Food

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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starbug
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Food

Post by starbug » Dec 4th 2002, 6:02 am

I've just finished watching The Substitute, so maybe this is a premature comment, but I'm sure you've all noticed that even in the early episodes, food creates a really strong link between the characters in the show.

For example, many difficult Chase family discussions centre around the dining table. There's a happy family atmosphere until someone says something other people don't like. Then the person most upset gets up and leaves, and the others follow (in order - Angela, Patty, Graham, Danielle) - the equillibrium is disrupted. Angela talks about not being able to eat a balanced meal in front of her mother. The fact that they have balanced meals is in direct contrast with the Graff household where they only ever seem to eat appetisers. Rayanne certainly picks up on balanced meals as being symbolic of 'normal' families.

Rayanne is ALWAYS eating. In fact I'm finding it hard to think of a whole scene she was in other than really short ones (and like I said I've only watched some of the eps so far) where she isn't eating something. The food is usually shared out between Rayanne, Rickie and Angela, in that order, one at a time. Lard is her favourite foodgroup yet she has so much frenetic energy she maintains that tight body.

The first time Graham really meets Rayanne, they are cooking together and it seems to bring them closer. Patty takes a dislike to Rayanne and calls her 'that rude girl'. her main rationale for doing so seems to be that Rayanne finished an entire block of cheese.

Now I may be way off track here but it all seems to interesting to forget about. :)

I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts as I'm not yet sure what I think about the food link.

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Post by Nostradamus » Dec 4th 2002, 6:34 am

Heh heh, guess you didn't read Angela's World yet, eh? Gotta give ya credit though, I would've never noticed the food connection. :)

http://www.mscl.com/angelasworld/index.phtml?layout=low
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 4th 2002, 2:15 pm

This is NOT a bust on starbug for not reading Angela's World (because lord knows it took me months to really explore everything at this site in great detail), but I really recommend reading Angela's World at your leisure. It really opens your eyes to themes and trends throughout the show that I might not have noticed (or that I might not have tied together). I read all the Angela's World stuff almost two years ago (way before I registered at the forum) so I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I do recall being very impressed with the time and effort that went into it. It's a shame that it was never published. I will have to go back and refresh my memory!

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Food

Post by glitter_punk » Dec 4th 2002, 6:20 pm

It seems weird how Angela's "new" group of friends is constantly hungry... like in Pressure, Jordan is like,"Oooh food" and drinks all of Patty's milk... I just think it's funny also in that episode when Patty says, "We're not running a restaurant" hehe, a little foreshadowing, maybe?
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Post by cm » Dec 4th 2002, 7:01 pm

The new friends all have issues at home, from constantly working single parent to not having a home, all of which is not conducive to 3 square meals a day. Whereas the Chase family tends to revolve around mealtimes, as do quite a lot of families - it's often the only time you get everyone in one place.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 4th 2002, 7:14 pm

Seriously, you guys should read Angela's World because it will confirm everything you are saying about food and then some! The author did an incredible job writing about the entire series, and the food theme comes up over and over.

A few excerpts from Angela's World about food to convince you to read more:
The Pilot
Food, and the act of eating together, symbolize home, security, nurturing, spiritual guidance, and the love of family. Food will be present, discussed, or eaten in virtually every scene which includes Rayanne. Her association and preoccupation with food indicate her craving for the things foods signifies, which are sorely absent from her life. The word "starving" will also be repeated throughout the program....Later we will that Patty does not lack love for any of these children, but that the true provider of food, the spiritual provider, is Graham.
Dancing in the Dark
"Do you want me to warm up that spaghetti?" Graham asks.

He understands that Angela is troubled, and in an unobtrusive way, he is trying to help. Graham's offer also puts into operation the metaphor of food as the source of love and support. Throughout MSCL, the food metaphor will function through Graham. As MSCL unfolds, Patty and Graham will consistently provide love and support for the kids, though in starkly different ways. The offering of food, and the guidance of spirit, is Graham's way.
Father Figures
As one might expect in an episode dealing with how fathers and daughters perceive and relate to one another, the food-as-love metaphor becomes prominent. As Graham arrives, Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie are foraging in the kitchen. After Rickie departs, we see Graham in the kitchen with Angela and Rayanne, showing Rayanne how to flip fritters. If food symbolizes family support, love, and nurturing, and eating symbolizes the operation of those values, then the teaching of cooking, (in the context of home and family), becomes important because it signifies imparting those virtues to the child, and only by knowing what it is to have the virtues signified by food and eating can the child, in turn, express them. Such education has been part of the Chase household, as a scene in "Guns and Gossip" demonstrates. As Patty regales Graham with her encounter with Amber, Graham offers Patty a taste of the food he's cooking, and while she thinks its wonderful, Graham must tell her what she is tasting. Angela enters, Graham offers her a taste and she knows immediately what she is tasting.
 
