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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TomSpeed
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 4th 2003, 1:03 pm

Chuck

I don't think Chuck is all that bad. Yes, he is gruff. Some of his comments can be called sexist. Clearly, he doesn't like Graham that much. He also treats Patty like a child in some ways. But, he has some good qualities, too.

He loves Patty. He loved her as a child. He loved her enough to ask her to run the business. He probably could have easily sold the print shop when he had his heart attack. He loves her enough to make things up to her at the print shop in his own way. He also loves Danielle and Angela.

As for him not liking Graham, what father thinks a man is good enough to marry his daughter? Most fathers consider all men unworthy of taking their daughters away from them. He points out the sagging rain gutter to take a swipe at Graham. However, how much effort has Graham given to getting to know Chuck. Naturally, a husband does not like his wife's parents?

Anyway, cut Chuck some slack. After all, he is a veteran who had a heart attack and was struck with the diabetes.
Last edited by TomSpeed on Feb 4th 2003, 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Nostradamus » Feb 4th 2003, 2:08 pm

I think that Graham and Rickie's awkward pause may simply be the meeting of two passive personalities. Rickie and Graham are both very polite and personable, but they are also not the sort of people to charge at a new acquaintance with an extended hand and a hearty "Hey! How's it goin?". Add to this the fact that Rickie was leaving as Graham was arriving and you get a friendly, if confusing first impression.

As for Rayanne, Graham is put at ease when he hears her and Angela laughing in the kitchen, his natural habitat. True, his calling Rayanne by name did show some initiative, but he may have just heard Angela say it as he entered. After that, Rayanne's aggressive (especially with attractive men) personality could have easily segued into the cooking lesson.
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I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 4th 2003, 3:42 pm

Graham meeting Rickie

I don't really think anything significant happens when Graham meets Rickie for the first time. I think if anything Graham is taken slightly aback that a male friend of Angela's, besides Brian, is in the house. Angela has probably talked about Rickie, like she has talked about the "famous Rayanne Graff," but suddenly meeting someone for the first time without any introduction, can be slightly jarring.
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 TomSpeed » Feb 4th 2003, 4:03 pm

Graham meeting Rayanne

It makes a big difference that Angela is present when Graham meets Rayanne. He's not coming upon her cold. Plus, it makes a difference that the meeting takes place in Graham's kitchen. Of course, we don't really know how much time elapsed until they started cooking. Ah, the magic of editing.

Graham and Rayanne get along so well, I definitely think Angela feels jealous. See one of my previous posts.
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 likelife » Feb 4th 2003, 11:50 pm

chuck

i'm not quite sure that i would go as far as to call chuck a bad father, but i do think that we can see from his behavior how so much of patty's personality is a reaction to her parents. i think seeing chuck reminds us once again how much patty must love graham and how thankful she is that she's found a man who appreciates her and can say it... because graham does say it.

graham, rickie and rayanne

i agree that graham is taken aback when he meets rickie because rickie is a boy in the house (other than brian), and graham simply does not know what to say. if you think about it, graham is not much more eloquent or coherent when he first meets jordan... also, rickie is needy, but not in the sort of obvious way that rayanne is. sure, he craves love and good family life and all of that, but he is not someone who tries to be the center of attention. in rayanne's case, it's clear what she needs from graham and patty, and in turn, they each give that to her.
i think that friends being attracted to your parents can be hard, especially for someone like angela who does not freely discuss sex with her parents. on top of the fact that she's suspiscious of her dad, rayanne is flirting with him and he's being nice back! i have a friend whose family is sort of sexually repressed and i soetimes tell her her dad's cute just to get a rise out of her. i'm not saying that the chases are repressed, but at least in terms of angela's comfort level with her dad and vice versa, rayanne's flirty ploy for attention is understandably hard for angela to handle.

starbug -- about patty and angela reacting to their respective fathers

i agree that patty acts in a far more matuer manner than angela, but we are also led to believe that this is one of the first times she's successfully done so. i'm not ragging on patty - it's obvious that chuck is as stubborn as an ox. what i mean to say is that angela really is "right on time" in terms of questioning the belief that parents are infallable, and in terms of being a saucy teenager instead of reacting in a mature manner. also, the fact that angela is worrying about a specific betrayal, and not just a general "oh dad, you're so annoying!" situation, i'd argue that her behavior is pretty understandable. she feels as though her world is falling apart (maybe) and she does not have the coping skills yet to simply overlook his shortcomings. rayanne has already had to do that sifting through the good and bad to find anything redeeming about her folks... so she has had more practice with the notion that people screw up sometimes.

