First I would like to say that anyone who hasn't read the original shooting script (which is different from the episode transcript) should do so here
. As I stated in a previous thread, it clears some stuff up (especially the Sharon/Kyle situation).
Brian says his parents "fundamentally disagree with each other about everything" - this statement gives us our first insight into Brian as a person, rather than annoying neighbor with a hopeless crush on Angela. Growing up in an atmosphere where his parents have different philosophies on everything, both professionaly and personally, must have seriously affected Brian's outlook on everything (hence his statement about Angela's family being normal and doing things like laughing, eating unbalanced meals, and talking about things that don't have deep symbolic meaning - I take that to mean that his family does none of those things - poor Brian! His sister isn't around to commiserate with, his parents argue about everything, they pressure him to excel academically, yell at him to take the trash out, and psychoanalyze him constantly. Plus they abandon him during the holidays, as we see a few episodes later. For people who are trained to understand people, Bob and Bernice aren't very considerate of their son). Interestingly, one part of Brian's assumption is not completely true - remember in the pilot that Angela says, "I can't bring myself to eat a balanced meal in front of my mother - it means too much to her." Whether Patty or Graham (who's pro butter!) is doing the cooking, you can bet that the Chases are getting their recommended daily allowance of vitamins, minerals, and the basic food groups in their packed lunches and home cooked dinners. Patty probably tries out recipes that Camille ripped out of the latest Redbook
I mean that in a good way though - Patty seems like the kind of mom who would read articles about healthy dinners while she's standing in line at the grocery store.
Brian's statement about Angela's normal family is a segueway to Danielle screaming, "Child abuse!" while Patty tries to detangle her hair. When she gives up, Danielle stomps off muttering, "Fine, I'll do [braids] myself," which illustrates her Younger Sibling attitude - she was asking Patty to do something that she was capable of doing herself. Maybe she just likes the attention or perhaps it's because she likes being babied (or it's possible that she's just lazy) but so typical.
Sharon is so pushy when doing her little Brian/Delia matchmaking. "Ask her to the dance!" She is so overly enthusiastic when she says that - ugh! I also found it funny that Sharon equates school spirit with going to the dance. So anyone who doesn't go to the dance has no school spirit? At my high school, going to a dance was a social excursion which had nothing to do with how much anyone liked or disliked the actual school or if they cared about the football team's record or anything similar, but given Sharon's peppy do-gooder attitude, this isn't a surprising revelation.
Graham's wallpaper analogy reveals that he is afraid to make a choice because he will have to live with it for a long time. Given this attitude, I understand why Patty brought home the adult education bulletin and then signed Graham up because she knows "how hard it is for [Graham] to focus." It does seem a little underhanded and sneaky, but she does have his best interests at heart.
Brian asks Graham if he should wait until the really great wallpaper is cheaper. I realize that is using an analogy, but under what circumstances does Brian think that Angela will be "cheaper" or somewhere in his "price range"?
I was a little surprised that Brian took a sip of Delia's drink - he seems so anal retentive that I assumed he would be the kind of guy who feared other people's cooties
While Brian and Delia were talking outside Big Guy Burger, I noticed a guy pacing in front of the abandoned theater (across the street, behind Brian). There didn't seem to be a bus stop, so the pacing combined with the abandoned theater gave the street a "questionable safety" vibe - great that Brian is riding his bike in the dark to a place like that!
Another thought I had during this scene was Brian and Delia's curly hair. Imagine what their kids' hair would look like!
Although we have seen the characters at their lockers in previous episodes, this particular episode lets us see most of them all in 40 minutes. Brian's has a hand on top of a blue artsy looking picture AND a little school mascot sticker - so much for Sharon accusing him of not having school spirit! Sharon's locker has a drawing of eyes inside. Rayanne's has an abstract picture (which I couldn't see very well) on orangish paper. We don't see Rickie's locker in this episode, but he has that picture of a guy with his eyes closed on a blue background. Any thoughts or interpretations of their locker adornments?
One of the great aspects of this episode is how we see that Brian is similar to Angela in many ways, in thought and action. When he prepares to ask Delia to the dance ("I have to ask Delia Fisher to the dance - on the count of three... SPEAK!"), he mirrors Angela preparing to talk to Jordan in Why Jordan Can't Read ("Hi. Oh, hi."). Brian's assessment of Angela's "babbling" and "blathering" when she asks for a ride to the dance is even funnier considering the way he babbled and blathered only minutes before when asking Delia to the dance. Later Brian thinks, "Okay, this is the simplest thing in the world. People do it every day. Just -- start a conversation," which echoes Angela in Why Jordan Can't Read: "Huge events take place on this earth every day. Earthquakes, hurricanes. Even glaciers move. So, why couldn't he just look at me?"
