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Episode No. 20 - Perfection

written by chrissyhsn

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About this story

Published: 31 Mar 1998 | Size: 19 KB (3882 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 3.9/5   3.9/5 (601 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Scene opens in Jordan Catalano's car, shortly after where we left off. Both Angela and Jordan look uncomfortable. Jordan looks like he is trying to say something, but doesn't know how to begin. He just opens his mouth to start talking and then stops a few times. Angela is gazing out the passenger seat window, not exactly looking sad, but definitely not looking happy. She is deep in thought.

Angela(VO)- Have you ever thought about perfection? I mean, the whole like, concept of it? Because I think that maybe it's something people make up to like, have something to look for or something, but really it's just something that you end up using to torture yourself. Because what I wanted was for Jordan Catalano to be perfect. When I just worshipped him from a distance, it was so easy for him to be perfect because he only existed in my mind. And then I got to know him, and there were so many things I didn't expect. He was far from perfect. And then he suddenly like, was. He was perfect in every way that I had wanted him to be. I mean, he hurt me, but then he turned around and made things better than they'd ever been before. And life was perfect. I was perfectly happy. And then Rickie said that Brian wrote the letter. And suddenly everything was confusing again. So I've been thinking that like, perfection is the kind of idea that gets people into trouble. Because maybe nothing can be perfect, especially people. And you just have to figure out what is good enough. And that's my problem now. Maybe it's unfair for me to like, even want perfection from anyone. But then, what do I want?

While Angela isn't paying attention, Jordan pulls off to the side of the road in a quiet secluded area. He parks and turns off the car.

Jordan- Um, Angela? You know how you said that we could like, have a serious talk or whatever?

Angela (startled out of her reverie)- Um yeah. We probably should do that. Is there anything you wanted to say?

Angela(VO)- Why is it that when you realize that like, something incredibly important is happening to you, you suddenly lose the ability to even talk? Jordan Catalano was starting the conversation that I thought I would die to have, and I was like, totally paralysed. Suddenly the fabric of my pants was so fascinating I couldn't tear my attention away from it, and all of the words I had screamed so easily at him in my dreams were like, locked in a safe or something. And I totally didn't have the key.

Jordan (quietly panicking)- So you like, really liked the letter?

Angela- The letter. Yeah. What it said was what I really wanted to hear. (Pause). So I have to know- did you mean it, or did you just say it because you somehow like, knew I wanted to hear it. I mean, did like, anyone sort of suggest to you that it would be what I'd want to hear, or anything?

Jordan- (closes his eyes and slowly leans his forehead against the steering wheel) You can like, tell that I didn't write it on my own, can't you?

Angela- (looking like she's about to cry) I just need to like, know, how much of that was you, and how much of that was whoever... And I need to know if you meant it.

Jordan- I'm not like, good with words. I have all these like, feelings, but I don't know how to put any of them into words. So I like, got that Brain kid- you know, the one tutoring me- to help me. He's one of those people who can always like, find the right words. (Pause). I'm not. (Pause). But that doesn't mean that I didn't mean exactly what the letter said. I wouldn't have given it to you if I didn't.

Angela (VO)- Something amazing was happening. Jordan Catalano was communicating with me. And he was totally doing a good job. And I was starting to forgive him. Suddenly all the confusion was starting to fade. He wasn't perfect. No one is. But he was trying, he was doing something totally hard for him, and he was doing it for me.

Jordan- I just feel so bad about what I did. I mean, I didn't really even mean to do anything, it just happened, but the fact that it hurt you is what made me feel so bad. And I like, didn't even think it would. I mean, I don't know. You like, can totally convince yourself that you don't' need anybody, but then one day you wake up and realize that you did need someone. But it's too late, because you've already ruined everything. So I guess, what I'm trying to say, is that like, for hurting you, I'm more sorry than I can ever tell you. And I (pause), need you. I just want you to forgive me. And then we can like, try again. And this time, it'll be different. Because now that I like, know that this means something, I won't screw it up. I promise.

