Amber: Good or bad mother?

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 5th 2002, 3:59 pm

I have given this some more thought and tried to remember any instances when Rayanne flat out lied.

In the pilot, she asks the guys in the parking lot to get them into Let's Bolt because a friend has their keys and it's an emergency. Plausible? Ehhh.

In Dancing in the Dark, she tells Jordan that Angela is French. This is the worst lie, not only because logically it doesn't make any sense but Rayanne's explanation that Angela mixes words up is no reason why Angela can't ask Jordan herself.

I'm trying to think of other times when Rayanne lied, but so far her track record isn't very good. She doesn't seem like a good liar, which would make me lean towards the "locked in the basement story" seem like the truth.

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Rayanne lying

Post by glitter_punk » Dec 5th 2002, 4:28 pm

In Betrayal, angela says, "rayanne, acting is like lying, and who's a better liar than you?" and even though it's not really lying, she took the key of the handcuffs in weekend and was going to keep it, she just does dishonest things.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 9th 2002, 9:18 pm

In Life of Brian, Rayanne says, "Guidance is so weird. So she looked at me all concerned, wanting to know if I was going to the school dance, like that wasn't the stupidest question in history. And so, I broke down and cried. It was hysterical."

What do you make of this? Did Rayanne fake cry the way she did in Guns & Gossip? Or did she really cry? If she was crying for real, did she follow up her admission with her comment "it was hysterical" to make it into a joke (similar to the way she told Brian she was kidding about why she was afraid of the dark)?
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Post by Megs » Dec 9th 2002, 9:41 pm

candygirl wrote:In Life of Brian, Rayanne says, "Guidance is so weird. So she looked at me all concerned, wanting to know if I was going to the school dance, like that wasn't the stupidest question in history. And so, I broke down and cried. It was hysterical."

What do you make of this? Did Rayanne fake cry the way she did in Guns & Gossip? Or did she really cry? If she was crying for real, did she follow up her admission with her comment "it was hysterical" to make it into a joke (similar to the way she told Brian she was kidding about why she was afraid of the dark)?
I think that she really cried, and added the hysterical part to lighten it up.
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Post by Rickie Love » Dec 9th 2002, 10:05 pm

Hi all - Megs, I agree with you re Rayanne's crying during 'guidance' - I bet she did it unexpectedly, kinda just busted out of her, it surprised her and she thought she'd lighten it up in the telling, for Rickie.

And Candygirl, going back to how Amber tended to neglect Rayanne when it came to emotional stuff or guidance...I'm really gald you brought up that scene in 'Other People's Mothers', when she's TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS to Rayanne's plea for advice and is instead loking for a card for her FRIEND. I've always felt that that scene illustrated their (Rayanne and her mom) problem so well. That scene has ALWAYS hurt me, and I was going to bring it up, but I'm glad you did - I think it's terribly sad...

I had hippie parents and things can be wierd, that's for sure. Not saying I had those probs or anything, just kinda brings it on back - complete with Patchouli oil :roll:
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 9th 2002, 11:49 pm

The other time that Amber seems totally oblivous to Rayanne's emotional needs is the On the Wagon scene where Amber is making a margarita in front of her (and that's bad enough considering Rayanne's history with drinking but it only gets better):
Rayanne : So, when's dinner?
Amber : Oh. You're hungry?
Rayanne : I haven't eaten since breakfast.
Amber : You didn't eat lunch?
Rayanne : It's Tuesday. I saw my counselor today.
Amber : What counselor?
Rayanne : My drug counselor. Miss Krysenowski. Remember? I told you.
Amber : Okay, let's see what we got here. Egg rolls! Mini-quiche and, oh, pierogies!
I mean, Amber was totally upset when Rayanne almost overdosed (although her reaction was completely self-centered) but she has no idea how Rayanne is coping with the after effects? No clue about the mandatory counseling?
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Post by Rickie Love » Dec 10th 2002, 2:09 am

Ya, I know what you mean. Amber's pretty 'Holigolightly' about a lot of stuff - kinda just avoids a topic if it's upsetting. And has a tendency to view the world and others as it relates to her and HER wants. Oh well, I know this is just stating the obvious. Just got done watching about 3 eps in a row - it's pretty great. It'd been about 7 years since I'd last seen Betrayal and Resolutions and Pressure etc. In fact all the ones on disc 5. This is so great... 8)
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Post by Angela_Catalano » Aug 24th 2004, 2:23 pm

Its hard to say if she is a good or a bad mother... I think she is good and bad!

