colors

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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colors

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 5th 2002, 6:59 pm

Someone mentioned in another thread that Patty wears red a lot. Angela dyes her hair red (okay, crimson glow) and gets a new red backpack. Camille says men like when women wear red. Neal says Hillary Clinton should wear more red.

Rickie sings "Blue Moon" in Halloween, an episode about a school dance, and then at the World Happiness Dance is seen wearing blue (as is his dance partner Delia).

And what about Amber & Rusty? :wink:

Any thoughts? Or am I just making stuff up here? :D

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Post by glitter_punk » Dec 5th 2002, 9:15 pm

It seems like there's a lot of color at Amber's house... like tie-dye, like Grateful dead... so maybe Amber and Rusty could be multi-colored, which could represent their wild nature, lots of colors, etc, like Rayanne's changing hair color, clothing, etc.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 5th 2002, 9:37 pm

I meant that Amber and Rusty are colors. "Earth tones" as Rickie put it.

:D

(or poop toned, like nut & corn crunch on South Park)
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Post by glitter_punk » Dec 5th 2002, 10:09 pm

oh :oops: my bad.
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Post by Megs » Dec 5th 2002, 10:15 pm

Cool. I mentioned the red. Patty is constantly wearing red. All the time. I just haven't figured out why the costume dessigners picked that color for her. Or is it possible that Bess Armstrong just liked to wear red? Who knows. What does the color of red mean? Sex? Death? Those are the two things that I correlate with that color.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 6th 2002, 1:05 am

Megs wrote:Cool. I mentioned the red.
Sorry, I couldn't remember who brought that up. You always have good topic ideas, especially Patty-related ones!

In Chinese culture, red represents happiness, good fortune, etc. which is why brides traditionally wear red.

In western culture, red symbolizes power, sexuality, passion (sometimes anger).

Either interpretation is fitting for Patty. She is in an authority position at work, she still has a passionate relationship with Graham, and despite the conflicts we see, she has is successful in her home life and her professional life.
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Post by Megs » Dec 6th 2002, 10:42 am

Do you really think that Patty is happy (red = happiness)? She always struck me as unhappy, but highly successful. And I never really thought of her and Graham having a passionate relationship... well, maybe.. I take that back. But, didn't she think that her and Graham's sex life had become "routine and mechanical"? :wink:

I like the red = power explanation. She is definitely strong, successful, smart, focused, organized... everything a working mother strives to be. ("You know what this family needs? A wife.") Yet, it seems to Patty that that isn't enough for her. That she needs more somehow. I don't know, maybe I'm just thinking about my mother and confusing her with Patty. They are very similar.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 6th 2002, 2:55 pm

I don't think that Patty is unhappy. Rather I think that she is so indoctrinated with the ideals of the American dream ("like some kind of warped version of the Patty Duke show") that she will always believe that there is something more that would make her life that much more perfect.

Despite the fact that Angela distances herself from Patty and Graham grows apart from Patty because they are working together (and then flounders for a new direction once she fires him), she seems to know that she has a good life. After all, she has a husband she loves, two kids who could be "a lot worse," a successful business, a house in the suburbs - the requisite accoutrements to the American dream.

Sometimes she is frustrated with particular situations (her own mother rearranging the candlesticks, Graham's apathy, Angela's rebellion, her father's overbearing nature) but she seems to know that these are day to day things that she can handle (as opposed to really horrible situations where it would take more than a few days to fix - like being an unemployed single mother living in the projects whoring herself out to the neighborhood crack dealer in order to feed her thug kids).

I think that "something more" Patty strives for is a creative outlet or personal interest. Graham has cooking, Camille has organizing charity events. Patty has so many responsibilities between raising the kids, trying to be supportive of Graham, and running the business that she doesn't have time to do anything else. It is also frustrating for many women to realize that they went to college, started successful careers, in other words had their own lives and then are perceived as "Angela's mom" instead of being recognized for their individuality.

If anything, I think Patty suffers from the ennui of life than unhappiness with her life. She has a very structured routine because it is necessary and she doesn't have enough spare time to take up a new hobby so she takes pleasure in doing things that she can squeeze into her evenings like ice skating and dragging Graham to ballroom dancing.

I think the reason Patty says they need "a wife" is to take care of all the crap that is time consuming, repetitive, and necessary - like the housework and buying groceries. If they had someone else to take care of that stuff (a la Michael Keaton in Multiplicity :wink: ) then Patty would have more time to concentrate on her relationships with Graham and the kids - her family is very important to her and she really wants to stay connected with them.