Angela (VO)- I'd never heard Jordan talk that much before, at all. Like, ever. Even when he was talking about Tino, or the band, or his car, or whatever. I was speechless. But what he said like, totally deserved a response. So I had to try to say something equally incredible as what Jordan had like, miraculously confessed to me. (Pause) Why is it that the minute you realize you've come close to having what you want, you also realize that you totally don't know how to deal with it? Like, having it is this obsession, but the actuality of having it is so totally impossible to deal with. It's like, almost too big, or something.

Angela- Wow. That was like, incredible. Why didn't you just tell me that instead of getting Brian to help you with the letter? It would make things so much less confusing.

Jordan- I dunno. I just (pause) was so (pause, struggling) it was (Pause)... I wanted to fix things, and it was just so big, I didn't know how. I tried to talk to you after Katimski's class, and no matter what I said, I knew you still didn't want to talk to me. I guess I thought that if Brain like, helped me by giving me the right words to get you to listen, I could like, stand a chance. It's so hard to talk like this. About like, stuff that matters. It hurts, or something.

Angela- (eyes filling with tears, takes Jordan's hand) I know. And Jordan, I do forgive you. And not because of the letter, but because of what you said to me in your own words. Because you like, made an effort, and because you mean what you said.

Jordan- (almost smiling, looking hopeful for the first time during the course of the conversation) Really?

Their eyes meet, and they kiss.


Back at the Krakow house-

Brian flops onto his bed.

Brian (VO)- I don't think I've ever wished I could just vanish off the face of the Earth as much as I do right at this minute. I as much as told Angela Chase that I was the one who really wrote that letter, and yet she's off somewhere with Jordan Catalano right this minute. It's like God, or Fate, or whatever, is playing some kind of horrible joke on me. I can't even stand thinking about it. I think I'm going to be sick.

Brian, lying on his back, picks up his pillow from above his head and covers his head with it in a gesture of exasperation and frustration.

Chase Home-

Angela enters, unable to stop smiling. She looks in the mirror, and kind of puts her hand to her mouth, as if she can't believe that the smile is actually on her face. Her mother enters from the kitchen, in her bathrobe.

Patty- Angela?

Angela- (jumps) Mom! Oh my god, you like, totally gave me a heart attack. (Pause) So it's like, really late. Am I in trouble or something?

Patty- (Sounding like a Mother) I don't know, should you be in trouble? (Pause, smiles) Angela, Jordan was here for a while tonight, and we had a really nice talk. I told him it was OK to take you out at this hour. I know you two had a lot to talk about. (Back into Mother mode) But don't think that this is going to be a regular occurrence or anything. (Ruffles Angela's hair). You look happy honey. Did you and Jordan work things out?

Angela (VO)- And for once, I actually wanted to talk to her about like, the important stuff in my life.

Angela- Yeah. He like, isn't good with words, but he fought his way through this apology, just to make me feel better, and to get me to forgive him.

Patty- (getting a little too excited about her actual communication with Angela) So are you like, going together now? Is that what you kids call it?

Angela (VO)- And then that moment ended, and I just wanted to go to bed.

Angela- (giving her mother that "you can't possibly understand my life" look) Mom, it's never that straight forward. We're just like, talking again. And stuff. Can I go to bed now?

Patty- Of course. You have school tomorrow. (Angela exits) (Patty, to herself)-Well, I was close for a minute there. (Sighs, looks at the front door, then heads up the stairs alone).

Next morning

Patty- Girls, you're going to be late! Hurry... but don't forget to put your dishes into the sink.

Danielle- Where's dad?

Angela- He like, had to sleep off a hangover or something.

Patty- Angela! (To Danielle) Your daddy had a big night last night. He was cooking for some people who might be investing in the restaurant. It was a lot of work, doing all the cooking and then cleaning up without a normal kitchen crew to help him. He got home pretty late, so he's sleeping in this morning.

Angela doesn't look convinced. Danielle looks concerned.

Patty- C'mon girls! You're going to miss your buses.

