Fantasy vs. reality

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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Fantasy vs. reality

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 5th 2002, 3:33 pm

Was Angela's relationship with Jordan doomed from the start because of her romanticized ideal of love?

Consider some of the statements she has made:
I always imagined I would fall in love, nursing a blind soldier. Who was wounded in battle. Or maybe while rescuing someone in the middle of a blizzard, seconds before the avalanche hits.
It seems that Angela has a fairy tale view of love. She knows that she is not a nurse or partnered with a St. Bernard, but she still has a storybook idea of how she would meet her true love. What are the chances of an avalanche hitting Pittsburgh? During a war? Realistically she is going to fall in love for the first time with someone at school, someone she sees in the dismal setting of classrooms and hallways, not in the Swiss Alps.
Love is when you look into someone's eyes and suddenly you go all the way inside to their soul, and you both know, instantly.
This is another romantic sentiment. Everyone has different ideas of what love is, so I don't want to start a big debate about that, but Angela's idea about "eyes are the window to the soul" is very cliche. It is true to an extent, but Angela clearly has some very stereotyped fantasies about love.
Angela: I'm not saying...see there's thinking about him, right? Which is what I do. All the time. Like this...
Rickie : Obsession.
Rayanne : Right. So?
Angela : So, it keeps me going or something. Like I need it just to get through the day. It...It's just ...
Rickie : It's an obsession.
Angela : Right. And, and if you make it real, it's it's not the same. It's not, it's not yours anymore. I don't know, maybe I'd rather have the fantasy than even him.
Is this foreshadowing? Does she realize after only "like, eight sentences" that Jordan is someone who she projects her fantasies upon rather than a real person who can fulfill her expectations?

There is some truth here - a fantasy can't hurt your feelings, pressure you to have sex, or sleep with your best friend.

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Post by glitter_punk » Dec 5th 2002, 4:31 pm

I think she expected a lot more out of love than what it actually would be for her. She expected her and Jordan (or whoever she loved) to be romantic in the moment, etc, and I don't really know any 15 year old like that... that's also another theme throughout the show... fairy tales (Rapunzel, "long long ago, like a fairy tale") I think maybe she was in love with being in love and not Jordan.
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both

Post by Lindsay » Dec 5th 2002, 5:39 pm

I personally think Angela was realistic in her expectations/views of Jordon. I doubt she ever figured he was the one she wanted to marry, or anything like that, but she did want to hear from his lips that she was different and ment more to him then others. Therefore, she wanted his actions to be more serious than they would with other girls, because she knew she was different. Thus the whole thing with sex- if she were to, she would just be like all the others in a way, and she knew it. I can relate, I think we all can.

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romantic love

Post by likelife » Dec 6th 2002, 6:36 pm

i agree with both candygirl and lindsay about this...

i think angela was living in a dream world (sort of) in which love is this grand thing that is like a sudden awakening, fireworks, fairytales, whatever. but that dreamworld is one in which most young women are taught to live in. we are told (albeit sometimes subliminally) that we should want the kind of guy who acts just manly enough but also seems romantic, who wants us all to himself, who wants to take control, etc. all of these things have a way of manifesting themselves in scary ways. it is this fantasy of the ideal man that leads many a smart woman into the wrong kind of relationship.

the whole show is really about angela "waking up" and figuring out a bunch of stuff about herself and the world around her. she discovers that love is not exactly as she thought, but she does not decide to give up on it. she discovers that jordan is not the perfect man, but neither is brian, neither is her dad... i think that angela going through this learning process and taking the audience along with her is what makes us all connect so deeply with the main characters.


-- we see patty and graham struggling with this too, both of them have ideas of how they are SUPPOSED to be, but also how they would like to be and how their partner would have them be. all of the different demands get convoluted and make it so that it is very hard "to be a man" and to be a woman. patty runs her own family and runs a company -- in what way does that make her a fairytale princess? and yet part of her yearns to be princess di, patty duke (hee hee) and rapunzel.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 6th 2002, 7:47 pm

"Because it's always tempting to lose yourself..."

