Discussion for Episode 4: Father Figures

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Natasha (candygirl)
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Discussion for Episode 4: Father Figures

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 3rd 2003, 3:17 am

Welcome to our fourth MSCL.com episode discussion!

If you haven't already done so, please read the info about the weekly discussions here.

I highly recommend reading theAngela's World essay that pertains to this episode.

Some threads about recurring themes:
product placement in MSCL?
Why do we love Graham
Patty and Graham suck
food
school
the contradiction that we call Rayanne
plaid
colors

(sorry, there weren't a lot of threads that specifically pertained to this episode!)
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 3rd 2003, 3:58 am

Some questions:

Did anyone else notice that the screen seems to shake in the scene where Patty and Graham initially discuss the audit? I watched it twice to make sure, but I saw it at 5:57 and again at 6:32 - the camera twitches again around 42:00 when Patty and Graham are talking in the kitchen (the Yoko Ono conversation).

I specifically recall seeing Rickie at his locker in other episodes (but I can't remember which ones!) - he has a top locker with a picture of a face with a bluish tint taped inside. In this episode, however, Rickie is seen opening a middle locker and putting his one book inside. Since Rayanne also hands him two of her books to put in the locker, is it her locker?

Did Graham really mean it when he tells Patty that he thought he told her about the Grateful Dead tickets?

When Rayanne finds out that Angela scalped their Grateful Dead tickets, Angela defends herself by saying, "You're always saying we should think of ways to make money." I don't recall Rayanne ever saying that to Angela, and I don't understand why Rayanne WOULD say that to Angela. Angela doesn't need money for any extraneous stuff (well, besides a fake ID) because her parents buy her clothes and necessities. Where did this weird excuse of hers come from?

Patty says things like "The IRS has all kinds of techniques to trip you up," and "It's exactly what all the books say never to do." Did Patty take time between the audit notice and Miss Mandeville's visit to do a bunch of IRS research?

Angela comes flying in the house during the IRS meeting and blows Graham off with, "Dad, I can't talk right now," and runs upstairs to supposedly get ready for the concert. Since she claims that Rayanne is coming to pick her up, so where was she coming from?!

Graham says he saw the Grateful Dead at the 1971 Palo Alto show. He later tells Patty that he saw the Grateful Dead when he was 15. Can we assume that these two statements are related, meaning that Graham was 15 when he was at the 1971 show? Or did Graham attend multiple shows (as most Dead fans do)? The reason I ask is that a few episodes later, Camille tells Patty, "We're 40!" so if Graham was 15 at his one and only Dead show in '71, then he is 38 in 1994 which means Patty is a (slightly) older woman :wink: I would like to add that I did a little research and it looks like there wasn't a Palo Alto concert that year - they played Berkeley and San Francisco in 1971, but I didn't see a Palo Alto concert - maybe Graham, not being a California native, assumed that Palo Alto is near SF? By the way, NONE of the aforementioned shows ended with "Cosmic Charlie."

Brian tells Angela, "Look, it's my car." Is it really his car or is it his parents' car? It is an older model car, so it's possible that his parents bought it for him so that he could learn to drive (since he is 15, like Angela). Notice that he still takes the bus to school :D Think that when he turns 16 his parents will trust him enough to drive to school every day? Or that Angela will try to get a ride to school?

Brian offers to let Angela stay in his room rather than out in the cold. Why does she choose to stay outside in the car?

When Angela explains that Graham thinks she is at the concert and he would be upset if he knew that she wasn't, Brian says, "Wow, your dad is so different from mine." What does he mean by that?

When Brian (once again displaying his stellar social skills) graciously offers Angela his sweater, then ruins the moment by saying, "Try not to sweat in it," Angela gets angry and says, "Why do you have to say things like that?" Brian retorts, "Why do you have to -" and is then interrupted by his mother yelling about the garbage. What was he going to say? Angela asks, "So, wait, what were you saying?" and he stutters, "Nothing. Just...you shouldn't act one way towards a person when you need something, and then..." Was this what he was beginning to say before his mom started yelling about the garbage or is he going off in another direction? And how did the conversation end? Did Angela walk back into her house as soon as Graham saw her with Brian? I can't believe she would just leave in the middle of that conversation.