The girls put their dishes away and leave the kitchen in a flurry. Patty is left alone. Her super-big "everything is fine" smile fades as she hears the front door close. She leans against the fridge an closes her eyes, looking sad and worried.

Liberty High, later that same day-

Angela- So anyway, he like, said more than I've ever heard him say before. And he like, not only apologized, he admitted that he needs me, and that when he made me sad, it like, hurt him too, or something.

Rickie- Wow. I can like, totally imagine how amazing that would be. (Looks at Angela, who is beaming. He begins to look troubled).

Angela- Rickie, what's wrong? Aren't you like, happy for me? This is what I wanted all along! Jordan Catalano is like, becoming perfect (pause), or at least like, good enough. More than good enough.

Rickie- I am happy for you. I'm just thinking about Brian. You like, left him standing there. I'm glad things are good with you and Jordan, but what are you going to do about Brian? That letter was from him too.

Angela- (her face falls) Oh my god- I forgot about Brian! (Looks to Rickie desperately). Rickie, what am I going to do?

Rickie- (hugs Angela) I don't know. But you have to talk to him. (She rests her head on his shoulder) At least you know where things stand with you and Jordan...

Angela- Yeah (sadly), at least that...

Hallway, later in the day-

Angela and Jordan are holding hands in the hallway. He's talking to some of his friends, and she's just standing there, in a daze, happy that she's with him and he's not ashamed to show the world.

Brian (VO)- She probably would have forgiven him whether or not I wrote the letter. I mean, on some level she really does know he didn't write it, but she's forgiven him anyway. She just wanted an excuse to forgive him. (Pause) And I gave her one. (Slowly bangs his forehead on the locker door)

Rayanne- (coming up from behind him and leaning seductively against the locker beside his) Hey Krakow, finding the scenery around here today a little less than appetizing?

Brian- Oh great. Like things weren't bad enough already. What do you want?

Rayanne- (suddenly slightly more serious) You know Krakow, what's going on over there kind of sucks for me too, ya know.

Brian- (eyes wide) You're not in love with Jordan now too, are you? I thought you just like, got drunk and lost control or something...

Rayanne- (laughing in spite of herself). God Krakow, get a clue. I don't care about Jordan Catalano. He's like, the biggest mistake I ever made. (starts looking sad) The reason it bothers me is that (pause, small voice) she's forgiven him, but she doesn't seem to have any intention of forgiving me.

Brian- (planting his foot directly into his mouth) Well, you did sleep with the guy that she was like, obsessed with, or whatever. That's not exactly loyal. What did you expect?

Rayanne- (Playfulness gone, replaced by disgust masking genuine hurt) Thanks Krakow, I wasn't able to figure that out on my own. Once again your towering intellect has benefitted humanity. Maybe you could write a letter for me to give to her, and then she'd forgive me too. (With her point driven home, Rayanne turns and makes her way quickly down the hall).

Brian (VO)- I guess I deserved that. (Looking at Angela and Jordan) I guess I deserve that too. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't like, make me want to crawl into my locker and die every time I think about it.

End of the day- Liberty High

Angela is at her locker, talking to Rickie. Angela sees Brian talking to another boy infront of a classroom down the hall.

Rickie- (following her gaze) Are you going to go talk to him?

Angela- I don't know if I can yet Rickie (She looks at him as if pleading for him to tell her that it's OK- he doesn't). I mean, what am I going to say? It's going to be so awkward... God! Why is it that every time something good happens to me, something bad comes along to keep me from enjoying life for a while?

Rickie- I don't know. But until you and Brian talk, things are just going to keep getting more awkward (Brian looks over, sees Angela, and then walks briskly in the other direction).

Angela- (in a small voice). I know... I just have to figure out what I'm going to say.

Angela is looking down. Rickie is looking at her sympathetically. Neither of them notices Rayanne and Sharon approaching.

Sharon- Hey Chase Face, hi Rickie.

Rayanne- (trying to seem overly casual, affecting almost boredom) Hey guys...

Angela- Um, I'd better go...

