

Kyle’s a joke, but resolving to spend more time with your dog is pretty nice.

 

December 7, 2019

My So-Called Life 15, So-Called Angels: Homeless for the Holidays

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:29 pm by Jenn

All I want for Christmas is to give Rickie a hug

Summary: Rickie is crying and spitting blood in the snow, his face cut and bruised. He limps down a sidewalk somewhere downtown while a teen girl plays “Silent Night” on a guitar. At the Chases’, Angela’s playing the same song on the piano. Danielle complains that she’s not getting a new bike for Christmas, though Angela got one when she was Danielle’s age. Her parents really don’t care. Patty stresses about Christmas cards while Graham decorates for Christmas.

Angela asks why the family never goes to church. Her parents don’t have a good answer. She asks if they believe in God. Patty and Graham try to figure out what to say, noting that they come from different religious backgrounds. Danielle wants to shelve the religion conversation, since it’s Christmas.

At school, the choir sings “Away in a Manger” in the hallway. Rayanne thinks people are going cuckoo for Christmas, which isn’t a huge deal to her and her mother. The girls are shocked at the sight of Rickie’s bruises, which he says he sustained when he slipped on his way to catch a bus. Angela is skeptical, but Rayanne says Rickie gets beaten up a lot and doesn’t like talking about it.

The girls spot Sharon hanging up fliers for a teen helpline. Rayanne doesn’t think depressed teens will feel any better after talking to Sharon. Sharon snarks back at her, so Rayanne scatters her fliers. Sharon asks Brian to help hand out fliers, reminding him that he signed up to help. Now he wants to back out.

At the Chases’, Patty tells Graham that Brian’s parents went on a cruise, leaving him alone for ten days, including Christmas. Graham notes that the Krakows are Jewish, so it’s not as big a deal as it would be for a gentile family. He asks what Patty wants for Christmas, and she says she wants him to come to church with her and the girls on Christmas Eve. He’s not on board with that.

While taking out the trash, Angela finds Rickie lurking in the backyard. He says he was at Brian’s and wanted to stop by to see Angela. Before that, he was at Rayanne’s. He appreciates how cozy and friendly the house is, especially since Graham’s been trying out new recipes, so it smells homey. Angela takes him to the kitchen for dinner.

Graham and Patty come home from Christmas shopping and pull Angela out of the kitchen to ask what happened to Rickie. They think it’s too late for someone to be over, but Angela says she doesn’t think he has anywhere else to go. Graham suspects that he ran away. Angela asks if he can stay the night, but Patty doesn’t want to get in the middle of Rickie’s family issues. While the Chases are discussing the best thing to do, Rickie leaves.

He goes back downtown, running into Jordan, who offers him a ride. “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” is playing, adding insult to injury. Jordan senses that Rickie doesn’t want to go home and says he knows a place Rickie can stay. His father used to be abusive, so he can sense that Rickie’s going through the same thing. Jordan finally fought back, and his father backed off. Rickie offers to light a candle for Jordan on Christmas Eve, but Jordan doubts that will change anything. The guitar player is still lurking.

Patty’s worried that she and Graham were wrong not to let Rickie stay. They don’t know anything about him and have never met his family, so how can they know what his situation is? Graham thinks he makes Patty uncomfortable. If Brian came by with bruises, Patty would welcome him to stay. Patty notes that she’s known Brian since he was five, so it’s different. Graham wonders if that should matter.

At school the next day, Angela worries about Rickie, who hasn’t shown up yet. Rayanne says he probably went to stay with his cousin. Angela needs to stop thinking she’s responsible for the whole world. Brian complains to Sharon that people are making too big a deal out of Christmas. Sharon and her cute ornament-shaped earrings tell him that this is the time of year teens need their helpline the most. The stress gives them “actual symptoms of depression, or whatever. Like, total hopelessness and despair.” She begs him to work the helpline on Christmas Eve, since he’s the only one who doesn’t have plans.

In the bathroom, Sharon complains to Rayanne that Brian screwed her over. Rayanne isn’t surprised. Sharon asks if Rayanne actually knows Brian that well, and Rayanne mentions that they slept together once. Sharon recognizes that she’s made too many commitments and promises for the holidays. She also acknowledges that Rayanne’s a good listener. Rayanne credits all the years she’s spent listening to her mother’s problems. Now, though, Amber has an annoying boyfriend, and Rayanne would like to keep her distance. Sharon has a suggestion for where she can spend Christmas.

