"She did it to get a reaction..."

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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"She did it to get a reaction..."

Post by RyeBlume » Nov 23rd 2002, 7:37 pm

Patty: "I know why she did it. She did it to get a reaction."
Graham: "Maybe she just did it to do it."
Patty: "No, she did it to get a reaction."
Graham: "So don't react!"
Patty: "I'm not... I won't."

So what do you guys think? Did Angela dye her hair to "get a reaction" from people or did she just do it "to do it" as Graham said? I have always thought that she just did it for herself... to make her life more exciting. But maybe internally she WAS doing it to get a reaction... she may have wanted Patty to realize that she is her own person.

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Post by Megs » Nov 23rd 2002, 11:45 pm

I swear this is not a cop-out, but I think that maybe it's a little of both. She did it partly to break away from her old life, from her parents, from Sharon... and she also did it to get a reaction from people. To be noticed. To be more like Rayanne. To be in color, when everyone else is in black and white. :wink:
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Change

Post by glitter_punk » Nov 24th 2002, 2:38 am

I think Angela did it just because she needed a change in her life.... maybe not just to do it or for a reaction, she did it as a way out... like of her old self
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"She did it to get a reaction..."

Post by NIGHTJESSI » Nov 26th 2002, 3:03 am

ITA with the idea that Angela dyed her hair because she wanted to change her life. Yes, it was Rayanne's comment that her hair was holding her back that prompted the dye job, but it was a statement to herself and those around her that the old Angela was gone and the new Angela was emerging. She knew she would get a reaction from it, but she didn't necessarily care because she was doing something for herself instead of worrying about what other people would think.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Nov 27th 2002, 3:42 pm

I think that Angela did it more for herself than anything. It doesn't seem that any other aspect of her appearance changes as a result of becoming friends with Rayanne (besides her backpack), so I see it as a way for Angela, rather than others, to see herself differently.

I do think it's related to her transition from Sharon to Rayanne though. At the beginning of the pilot, she is hanging out with both of them, apparently unbeknownst to Sharon. The day after dying her hair, she sees Sharon at school who says, "I can't believe you did that to your hair - without telling me!" Later that day, she sits next to Sharon in the yearbook meeting but doesn't say anything to her until Sharon asks, "Where are you going?" The fact that Angela has made two huge decisions without even discussing the situations with Sharon is a sign that Angela is pulling away from her.

The next morning Sharon is obviously hurt when she shows up at the Chase house to retrieve her Anne Frank book, but the only thing Sharon says is, "You know, you could have told me you were quitting" before she storms out. The day after Tino's party, Sharon accuses Angela of "dropping her oldest friend" but it seems to me that it's not Angela's choice at this point. She seems to want to stay friends with Sharon, but Sharon is so mad that Angela is hanging out with Rayanne that Sharon is the one who slams the door shut on their friendship in this episode.

Does Angela want to stay friends with Sharon, or is she just being passive aggressive enough to force Sharon to end it?

Back to the hair/reaction theory - Sharon sees Angela's new hair color as a symbol of Rayanne's influence (which is true and the reason why Sharon hates it) but she doesn't seem to realize that Angela would not do something like that just because someone told her to. Angela did it because she wanted a change in her life, sort of the way some mornings you wake up, look in your closet, and realize that you hate all your clothes. I think Angela partly did it to rebel against the way "people expect you to be a certain way" but she didn't start dressing differently (maybe because a new wardrobe costs more than a bottle of hair dye).

I think she did expect a reaction out of Patty because Angela is a teenager testing her boundaries, but she knew there wasn't much Patty could do about it (besides hold her down, bleach her hair, and hope that it didn't all fall out from the chemical overdose). I don't think she did it solely to get a reaction out of Patty though - more like Patty's reaction was a happy side effect.