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 5th 2003, 12:53 pm

Knocking Parents off of Pedestals

The phenomenon young adults knocking their parents off of their pedestals, like what's going on with Angela and Graham/Patty and Chuck, is absolutely vital for people to grow up in a healthy way. Patty's statement that Angela is doing so with Graham right on time is prescient. (I think that's the right word, if not, substitute insightful/keen.) Of course, sometimes the drift can become too wide and the family can fail as a unit. However, some pushing away from each other is normal. Not having the pushing away happen can stunt a child's mental development and sense of self/independence.

I can speak about myself. My mom and dad were never married. In fact, my mom had an affair with my dad when he was married to someone else. She already had four children. My dad had four children with his wife. There was real love between them, but things did not work out. He stayed with his wife and kids. So, I grew up knowing of my dad, not knowing him.

My mom worked really hard to raise us kids. I never thought of crossing her. I always tried hard to be momma's good little boy. However, while working to please her, I failed to develop my own wants, needs, motivations, and I failed to develop ways to attain my goals. I might not have failed completely, but I wasn't that strong.

My father died when I turned 21. I never really had a man-to-man talk with him. So, some of my growing up disappeared.

Even now, I find it hard if not impossible to discuss certain things with my mom. There might be some things that I will never talk to her about.

It took me many years to justify a number of feelings and build my confidence after I turned 21. I'm OK now, but I could have reached the point where I am now much sooner. I think it is really great that Angela pushes and Graham and Patty are there to absorb her pushing and to make sure she doesn't push too far. That's like things should be.
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 Megs » Feb 5th 2003, 1:16 pm

TomSpeed wrote:Knocking Parents off of Pedestals

The phenomenon young adults knocking their parents off of their pedestals, like what's going on with Angela and Graham/Patty and Chuck, is absolutely vital for people to grow up in a healthy way. Patty's statement that Angela is doing so with Graham right on time is prescient. (I think that's the right word, if not, substitute insightful/keen.) Of course, sometimes the drift can become too wide and the family can fail as a unit. However, some pushing away from each other is normal. Not having the pushing away happen can stunt a child's mental development and sense of self/independence.

I can speak about myself. My mom and dad were never married. In fact, my mom had an affair with my dad when he was married to someone else. She already had four children. My dad had four children with his wife. There was real love between them, but things did not work out. He stayed with his wife and kids. So, I grew up knowing of my dad, not knowing him.

My mom worked really hard to raise us kids. I never thought of crossing her. I always tried hard to be momma's good little boy. However, while working to please her, I failed to develop my own wants, needs, motivations, and I failed to develop ways to attain my goals. I might not have failed completely, but I wasn't that strong.

My father died when I turned 21. I never really had a man-to-man talk with him. So, some of my growing up disappeared.

Even now, I find it hard if not impossible to discuss certain things with my mom. There might be some things that I will never talk to her about.

It took me many years to justify a number of feelings and build my confidence after I turned 21. I'm OK now, but I could have reached the point where I am now much sooner. I think it is really great that Angela pushes and Graham and Patty are there to absorb her pushing and to make sure she doesn't push too far. That's like things should be.
Very insightful and touching observation. Thank you.
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Post by likelife » Feb 5th 2003, 9:42 pm

tomspeed -
thanks so much for sharing your story.
i think you are right about development of self and identity and about that has everything to do iwth pushing parents off of pedestals and risking argument/disagreement, what-have-you.
i think we've all sort of agreed in one way or another that mscl is ABOUT angela discovering things about herself and for that matter, shaping who she wants "herself" to be. each time she does something new - whether she succeeds or fails, it's all part of her growing process.
something that's touching in "father figures," despite the fact that it's obviously detrimental to her relationship with graham, is that a lot of angela's behavior is at least indirectly in protection of her mother.... the show started by telling us that angela can barely stand to hear her mother talk. it's nice to know that deep down, she still knows that her mother and for that matter her family life is something that she loves and wants to preserve. she acts the way she does toward graham because she feels betrayed, but also because she believes that graham betrayed patty.

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Post by NIGHTJESSI » Feb 13th 2003, 1:56 pm

Since RL prevented me from delving into this discussion any sooner, let me just address some of questions others brought up.

First, candygirl's always thought-provoking queries ...
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?

I don't think she wanted to be in a position where she was in Brian's room because that opens up another can of worms. Besides, I think she wanted to be the martyr a bit even though she knew she was wrong to sell the tickets and lie to Graham and Rayanne about the concert. It was her way of punishing herself. And I think deep down, she did want Graham to catch her so they could have it out about the tickets.
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?