I think she has made many mistakes in raising Rayanne, Most of all leaving her there when Rayanne OD'd. She may not be very strict and lets Rayanne basicly do whatever she wants to do. Its going to be hard for Rayanne to ever learn disipline when She does not have a father and her mother makes no Rules!

On the other hand, She is a good person, maybe not a mother to Rayanne, but more like a big sister, or best friend! Rayanne can talk to her mother about alot of things kids dont talk with their parents about. So I think she probably has a a closer bond with her daughter because of it!

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Post by Jody Barsch* » Aug 24th 2004, 5:35 pm

Angela_Catalano wrote:On the other hand, She is a good person, maybe not a mother to Rayanne, but more like a big sister, or best friend! Rayanne can talk to her mother about alot of things kids dont talk with their parents about. So I think she probably has a a closer bond with her daughter because of it!
In a way, yes. But what good does that do either of them if Rayanne can't get the support she needs to stay sober, and if her Amber cannot realize when things are going wrong for her daughter?
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Post by MSCLfan00 » Aug 24th 2004, 7:23 pm

I think both Amber and Patty are good mothers...but in very different ways. Amber is the kind of mom who is always there to have a fun time with and you can relate to her more, which doesn't end up causing more arguements. Patty, on the other hand, tries to keep a short leash on Angela (even though sometimes she doesn't always succeed) which gives Angela a sense of security...Patty is also always there for Angela in her time of need. So, if I had to choose, I think I'd pick Patty as a mother. But I'm not saying Amber is bad mother.
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Post by starbug » Aug 25th 2004, 5:01 am

MSCLfan00 wrote:Amber is the kind of mom who is always there to have a fun time with and you can relate to her more, which doesn't end up causing more arguements.
In my mind, that makes her a worse mom than Patty. The behaviour you describe more befits a friend or an aunt or something. I mean, they're great qualities for a mother to have in small doses, but Amber's problem stems from the fact that she lets these aspects override any kind of proper motherly role (discipline, boundaries, support) towards Rayanne, resulting in Rayanne ODing and embarking on the path of selfdestruction that's very painful to her. In the end, I believe Rayanne even gravitates towards Patty because on some kind of subconscious level she recognises that Patty is better 'mother' material. Patty helps Angela to be Angela. Rayanne wants to 'be' Angela, and links her more stable homelife to the end product of Angela's personality. That's not to say that Angela's perfect, but she's certainly more healthy than Rayanne.

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Post by Nothingman » Aug 25th 2004, 12:05 pm

Angela_Catalano wrote:She may not be very strict and lets Rayanne basicly do whatever she wants to do. Its going to be hard for Rayanne to ever learn disipline when She does not have a father and her mother makes no Rules!
MSCLfan00 wrote:Amber is the kind of mom who is always there to have a fun time with and you can relate to her more, which doesn't end up causing more arguements.
Amber avoids confrontation so that she won't alienate her daughter. She does this because Rayanne is the only steady person in her life and she doesn't want to be at odds with her. Also, Amber knows that if she does lay down the law and Rayanne pushes her away, she doesn't have a father to turn to for support. Third, Amber probably doesn't understand how a normal child-parent relationship really works. Odds are she comes from a single parent or broken home where she never was exposed to that and she is repeating what she knows. Same reason Rayanne is very likely to end up as a single mother. All of this stuff fits under the general single mother stereotype, of course there are exceptions, but in general it holds true. As a single mother the odds are against you, and really against your child.
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Post by Jody Barsch* » Aug 25th 2004, 12:58 pm

starbug wrote:In the end, I believe Rayanne even gravitates towards Patty because on some kind of subconscious level she recognizes that Patty is better 'mother' material. Patty helps Angela to be Angela. Rayanne wants to 'be' Angela, and links her more stable home life to the end product of Angela's personality. That's not to say that Angela's perfect, but she's certainly more healthy than Rayanne.
I love what you have said here Starbug! It is so true; many of the kids who do not have stable home lives end up confiding in Patty at one time or another. The ironic thing being that while Angela tries her best to avoid confiding in her mother about her life and her friends, her friends are the ones who are confiding in and seeking support from her. Rayanne in "Betrayal" comes over and talks openly with Patty, Rickie turns to her for support at the end of "So-Called Angels" and Jordan does it towards the end of "In Dreams". Rayanne makes fun of Angela's stable home life: "Ignore Angela, she can't help herself. She's a product of a two-parent household," but we see in scenes like making the chocolate sauce in "On the Wagon" that she really desires this in her life. So much so that she lies to the Chases in order to give the appearance of having the stable supportive mother, and then goes home to be disappointed and ultimately compare Amber to Patty:
Rayanne : No, no. I gotta go. You know, my mom's making dinner. Later. …