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Post by Megs » Nov 27th 2002, 11:43 pm

candygirl wrote:Does Angela want to stay friends with Sharon, or is she just being passive aggressive enough to force Sharon to end it?
I think that you hit it right on the nose. It was Angela's passive-aggressive way to move on from Sharon. She didn't think that she could be friends with both Rayanne and Sharon at the same time, so she needed Sharon to "end" the friendship b/c she didn't want to have that on her shoulders. But as the series goes on, Angela discovers that she can be a friend to both Rayanne and Sharon at the same time. That came with maturity; to realize that people change and move on. And they matured enough to let each other change.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Nov 28th 2002, 12:43 am

I think that part of Angela wanted to have her cake and eat it too, meaning that she didn't necessarily want to completely cut Sharon out of her life but she definitely wanted to demote Sharon from the Best Friend post so that she (Angela) could spend more time with Rayanne.

There was no malice towards Sharon when Angela said "people expect you to be a certain way, even your best friend" - more like frustration at the situation, which is why she later told Sharon, "It's not, like, one thing. It's not like that."

Rather than hating Sharon or wanting to end their friendship (subtraction if you want to look at it in math terms), I think Angela wanted the opportunity to explore other friendships (addition if you're going with my math thing).

But Angela was being very passive aggressive in the way she handled the situation. Instead of being honest and letting Sharon know that she was friends with Rayanne (because she guessed - correctly - that Sharon would feel hurt, betrayed, etc), she snuck around behind her back and then let her figure out from things like quitting yearbook and dying her hair. Kinda sounds like a cheating spouse who comes home with lipstick on the collar. Is this starting to sound like the Friends episode where Monica hangs out with Julie? :wink: Anyway, Angela acted like an ostrich - if she stuck her head in the hole long enough, then there would be no conflict when she came up for air later.

Back to Angela and the cake - she admits to Sharon, "No, I want to talk to you" so I think that Angela was hoping that she could somehow magically switch Sharon and Rayanne's positions on the friendship ladder without any hurt feelings.

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Post by Guest » Nov 30th 2002, 8:32 pm

I'd like to weigh in on the subject. I think dying hair was a big trend during the mid-90's. It was a way of rebelling like piercing, cutting hair and listening to different music. I don't think it was a conscious thing because most 15 yr olds aren't even conscious of why they are doing what they are doing.

In the high school I attended, dying your hair was common, as was the music they listened to and the style of clothes they wore. I think every conservative/prep would react to a change in style if it were their friend who changed.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 10th 2003, 5:07 pm

More evidence (IMHO) that Angela still wanted to be friends with Sharon: in the Zit, she approaches Sharon in the bathroom to ask if she is doing the mother-daughter fashion show. Angela says, "So, um, are you...are you doing this fashion thing, or whatever, this...this fundraiser. 'Cause my mom said you were and I just...I, I wondered..." which is not true. Patty merely said, "You know we had a wonderful time last year. You and Sharon had a great time," making no mention of Sharon participating this year. As jealous as Angela was of Sharon's "assets" and having a boyfriend, she doesn't want to cut Sharon out of her life completely. I know we discussed this earlier in this thread, but I didn't notice until today that Angela tells a little white lie to suck Sharon into talking to her. Crafty!
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Post by Guest » Jan 13th 2003, 12:01 pm

I only disagree with one thing in this tread. It was said that Angela only changed her hair and her backpack but not the style of her clothing. I completely disagree. Check out the first couple of outfits she has on in the pilot ... completely different. White tights, light kind of pastel colors, much more like Sharon. I saw a drastic change myself.

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Post by RyeBlume » Jan 13th 2003, 2:27 pm

Yes, I definitely agree that Angela's clothes change. The grunge look that characterizes her style throughout the series is not there at the beginning of the pilot. She never dresses identically to Rayanne, but I think that the flannel shirts and funky clothing combinations that Angela wears probably sprung from Rayanne's influence.