:D
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Post by Guest » May 15th 2003, 5:07 am

I agree with Likelife, she is learning about things, and at the end of the series she is becoming more aware of the things around her, real things, she realizes that Jordan is not the perfect guy(how can she not?-his actions in Self esteem, Pressure, sleeping with Rayanne), but she still believes to a some degree, anyway, that he is more thatn he really is and that's the whole reason why she bought the letter thing in the first place.I mean people ,common,knowing that Jordan is how he is(Angella), how can she believe that he's capable of writting something like that?She can because she wants to believe.
I think Jordan's feelings for Angela are much more realistic than her feelings for him.I think he does care about and he sees her the way she really is and he will be stuck with that for a long time, while she'll get over her obsession and move on.I think that's how things would develop after episode 19

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Post by Angela_Catalano » Aug 16th 2004, 3:18 pm

I think Angela had a huge obsession with Jordan. In her head she wanted him to be perfect and flawless, but deep down in she knew she was wrong and it wouldnt be like the fairy tail she wanted it to be. She was scared to start up things with Jordan, because if it wasnt the way she dreamed it to be, then she had nothing else to hold on to.

Although he wasnt perfect, He was some what like the fairy tail she dreamed him up to be... (Nursing him back to health) She doesnt quite do that, but she does find out he cant read and, helps him with school and brings out a whole other side of Jordan. One who can finally admit to having real feelings for her and one who starts to try harder in school.

She may have dreamed him up a little different but was not disapointed when he wasnt perfect. She still loved him, if not more after getting to know Jordan better!!

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Post by Nothingman » Aug 16th 2004, 3:25 pm

We are fed the fairytail of how love and relationship should be all through childhood. It often takes a very long time to let that go. Many of us cling so tight to it that we comprimise more than we should to try and keep that fantasy alive. In reality, all it will ever be is a fantasy, and the sooner you accept that and start enjoying what life really brings your way, the better off you'll be. It's both a sad and liberating feeling to finally let it go.
"To come to your senses, you must first go out of your mind." - Alan Watts

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Post by Jody Barsch* » Aug 16th 2004, 5:15 pm

Guys! :x It's Fairy Tales, not Tails :roll:

But I really like what you wrote Nothingman :D

I agree with what Candygirl initially said in this discussion -- Angela does have an unattainable romanticized idea of love and what she wants her relationships to be like. (CG cited some great examples)

Angela also has unrealistic expectations considering the boy she chooses to pursue a relationship with. Angela expects Jordan to do things with her that she imagines all couples do -- going to the movies, taking her to dances, inviting her to concerts, etc., neither spectacular nor unrealistic expectations in themselves, but they become so in the context of dating Jordan Catalano. At this point for Angela, she is a little ambiguous about what she wants and expects out of love and relationships. One part of her is breaking free from the identity that she felt had been assigned to her -- she is falling for Jordan Catalano, considering making out in a car or a boiler room a date, accepting that he never calls her (on the phone), and accepting of the facts that they do not hang out with each other's friends, or at each other's houses, etc... But, on the other hand, she still wants some of the things that she has grown up thinking are automatically part of dating (note how she watches Sharon and Kyle in "Zit") -- she wants to go to the dances and the movies, she wants to get dressed up for special dates, she wants him to walk around school holding her hand (which is why she makes a point of ridiculing it in front of Sharon when she begins to feel like those things might never be a part of her relationship with Jordan). This struggle Angela finds herself in definitely leads to some of the conflicts between Jordan and herself, but most of those conflicts also lead to building a better understanding between them, and to both of them getting to know the other a little better, which ultimately brings them closer together (the basis of real relationships). As people have said, this is a time for Angela when she is trying new things, and learning things about the world and the people in her life -- she is flexible, and therfore, for the most part, not frozen in her overly-romanticized ideals -- they are her starting point. I think that Angela's more outlandish (wounded soldiers and avalanches) and the more superficial (dances and movie dates) ideals will fade away in the face of reality rather than"dooming" her relationships; while her more grounded ideals (respect, trust, intimacy) will become her focus, making her relationships stronger, only "dooming" them if her partner does not value them as well. (Which in that case is for the best)
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Post by Jody Barsch* » Aug 16th 2004, 5:33 pm