Angela slips a note into Rickie’s locker, then hears guitar music. She follows it to the band room and meets the guitar player, who says she hangs out there sometimes. When she was in school, she never attended, but now that she’s not in school, she spends a lot of time there. Angela says she loved the song the girl was playing. The girl says she’ll probably be working on it forever. She laments having to go back outside, since she can never get warm. Her worn shoes are to blame; someone stole the better pair she had while she was sleeping.

The girl knows who Angela is and knows she’s friends with Rickie. She tells Angela not to worry about him; she’s been looking out for him. When the bell rings, the girl leaves and Angela runs after her but loses her in the busy hallway. She runs into Jordan, who didn’t see the guitar player. Jordan mentions that he took Rickie to an old warehouse, where he might still be staying. He offers to show Angela where it is.

Brian helps Graham get a Christmas tree into the Chases’ house, but he can’t wrangle an invitation to help with any other Christmas activities. Jordan takes Angela to the warehouse, which some homeless people have turned into a makeshift home. Most of them are young. The guitar player is there, playing the same song Angela heard her playing at school. It’s about being alone and cold and trying to break through the loneliness because someone wants to love you. She shows Angela where Rickie’s sleeping, just one of the dozen homeless people finding warmth in an abandoned building.

Angela asks Rickie why he can’t go home. She orders him to come home with her, but Rickie refuses to sponge off of people who don’t even want him there. She tells him he can’t stay there – tomorrow’s Christmas Eve. Rickie says he’ll spend it with his cousins. He tells her to go home, since she doesn’t belong there. Angela says he doesn’t, either. Rickie won’t tell her what’s going on, saying that the best way for her to help him is to leave him alone.

Angela goes back to the guitar player, who’s now asleep. She takes off her boots and swaps them with the guitar player’s, leaving her the better pair. She goes home to her nicely decorated house, where Danielle lets her put the angel on the top of the tree. Angela assures her parents that Rickie’s okay. Brian’s still there and asks if he really is okay. Graham and Patty eavesdrop as Angela tells Brian that Rickie ran away from an abusive home and is now sleeping in a warehouse with other homeless teens.

Angela’s shocked/offended that Brian didn’t know about the city’s homeless-teen population. He snaps that she seems to consider herself an expert on the situation after going to one warehouse. Angela says the people there are normal, just like them. When she talks to the guitar player, she forgets that there’s anything different between them.

Patty feels horrible about Rickie’s circumstances…no, wait, she feels horrible that Angela went to the warehouse and could have put herself in danger. She thinks they need to do the right thing now. Graham agrees – but first, dinner. The next day, they go to the police to talk about the warehouse and helping Rickie. The officer they talk to is more interested in the warehouse than helping anyone. Graham wonders if they’ve made the right decision.

Patty asks what will happen next. The officer says it depends on whether Rickie is “a runaway or a throwaway.” Patty sees posters for missing children and imagines them and their parents asking for help. One of the posters is of the guitar player. The officer thanks the Chases for being good citizens and advises them to keep their own children close.

At home, Angela’s setting up for a nice Christmas Eve dinner, plus a surprise: She wants to invite Rickie and the guitar player over. Patty orders her to never go back to the warehouse. Angela’s mad that her parents eavesdropped and then went to the police. She wants to warn the teens at the warehouse. Patty tells her this is a serious situation, but Angela gets that. She thinks that the guitar player could easily be her. Patty sharply disagrees.

Later that night, Patty tries to wrap presents but is distracted by the fight with Angela. She says it was the kind of fight that’s so bad, it seems like the fight is having you. She asks Graham to talk to her. He says Angela went for a walk, so of course Patty guesses she’s at the warehouse. The police are already there. Patty heads off to find Angela, leaving as Brian comes by to attempt to spend the holiday with nice people. He watches A Christmas Carol by himself and pulls a helpline flier out of his pocket.

Sharon’s there with Rayanne, who’s actually excited to lend a hand. Brian calls in, saying his name is Steve, but Rayanne recognizes his voice. “Steve” says that his parents suggested he spend Christmas in Denver with his sister, but he wanted to stay home. He thought he would enjoy having peace and quiet while he studied for the PSAT. Now he feels lonely. He’s at his neighbors’ house because he couldn’t take any more of it.

