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Speaking Sharon

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.

Speaking Sharon

Postby Cami A. » Aug 8th 2008, 5:46 pm

I think most people can agree that Sharon's role in the first half of the series was to represent Angela's childhood. She was perfection, straight forward, uncomplicated, the opposite of rebellion--which is what Angela was trying to do--break free of her old life and find herself (with Rayanne's help). But I feel that once the girls became friends again (after "Strangers in the House") she took on a different role. However, I can't quite put my finger on what this new role was. Any thoughts? Or other comments about Cherski?

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Last edited by Cami A. on Jul 30th 2009, 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby TomSpeed » Aug 28th 2008, 9:01 pm

Cami A. wrote:I think most people can agree that Sharon's role in the first half of the series was to represent Angela's childhood. She was perfection, straight forward, uncomplicated, the opposite of rebellion--which is what Angela was trying to do--break free of her old life and find herself (with Rayanne's help). But I feel that once the girls became friends again (after "Strangers in the House") she took on a different role. However, I can't quite put my finger on what this new role was. Any thoughts? Or other comments about Cherski?


I think Sharon becomes a window through which Angela can see the adult world after Angela finds out that Sharon has sex.

Good topic. I'm going to have to think more on it.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby Cami A. » Nov 3rd 2008, 11:30 pm

Tom Speed,

Sorry it took me so long to see that someone had responded to this topic...
I totally buy your theory--as Sharon "grew up" she became relevant to Angela's quest for herself once again!

I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this.

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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby Cami A. » Nov 15th 2008, 5:29 am

I think what's really important about Sharon is that she is constantly there in all the important scenes making Angela feel awkward and guilty for ditching her. I think as they have their fights (like in The Zit) and their reconciliations (Strangers In The House) Angela is teetering on the Edge of balancing her childhood and her "adulthood"...just how she hates and mistrusts her father, but only enjoys how he heats up cold spaghetti...

Does anyone have any thoughts on how Angela reacts when Sharon and Rayanne start getting chummy? I think this has great significance is Angela's character development. It affects her in a weird way. She's not sure who she is with her past (Sharon) and her present (Rayanne) in cahoots.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby ikilledkennyandjr » Nov 15th 2008, 9:06 am

I think Sharon is the other side of the picture. Like, there's two different worlds in her social life: the world of Rayanne and Jordan, and the world of Sharon and Brian. (I don't know where Rickie fits in.) The first side is new, hip, exciting, but not as dependable, and the other side is "boring" but more substantial. In essence, there are then two triangles: one of love, and one of friendship. But, say she chooses to be friends with Rayanne and date Jordan, and completely ditch Sharon and Brian. Or vice versa. She is giving up half her self, because these forces aren't just divided between the people she loves; they exist in her, too. Rebellious Angela and Dependable Angela. Well, maybe that's not quite the right word.

Further complicating the matter is Rayanne and Sharon's (and Jordan's and Brian's) budding friendship. Ever heard that story that in World War I or II, I forget which, they called a ceasefire on Christmas Day and went out to play soccer together in No Man's Land? It's, er, kind of like that. Except there's really no reason for her friends to be at odds with each other. She can choose both of them. However, at the end of the series, she is only friends with Sharon. Maybe her need to be wild and crazy is dying down...

I agree with you on why Angela feels weird about Sharon/Rayanne being friends, Cami. I don't see anger there, but I see this sort of discombobulation. She has to develop a "combination her on the spot". ;) But another point is, their friendship signifies that these two sides of Angela can work together. That they can be in harmony.

I need to gather my thoughts on what Sharon's sex life symbolizes (wow, alliteration).
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby Cami A. » Nov 17th 2008, 5:55 am

Kenny,
Thanks for responding, buddy!
As always your analysis is rich.
I like the idea that she has these two balanced parties--her past and her present/future; who she was and who she wants to be--poking and prodding
at her from either side.
Rickie, I think, is the middle ground. He's been often referred to as the moral compass of the show. He guides both Angela and Rayanne by keeping them from floating into the atmosphere, or at least he tries to. Have you ever noticed that Rickie is there every time Angela is growing as a person (discovering some new---single parent households, homelessness, the importance of waiting to have sex, the fact she is a hypocrite [when she starts hitting on Corey in front of Rickie])? I don't think that's on accident. He makes her see a lot of things for the first time. Or at the very least accompanies her as she learns her life lessons.
I think it was beyond her control that she ended up only being friends with Sharon (and Brian) in the end. It was because of what Jordan and Rayanne did to alienate her. But I will say that it was very strategically placed, and it would've taken another season to see what she would've learned from her experiences with Raynie and Jordan...we don't know if she's over that stage or if she was just temporarily upset.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby MonnyUK2 » Nov 18th 2008, 12:07 pm