In this episode, Rickie reveals that he lives with his uncle, who he is afraid of. We never learn why he lives with his aunt and uncle instead of his parents - any theories?

When Angela is in the bathroom, the two girls who are smoking begin laughing and looking at her as she tries to apologize to Rayanne. Why are they laughing at her?

Rayanne says her dad has had "like, eight different girlfriends since he left." Any ideas on time frame? If he left when she was very young, quite honestly, eight girlfriends over ten or so years isn't that many. If he left a few months ago, then eight is a bit more excessive.

When Patty asks Chuck, "Why does there have to be this distane between us?" he replies, "Well, it's not my doing." True?

Angela doesn't want to explain to Graham why she owes someone $30 because "it's too stupid and complicated." Does she really think the situation with Jordan is stupid and complicated, or does she use that as an excuse because she doesn't want to tell him about Jordan? Or is it because she obviously can't tell him she bought a fake ID (which says she was born yesterday!)?
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You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 3rd 2003, 4:17 am

A few observations:

Young Angela is wearing a scrunchy that matches her dress in the flashback scene at the beginning of the episode - I have to say that scrunchies weren't all that ubiquitous until around 1990. Angela would have been 11 years old at that time (too old to wear dresses like that!) and the girl looks like she is portraying Angela around 8 years old. I could be wrong on both counts though :D

During the kitchen scene, there is some Blair Witch camera work going on and again when Graham enters Angela's room to ask about the Grateful Dead tickets. Very different from the usual camerawork.

Patty's continued use of "this/that ______ person" to show her disdain for Angela's new friends. In the pilot, she begins referring to "that rude girl," "this Rayanne," and "this Rickie." In this episode, she refers to "that Rayanne person" not once but twice. Meow!

Rayanne says "I just gotta find my sock cause it's Rickie's" - hee!

When Graham enters Angela's room, there is a red hat on top of the coat rack. I love picturing Angela actually wearing it :D

This episode marks the first appearance of Jordan's friend Shane (aka Jared's brother Shannon).

I love seeing Jordan watch Angela from afar (in the hallway after Rayanne tells him to give his Walkman to Miss K and in English class) until he's actually paired with her. Then he seems almost afraid of her.

Patty asks Graham, "Did you talk to Angela about the concert?" while he is kissing her. Ewwww.

Although Patty and Graham are very defensive when Chuck mentions their rain gutter, Graham does go out to check on it and it turns out Chuck is right so Graham fixes it. "Father Knows Best"?

Also fitting that Angela whines, "Why can't he just say that instead of acting like I don't exist?" when she was the one doing the exact same thing to him earlier.

Patty's childhood assessment that Chuck's whiskers were too rough was an analogy for his gruff exterior. What does Angela's assessment of Graham's rough whiskers mean?

Lots of orange juice in this episode - Graham asks Danielle if she wants some (and I love her response about the pulp!), Angela takes the glass that Danielle didn't want, Graham drinks some late at night. While we're on the subject of fruit - apples and oranges in this week's fruit basket on the kitchen counter.

I love Graham's insight into Brian: "Well, I'd, I'd like to help you sir, but I'm too busy picturing your daughter naked." :shock:
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 3rd 2003, 4:25 am

Rickie is still struggling with his quest to find his own voice, as evidenced by his statement, "I can see it from your side, but I also see it from her side, and from my own side. But I don't really have a side." He is still letting Rayanne interrupt him (as seen when he is describing his encouter with Graham and then she breaks in with how nice Graham is). He is beginning to display some independence (he takes the bus home, while Rayanne is getting picked up by Amber - notice that Rayanne calls Amber by her first name), and this episode is the first instance where Rickie gets caught in the middle of Rayanne and Angela's friendship in a negative manner. He doesn't quite know what to do - he doesn't want to take sides, but he tries to play intermediary so that they will make up. He is still in the throes of his Jordan crush, which I think is cute ("You want me to talk to him? Well, maybe he hasn't sold [the tickets] yet...You want me to, to talk to him? Cause I'm willing to do it.")
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Post by starbug » Feb 3rd 2003, 6:30 am

So, I watched last night but then left my notes at home - I'm at work now so will post again tomorrow when I've got my notes and can remember what I wanted to say... :oops:

But, a some questions I had (which I do remember), mainly related to the whole American v English differences...