Rayanne covers the phone to tell Sharon that Brian’s crying. Sharon offers to get a supervisor, but Rayanne thinks she can take care of things. She calls herself Jade and turns the call into a sex chat. Okay, Sharon, take the phone away from him. Brian decides this is getting too hot and heavy and says he should get off. Dirty! “Jade” points out that at least he’s not sad anymore.

Patty goes downtown to look for the warehouse but instead sees the guitar player, whom she recognizes from her poster. Angela calls home to tell Graham where she is – not the police station but a church basement. The kids from the warehouse are there, too. So it looks like Graham will be going to church on Christmas Eve after all.

Patty wanders around, looking for Angela, and thinks she’s found her when she sees her boots. Of course, they’re on the guitar player, who says she’s no different from Angela. She had a mom and clean sheets once, too. She invites Patty to ask why she left home. The guitar player says she and her mother had a fight, the kind that seems like it’s having you. Patty asks how she died. The guitar player says she froze. Then she disappears.

Hearing “O Holy Night,” Patty goes into a church, where Rickie’s lighting a candle and praying. He tries to hold it together, but when she embraces him, he cries. They sit in the sanctuary and listen to the music until Angela finds them there. Eventually Graham, Brian, and Danielle join them for the rest of the service. Four women sing about feeling like going home.

At the helpline, Sharon and Rayanne are having a great time together. Jordan spends the evening alone, possibly at the warehouse. After the service, the guitar player watches the Chases, Rickie, and Brian leave the church together, then flies off. Because she was an angel. Yeah, of course.

Thoughts: The guitar player is played by ’90s musician Juliana Hatfield. Anyone remember her? Anyone? No? Okay.

Let’s talk about how much the school sucks if no one ever noticed or did anything about Rickie’s clearly abusive home.

I guess it would have been too easy for Brian to invite Rickie to stay with him, which would have solved both of their problems.

Patty: “You will not believe what Bernice and Bob Krakow did.” Graham: “Oh, I know. But just that once, to make Brian.” GRAHAM! Rayanne would be proud. Also, if Brian has a sister, then it was twice.

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.

November 23, 2019

My So-Called Life 13, Pressure: Angela Is a Virgin Who Can’t Drive

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

The perfect place to talk about sex: your parents’ bed

Summary: Jordan is letting Angela drive his beloved car, and it’s not going well. They make out instead. He wants to know how long they’ll be sticking to kissing before they move on to other things. He’s willing to go for it right there in the car, but Angela thinks some more thought should go into it. Does he expect to have sex in her room while her parents are asleep? Plus, she needs to get to class.

Inside the school, Rayanne and Rickie are gossiping about a classmate’s nose stud. The classmate, Cynthia, used to date Jordan, or at least just hook up with him. Rayanne and Rickie think Angela is a major improvement. She’s a little shaken by the thought of Jordan having lots of sex with someone else, which makes Rayanne and Rickie realize that she and Jordan haven’t gotten to that point yet.

Angela voices over that she still hasn’t wrapped her mind around the fact that people have sex. Now everything seems pornographic. For example, she thinks about her teachers having sex, maybe with each other. At home, Patty’s sick but in denial about it. She and Graham are going to have dinner with Hallie and her fiancé, Brad. Angela comes home just as dinner is served but says she’s not hungry. Danielle stresses about having to get a flu shot.

Patty complains that Angela will get hungry later and will try to get Graham to make her something. Angela overhears and yells into the dining room that that won’t happen. Patty yells back that they’re not running a restaurant. Danielle talks about flu shots again, but her parents ignore her. Patty wants to meet Jordan, as she’s interested in where he and Angela hang out, and other things they may or may not have done. Patty says they need to be firm and consistent with the teens. They practice by being firm and consistent with Danielle needing a flu shot. She asks if Jordan and Angela are engaging in foreplay.

Angela’s making a snack later that night when Jordan comes by for a visit. It’s every teen girl’s dream come true – her crush or boyfriend showing up unexpectedly for some alone time. Jordan notes that Angela talked about having sex in her room, which she points out was a joke. He tells her Tino found a way into a vacant house, so they can always go there sometime. She asks if they’ll be breaking and entering before sex, but he says they’ll just be entering. Dirty!