Rayanne- Wait, Angelika... can we like, talk for a minute?

Angela- Rayanne, now is not the time. Things are like, a big mess, or whatever.

Rayanne- (looking hurt, but not giving up) C'mon, you don't even have to talk, you can just listen.

Angela (VO)- Suddenly I realized I kinda wanted to hear what she had to say. Not that I had any intention of forgiving her, but I really wanted to see what she would say. If she would like, be all defensive and allusive again, or would she get upset again, like she did that day at the play, when she told me that she was the one who really got hurt by all this... I was really, really curious. And it wasn't just because I missed her. I was still really, really mad.

Angela- Well, I guess I have some free time. I kinda felt like walking home anyway.

Angela (VO)- And besides, that meant I didn't have to worry about running into Brian Krakow on the bus.

Rayanne- You mean Jordan isn't driving you home? (A little bitter, but mostly just stating the obvious, as she tends to do).

Angela- Oh my god. I can't believe you would even bring that up! Do you think I want to talk about him with you? (Looks like she about to run off).

Rayanne- (immediately sorry) I'm sorry Angela. You know how I am, I just say and do whatever pops into my mind, I pretty much never think things through first. That's what always gets me into trouble (pointed look).

Angela- Listen. You wanted to talk. Maybe you should just say whatever it is you were going to say.


Angela and Rayanne are ambling towards Angela's house, the tension between them obvious. Rayanne is talking, gesturing with her hands, trying to get a smile out of Angela.

Rayanne- So Tino says to the guy... Angela? Are you paying attention?

Angela- (Looking upset and frustrated) Look Rayanne, I thought you wanted to talk about what happened... We can't just pretend that it didn't happen. We have to like, deal with it or something. Things just can't go back to the way they were. It doesn't happen like that.

Rayanne- (Looking upset) Why can't it? You have to know by now that I'm sorry! You know that he means nothing to me, and more importantly you know that I only slept with him because I was drunk. I would never intentionally do anything to hurt you, your friendship is like, the most perfect thing I've ever had in my life. I hate myself whenever I think I've trashed it for good. You have to forgive me. I won't do anything like that again- trust me, I've learned my lesson.

Angela (VO)- Perfect. She said that my friendship was the most perfect thing she's ever had. It made me think of what Rickie said the other day, about how Rayanne has always wanted to be like me, and how maybe her sleeping with Jordan was like, her own twisted way of trying to be me. Maybe, to her, I'm like, perfect. Maybe that's why things got so messed up. I remember how much I looked up to her when we first started hanging out. I thought if I didn't hang out with her, I would die. Now I see that maybe she felt the same way. I never even guessed. I never noticed. Sometimes you get so caught up in your own life and your own problems, you forget to look and see how you're affecting the people around you. I think I understand Rayanne Graf better now than I ever have before. She was looking for perfection the same way I was. She thought she could find it in her friendship with me, I thought I could find it in a relationship with Jordan Catalano. Both of us screwed up.

Angela- Rayanne (starting to cry)... What you just said was like, really touching (pause). I'm not saying that I totally forgive you, or that I totally trust you again, but I think you're right, I think I do know that you're sorry, and I think you're being honest when you say that you'll try never to hurt me again. And I think that that's enough. I mean, things still can't go back to the way they were, but we can start again. Being friends I mean. (Rayanne starts to cry too). Maybe we can fix things.

Rayanne- Angela, that's all I'm asking for. Just give me another chance and I'll prove to you that I can be a better friend. You're the best friend I've ever had. This time, I'll be the perfect friend.

Angela- Rayanne, there's no such thing as perfect. But as long as you try and you care, that's more than good enough.

