Discussion for Episode 1: the Pilot

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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Re: I love this episode...

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 14th 2003, 3:19 am

Lindsay wrote:On that note, did "in my humble opinion" begin with Angela, or Patty. Because both use it, could Angela have got the expression from Patty, or vise versa??
I totally agree - whether Angela wants to admit it or not, she is her mother's daughter, meaning that Patty's words and actions have had a hand in building Angela's experiences and world view. Angela wants to distance herself from her mother and establish an adult (or at least un-childlike) personality, but she subconsciously echoes Patty's words, as well as Patty's values. Despite Angela's rebellion, she is still a good kid - relatively obedient, and (as Graham notes) it could be a lot worse. She is not out having sex, drinking excessively/doing drugs, flunking her classes.
Nostradamus wrote:What's with that cheerleader crying in the hall? Does it tie in thematically with the scenes it divides, or is it just establishing the mood of the school, as with the drone of the lighting? There seems to be fewer of these stylish cut shots and intros as the series continues.
I think that the cheerleader is BF's way of saying that everyone has a story, whether you know the details or not, and just because the high school stereotype is that cheerleaders are the perky, perfect, happy girls, they are human and they cry just like Angela, Rickie, Sharon, Rayanne, Brian, Delia, and the other characters we get to know. As Buffy says in the episode Earshot:
"I don't think about you much at all. Nobody here really does. Bugs you, doesn't it? You have all this pain, and all these feelings and nobody's really paying attention. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they're too busy with their own. The beautiful ones. The popular ones. The guys that pick on you. Everyone."
To tie back to what I was saying before (the relationship between Patty and Angela), I wonder how much of a conscious choice Angela makes not to be like Patty, the girl whose appendix surgery caused the high school to change the date of their prom. Maybe part of Angela's resentment of the sunny smiling cheerleaders is how much they remind her of Patty. In seeking her own identity, perhaps she doesn't want to attempt to duplicate Patty (whether it's because she wants to be different from Patty or whether she is afraid she will not live up to Patty's past). I had a friend in college whose mother was a cheerleader, prom queen, the whole works, and I think she resisted that path, as much as it disappointed her mother.

I'm not sure that the crying cheerleader is meant to be a segueway between scenes - the previous scene is Angela discussing Jordan with Rickie and Rayanne then running off to bio, and the next scene is Brian answering all the teachers' questions (and I still love that sequence! Why do we need plasma? Because the League of Nations failed. And why did the League of Nations fail? Because it's written in the first person.)

The only possible connection I see is Angela says she has to go to class, while Rayanne and Rickie stay in the bathroom (obviously cutting class), and the cheerleader is not in class - but Brian is. All the time.

:D
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Re: Other pilot episode thoughts.

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 14th 2003, 3:40 am

vampyr wrote:> Where did Angela's duffel bag go?

I wondered where it came from. When she storms out of the kitchen, she doesn't have it. I thought she went directly outside without it, but suddenly she's out there and she has it. And then she hangs around until Brian comes by before ducking into the bushes to change so she can tell him to "get out of here". One would think if she was after a stealthy departure she'd hide and wait until he was gone, or at least be less overt in making her escape. Where did her original shoes go? And her socks, she got in the car with some, but they seem to have disappeared along the way. Was she wearing them when they traded shoes?
While she is arguing with Patty about whether she can sleep over at Rayanne's, Angela leaves the dinner table and storms upstairs. When she comes back downstairs, she has her duffel bag. I don't think she necessarily "hangs around until Brain comes by" before changing. As soon as she shuts the front door, she leans against the porch and sighs as we cut to a commercial break (fade to black). When we return, it's the same moment. I think that she was so frustrated with the fight she had with Patty (after all, it isn't unusual to spend the night at a friend's house and it must be very aggravating for Patty to put up such a fuss, especially when Angela knows that if she had said she was spending the night at Sharon's it would not have been an issue) and she just paused for a minute. As for her changing in the bushes while Brian is around, I don't think she's completely changing her clothes as much as she is shedding the outer layers. I don't remember exactly what she was wearing, but I would imagine that she took off her jeans and already had the leggings on underneath. Then she pulled on the skirt and took off the flannel shirt. So she isn't as much of an exhibitionist as Brian claims :D

As for the attempt at a not so stealthy get-away, the events point to the Angela and Rayanne arranging all the details (like what time Rickie's cousin would come by to pick her up) earlier, so Angela was "asking permission" to do what she had already planned all along.
And did high school kids really say "or something" as often as these do?
And then some! It seemed like every sentence (in the real world) required "like," "or something," "or whatever," or some combination of the three.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 14th 2003, 4:04 am

Rayanne's shoes at Let's Bolt - at first glance, they seem to be hot mama thigh high boots (woo hoo!) but then she trades shoes with Angela (and we see that Angela does not have on thigh high boots afterward). When the police officer walks Rayanne to her door, the top of her "boots" are about knee level. Was she just wearing black stockings? When she is walking in the alley behind Let's Bolt, it looks like the tops flair out which is why I thought they were boots in the first place. :?