I don't really remember her clothing at the end of the series well enough to say for sure... but as I recall, there might have been a slight shift away from Rayanne's style but not back to Sharon's either. Perhaps this could symbolize Angela's growing individuality.

This is off topic, but I just have to say how jealous I am that Angela was able to pull off some of the clothes that she did. There are some things that she wore that would have made me look like a complete idiot.
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Post by likelife » Jan 13th 2003, 7:15 pm

as far as why she dyed her hair, i guess i think you all are right so far. i would just add that sometimes when you are frustrated with the status quo and you want a change, the easiest way to affect your life seems to be the physical/style aspect. i can't count the number of times a friend has said, i want a change, i should dye/cut my hair or pierce something or get a tattoo. not that they necessarily act on those things, but it's a superficial way to change something deeper...
geez, why do so many people go on diets? yeah, they want to change how they look, but a lot of them are trying to chaneg how they look because they want to FEEL differently. they want their lives to look better/different. i think dyeing and cutting hair (ahem, patty) are perfect examples of this to a healthy degree.

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Post by vampyr » Jan 14th 2003, 3:45 am

I don't think Angela is trying to change her relationship with Sharon at all, it's more a question of she has nothing more to learn from her, the change is simply a side effect. There is a time in your mid-teen life when you've outgrown everyone you know and just have to move on. "I'd love to have you with me, but I can't stay here waiting for you." Sharon wasn't yet ready, and when she was the direction she moved in was different than Angela's. After they settled into their new selves, they discovered that they were still friends after all. And having both changed, their relationship is new again. They now have new things to learn from each other.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 20th 2003, 4:35 am

What about one episode later? Does Patty cut her hair to get a reaction? Did Angela's hair change prompt Patty to do the same (as Angela assumes)? Is this simply an attempt to remedy her relationship with Graham? When Patty brings it up with Camille, it is immediately following the Mitchell Moscarelli discussion so perhaps Patty realizes then that her hair has been the same since that day, as well as the day that her father gave her the Cinderella on her 11th birthday?
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Post by RyeBlume » Jan 22nd 2003, 4:54 pm

I know whenever I get a haircut, I subconciously feel as though I'm changing my life. I know that's completely stupid and naive, but there is something liberating and risky about getting your hair cut very short. Perhaps Patty feels that by making a physical change she will be able to present herself in a way that will fix some of the problems in her life.

In the pilot, we discover a couple of reasons why Patty may not be so thrilled with her life. We know that she feels like the mean parent, and I think she knows, on some level, that she and Graham are drifting apart ("And you [Graham]--Go play pool with your brother... or wherever the hell you're going").
In her discussion with Camille, we discover that she knows that statistically men seem to prefer longer hair. But, she really wants to get her hair cut short nonetheless. I think that Patty wants to change her life--improve her life--and her desire to change her hair is a subconcious (or even concious) means for her to get that change. She tries to convince herself that Graham will like it ("But don't they [men] supposedly like it when you show up looking different?"), and when she gets so deeply hurt by the fact that he doesn't.... her emotions are obviously reflecting a deeper issue: namely, that she and Graham have been together for "so long" that they are at a cross roads. Their relationship is beginning to stand the true test of time.... can they both change and still stay together?

Soooooo, I think that Patty was looking for a change in her life, and the haircut was an easy way to try to enact that change. Her reaction to Graham's insulting comment ("It shows your ears more.") displays the fact that she was indeed looking for a reaction---but only a good reaction! It's interesting that when Angela dyed her hair, we never EVER hear her ask anyone, 'what do you think?' Perhaps Angela's change in haircolor was a step towards a change in her life that she had already started (by hanging out with Rayanne) while Patty's haircut was a somewhat futile attempt to make a change that she knows may not even be possible. It is much harder to save a marraige that is slipping beyond your reach than to change your approach to life when you are 15 years old. Perhaps that is why Patty wanted and needed the "reaction" that she was looking for.
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