Patty comes downstairs and busts Angela for not having dinner with the family. Jordan’s still in the kitchen, eating Angela’s snack. Patty tells Angela to finish up whatever she’s nibbling on. Heh. She adds that she and Graham still want to meet Jordan. After she goes upstairs, Jordan teases Angela that her mom says she likes him. They confirm plans to meet up at the vacant house on Friday night for…more nibbling.

The next day (I guess), Sharon comes over to return a dish her mom borrowed from Patty. The girls make small talk without the awkwardness that’s been between them recently. They discuss Sharon’s breakup with Kyle, which she says is due to giving up beliefs for him. Angela guesses that means she didn’t want to have sex with him. She’s wrong – Sharon and Kyle did it “constantly.” She dumped him because he was a butthead.

Patty takes Angela and Danielle to get flu shots, and Angela takes advantage of the opportunity to ask her doctor about sex. For a research project. For school. She wants to know statistics. Her doctor just tells her to use protection. Angela doesn’t seem to get how weird it is to talk about this stuff in a pediatrician’s exam room, which has wallpaper aimed toward children.

Hallie and Brad show up for dinner a week early, so Graham calls Patty at work to tell her she needs to come home fast. Hallie and Brad end up helping Graham cook while waiting for her. They reveal that they’ve been talking about Hallie hiring Graham to be the chef at the restaurant she wants to open. Graham thinks it’s just a pipe dream, but Hallie seems serious.

Jordan arrives to get Angela (for the “party” they’re going to), and Graham is thrilled to finally get to meet him. Cue awkward conversation with Graham, Hallie, and Brad. Graham describes him to Angela as “fun.” She wants to put off her date with Jordan, since Patty isn’t there and hasn’t met him yet. If Graham doesn’t want her to go, she’ll understand. He assures her it’s fine.

Angela and Jordan sneak into the vacant house, which is full of other horny teens. I think I saw a horror movie that started like this. Jordan’s ex, Cynthia, is there. There are no empty bedrooms, so Angela and Jordan will have to wait. Angela compares it to waiting to get her flu shot, but this time she doesn’t have a flu shot. Also, this time Rayanne’s there. She’s excited for Angela but on her way out with Tino. Jordan finds an empty room, but Angela uses Rayanne as an excuse not to use it. She lies that Rayanne looked like she was stoned, so Angela should go with her and make sure she’s okay.

When Patty finally gets home, Graham and Hallie are discussing the restaurant again. She learns that Jordan came by and asks what he’s like. Hallie says he’s gorgeous, but Graham doesn’t really know what to say about him. Hallie compares him to a stray puppy. After Hallie and Brad leaves, Patty and Graham agree that Brad is…well, a Brad, but Patty liked Hallie. She asks about the restaurant idea, noting that it’s one of the riskiest businesses to start. Graham says he’s not going along with Hallie’s idea, so it doesn’t matter.

At school on Monday, Sharon and Rayanne have a summit meeting in the bathroom. Sharon heard that Angela left the house because she got sick (a reaction to her flu shot). Rayanne knows she chickened out of having sex, so now Jordan’s mad. Rayanne doesn’t think it’s that big a deal; it’s over in three seconds anyway. She talks about intimacy with two other girls who will now go to class turned on.

After school, Sharon goes to Angela’s with a video her parents have about intimacy and sensuality. Sharon asks if Angela and Jordan have ever had sex. Angela voices over that there’s a line dividing virgins from girls who’ve had sex. The two of them are now on opposite sides of the line. Sharon invites Angela to ask any questions she wants. Angela asks about protection, which Sharon orders Angela to insist on if she has sex with Jordan.

Angela wants to know how Sharon decided she was ready. Sharon says it just happened all of a sudden. After that, she felt like Kyle expected her to keep having sex – she couldn’t go back. Her feelings on the topic didn’t matter anymore. Angela asks if Sharon felt different after her first time. Sharon says she looked at herself in the mirror to see if she looked different. Angela says she doesn’t. Sharon encourages her to talk to Jordan instead of shutting people out like she usually does.

