Discussion for Episode 3: Guns and Gossip

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Discussion for Episode 3: Guns and Gossip

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 3:27 am

Welcome to our third MSCL.com episode discussion!

If you haven't already done so, please read the info about the weekly discussions here.

I highly recommend reading theAngela's World essay that pertains to this episode.

Other threads related to Guns and Gossip that may be of interest are:
interpretation of Guns and Gossip
Guns and Gossip 9/11
something that has always plagued me
Amber: good or bad mother?
fantasy vs. reality
Jordan's first feelings for Angela
PSAT
the Clintons
product placement in MSCL?

Some threads about recurring themes:
food
Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie
school
baggage
the contradiction that we call Rayanne
Sharon and Brian
plaid
colors
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 3:45 am

Some questions:

How did Patty hear about the shooting? Pittsburgh is a big enough city that I doubt they would report a bottle of soda was tragically shot on the evening news. Angela, being as communicative as always, probably wouldn't have come home and told her parents either.

When Rayanne asks Jordan if he started the rumor, she says that Angela already told her the truth, Jordan retorts, "What truth?" Why does Rayanne hesitate before replying, "How far you guys went, you know."

How does Jordan not know about the rumor? If Rickie and Rayanne heard the rumor, then the acquaintances they have in common must have heard about it too - wouldn't they offer up their masculine congratulations on his conquest?

If Rayanne hadn't approached Jordan about the rumor, would he have taken it upon himself to talk to Angela about it later?

Why does Brian protect Rickie, even before Rayanne warns him, "You know what happens to snitches," or before Angela confronts him in the comupter lab?

At the meeting with the parents, Principal Foster says, "All the safety measure in the world won't work unless I have the cooperation of you." Uhhh, what kind of cooperation is he asking for from the parents? To settle down? To talk with their kids?

When Mr. Demitri asks the class about what is fair, the information written on the chalkboard pertains to the Missouri Compromise and Reconstruction. Is he asking if the 13th amendment is fair or was he the kind of teacher who would bring up guns in school for class discussion?

When Patty goes into Angela's bedroom, she picks up her Anne Frank book. Does that mean Miss Mayhew isn't AWOL yet?

After Jordan says, "My uncle choked on a chicken bone," Angela thinks, "That's when the change happened. Just like that. Somewhere in those few seconds, I knew my life would never be the same." What about the Heimlich manuever conversation prompted this? At this point, he has kissed her twice and the whole school thinks they have had sex. What happened at that moment to convince her that a change had occurred?

What/why is Brian writing on the chalkboard when Principal Foster questions him about Rickie?

When Rayanne and Angela watch Brian walk into the principal's office, Angela says, "You know what I'd really like? To be put out of my misery." Is this due to her concern for Rickie, the rumor about her and Jordan, or the crushing "we mean nothing to each other" conversation she had with Jordan?
Last edited by Natasha (candygirl) on Jan 27th 2003, 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 4:12 am

Some observations:

Angela's green patterned shirt with the purple overalls is a hideous combination. Just had to get that off my chest. On a positive fashion note, I loved Rickie's red socks and Rayanne's fishtail! Also note the debut of Angela's red backpack.

Angela protests when Patty suggests they drop her off at school every morning, insisting, "I'm not an eight year old!" - while Patty and Graham literally dish up the pasta for her and Danielle. I love that contrast.

When Rayanne suggests that Jordan started the rumor, Angela immediately says, "Don't be ridiculous." This despite the fact that she barely knows Jordan! She is already defending him and believing the best of him when they have barely gotten past her saying eight sentences to him her entire life. Bad omen that she puts so much faith into him already - seems to indicate that she doesn't want to see the bad side he may have.

Gina asks if Brian chased the gunman, and Brian replies, "I think 'chase' is a bit strong." I love the play on words there with Angela's last name.

Angela is either really disoriented or well on her way to following Rayanne and Rickie's habit of cutting class (although to be fair, we do see Rayanne actually attending class in this episode): after Brian goes to Principal Foster's office, we see Angela walking toward the camera. She sees Sharon talking about her with Gina, then bumps into the police officers inspecting a locker. She then turns around and comes back the way she came. Just aimlessly wandering the halls?

When Patty meets Amber, she says, "[Rayanne and Angela] seem so different" (she dislikes Rayanne and therefore does not want to believe that Angela and Rayanne are similar) only to say moments later, "Angela's just the same" (when Amber says that Rayanne is not upset by the gun).