Nothingman wrote:We are fed the fairytail of how love and relationship should be all through childhood. It often takes a very long time to let that go. Many of us cling so tight to it that we compromise more than we should to try and keep that fantasy alive. In reality, all it will ever be is a fantasy, and the sooner you accept that and start enjoying what life really brings your way, the better off you'll be. It's both a sad and liberating feeling to finally let it go.
I think there's a lot of value to what you've said. Television, movies, advertisements, magazines, and in some cases music and books flood us with their vision of what our lives should be like, not just in terms of love, but our lives in general. Our images of what we want out of life are so often filtered by the images that constantly surround us. Sometimes it can be very hard to break away from that kind of mentality. I've really known people who have judged their lives against beer commercials and teen movies. Dear friends of mine, wonderful and extraordinary people, have looked at themselves, measuring their lives against what the media feeds us with, and come to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with them, they're doing something wrong, they're not happy enough ... (Ultimately three of these friends ended up going on Prozac for those reasons.) It is difficult to move beyond our ideas of what life and love should be like, but I think it may be the only way to live and enjoy your life -- to create your own rather than imitating an artificial one. I am reminded of the "Lady of Shalott" and of the Sybil Vane story in The Picture of Dorian Gray ... (ignore, in this case, that they both die because of it)
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Post by Nothingman » Aug 16th 2004, 6:33 pm

Jody Barsch* wrote:Guys! :x It's Fairy Tales, not Tails :roll:
Sowwy, please excuse the engineer for his spelling misgivings.
"To come to your senses, you must first go out of your mind." - Alan Watts

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Aug 16th 2004, 10:31 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with what Jody and NM are saying. I think one of the reasons why people have so many problems in romantic relationships is that they have unrealistic expectations, and real life just doesn't measure up. Having a boyfriend or husband isn't all about holding hands and breakfast in bed and presents and kisses. Those are some of the positive aspects, but there is so much more and not everything is fun or pleasant. To quote the great Joss Whedon, "Life isn't bliss. Life is just this - it's living." Too often we romanticize relationships without realizing that a boyfriend (or life in general) isn't always "rainbows and butterflies - it's compromise that moves us along" (I can't believe I just quoted a Maroon 5 song to make my point). There are highs and lows, and the lows help us to better appreciate the highs. Believing that you will only experience the highs is extremely unrealistic and can only lead to disappointment.

I think I have seen some fairy tails at, uhhh, adult fantasy sites.

:shock:
:wink:
:lol:
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Post by Nothingman » Aug 17th 2004, 1:03 am

candygirl wrote:I wholeheartedly agree with what Jody and NM are saying.
Hey, I got refered to as initals :multi: I feel so professional right now 8)

Anyway, back on topic. I've been thinking about the fantasy I was fed as kid. And coming from a rural state I think it is even more engrained into you. You marry your highschool or college sweetheart and live happily ever after. Idealy they are your one and only sexual partner and you get married when you graduate college, and look forward to your 50th wedding anniversary. What are the odds that you are going to pick your soulmate on the first try, seriously? So I wonder, how many of the couples that do this, do it because they believe they are fulfilling that fantasy, and given the same relationship in a different context would make the same decision?
"To come to your senses, you must first go out of your mind." - Alan Watts

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Aug 17th 2004, 2:13 am

Don't forget about the white picket fence!

:lol:

The trick to getting initials or a nickname is picking something so long that no one wants to type the whole thing.

:wink:
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Post by Jody Barsch* » Aug 17th 2004, 8:01 am

Okay, so this post may seem like it's coming from left field (not that I know the slightest thing about baseball), but bear with me and I just may be able to successfully tie it back to this discussion of fantasies vs. realities ...

So, I was watching The Last Days of Disco tonight with some friends, and in it the characters have a conversation about Lady and the Tramp. One character takes issue with the characters of Lady and Tramp (the perfect well-bred girl with the rough bad boy), claiming that, "films like this program women to love jerks." There is also discussion of the loving and loyal, and therefore over-looked Scotty dog. Etc…

I thought of mentioning this here for two reasons:
1.) The formula of the lady, the tramp, and the faithful/overlooked dog is a formula that the MSCL characters fit into (especially in regards to the discussion of the film in TLDoD)
2.) the idea that these images we receive early in life, such as fairy tales and Disney movies, do influence us in what we look for later in life

If this line of thinking interests you, and you’re incredibly bored and/or have a lot of free time, check out TLDoD, and see if you see what I’m seeing. Or, you could always just go and watch Lady and the Tramp.


(Side notes on this film: 1. Kate Beckensale’s character is the most spectacular bitch I’ve ever seen in a movie; 2. The film features some totally classic lines!)
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