(They hug. Scene fades)

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Reviews for this story

Rating Distribution:
Average: 3.9/5   3.9/5 (601 votes)
  • Lety C commented on 23 Nov 1999:
    This was a good story but i don't think that Angela would be able to contiplate forgiveness so soon. Jordan would never be so blunt. All in all,it's a good story.
  • Lisa commented on 30 Dec 1999:
    Overall the converstaions between the characters was believable and realistic. I always wanted Angela to fogive both Rayanne and Jordan, and this author allowed that to happen without compromising Angela's feelings of betrayal.
  • Kaz commented on 16 May 2000:
    OK! So I gave this story a 10!!!!! Some of yous would not approve but this is the perfect end of season one that I could imagine!!! Maybe things did happen a bit too fast but now Angela has explored the other side of Jordon and Rayanne has been a ggod friend!!!! Season two (if there was one) could then take this further!!!!!
  • Melisa commented on 25 Oct 2000:
    This story made me want to cry; I miss this show soooo much!
  • Steve commented on 20 Feb 2001:
    I sort of expected this story.
  • Doris commented on 17 Aug 2001:
    This story gave me alot of closure. The author did an excellent job of interpreting the character's emotions and predicting how they would react after the final episode. The dialogue was so close to the real thing, I got goosebumps. I think the theme of "perfection" was right on, it is a natural progression from the last episode.
  • April commented on 05 Oct 2001:
    I really enjoyed the characterizations and the voice overs/monologues, but I thought some of the dialogue between the characters was a bit off in ways I can't put my finger on.. too many "likes" at first, and then Angela and Rayanne were just a bit too articulate at the end..but all in all a good job.
  • Stars_n_Guitars commented on 22 Oct 2001:
    Her dialogue painted a perfect image of the would've been cool to see the author thoughts of a conversation between angela and was really good though
  • Dru commented on 03 Nov 2001:
    It was a great story,but too many 'likes' i miss MSCL so much!
  • Rachel commented on 13 Jan 2002:
    It was a perfect story there was a great ending but the bad part was that there were tomany(likes)and (umms).
  • Chrissy commented on 01 Apr 2002:
    There were a lot of "likes" and "ums", but isn't that kind of the theme of MSCL? Anyway, I thought this was a pretty good ending, I definitly would have liked to see a conversation with Angela and Brain but too bad... I love how the author just ties it all up so nicely and neatly...but the dialog was pretty close. Anyway, I miss this show a lot, but I know it probably wouldn't be as popular if it hadn't ended so soon, kind of ironic.
  • anonymous author commented on 05 Jun 2002:
    Jordan would never just come out and ssy what you have him saying
    Also, you use VO too much. The real show really didn't use it that often, and left it out in a lot of moments when they could have used it. it just makes it more real if we don't know everyone's whole though processes. I don't like that more than one character has VO in one episode.
  • jennifer commented on 18 Jul 2002:
    i agree with anonymous about the vo thing, also jordan wouldn't say those things. i don't think that angela would have just out of nowhere forgiven rayanne in this way.
    but i must say, the style of writing was excellent, it really sounded like an mscl script, except it seemed really short to me. but i liked your theme and you are a good writer, its a good story.
  • Sara commented on 14 Aug 2002:
    Is it true that they only made 19 movies.......?
    I miss them soo much