Foreshadowing by Amber: "[Rayanne]'s in love with Angela - she wants to BE Angela. They find one person and they just can't get enough of them. Like being in love only they're not allowed to have sex." :shock:

Patty asks Graham, "What do we do? Do we confront her?" (about Angela having sex with Jordan) and Graham replies, "Oh God, no. Geez, I don't want to know if it's true." Despite this advice, Patty goes with her instincts and later discusses the matter with Angela, much to her consternation and embarrassment. For the first time, I noticed Patty bobbing her head trying to convince Angela that she does like the Cranberries - hee! Patty then contradicts herself - first she tells Angela that she doesn't think Angela is ready to have sex. When Angela confesses she is nowhere near having sex, Patty says she wants Angela to be ready "whenever the time comes." Apparently as long as that time isn't NOW, it's okay :wink:

I love that as Rickie is telling Mr. Demitri, "Man, you DON'T know what goes on here," Brian passes a note in front of Rickie to the next person. My teachers would have grabbed any note they saw being passed and read it in front of the whole class.

Angela splashing her face with water in the girls' bathroom and then looking at herself in the mirror - an echo of the Angela we saw in the pilot when she died her hair.

When Sharon discusses the "Angela and Jordan having sex" rumor, she says, "Brian wouldn't lie." Although she is right, Brian admits that he didn't have to lie - he knew what Sharon would do with the information he gave her. In contrast, Rayanne initially suspects Jordan of starting the rumor. Jordan later tells Angela, "I didn't say anything about...you know. Because I'm not like that. I don't do that." Jordan is being truthful - he may be many things, but he is not a liar.

At this point, Jordan seems to be communicative and open. He approaches Angela to tell her that he didn't start the rumor. He later approaches her again and apologizes for propositioning her for sex because he thought about how it must have made her feel. *sigh*

When I saw Rayanne eating an orange, I wondered if that was BF's Godfather homage :D

Angela's bed is no longer the four poster bed from the pilot, but it still only has a curved wooden headboard (same as Dancing in the Dark) - when does the footboard show up?

I know people have mentioned wardrobe continuity (or lack thereof) but I really noticed it in this episode. When the jock passes Angela a presumably rude note in Mr. Demitri's social studies class, she is wearing a purple jumper with a long sleeved black shirt. After Rayanne tries to con the counselor into excusing her from school for a few days, Angela is seen walking down the hall wearing the purple shirt and denim vest from the day after the shooting. Then Angela is shown at the counselor's office wearing the purple jumper and black shirt again. The next day she is wearing the orange/brown plaid dress that she wore earlier in the episode when Patty asks her who Jordan is.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 4:41 am

We finally get a look at Rayanne's real personality in this episode.

First she says, "Maybe I should get a gun - BAM! BAM!" in the bathroom minutes after the real gun goes off. Rayanne is totally insensitive to other people's feelings - some people are understandably upset by what has happened and Rayanne mocks them.

When Angela explains that "they weren't the kind of kisses you could actually evaulate - they were introductory kisses," Rayanne replies, "You should have just had sex with him." Although you could argue that Rayanne was kidding, I think this statement is also very indicative of Rayanne's attitude about sex and intimacy (namely, "what's the big deal?").

In gym class, Angela complains, "People are looking at me," and Rayanne replies, "That's good," an admission that Rayanne is a total attention whore - she loves being in the spotlight and causing a commotion. Unfortunately, she often resorts to using her sexuality to garner attention, as evidenced by the rest of her conversation with Angela. Rayanne tells her, "That was a 'he wants to get to know you' hi," and Angela retorts, "From someone who never talks to me, has never talked to me, and would never talk to me." Rayanne replies, "Except now he thinks you put out so he talks to you. See? I told you that note was good."

Finally, Rayanne's little speech near the end of the episode:
Are you kidding. This is fun. Everyone running around all upset and rumors flying. Can't you feel it in your fingers and your toes. It's like being alive. It is such a rush. Last year? That rumor about me and Mark Hammer in the orchestra pit during the talent show. I mean, in that case it was true, but man, all that conversation. People writing notes. I mean, they look at you different, like, trying to figure out who you really are. Like you're famous. Admit it. It's really great.
Again, Rayanne admits in a roundabout way that she is an attention whore. She loves giving people a reason to look at her, whether it's her hair, her clothing, or what (or who) they think she has done.
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Post by NIGHTJESSI » Jan 27th 2003, 5:29 am

Candygirl, I really love that the MSCL fans can count on coming here weekly to dish on one of our most favorite shows. I love the insights from the other fans and, of course, having another excuse (not that I really need one) to watch the show.