Graham comes upstairs looking for some shoes, and the girls rush to get the video out of the VCR in his and Patty’s room. It ends up on the floor, so Angela gently nudges it under the bed. Graham seems clueless. Angela walks Sharon out, and Brian sees them chatting like their friendship has been repaired. Angela starts to ask to borrow his bike, then stops herself, knowing she needs to stop asking him for things. Of course, it’s Brian, so he gives her the bike.

Graham, of course, finds the video under the bed and is watching it when Patty gets home. He thinks it’s hers, and she wants them to spice up their “routine” and “mechanical” sex life. Patty’s feelings are hurt, but he says he’s just joking. She says she hasn’t been able to tell lately when he’s joking and when he’s serious. Does he really not want to open a restaurant with Hallie? He says again that he doesn’t. They fight over whether the hypothetical restaurant would be successful. The two storm off, leaving their bed empty while a couple on the video gets closer by talking about everything in their lives.

Angela goes to see Jordan to apologize for Friday night. She uses the excuse of the flu shot, but Jordan knows she’s lying – he knows from Tino that Rayanne hasn’t used drugs since her overdose. He says that no matter what Angela thinks about him, he never lied. He regrets letting her drive his car.

Angela says part of her does want to have sex with him. Jordan tells her this is why he didn’t want to get involved with her in the first place. She yells that he must have just been looking for sex. Jordan says it’s expected – it’s what you’re supposed to do, “unless you’re…abnormal.” Well, that was the wrong thing to say, so now he’s definitely not getting any.

Sometime later, Angela goes to her parents’ room to retrieve the video. Graham catches her but lets her go when she says she doesn’t want to talk about it. The video ends up in Brian and Rickie’s hands when Angela leaves her backpack on the bus and the driver gives it to Brian. The boys watch it, and Brian tells Rickie that his parents have a vibrator. Brian, here’s an acronym that will become popular in a few years: TMI.

In the bathroom, Rickie tells Angela about the tape, calling bull when she says it’s Sharon’s. She laments that she had someone to be with, and now she’s lost him. The whole relationship sucked. She wishes she’d had sex with Jordan – it seems so simple.

Rickie says that maybe it shouldn’t be. Even if he met the perfect person, sex should be “like a miracle. Like seeing a comet, or just feeling like you’re seeing one. Seeing the other person’s perfectness, or something.” If you have sex before you’re ready, you won’t see that. Cynthia emerges from a stall and tells Rickie his words were beautiful. It’s exactly like he described. She wants to ask Angela a question, even though they don’t know each other: Did she ever work at Big Guy Burger?

Patty comes home from work earlier than usual, wanting to spend some time with Graham. They apologize to each other for their recent arguments, and Graham says he’s really not going to go into business with Hallie; it’s too risky. Patty wants him to do it if he wants, but Graham says he already has everything he wants. Really? Even Danielle? Huh. He amends that to say that no one has everything they want. But he and Patty have each other, and that’s good for him.

The two of them decide to put what they saw on the sex video to use. The phone rings while they’re making out, and Graham wonders if Hallie’s calling. Guess what? He does want to go into business with her! He knows they could fail, but what if they don’t? Patty promises that she has faith in him, and no matter what happens, things will work out. The mood has been ruined, though, so no sex right now.

Brian comes by to give Angela her backpack and get his bike. Danielle tells him the bike is at Jordan’s. Brian yells at Angela for that, then chastises her for not yelling back. She doesn’t mention the breakup, just that she’s sad about boys. They all only seem to care about sex. “Not all boys,” Brian says, because of course. Graham, who was napping on the couch, wakes up and hears the two teens talk about sex. Angela admits that she thinks about it.

Jordan comes by with the bike, so Patty gets a good look at him as she’s leaving the house. Amazingly, she doesn’t say anything to him. Brian comes out and says the bike is his, but Jordan can leave it at the Chases’ in case Angela needs it again. He lies that he’s not sure if Angela’s home.

Jordan goes to the house, inviting himself inside, and Angela wonders if there’s going to be an official proclamation of breakup. She says it’s like when he let her drive the car. She felt powerful, but also scared. She wasn’t ready for that much freedom. Jordan says he won’t hold it against her or say anything bad about her if her name ever comes up.