When Rayanne admits to Rickie that she cried during her counseling session, she follows it up with, "It was hysterical." We have questioned whether Rayanne is telling the truth (especially her story about being afraid of the dark in Halloween), but this is another story that I question. Is she telling the truth and trying to laugh it off, or did she cry to see if she could fool the counselor? My take on this is that Rayanne likes having an authority figure like Miss Kryzanowski to keep tabs on her and worry about her, but she isn't quite ready to admit that to her peers.
Another true to life situation in MSCL is Rickie coming to terms with his sexuality. He hasn't admitted anything yet (although his flamboyant outfits are a pretty bold statement in themselves) and in fact is trying to adhere to social norms by liking girls (i.e. telling Rayanne he wants to ask Pam Troy to the dance). In my experience, when people initially come out to those closest to them, it isn't a shock - after all, how can you be really close to someone and not see it? Similarly, Rayanne scoffs at Rickie's choice and calls his bluff, telling him he should go to the dance with Corey. Rickie admits he would like to, but that would only happen "in some imaginary universe that exists, like, in my mind." This is Rickie's first hesistant step forward in admitting who he is to Rayanne. He takes a similar first tentative step with Angela when he says,"I belong nowhere. With no one. That I don't -- fit." Even before he says it, Angela sees where he is going and asks him a gentle leading question so that he can answer as honestly as he is comfortable with admitting at that time. What is disturbing about the situation is that Rayanne knows Rickie is not ready to completely come out yet, and he warns her, "If you say one word to [Corey], I will kill you." Rayanne ignore Rickie's threat and arranges for Corey to go to the dance with them. I think that this illustrates Rayanne's blatant disregard for boundaries. Instead of taking Rickie's wishes into consideration (and not considering the possible negative consequences of her actions), Rayanne blithely plays matchmaker. Did she ever intend to go to the dance with Rickie and Corey? Is her explanation about not being ready for an event like that and her couselor's advice a lie (or a convenient truth)?
Angela tells Jordan that "sometimes people fill their minds with all these stupid things, you know? To keep themselves from thinking about you know, what's really important. Like this World Happiness Dance?" This is funny coming from Angela who spends most of the episode pondering the dance, which she views as important, whether it's just an excuse to get out of the house or a chance to see Jordan outside school. Given her statement, what does Angela consider to be something that's "really important"?
Jordan is full of crap. He says he doesn't like to make plans because that means he has obligations. "And that basically blows." The fact is that he DOES make plans and have obligations - he had to go to the track with his friends on Halloween, and he had to go with his friends to find the guy who egged Tino's car. "That's, like, something I can't get out of." He also manages to commit himself to Frozen Embryos and go to rehearsal (even if not everyone else always shows up). The fact that he is at the dance with his friends and then leaves with them shows that he is quite capable of making plans and following through with them. Does he exclude them from his "obligations blow" generalization? Or is he trying to rationalize not showing up to meet Angela's parents in Why Jordan Can't Read? Interestingly, the other guys in Jordan's little group don't seem to have a problem with obligations. As they are leaving the dance, one guy says he has to go pick up Kimmie from work, and another says they're going to Kathy's first. Even if they are only referring to some Friends with Benefits, they are still able to make commitments to show up at a certain time and follow through. Jordan didn't know about the dance until Angela told him about it - so whose idea was it to go?
It's not entirely visible, (let's just say it was very clearly implied!
) but when Angela walks by the science room and sees Brian with Delia, he draws away from Delia (you can see his shoulder move) so it appears that he pulls his hand away from Delia.
Graham unconsciously echos Jordan's philosophy (and as we will see later in Pressure, this isn't the only time this will happen) "whatever happens, happens." Brian repeats this because he heard it from Graham, but Angela does not know this - she heard it from Jordan. Similar to Other People's Mothers when Angela did not want to hang streamers or move furniture for Patty's party but volunteered to do it for Rayanne, Angela "really respects" Jordan's philosophy, but when it comes from Brian's mouth, it's "the stupidest thing" she's ever heard. I wonder what her assessment would be if she heard Graham say it!
I love the use of color in this episode. When Rickie and Angela are sitting outside at lunch, his violet vest matches her dress. Later at the dance, Rickie's blue matches Delia's outfit. If we want to see color as symbolic, then it's interesting that Corey's painted sneakers are multi-colored. Mmm hmm.
Why does Angela decide to go to the dance without Rickie? Who did she think she would hang out with? Did she deliberately sabotage Brian's date? After all, she didn't know he was going with Delia before she approached him.
Why does Brian assume that Angela is asking him to the dance when she clearly states that she just needs a ride? Is this a case of "you hear what you want to hear"? Interesting that she goes out of her way to ask Brian for a ride to the dance since he isn't really the one who is driving - his dad is the chauffeur for the evening.