Regarding some of your questions ...
How did Patty hear about the shooting?
I'm not so sure that this wouldn't end up on the news. Even in Chicago, where shootings are unfortunately sometimes commonplace, shootings at schools are still reported. Besides, Patty is good friends with Camille and Sharon would have likely told her mother what happened.
How does Jordan not know about the rumor?
It is a bit surprising that Jordan didn't know about the rumor, but the rumor had just started being passed via notes. It's possible that he wasn't in class to hear it, or that it had somehow spread to Angela's side of the world but not quite to Jordan's. After all, Rayanne only heard about it when they read the note in class. And Rickie likely found out from Rayanne.
If Rayanne hadn't approached Jordan about the rumor, would he have taken it upon himself to talk to Angela about it later?
Judging by the way Jordan tries to make things right, first by talking to Angela and later by telling her that he will distance himself from her, I definitely think he would have approached Angela regardless. And if he hadn't, Angela would have placed herself in proximity, just as she did with the choking poster, to fish for Jordan to start a conversation.
Why does Brian protect Rickie, even before Rayanne warns him, "You know what happens to snitches," or before Angela confronts him in the comupter lab?
I think Brian could relate to Rickie a little. After all, Rickie is someone who doesn't quite fit in and who is getting pushed around. Brian certainly knows how that feels. He saw that Rickie didn't fire the gun but instead was fighting with someone over a gun. Maybe Brian initially wanted to find out more before ratting anyone out.
After Jordan says, "My uncle choked on a chicken bone," Angela thinks, "That's when the change happened. Just like that. Somewhere in those few seconds, I knew my life would never be the same." What about the Heimlich manuever conversation prompted this? At this point, he has kissed her twice and the whole school thinks they have had sex. What happened at that moment to convince her that a change had occurred?
Jordan has been such an obsession of hers, but now she sees that she can actually have a conversation with him and that he actually wants to have a conversation with her. Granted, he's been starting conversations with her all along, but now she's really seeing him. The fact that there is rumor involving them ties them together, whether they want to be or not. Deep down, Angela knew Jordan would have never tried to talk to her about the rumor if he didn't really care what she thought.

Here's some observations and questions I had ...

Jordan really does seem taken aback that Rayanne thinks he started the rumor and is also pretty adamant on reiterating that nothing happened between Angela and him. Do you think that's because he's embarrassed at how he bumbled things in his car, or is it because he's worried that Angela will think less of him because he might be attached to starting the rumor?

I found it interesting how Patty couldn't really relate to Amber's comment about kids wanting to be someone because that person is perfect. Patty was likely the girl whom everyone wanted to be like at her high school, and I think that's why she finds the statement about Rayanne wanting to be Angela so startling. And maybe it's just Amber's personality being so "color" that throws Patty off. She's obviously jealous, too, of Rayanne and Amber's open communication when Patty is having such a hard time getting through to Angela.
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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 11:09 am

Candygirl, as always, you have got us off to a good start. Today is a little busier than usual, which is a good thing, so I'll probably need to make brief posts.

candygirl wrote:Some questions:

How did Patty hear about the shooting? Pittsburgh is a big enough city that I doubt they would report a bottle of soda was tragically shot on the evening news. Angela, being as communicative as always, probably wouldn't have come home and told her parents either.
I think no matter the size of a city, a gun going off in a school is big news. Patty probably sees a special news broadcast. Or, she hears from someone who sees the broadcast.


How does Jordan not know about the rumor? If Rickie and Rayanne heard the rumor, then the acquaintances they have in common must have heard about it too - wouldn't they offer up their masculine congratulations on his conquest?
I think Jordan is lying. He knows about the rumor. He doesn't want to volunteer information to Rayanne. He would have approached Angela anyway. Most guys are not going to let an opportunity like this one pass them by.

More later....
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Graham: And how much of you?
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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 TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 12:03 pm

Why does Brian protect Rickie, even before Rayanne warns him, "You know what happens to snitches," or before Angela confronts him in the comupter lab?
Many reasons. First, teenagers tend to stick together. It's kind of an us vs. them code. However, Rayanne's and esp. Angela's entreaties for Brian not to give Rickie up probably serve to increase his resolve. I think Angela has the strongest influence on Brian.
At the meeting with the parents, Principal Foster says, "All the safety measure in the world won't work unless I have the cooperation of you." Uhhh, what kind of cooperation is he asking for from the parents? To settle down? To talk with their kids?
I think Principal Foster is pointing out that parents can have a huge influence on their children. He wants them to talk to their kids about the danger of guns.
When Mr. Demitri asks the class about what is fair, the information written on the chalkboard pertains to the Missouri Compromise and Reconstruction. Is he asking if the 13th amendment is fair or was he the kind of teacher who would bring up guns in school for class discussion.
I 100% think Mr. D. is bringing up what happened in class. Why wouldn't he? A good teacher is always on the lookout to bring real world events into class discussions if those events will help his pupils understand something he wants to teach them. Plus, I think it would pretty hard not to talk about what happened.
When Patty goes into Angela's bedroom, she picks up her Anne Frank book. Does that mean Miss Mayhew isn't AWOL yet?
Maybe she isn't gone. But, we don't really know. I think showing the Diary of Anne Frank is an echo of "Pilot." Anne Frank deals with threats to her life; Angela also deals with such threats. We don't see really see or hear about Miss Mayhew from "Pilot" to "The Substitute." My guess is that she leaves sometime soon after "Pilot."
Last edited by TomSpeed on Jan 27th 2003, 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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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 TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 12:43 pm

My favorite dialogue sequence in "Guns and Gossip" follows:

Brian: Maybe it is because you just did what you wanted.
And you didn't care about what damage it did to
anybody else.
Angela: What damage did it do you?