Angela says that sex is a big deal – it changes your life. Life is a circle, and sex and death are similar. Well, sort of. She’s thought about having sex with Jordan, but not about killing him. Jordan stops her babbling and says that at least Angela got to practice driving. He warns her not to take her turns too wide. He’s sure she won’t.

Angela voices over that sometimes someone will say something small that fits into an empty place in your heart. Tearing up, she approaches Jordan and tells him she’ll miss how soft his hair is. She’s ready to officially end the relationship. Jordan leans in for a goodbye kiss, then leaves the house. Graham is still secretly on the couch.

Angela takes Brian’s bike for a ride, voicing over that people always say you should be yourself, as if that’s a definite thing. But sometimes she’ll have a moment when being herself at a specific point in her life is enough. She rides with her hands in the air, feeling free.

Thoughts: If Angela wants to put off having sex, constantly wearing overalls is definitely a solid strategy.

Yes, I would definitely hire a chef who’s still taking cooking classes and has no restaurant experience. That sounds like a recipe for success.

13 episodes in and we still haven’t seen the Chases’ cat. Maybe it’s hanging out with Tino.

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?

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

November 2, 2019

My So-Called Life 10, Other People’s Mothers: Prisoners of Happiness

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn

Yikes

Summary: Rickie and Rayanne are at the Chases’ house, where Rayanne is waxing poetic about refrigerators. She says that the Chases’ fridge tells her all she needs to know about the family. She also thinks mustard is somehow related to sex. Rayanne snags a beer from the fridge and the conversation continues as the kids head up to Angela’s room. Rickie says there’s an empty mayo jar in his fridge, but no one will admit it’s empty. Angela says her mother won’t throw anything away.

Patty and Danielle come home, and Danielle sees Rickie holding Rayanne’s beer. Patty sends her outside, so Danielle complains that her life is “totally edited.” Rickie hands the beer over to Patty and promises this won’t happen again. Patty tries to give the kids an anti-alcohol speech but can’t get the words out. She pulls Angela into the kitchen for a lecture. Rickie’s upset that now Patty hates him. Rayanne says she never liked him that much to begin with, so it’s okay. Patty would never give anyone a break. It’s obvious by her vegetable bin.

Patty tells Angela that Chuck is in the hospital for some tests, but he’ll be out in time for anniversary party that weekend. Then she tells Angela to never let Patty catch her drinking in the house again. Angela argues that she wasn’t drinking, but the message stands. Rayanne decides they’ll hang out at her house the next day.

Angela makes her first visit to Rayanne and Amber’s place, which she compares to entering another country (though she’s never been out of the U.S.). There are beads and crystals everywhere, which says more to me about the family than Angela’s fridge could ever say. Rayanne is thrilled to get a birthday card from her father, along with some money. Amber is even more thrilled to finally meet Angela. Angela immediately loves her.

Amber, an x-ray tech, is constantly happy and always trying to live life to the fullest. She brings out some tarot cards and gives some insights into Patty’s attitude. Angela thinks that Patty has abandonment issues, since she was adopted. Rickie says he has them, too. Amber says Angela is covered by the moon, which is a deadly mother, like a wicked witch. It may mean that one door opens and another closes.

Angela calls home just as Patty and her mother, Vivian, are arriving. Patty wants Angela home for dinner, but Vivian tells her to let Angela stay at Rayanne’s. Clearly, Patty and Vivian don’t get along any better than Angela and Patty do. Vivian worries that Chuck won’t be well enough for the party. Plus, he’s diabetic, and the fondue restaurant they’re going to could prepare something badly. Patty says they can call off the party if she wants, but Vivian knows Chuck will be disappointed if they do. She suggests moving the party somewhere else, like the Chases’ house. But she could never do that to Patty, of course.

Patty goes up to her bedroom and begs Graham to help her with her mother. Graham tells her to stand up to Vivian. Patty tells him he’s naïve. There are papers all over the bed, and Patty tries to figure out what Graham’s up to. He says he’s looking into some jobs and thinking about his goals. He doesn’t want Patty to get enthusiastic just yet. She asks him to go downstairs to entertain Vivian; she would do the same for him. Graham says he enjoyed his mother’s company before her death, so Patty would never have to entertain her. He finally goes downstairs when Vivian yells up that she’s just going to look around the kitchen.