I am obsessed with shoes! I guess I should take this time to mention that I hate Sharon's sandals with pink socks (visible when she has her feet on the desk during the yearbook meeting). Yuk!
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Post by Double Espresso » Jan 14th 2003, 8:57 am

The crying cheerleader: I wondered wether she could be one of two people. Could she be the pre-Angela friend of Rayanne's who Sharon said she just dumped and she'd do the same to Angela. Alternatively there's the girl that Jordan used to "umm", but then I think she appears in a later episode so maybe not.

On Jordan - he looks more 'jock' in the pilot than in later episodes. He played football for the school didn't he? Clearly he stopped bothering and prefered partying and stuff.

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Post by starbug » Jan 14th 2003, 9:06 am

K-man wrote:O.K. girls, as usual I didn't get the assignment finished on time. :( I will watch the pilot tonight (I hope) and try and join the fun tomorrow.
Likewise :cry: But I will watch tonight... before being dragged off to the pub quiz...

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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 14th 2003, 11:32 am

You cannot always rely on subtitles. I use them quite a bit (wearing a headset all day is not conducive to good hearing). Subtitles tend to simplify the spoken words so that a person can read them quickly. However, the context and meaning of what is spoken is often changed. A missing word or sigh here or there can change the meaning slightly or entirely.

About school fashion -- at least they aren't wearing clothes inspired by Miami Vice, which were very much vogue at my high school a few years earlier than this show is set.
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Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
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Post by likelife » Jan 14th 2003, 3:47 pm

vampyr wrote:

I hated when Angela came back from the party and Patty goes all mom with the "what happened" panic but then is so busy overreacting to the imagined horror and arguing with Graham that Angela can't tell them. I don't think any parents, especially not hers, are so self absorbed that they can't focus on the important part of the situation. Mostly I just want to give Patty a smack. If I were married to her I'd run off with Hallie.



i have to disagree. the way that graham and patty argue in that scene seems so realistic to me. i think that the fact that patty and graham were more concerned with each other's actions/reactions than they were with angela had to do with the fact that the fight was not really ABOUT angela. patty and graham are going through some hard times as the show starts. graham is contemplating having an affair and patty is feeling like no matter what she does she is annoying or "the mean one" in her family. she worries that her kids hate her and that graham doesn't love her anymore. they are fighting about angela going out because a) they are both scared to death of her growing up, and b) they are competing to be the better/favorite parent and c) because they are starting to argue about everything these days.
i believe that patty gives that show of worry in part because she has that mom-quality that makes her assume the worst about everything, and in part because she WANTS graham to have made a mistake by letting angela go. i guess graham may realize that their fight is not really about angela and her going out, but he does not want to have to ome to terms that he andpatty might be fighting because their marriage might be in trouble.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 14th 2003, 4:53 pm

Double Espresso wrote:The crying cheerleader: I wondered wether she could be one of two people. Could she be the pre-Angela friend of Rayanne's who Sharon said she just dumped and she'd do the same to Angela. Alternatively there's the girl that Jordan used to "umm", but then I think she appears in a later episode so maybe not.
Cynthia Hargrove, the girl that Jordan used to "ummm," is shown in the episode Pressure, and although she and the cheerleader are both blonde, that is pretty much the end of the resemblance. The cheerleader has big curly hair, while Cynthia has thin straight hair. I won't go into body type analysis, but suffice to say that they are different.

I don't think that the cheerleader is Jodi Barsch either, if only because Rayanne, as open minded and free spirited as she appears to be, does not seem like the kind of person who would openly be friends with a cheerleader. I know that makes her sound snobby, but try to picture Rayanne and the cheerleader (in her uniform!) walking down the hall together (am I evoking shades of Breakfast Club here?) :wink:
On Jordan - he looks more 'jock' in the pilot than in later episodes. He played football for the school didn't he? Clearly he stopped bothering and prefered partying and stuff.
I was always under the impression that Jordan was the slacker type, not really a jock, and I don't remember any reference to him playing football. (Kyle is the only football player that we get to know - and minimally at that - during the series).
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Re: I love this episode...