Cami and Kenny,
I agree with what both you guys said about Sharon. She is this balance between Angela's two worlds. I think Angela didn't like the fact that Angela and Rayanne were connecting. In episode 6 'The Substitute' Angela looks uncomfortable when she comes in after Rayanne and Sharon have been chatting about the poem that Sharon wrote. In 'Self-Esteem' she seems uncomfortable that the two of them are discussing her. I think that Sharon grows on Rayanne when she realises she isn't a square and the fact they have both ummed and Angela hasn't. From this point of view Sharon is part of the world that Angela wants to be part of. Although she does find ultimately she isn't ready. In this way Brian is still a part of both of their past as he hasn't really matured although towards the end of the series we do see some signs of this. A series 2 would have seen all of these relationships develop.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby ikilledkennyandjr » Nov 18th 2008, 8:33 pm

This is true, Cam. Rickie is definitely Angela's (and Rayanne's and Brian's, hell even Jordan's) moral compass. I like to see him as an example of purity in a show filled with stupid choices, jerky behaviour, and Lost-Boy type characters.

I didn't mean that Angela was over Jordan and Rayanne. Far from it. I think she was just realizing she couldn't count on them. That they wouldn't be in her life forever. The fleetingness of even the most intense relationships (especially them, in many cases) is something we all must address at some point.

I thought the fact that Sharon was "sexually active", really helped her character from turning into a cliche--since after all, she is the good girl to Rayanne's she-devil. :lol: Her speech about sex becoming expected of her was poignant and very true. Interesting that what we see of teenage sex on this show is filled with shame, unhappiness, and a lack of intimacy. I'm not sure that's a great message, but there ya go. And, even though her friends were doing it, Angela made the right choice for herself and abstained. Some morons think true maturity is doing the horizontal mambo, when it's really about knowing yourself enough to decide if you're ready. Another interesting note is that Rickie, Sharon and Brian support her decision not to have sex, whereas Rayanne finds it ridiculous and Jordan only comes around at the end of "Pressure" (after dumping her). I'm probably getting off-topic here... Oh, and Monny, I don't think Angela was anxious to "join that world" after all.

One more thing to consider: in the last episode, Sharon's relationship with Rayanne is comparable to Angela's in the first episode. For both girls, Rayanne is freedom. However, Sharon is not blind to her flaws. She just likes Rayanne anyway. Which is really the kind of honest friendship the world needs more of.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby Cami A. » Nov 19th 2008, 4:17 am

Spot-on analysis, Kenny!

I like that you brought up Jordan. Rickie was Jordan's moral compass in So-Called Angels when he reminded Jordan how important it is to have hope, no matter what happens to you. In the end of the episode we see Jordan light a candle (for Rickie? for himself? for abused children around the world?)

Brian learns new things through Rickie the same way Angela does. And like Angela he has a surprisingly open mind. He is just as sheltered as her--he lives next door and has 2 parents at home, and has never seen an "actual" homeless person. And I quote: "Oh, so you go to one abandoned warehouse, and suddenly you're the expert on homeless people?!" :lol:
I find it interesting that Brian is willing to learn from Rickie, but not from Mr. Racine who also shows him something very different than he is used to. Why do you think this is?

The fleetingness of even the most intense relationships (especially them, in many cases) is something we all must address at some point.


So true! Also very true is the fact that Sharon's sexuality really kept her from being Cliche. Wonderful observation. Since this post is supposed to be about Sharon, I had to ride with this. Sharon's character is dynamic. She goes from representing childhood, to representing womanhood very quickly. This is why Angela doesn't need her, and then suddenly looks up to her again. Since she's been friends with Sharon longer, she is more comfortable asking her questions about sex than she would be with Rayanne, who tends to have this "tough-girl" act as if she's been having sex since the stone-ages. It's a bit intimidating. Sharon is never intimidating in any way. I kind of see her as a mother figure...