"Mmm, cilantro."
 
Graham then proceeds to explain to Angela why he has added the cilantro. (To balance the acidity of the tomatoes.) Graham's "food" education of Angela is ongoing, as we have seen since the Pilot episode:

"Con carne, 'with meat.'"
 
The business of tasting Graham's cooking is minor; its foremost purpose is to add verisimilitude and dynamics to an otherwise static scene. But the difference in Patty's and Angela's reactions to Graham's cooking relates to the difference in upbringing they received from their respective fathers. Patty's upbringing has been one of chili fries and diner pie, of enormous turkeys and oregano in the curry sauce. Angela's upbringing has been one of balanced meals, spaghetti reheated by father, cilantro, pasta and lemon hazelnut torts. The fatherless Rayanne has had an upbringing of frozen appetizers, desserts and things cooked in a pouch. Thus, the principal underlying metaphor supports plot and subplot, which deal with the actual relationships.
And that's just what he says about food in the first few episodes. Lots more stuff about stuff. Really. :D

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eyes on your own paper!!

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 4th 2002, 7:52 pm

For those of you who haven't taken the food quiz before:

1. What is in Rayanne's freezer that her mom suggest they cook?
 
2. What in the universal herb, and who said so?
 
3. What kind of "Hooch" did they buy on the Weekend?
 
4. With what slogan are customers welcomed at Big Guy Burger?
 
5. What does Hallie say that they serve at the bar she and Graham meet at?
 
6. What is the name of Stephen Dieter's cooking show?
 
7. What did Graham know so much about that surprised Hallie?
 
8. What kind of sauce is Graham cooking when Rayanne is over waiting for Angela?
 
9. What kind of sauce was Vivian trying to add oregano to "adjust the seasoning?
 
10. What items does Graham discuss cooking for the Money Guys? 

11. What kind of burger does Brian order?
 
12. What kind of leftover Chinese do Amber and Rayanne have?
 
13. What made Stephen Dieter so sick he missed the first class, and where did he get it?
 
14. What was the subject of Graham's class the night Rickie left the Chases?
 
15. What was Cory wearing in Angela's dream about him?
 
16. What do the money guys need to know up front, according to Hallie?
 
17. What kind of beer does Rayanne take out of the fridge?
 
18. What does Graham want to see if Stephen Dieter can still do?

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Post by Nostradamus » Dec 5th 2002, 4:05 am

Maybe this doesn't quite follow the main food metaphor, but I bust a gut when Camille slurped the last drops of her drink after telling Patty about "the end of our eggs". :lol:

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I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
-- Clarence Darrow

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-- Mark Twain

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Post by starbug » Dec 5th 2002, 6:24 am

I am definitely going to make sure I read Angela's World - thanks to Nostradamus and Candygirl for directing me there :)

There are so many things on this website - I'm going to get busted soon for not doing any of the work I'm actually PAID to do... :oops:

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 5th 2002, 6:29 am

Well, as long as you have your priorities straight!

:wink:

:D

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Post by K-man » Dec 5th 2002, 10:24 am

Yeah, go read Angela's world. I was blown away when I read those writings. I did pick up on a lot of those themes/ ideas when I was watching the show but the guy that wrote them (can't remember author) is like really talented. It really is great stuff. IMHO.
Daddy sold the farm and they've killed my trees. K-man

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Post by glitter_punk » Dec 5th 2002, 4:38 pm

Angela's world is amazing, I bet there's tons of other stuff on this site that I haven't even explored yet... I got made fun of at work for reading stuff about MSCL.. I read all the transcripts before I got the DVD's at work... if only there was a job where it consisted of learning more about MSCL...
This life has been a test. If it had been an actual life, you would  have received actual instructions on where to go and what to do.

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