Angela is impressed with Amber’s tarot reading and asks how she learned to do it. Amber offers to loan her the book she used to teach herself. Patty arrives to get Angela and puts on a happy face. Rayanne considers sending back the money her father gave her. Amber learns that Patty is hosting her parents’ party and says it’ll be a great way for her to work through her issues about being adopted. “I think I might’ve given up a baby in a past life,” she says. She loans Angela the book and some cards.

The next morning, Angela practices by using the cards on Danielle. Patty asks her to help decorate and clean for the party. Angela scoffs at the idea of being asked to move furniture. Danielle anticipates that Vivian will drive everyone crazy like she did at Thanksgiving. Patty has found a recipe for no-fat chicken, but Graham tells her she can’t cook chicken without the skin. Patty’s trying to stay optimistic, but she’ll need her family’s help to pull off the party. Angela tells her that life is for living, obviously something she heard from Amber.

At school, Rickie’s back to hanging out in the girls’ bathroom. Sharon’s having a bad hair day, so Rayanne gives her some mousse. Her dad’s money falls out of her bag, but Rayanne doesn’t care. Rickie guesses that she’s been drinking. She tries to give Rickie the money, saying she doesn’t deserve it. Rickie tells her to think about something she really needs, like new makeup or CDs, and spend the money on it. Rayanne decides to throw an endless party instead. There’ll be so much going on that they’ll be prisoners of happiness.

Vivian brings some things by the Chases’ house, delaying Patty as she’s leaving for a meeting. Vivian says Patty can go about her day and let Vivian do whatever she needs in the house. Patty warns her that Graham gets “emotional” about food when he’s cooking, so Vivian should let him handle all that. Vivian says she’s just providing a turkey.

Rayanne and Rickie spread word about her party, and she uses some of her money to get booze and drugs. Sharon watches her running around drunkenly, clearly headed for disaster. At the Chases’, Graham is sad about the turkey and can’t stop staring at it. Rayanne’s party has become such a big deal that some girl at school tells Rayanne she thinks she can get her in. Rayanne tells Angela that she was just invited to her own house.

Angela realizes that the party is set for the next night, when her grandparents’ party is taking place. She offers to help Rayanne get ready anyway, maybe by moving furniture. Rayanne drinks more alcohol as she, Angela, and Rickie decorate. Amber’s rules for the party: no eating on her bed, don’t let things get out of control, and don’t make too much noise. Drinking is okay. Angela is totally in love.

Danielle uses Amber’s tarot cards as Patty regrets agreeing to host the party. Vivian calls, and just as Patty is about to try to cancel the party, Vivian tells her that Chuck is out of the hospital and healthy. Now Patty can’t come up with a reason to cancel. It’s almost time for Angela to leave, but Amber suggests that she find a way to attend both parties. She needs to go where her karma takes her. Angela doesn’t think Patty will agree to that.

She goes home, where Patty’s decorating so she can tend to other things in the morning. Angela brings up Rayanne’s party, which she says is for Rayanne’s birthday. She asks if she can attend her grandparents’ party for a while, then go to Rayanne’s. Patty’s upset that Angela told Amber about her life. She tells Angela that she needs to be at the family party. Angela says the karma in the house is ridiculous. I don’t think she knows what karma is. Anyway, Patty says she won’t be going to Rayanne’s.

The next night, both parties begin, and one is going to be much more lively than the other. Also, Chuck didn’t want to come to his own anniversary party, so Vivian arrives alone. She thinks it’s for the best; she can never enjoy herself fully while he’s arrive. Graham is annoyed that he cooked a special non-fat, sugar-free meal to accommodate someone who isn’t even coming. Danielle whines about hating her dress and wishing she was dead. When Patty calls her on that, Danielle asks if Angela is the only person in the house who’s allowed to have feelings.

Angela watches from upstairs as guests start arriving. She voices over that Patty might be better at being happy for real if she didn’t fake it so well. Over at Rayanne’s, everyone’s having a good time except Rickie, who’s concerned about some of the guests they don’t know. Danielle changes clothes and braids her hair, making Vivian say she looks like Pippi Longstocking. Danielle decides to change again.

Angela still hasn’t made an appearance, so Patty goes to get her from her room. She’s wearing a Rayanne-like outfit and tells Patty she thinks she’s going to the other party. Somehow, Patty doesn’t say, “Oh, you THINK you are, do you?” Instead, she just goes back downstairs and puts her happy face back on. Yeah, I guess it’s best not to murder your daughter when there are so many people in the house.