And that was a really nice observation about how Sharon sees Rayanne as exciting or rather "refreshing" too, but can recognize her flaws. Why do you think she has this ability, but Angela doesn't see anything until she's hit in the face with it?

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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby 4alifetime » Jul 30th 2009, 8:22 pm

Oh Cami! I feel pressure to come up with some mind-blowing comment/observation being that you invited me to join the conversation! Right now, I got nothing! I think I'm too tired to form a reply that would make any sense so I will have to come back to this next week, I'll be out of town from tomorrow through the weekend.

But I just have to add that the other part of why I can't immediately come up with anything brilliant is that you all are so disgustingly insightful and articulate that there seems not much more else to say! I agree with a lot of what was said here. And I do have a few comments, this will give me something to look forward to when I get back!

This is a great topic, Sharon gets overlooked a lot of times, I think.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby 411314 » Aug 10th 2010, 11:35 am

@Cami

I think Brian is rather lonely and Rickie gave him someone to talk to (notice when he calls the teen help line, he says he didn't expect to feel "this" lonely, implying he expected to feel lonely or he's used to feeling it) and Mr. Racine is, quite frankly, really rude and obnoxious. I also think that Rickie is a more "comforting" presence. Racine tends to be confrontational and blunt while Rickie is more gentle.

I think Angela, while insightful, is often not very observant. She often sees what she wants to see in people. She doesn't notice Rayanne's flaws because she finds Rayanne exciting and fascinating and doesn't want to see her flaws. She also fails to notice her mother's desire to connect with her, her sister's admiration for her, Rayanne's feeling of being left behind by her in later episodes, and Brian's attraction to her. Ironically, for all her constant examination of life, she actually misses quite a bit.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby Superjesus » Jun 20th 2011, 9:56 am

My theory on Sharon in the later episodes: she represents the "typical" teenage girl life (the extra-curriculars, the jock boyfriend, what have you) as opposed to Rayanne who is completely wild and unconventional, and Angela is somewhere in between.

Angela would love to have with Jordan what she thinks Sharon has with Kyle, but she's aware that such a relationship comes with a cost - specifically, sex.

Sorry I can't think of more - it's midnight here and I'm bored and alone and needing to sleep.
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Re: Speaking Sharon

Postby Superjesus » Nov 7th 2012, 8:30 am

Cami A. wrote:I find it interesting that Brian is willing to learn from Rickie, but not from Mr. Racine who also shows him something very different than he is used to. Why do you think this is?


And that was a really nice observation about how Sharon sees Rayanne as exciting or rather "refreshing" too, but can recognize her flaws. Why do you think she has this ability, but Angela doesn't see anything until she's hit in the face with it?

Cam


Since I found the forum again while clearing out my laptop history (ironically, since I re-watched the show a few weeks back on a drinking binge) I'll amuse myself by answering these two points.

I would say Sharon "gets" Rayanne's flaws in a way Angela doesn't because Angela simply isn't very emotionally intelligent. She doesn't really have much ability to read and understand people. I would argue that this is because up to this point, her view of the world has hardly been challenged and forced to adapt. Where Sharon, because of her relationship with Kyle and the issues there, has been forced to understand the human condition a bit better. Because of this, she's able to be real to Rayanne in a way Angela never could - she's her friend but I think she also knows that you get too close to Rayanne Graff at your own risk.

As for Brian and Mr Racine, I think that was again down to emotional intelligence. Krakow can be completely clueless at times, but he also has his moments where he shows a lot of understanding of people. While it may have been because Racine was a threat to what he knew about school and had been so successful at (as stolen from Angela's World) I think he also understood that he was a fraud. In the same vein, he realises that Rickie is basically the opposite - he is who he is 24/7 and that guy is basically a nice, sweet guy who gives Brian an opening to a world he doesn't understand but is nonetheless intrigued by.

In this way, Rickie is to Brian as Rayanne is to Angela - he represents an "other" in Krakow's life, something/someone who is completely different to him. Brian, ever the scientist, is intrigued by this and how two people like he and Rickie can be friends despite being from different worlds. However, unlike Angela, Brian is not seeking an escape from his life and unlike Rayanne, Rickie is not the type of whirlwind personality who can or will give him one.
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