Who is Johnny, who Patty misses on the TV? Married to all those Joannes??

What does it mean to Diagram someone's sentences? I have no idea but I'd like to know.

Loads more tomorrow...

:)

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shorty

Post by shorty » Feb 3rd 2003, 9:16 am

Where did Graham see Angela going when she ran out of the house to supposedly go to the concert? Patty says, "is she getting into Rayanne's car?" and Graham replies, "she's gone". I'm thinkin, she couldn't have got into Rayanne's car if she was sitting in Brians, and the next day, Angela didn't know that Rayanne went to the concert, plus Rayanne already knew that she'd scalped the tickets, so she wouldn't have come to pick her up, so wouldn't Graham have gone after her, if her just saw her running down the road? Strange... :? (sorry about the rambling).

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 3rd 2003, 11:56 am

Ugh! I am swamped with work. :cry: I might not be able to contribute my 120% today. I love "Father Figures." I just want to throw this tidbit out there -- I didn't notice the ground shake. Earthquakes???? Agggghhh :!: :!:

Anyway, I'll try to check back later or tonight!
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Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by Nostradamus » Feb 3rd 2003, 12:20 pm

starbug wrote:Who is Johnny, who Patty misses on the TV? Married to all those Joannes??
Johnny Carson, beloved host of the Tonight Show. Although his successor Jay Leno has gained widespread popularity since taking over the role in the early 90's, Johnny is still regarded as the grand master of American daily variety shows. Remember that his departure would have been relatively fresh in Patty's mind circa '94.

You can read more about Johnny Carson (and his wives :wink: ) at the Internet Movie Database: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Carson,+Johnny
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 3rd 2003, 12:38 pm

Nostradamus wrote:
starbug wrote:Who is Johnny, who Patty misses on the TV? Married to all those Joannes??
Johnny Carson, beloved host of the Tonight Show. Although his successor Jay Leno has gained widespread popularity since taking over the role in the early 90's, Johnny is still regarded as the grand master of American daily variety shows. Remember that his departure would have been relatively fresh in Patty's mind circa '94.

You can read more about Johnny Carson (and his wives :wink: ) at the Internet Movie Database: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Carson,+Johnny
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Chases's bedroom clock read 12:40 something at night? Hasn't the Tonight Show been on from 11:30 to 12:30. Of course, it has been pushed back a little because of expanded local news programs. But, 12:40 something seems late to have Leno on. Also, there could have been a previous program that ran long. If so, I wonder what it was. Anyway, seems like a gaffe to me.

Johnny Carson will always be the king of late night. Leno can't hold Carson's shoes, IMHO. Letterman is a close 2nd to JC.

I might just be making strategic/surgical posts today.
Last edited by TomSpeed on Feb 3rd 2003, 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by Nostradamus » Feb 3rd 2003, 12:46 pm

starbug wrote:What does it mean to Diagram someone's sentences? I have no idea but I'd like to know.
Sentence diagramming is a method of teaching proper grammar by deconstructing and analysing the components of a phrase or sentence. The result of such reverse engineering looks something like a page from a sports team's playbook, with circles, underscores, and arrows crisscrossing in all directions. IMHO, I found it to be more confusing than helpful, and a college English professor once told me that most of her students had already forgotten how to do it.

I'll give you an example, as best as I can recall:

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.

In this case, Now is the subject, and all of the words after it constitute the predicate. Time is the object of the verb is. Aid of the party is a gerund phrase referring to the past participle to. All good men is a dangling Newtonian paradox which resides in the fifth dimension. Come equals the square root of Pi, unless Mercury is retrograde, in which case Griese steps out of the pocket and passes to Smith, who runs the ball back to the subject.

:shock:
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
-- Clarence Darrow

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-- Mark Twain

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Post by starbug » Feb 3rd 2003, 1:43 pm

Ahhhhh. That diagram stuff seems very confusing... glad I never learned grammar formally - they don't teach the Queen's english in the Queen's schools, it seems. :D You're sort of just meant to 'know' it (passed down through our hereditary peer system? Who knows... I know what I know because I've read lots of classic English Literature).