Rickie catches Rayanne taking some pills, but she ignores his disapproval. Vivian tries to season the chicken, but Graham stops her. He tells her to do whatever she wants to her turkey as long as she leaves his chicken alone. Angela finally comes down, and Vivian tells Patty to stop worrying about her outfit and let her wear what she wants. Angela complains that she has to stay at the party when Chuck didn’t even come. Vivian tells her she can go do her own thing if she wants.

Patty argues that staying there would be doing what’s right. Vivian backs up Angela’s decision to go to her best friend’s party (though Patty denies that Rayanne is Angela’s best friend). Patty complains that Angela wants to go to Amber’s house, where there are no rules and Rickie can drink beer. Angela says he doesn’t drink and accuses Patty of hating Rayanne on sight. Patty admits that she doesn’t think Rayanne is the right friend for Angela.

Angela goes to Rayanne’s and tries to have fun. Rickie’s trying, too, but is still keeping an eye on Rayanne, who’s really drunk now. Rayanne is thrilled to see Angela and hugs her tightly. They fall over and some tarot cards get spilled. Rickie comes over as Rayanne starts babbling about getting a tattoo. Rickie assures Angela that Rayanne will be fine eventually; this happens all the time.

Amber decides that things have gotten out of control and kicks everyone out. Rayanne’s in her bedroom with a guy who’s ready to give her a tattoo. Amber yells at Rayanne for throwing a bigger party than she’d let on. She’s displeased that Rayanne drank too much; Amber talked to her before about moderation. She heads off for a date, telling Rayanne to have everything cleaned up by the time she gets home.

Rayanne drunkenly tells Rickie she loves him, then says she’s cold. He cries and rocks her, saying everything’s okay. He and Angela take Rayanne to the bathroom to get some water and try to keep her awake. Distressed, Rickie says he’s never seen her like this and doesn’t know what to do. Angela does – she calls her mother. Vivian answers the phone, but Patty seems to sense who’s calling. Angela calls her Mommy and says she needs her. Vivian tells Patty to go tend to her.

Patty calls an ambulance on her way to Rayanne’s, then immediately takes charge. Rickie says she took ecstasy but still has a pill left. Patty asks him to find the remaining pill. She gives it to the paramedics who come to take Rayanne to the hospital. In the waiting room, Rickie brings Patty some chips and thanks her for her help. He asks if she’s ever tried to protect someone so much that it hurt. Patty realizes that the beer she saw him holding the other day wasn’t his.

Rayanne is stabilized, and she’s asleep when Amber arrives, distraught that her daughter is in such bad shape. The police have some questions, which concerns Angela. Patty says they’re just filling out reports. She invites Rickie to come to the Chases’ “very dull party.” When they get home, Patty sends Rickie inside and stays in the car with Angela, who expresses regret at screwing things up for Patty. But Patty’s happy that Angela called her when she needed help.

Patty says that her college roommate was a lot like Rayanne. The same thing happened the roommate that happened to Rayanne, which is how Patty knew what to do. Unfortunately, the roommate died. Patty liked her roommate, and she’s worried that Angela is seeing the good things in Rayanne without thinking about reality. She guesses that forbidding Angela from seeing Rayanne wouldn’t work. Angela asks Patty to trust her. Patty says she does.

Angela heads inside to rescue Rickie from having to spend time with their family. But Rickie’s having a great time being doted on by Vivian. Patty cries in the car, then puts herself together and returns to the house. Her mother gives her a nice hug, as if everything’s okay between them.

Angela voices over about tarot cards and what they depict. They represent tests, challenges, and twists of fate. Cards can be good or bad depending on where they fall; none is all good or all bad. When you do a reading, someone thinks of a question. Each card moves to the next, from terror to loss to good fortune: “Out of darkness, hope is born.”

Thoughts: I can’t believe I would pick Patty over anyone in this category, but I would rather have her as a mother than Vivian.

Who knew Patty was so good in an emergency?

If you played a drinking game where you drank every time Patty put on her fake smile, you’d end up in the hospital with Rayanne.

’90s music alert: “Fall Down” by Toad the Wet Sprocket

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