To summarize, I don't see Patty as unhappy (taking stock of her life and finding it terrible) but striving for more and better (looking for ways to improve what she already has), which are two different things. She is a 40 something mom who is beginning to see the truth in the words of the great John "don't call me Cougar" Mellancamp - oh yeah, life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.
Last edited by Natasha (candygirl) on Dec 6th 2002, 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 6th 2002, 2:58 pm

Megs wrote:But, didn't she think that her and Graham's sex life had become "routine and mechanical"? :wink:
Actually Graham is the one who guessed that:
Graham : Found it.
Patty : Excuse me?
Graham : Who's your favorite couple? Mine's Gunther and Liz.
Patty : Excuse -- I've never seen this tape before.
Graham : Now, now, now -- don't be coy --
Patty : I'm serious. Why would I get a tape like *this*?
Graham : Uh, because our sex life has become routine and mechanical?
Narrator : Soon they began to trust each other enough to be able to divulge their most secret fantasies.
Patty : Do you really think that? That our sex life is mechanical?
Graham : Oh, Patty. [watching the tape] Whoa!
Patty : That really hurts my feelings.
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Post by likelife » Dec 6th 2002, 6:07 pm

candy girl - i agree with your assessment of patty. she is not so much happy or unhappy as she is frustrated by the limitations of being a working mother and wife. i think that we see that both in her own actions and also in everyone else's REactions to her....
-- for example that angela is so susurprised to find out that her mother had a friend in college like rayanne, or that her mom might actually know what to do when someone od's.
-- also, patty is very hurt when graham is so surprised that she made the drapes in the dining room herself. she wants people to know that she has creative abilities, but she spends a lot of her time nurturing everyone else's egos and talents that she ends up with little time for herself.

as for the RED question, i'd say that part of patty wearing red a lot has to do with the excellent writing and follow-through that occured in every episode. we hear very early on that patty wants to have a romantic, successful marriage with graham but that she is worried that she will not or cannot succeed at that. i think her wearing red in many an episode after that point is a nod to the fact that it's still on her mind -- also, it makes her character look more authentic, like, she dressed herself every morning instead of being dressed by the costume person.

and the thing about red and men is true. i personally think i look terrible in red, but i think males tend to notice when you wear it regardless of how it makes YOU look. it's like a signal or a flashing light, or something.

and on a side note, i never made the amber/rusty connection but i think it's great! maybe it means they are crazy and wild and out on the edge, or maybe it's about earth tones... or maybe it's just a great pairing of names...

lastly, a lot of the color choice in mscl makes it visually stimulating and interesting and complex. all of the colors are darker and richer than, say, a sitcom. maybe some of the color choice is due to the great cinematographers....

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Re: colors

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 6th 2002, 6:48 pm

likelife wrote:and the thing about red and men is true. i personally think i look terrible in red, but i think males tend to notice when you wear it regardless of how it makes YOU look. it's like a signal or a flashing light, or something.
I think people notice bright colors in general. I will say (as a heterosexual female) that I tend to notice girls with long blonde hair at bars first because my eyes are drawn to the color (especially when the bar is dark and the blonde hair is a dramatic contrast). Patty was right about being able to find Angela in a crowd with that hair color. In the pilot when Angela and Sharon are walking down the hall, Angela blends in with the other students. In other hallway scenes, her hair and backpack are very noticeable - my eye is drawn to them because of the bright color.

The "flashing light" comment made me think of the Great Gatsby. If the green light he saw meant "go" then does Angela's hair mean "stop"?

:D
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Re: colors

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 6th 2002, 6:52 pm

likelife wrote:patty is very hurt when graham is so surprised that she made the drapes in the dining room herself. she wants people to know that she has creative abilities, but she spends a lot of her time nurturing everyone else's egos and talents that she ends up with little time for herself.
The interesting thing is that Patty assumes that Graham's assessment of Stephen Dieter ("he's hard to follow") means that Graham doesn't understand him, implying that he isn't as advanced as previously assumed. She then expresses surprise that he is the new instructor and doubt about opening a restaurant (which Graham recognizes when he accuses her of not believing a restaurant that he cooks for could succeed). She wants to be reocgnized for her abilities, but she isn't very good at edifying others. Is this a chicken vs the egg thing?
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Post by SanDeE* » Dec 7th 2002, 12:12 am

And Jordan writes a song named RED about his RED car (yeah whatever) and Angela dyes her hair RED (crimson glow - close enough) and is nearly always wearing this bright RED lipstick. Red is all over in this show, not just Patty's clothes.

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Post by Nostradamus » Dec 10th 2002, 10:57 am

The concept of emotional data embedded in certain colors is a very old one. It can be seen in nature as camoflage, a mating display, or a sign of social dominance. Throughout human history color was carefully measured in the design of flags, coats of arms, signage, ritual symbols, etc. All of this has of course been leading to the analysis of that vital cultural benchmark, women's undergarments. :)

That's right, women's underwear. A few years ago I read a rather odd pop-psychology text that included, among other things, a description of the hidden meaning in the color of lingerie. I'll reproduce it here to the best of my memory, for its entertainment value if nothing else (I'd credit the book, but I don't recall the title or the author).
  • Red symbolizes fiery love, passion, and raw sexual energy.
    Pink regresses to the girl in a woman and may revive youthful indescretions.
    White represents the "purity" of the maiden archetype, as well as the excitement of the wedding night.
    Black is worn by the powerful, dominant woman who takes command of her love life.
Now if only we knew the meaning of neon green with purple lace... :P

P.S. Doesn't that sound like the sort of thing that Camille Cherski has been reading a little too much of? :wink:

P.P.S. Though I jest above, I do agree that the makers of MSCL had a good sense of color which shows in their work.
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Post by fnordboy » Dec 10th 2002, 12:36 pm

Nostradamus wrote: Now if only we knew the meaning of neon green with purple lace... :P
Tacky? :wink:

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