And OK, I know Jay Leno (the Tonight Show is broadcast here on cable sometimes but I haven't seen it in ages). Not to get bogged down with it, but I always found Jay to be a bit of a twit, IMHO :) If his predecessor was better, that is at least some comfort.

Thanks Nostradamus :D

I'll be back tomorrow with more contributions...

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 3rd 2003, 2:58 pm

I would like to confess that I liked diagramming sentences in middle school :oops:

There is something about diagramming sentences that makes it almost mathematical, similar to learning music theory. Then again, I was good at math so it makes sense that I liked seeing grammar broken down in a similar fashion. Considering my personality, anyone surprised by this? :wink:

Aside from my personal enjoyment, sentence diagramming seemed like such a good idea when I was faced with a girl in my French class freshman year in college who didn't know any grammar. We were in an intermediate class which was conducted completely in French (I had taken three years of French in high school and tested into this class). One girl (don't ask how the heck she got into the class) just did not get what the teacher was talking about. We were supposed to be doing general grammar review the first two weeks before we started reading books and watching movies, but this girl was flunking all the grammar quizzes and asking all kinds of stupid questions in class. The teacher (who was French, as in from France) became so frustrated with this girl's stupid questions (which were naturally asked incorrectly usually prefefaced by, "Uh, mais...je, uh, pas, no, um je ne uhhhh") that the teacher finally broke down and asked in English, "Look at the sentence - do you see where the direct object is?" Nope. "Can you tell me what the direct object is?" Nope. "Okay, what is the subject of the sentence?" Nope. That is the moment when the rest of the class simultaneouly began beating their heads against the desktops until we passed out from blood loss. When I came to, I realized that if this girl had been forced to diagram sentences for three years (as I had) then she would, at the very least, know what the subject and verb were in English.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 3rd 2003, 3:02 pm

My opinion on the late night talk show circuit - I love Dave! I think because he is an unabashed dork and he revels in his dorkdom. My boyfriend and I have been watching Jimmy Kimmel's show and it's pretty funny. Last week he had Snoop Dogg as a co-host which made for some amusing antics. He isn't any worse than Conan was when he started out and look at him - ten years on the air. Whew!
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You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 3rd 2003, 5:32 pm

Brian's car

Tough one. He does say that it is his car, and that Angela just can't sit in it assuming he doesn't need to use it. Depending on his DOB, Brian might be 16, which is old enough to have a license to drive in many states. Plus, it is an older car. I picture his psychiatrist parents having Beemers or Benzes. They would not drive a heap. It's a good car for a kid to have. Of course, he could mean that it is his family's car.

If it is his car, he might not be a good enough driver for Angela to want to catch a ride with him to school each day. Plus, even if he has a car, he would ride the bus if Angela chose to ride the bus.

I'm going to cheat a little and refer to the later episodes. He doesn't have a car in any of the later episodes. I think this might be a writing gaffe or a topic that the writers chose not to pursue in later episodes.

I love his suggestion of them going up to his room instead of hiding out in the car. WTG Bri! I think Angela senses a sexual undercurrent to his suggestion. She declines. Too bad! Although, it's hard to say if sneaking up to Brian's room would have lead to anything.
TomSpeed

Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 3rd 2003, 5:44 pm

I agree with what you are saying - Bob and Bernice are not going to drive around a car like that, which is what made me think that perhaps it IS Brian's car, but I, too, referred to later episodes where Brian is seen on the bus (Strangers in the House, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities) or needs a ride (like Patty and Graham confirming that Brian's parents are driving him, Angela, and Delia to the World Happiness Dance in Life of Brian).

Since we never see him actually drive the car (and it is early in the school year so he is probably still 15), I think that his parents, being the "plan ahead" types that they are, bought the beater so that Brian could learn how to drive without any chance of him wrecking one of their beemers. Hence, it is his car and there is good reason why we don't see him drive it - he isn't 16 yet. I doubt that BF would have totally ignored Brian's birthday and if he was born in the fall (some time prior to the pilot), I bet he would have been one of those half a year younger than everyone else kids instead of one of the half a year older kids - in other words, if his birthday was in the fall, he just turned 15 because his parents seem the type to want Brian to be accelerated so that he graduates when he is 17.
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Look, if this is weird for you, being tutored? I don't mind helping you a little longer.
You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?

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