Rayanne : So, when's dinner?
Amber : Oh. You're hungry?
Rayanne : I haven't eaten since breakfast.
Amber : You didn't eat lunch?
Rayanne : It's Tuesday. I saw my counselor today.
Amber : What counselor?
Rayanne : My drug counselor. Miss Krysenowski. Remember, I told you.
Amber : [looking in freezer] Okay, let's see what we got here. Egg rolls! Mini-quiche and, oh, pierogies!
Rayanne : I'm sick of appetizers. I want a real meal, with all four basic food groups, and just for once can it not be such an amazing surprise that I want to eat dinner like every other American on the planet? …
… Amber : Aaaaaaa! Look what we forgot we had. Leftover Chinese. Rainie, butterfly shrimp! [She feeds one to Rayanne]
Despite the facts that by the end of the scene, Amber's charismatic presentation of the butterfly shrimp wins Rayanne over, and that in the moment of being rescued by Patty she tells her she doesn't like her, Rayanne does desire what Angela’s parents have to offer in terms of support, guidance and comfort (not just Graham’s stubble and spicy mustard). I’d have to go through and watch, but maybe Rayanne only really begins to see the plus side of Patty as a parent after it was Angela’s mother and not her own who saved her fro.m the overdose. Having or not having a home-cooked meal prepared may invite some comparison, but it’s near to impossible to avoid comparing the two women in terms of who was there for Rayanne the night of the overdose. Ultimately, to be in the running for a good mother, I think you need to be able to keep your child alive (in cases such as this).

Qualifier; I really like Amber as a character, and I do think that there are moments when we see her being a good mother to Rayanne; I have left some things out, and there are, of course, other ways of reading Rayanne’s relationship with these women.
Last edited by Jody Barsch* on Aug 8th 2008, 3:17 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Aug 26th 2004, 2:32 am

Starbug, I totally agree - as I said in my earlier post, a mother's role is not to be her kid's best friend. A mother has to be the adult and do what is in the best interest of her child. First she is completely oblivious to Rayanne's drinking problem, then she is totally insensitive after Rayanne almost ODs, drinking margaritas while Rayanne is going to mandatory counseling. Amber wants to be the fun aunt, not the responsible mom. Although she does understand Rayanne in a way that no one else does (remember the look on Rayanne's face when Amber feeds her butterfly shrimp?), she does not give Rayanne the emotional support she needs. This is probably because Amber is not very emotionally mature herself. Amber seems like the kind of mom who would want to go out to bars with Rayanne and would end up on the "moms who dress too hot" episode of Jerry Springer. As I said before, Amber clearly loves Rayanne, no question, but her parenting skills are lacking, due in part to her laissez faire attitude.
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Post by MyLifeIsBrians » Aug 28th 2004, 2:31 pm

candygirl wrote:Starbug, I totally agree - as I said in my earlier post, a mother's role is not to be her kid's best friend. A mother has to be the adult and do what is in the best interest of her child. First she is completely oblivious to Rayanne's drinking problem, then she is totally insensitive after Rayanne almost ODs, drinking margaritas while Rayanne is going to mandatory counseling. Amber wants to be the fun aunt, not the responsible mom. Although she does understand Rayanne in a way that no one else does (remember the look on Rayanne's face when Amber feeds her butterfly shrimp?), she does not give Rayanne the emotional support she needs. This is probably because Amber is not very emotionally mature herself. Amber seems like the kind of mom who would want to go out to bars with Rayanne and would end up on the "moms who dress too hot" episode of Jerry Springer. As I said before, Amber clearly loves Rayanne, no question, but her parenting skills are lacking, due in part to her laissez faire attitude.

My Mom was A LOT like Rayannes. Growing up I did`nt have many rules to follow. Basically if I did`nt get arrested I was okay. I never had a bedtime or anyone telling me no snacks before dinner, I never had a curfew and I was allowed to watch whatever I wanted. The fact is, I always had trouble understanding my friends parents. They had all of these boundaries and rules. My mom was more like my older sister. She`s 40 and looks really young for her age (I`m 20 now). People always make the mistake of calling her my sister which annoys me to no end and makes her happy.

I don`t think Rayannes mom or my mom is a bad parent. I think they are both doing the best they can and they really just don`t know. I never went hungry, always had the same home to come home too, the house was kept clean and I always had clean clothes. Rayanne seemed to me to have the same thing.

I think Rayanne`s mother was the same way. When we have kids we parent them in a similiar way our parents treated us because it`s all we know. I think that overall she is not the traditional mother, she can certaintly do a lot better but under the circumstances she is a good parent who loves and cares for her daughter.
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