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 14th 2003, 4:58 pm

candygirl wrote:I'm not sure that the crying cheerleader is meant to be a segueway between scenes - the previous scene is Angela discussing Jordan with Rickie and Rayanne then running off to bio, and the next scene is Brian answering all the teachers' questions (and I still love that sequence! Why do we need plasma? Because the League of Nations failed. And why did the League of Nations fail? Because it's written in the first person.)

The only possible connection I see is Angela says she has to go to class, while Rayanne and Rickie stay in the bathroom (obviously cutting class), and the cheerleader is not in class - but Brian is. All the time.

:D
Uhhh, upon re-reading that in the bright light of day, my attempt at explaining the segueway seems more confusing than when I was typing it last night! Angela says she has to go to bio. When she leaves the bathroom, she walks out into the hallway where the cheerleader is crying. The scene then cuts to bio where Miss Chavatal is asking about plasma. The camera is following Angela's path to class, showing us what she sees, which is someone she doesn't know who is crying for reasons that Angela doesn't know, and then back to the routine of Brian being the smarty pants that he is.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 14th 2003, 7:15 pm

candygirl wrote:Rayanne's shoes at Let's Bolt - at first glance, they seem to be hot mama thigh high boots (woo hoo!) but then she trades shoes with Angela (and we see that Angela does not have on thigh high boots afterward). When the police officer walks Rayanne to her door, the top of her "boots" are about knee level. Was she just wearing black stockings? When she is walking in the alley behind Let's Bolt, it looks like the tops flair out which is why I thought they were boots in the first place. :?
Upon viewing the alley scene again, it looks like Rayanne is wearing thigh high stockings with fringe (?!) on the top.

:shock:

:P

Still looks hot!
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Re: I love this episode...

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 14th 2003, 7:20 pm

Lindsay wrote:The one thing that bothers me with Angela & Jordon (everything else I find very realistic!), is when she's getting in the car, and he yells out her name. I don't know why, but it just seems unrealistic that HE would know HER name. I think he likes the idea that she's in a squad car...hehee....
What I found interesting/confusing is that he says, "I know that girl....Angela?" when it seems that Rayanne knows him (or at the very least is on the periphery of his circle of friends) so why wouldn't he say her name too?

The other contradictory detail of this scene is that Jordan is seen jumping out of the back seat of Red. Who of his friends does he trust enough to let drive his car? Maybe Jordan was too drunk to drive? I guess the best explanation is that it was just a prop and then BF decided to keep the car and use it as Jordan's.
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Post by Double Espresso » Jan 14th 2003, 7:25 pm

Jordan as a football player:

[from the script]
"I'm in love. His name is Jordan Catalano. He was left back,
twice."

Unless I've lost something in translation, a left back is a position in football non? It certainly is in soccer and rugby anyway. Jordan is a slacker, but I think he maybe used to be a sports type. I dunno, at my school we had quite a few kids that were good at sports but then lost it around 15 when they'd rather go drinking, smoking, chasing girls and whatever.

My ideas about the cheerleader were probably way off though.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 14th 2003, 7:47 pm

There is no "left back" position in American football (to my knowledge anyway, which doesn't say too much), so I thought she meant that he had been held back/flunked for two years - our introduction to the idea that Jordan is not the brightest crayon in the box!

:D

I could be wrong though. Obviously, I have been mistaken a lot (see above).

:wink:
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Post by Lindsay » Jan 14th 2003, 8:51 pm

Oh, I definatley agree that Jordon was left BEHIND twice.... as in failed.

Reading what one of you wrote, it does make sence that Jordon WOULD know Angela's name. Thanks! I forgot that they had classes together (the whole ann frank discussion- I was mortified for Angela after she made the comment and her teacher brought it to everyones attention.)

I think Jordon didn't call out Rayanne's name because it was characteristic for her to be getting into a squad car. Plus, having seen Angela around, etc. It kind of ties into a comment someone else made about how Jordon does start most of the conversations. Maybe if Angela was more confident she WOULD notice this as him being interested? At any rate, in this episode, he comes across as knowing of her- which is a good sign!

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Post by Bubba » Jan 15th 2003, 5:40 am

Just to confirm: there is no "leftback" position in football. Or, as the rest of the world calls the greatest sport this planet has ever seen, "American football." As in real life, the cliques at Liberty High tend to stick together. If memory serves, Jordan and Kyle were never in the same building together, much less the same room, so it seems unlikely that they were both jocks.
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