    Somebody write me back
  • Rebecca commented on 28 Jan 2003:
    I thought this story started out really strong and then got a little too upfront at the end. I thought the conversations kind of strayed from the character "type". REALLY good though! Loved it.
  • Meg commented on 19 Jan 2004:
    I liked it...a little short, but over all pretty good. I think Angela's line at the end was a bit sappy, but i enjoyed reading. Props to the author!
  • anonymous author commented on 07 May 2004:
    gag me
  • NB commented on 02 Sep 2004:
    LIKE! Stop Saying Like For Heavens Sake! Where you doing it to annoy me! ####!!!
  • Amanda commented on 04 Sep 2004:
    personally, i didnt mind all the "likes" considering that was how everyone talked in the series. great job of making it sound like it was an actual episode, and not making it sound really ironic. i like on how you said that Angela expected Jordan to be perfect and how she thought that because she always saw him from a distance. you explained everything just right and had closure of the series... if only THIS aired, since i really like it
  • anonymous commented on 16 Nov 2004:
    this was really just drivel. the wonder behind this show was how
    much was said in so little words, how much was action and
    reaction. feelings were never stated outright, by any character - it
    was all in movement and looks, and simple, understated dialogue.
    it was all set in mood.
    this script has the characters coming right out and saying exactly
    what they mean and how they feel, which was never the case as
    these were troubled, emotional teenagers. jordan never articulated
    himself this well, and really should never articulate himself this
    well, because he had no family life and no one was allowed in his
    inner circle except for his car. most of the VO and dialogue can be
    found in past episodes, except here it has been stretched out in
    too many words, and stretched thin. if i had seen this on tv i would
    have been pissed.
  • Becca commented on 22 Dec 2004:
    I enjoyed reading this. I think Angela's infatuated, perfectionistic mind would want Jordan back, but I also think the emotional, humanitarian side of her would be more concerned for Brian's feelings. I don't think the Rayanne stuff should have been included in the script. When I was Angela's age, some of my disagreements with friends lasted longer than a month or so, and the stakes weren't as high. It was very hard to understand and trust each other after such a fallout, and forgiveness was long in coming. I consider myself a lot like Angela, and I think the "reunion" between Angela and Rayanne seemed a little forced. Overall, however, it was a great story, and it helped to answer some of my "burning" questions about Episode #20. Like, great job!
  • evie commented on 15 Jan 2005:
    this was so amazing this should be made in to a film,i could see this when reading how it would have been if it was on the screen..... its was so good i had to read it twice,this is wrote from a true fan xxx
  • georgia commented on 23 Jan 2005:
    I thought that the story was as good as it could be. I've been so deprived of
    the show this was like a drink of it. I can see it happening so vividly, it hurts. I
    especially liked Brian's reaction to his own stupid mistake, and the way each
    character maintained their personality through the turbulant turn of events. It
    takes a strong person to write a story like the characters would have it told,
    as opposed to anyone else who would (and justifiably so) bend the
    circumstances to what they'd like it to be.
  • Ines commented on 12 Aug 2005:
    I liked this story. It was really realistic and I could picture their expressions etc. I just think that Angela wouldn't of forgaven Rayanne THAT quickly.
  • Jamie-lee commented on 01 Sep 2005:
    This story was awesome!And really relistic like i thought i was actually watching this like an episode on tv.
  • melissa commented on 27 Nov 2005:
    it was a good story.. the words and coversations were great matvh to the real thing.. the only thing i would say is that angela wouldnt be soo qiuck to forgive rayanne i think it would take some time . I also dont hink she would have such a prob with brian she would just come out and talk to him. Jordan isnt that enotional in his words. over all is good
  • kim gave this story a 5.0/5 5.0/5 rating and commented on 22 Jan 2008:
    Very good ending. I have all the episodes on dvd and I watch them all the time.
    I like to think that it would have eventually have Brian ending up with Rayanne eventually.
  • Rachel gave this story a 4.0/5 4.0/5 rating and commented on 02 Feb 2008:
    just one thing.
    they totally dont say totally as much in the real show.
    it was quite good though
  • Cami gave this story a 5.0/5 5.0/5 rating and commented on 20 Feb 2008:
    I only read the beginning of this so far, but I must say...I'm blow away how you've captured the writing style of the show...The voice overs especially. I can totally hear Angela or Brian's voice in all of your voice overs. Excellent job, can't wait to read more.

  • anon gave this story a 2.0/5 2.0/5 rating and commented on 05 Mar 2008:
    i think that the mannerisms in the conversations seems pretty true to the show. they used 'like a lot, but this overused it. jordan would have never said what he wanted to say that way. i don't like that brian krakow has voice overs. and she wouldn't have forgiven rayanne that easily. i also think that whatever happened between her and jordan would have involved some sort of making out, some him staring off into space while she stares at him, a lot more silence. i personally think the series ended perfectly. we knew just what we needed to know.
  • Notorious gave this story a 5.0/5 5.0/5 rating and commented on 22 Sep 2008:
    great job!!

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“Lately, I can't even look at my mother without wanting to stab her repeatedly.”

Angela Chase, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"