Brian is likely commenting on the fact that his parents really don't pay much attention to him unless it has to do with school. His parents strike me as much more into balancing their joint checking than worrying about what Brian is up to. And they certainly wouldn't want him going to a concert on a school night because that would take away from his studies.
When Patty asks Chuck, "Why does there have to be this distane between us?" he replies, "Well, it's not my doing." True?
Patty seems to get her stubborn streak from Chuck, so I'm guessing they equally created the distance between them. And with Chuck having to give the business up after his health problems and Patty wanting to go in a new direction with the business, I wouldn't be surprised if there is even more distance between them. Chuck is just from the old school while Patty is from the newer school, and I don't think they'll ever see eye to eye because they're both too demanding of the relationship.
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!)?
Angela definitely sees the situation with Jordan as complicated and not something she is ready to discuss with Graham. As for stupid, I think she might be feeling stupid that she wasted $30 just to get a chance to talk to Jordan. Granted, she ended up not really having to make that money or get that money from her parents thanks to hawking the Dead tickets, but it does seem silly now in light of what happened in the car with Jordan.
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?
Angela's aversion to Graham's whiskers always struck me as her being upset that Graham was different and she was different too. She really was trying to find any reason not to like him, and the whiskers were like an added bonus. She didn't like them because it meant that Graham wasn't the same father he had been in the past.

And now shorty's query ...
Where did Graham see Angela going when she ran out of the house to supposedly go to the concert?
My guess is Angela ran out so fast and into the dark that Graham didn't know what to think. By the time he got to the window, it was entirely possible that Rayanne's car had come and gone. He was just so flabbergasted at the whole situation that his thinking was a bit stalled and he wasn't quite putting everything together at the moment.
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Post by loveme » May 11th 2003, 12:03 am

lots of good things in this episode: just a little one i'm surprised nobody noticed (but i haven't read angela's world yet, so...):
there is this conversation about angela kocking her father off his pedestals,and at the end of the episode, when graham asked her for help with the gutter, she had to come up, you know with the kind of ladder, i mean i guess the authors already think about all that and so decided to put on the story of the gutter.
Lots of others things, but it's late, nearly 7am in my country, i'd rather go to sleep!!

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » May 11th 2003, 3:55 am

William Blais mentions this in his Angela's World analysis of this particular episode:
Angela steps up on the ladder to look at Graham face to face. Angela has not pushed Graham off the pedestal, but has stepped up to meet him.
Another great example of BF getting their point across without dropping anvils on our heads :D
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Post by loveme » May 11th 2003, 10:51 am

yes i've seen it in angela's world after posting my message...
i love Graham in this episode, especially when Patty tell him he's a good father and he turn back...so great.And i especially love too the scene between Brian an Angela in the car, great acting by Devon Gummersall :)

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Post by doodles444s » May 18th 2003, 12:43 am

I don't know if this is where I would bring this up, but I was just looking up My So-Called Life with http://www.imdb.com/ (hopefully that will work.. if not it is just http://www.imdb.com.. easy to type) anyways... I clicked on Winnie Holzman, just to see what else she has done. And in her list of appearances it says MSCL and that she appeared in "Father Figures" as Cathy Krzyzanowski. I just watched the episode earlier today, before I had read that and can't remember who that was. But I just thought you guys would like that piece of info. This is the site that info is on http://us.imdb.com/Name?Holzman,%20Winnie

Anyways, an aside... there is a horrible critique of MSCL on the site that is about MSCL. http://us.imdb.com/Title?0108872#comment I don't agree with what they are saying. However, I don't think I express myself as eloquently as some of you. Not telling you guys to write aything, just kinda explaining why I didn't write anything.
Here is just a quote from what this person said (I don't agree with it at all)
My So-Called Life is one of the most unrealistic teen-shows ever made. If they want to make a teenager-oriented show, why not have sit-com or a drama series about an unpopular teen who's a piano and trumpet prodigy, or wants to strive to make it big in baseball, soccer, or basketball? At least that would be halfway realistic! Not be what the teenagers in this show or Dawson's Creek are like. This show is toxic waste, do not let your teenagers watch it

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » May 18th 2003, 1:09 am

Miss Kryzanowski is the school counselor and she appears in several episodes.

In Guns & Gossip, she counsels Brian, Rayanne, Crystal, and Angela after the shooting. Rayanne asks her if she can get a few days off from school. Miss K also tells Angela that when people gossip, "Usually people latch on to things when there is a kernel of truth."

In Father Figures, Miss K tells Jordan to hand over his walkman, then later in the episode she asks who is supposed to be teaching English class and then has the students diagram sentences.

In On the Wagon, we learn that Miss K has been Rayanne's drug counselor for a month and we see their last session together.

In Resolutions, Miss K tries to get Rickie into Pride House.

As for the negative comments, imdb is similar to amazon in that anyone who registers can post a review, which means that either they are overly enthusiastic or they totally trash the movie/tv show, which is why I don't bother to read them.
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Post by doodles444s » May 18th 2003, 8:35 pm

Oh, sorry. thanks for the info also.
So hold me when I'm here, right me when I'm wrong
Hold me when I'm scared, and love me when I'm gone
Everything I am, and everything in me
Wants to be the one you wanted me to be
I'll never let you down, even if I could

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