We know that Brian loves Angela. It's amazing that she seems to have no clue. Just about every girl I liked in junior high/high school knew that I liked her well before I asked for her phone number. Does Angela have blinders because of Jordan? Or, is she just inexperienced at spotting the tell-tale signs of infatuation? Or, has she so relegated Brian to her childhood, she doesn't see him clearly at all?
TomSpeed

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?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 1:15 pm

When Rayanne and Angela watch Brian walk into the principal's office, Angela says, "You know what I'd really like? To be put out of my misery." Is this due to her concern for Rickie, the rumor about her and Jordan, or the crushing "we mean nothing to each other" conversation she had with Jordan?
All of the above causes Angela to want to be put out her misery. Even though she says this, I don't think she means it. In a way, I think having all of this stuff going on excites her. It used to be that her life was very boring. It's not boring anymore.
TomSpeed

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?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by SanDeE* » Jan 27th 2003, 2:04 pm

TomSpeed wrote:My favorite dialogue sequence in "Guns and Gossip" follows:

Brian: Maybe it is because you just did what you wanted.
And you didn't care about what damage it did to
anybody else.
Angela: What damage did it do you?

We know that Brian loves Angela. It's amazing that she seems to have no clue. Just about every girl I liked in junior high/high school knew that I liked her well before I asked for her phone number. Does Angela have blinders because of Jordan? Or, is she just inexperienced at spotting the tell-tale signs of infatuation? Or, has she so relegated Brian to her childhood, she doesn't see him clearly at all?
I think that Angela is inexperienced in the That-Boy-Likes-Me department. She also has pretty low self-esteem, I think. In Dancing in the Dark, she says that she's only been kissed three times (IMHO only 2, the CPR doesn't count), one by a boy with a girlfriend and one because of a bet. That's gotta bring down the self-esteem. Also, she's never had a boyfriend. She probably just can't recognize a crush on her. And it's not like Brian comes out and says it to her. I think the fact that Brian is probably the only boy she ever knew socially (I mean, outside school) her whole life makes a difference too. I think you hit the blinders thing right on. It's true that when you are infatuated with someone, you probably won't notice that someone else (who is sorta meek and quiet like Brian) is infatuated with you. For example...

I'm really the same as Angela in this way - I can never tell if a guy likes me unless he makes it really obvious. Not that I'm oblivious or have low self-esteem, I just don't see it. How do you like this: I broke up with my boyfriend (of two and a half years) three weeks ago, and already I've had one guy ask me for some sort of relationship, found out that two guys here at school with me like me (which surprised me), and a third guy here at school (who made a bet he could break my bf and me up, but that's not why we broke up) has made contact with me via email since we've gotten back from winter break. But the guy I really like and that I would love to have a relationship with is uncomfortable with me because of our age difference. (I hope he gets over it!) I know he likes me for certain, but that's only because he kissed me. I've liked him for years but I NEVER thought he liked me at all. Go figure.
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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 2:20 pm

When Patty meets Amber, she says, "[Rayanne and Angela] seem so different" (she dislikes Rayanne and therefore does not want to believe that Angela and Rayanne are similar) only to say moments later, "Angela's just the same" (when Amber says that Rayanne is not upset by the gun).
Patty thinks Angela is better than Rayanne. This belief comes across the way she speaks about them. Even if this isn't the case, Rayanne is very different from Sharon -- the type of Angela's friend Patty is used to.

I think the second part -- Angela and Rayanne are both not upset by the gun shot -- is an in general comment by Patty concerning how she thinks teenagers believe they are invulnerable.
TomSpeed

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?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 2:52 pm

When Patty goes into Angela's bedroom, she picks up her Anne Frank book. Does that mean Miss Mayhew isn't AWOL yet?
Maybe she isn't gone. But, we don't really know. I think showing the Diary of Anne Frank is an echo of "Pilot." Anne Frank deals with threats to her life; Angela also deals with such threats. We don't see really see or hear about Miss Mayhew from "Pilot" to "The Substitute." My guess is that she leaves sometime soon after "Pilot."
Actually by the next episode Father Figures, we learn that Miss Mayhew is gone (one student says, "She's outta here - she couldn't deal," and Angela says, "I think she quit") and that Mr. Rinaldi (the Spanish teacher) has been subbing (if you can call showing "Alive" subbing). In the Zit, Brian says that "half the time [Rinaldi] never shows up." English class becomes a joke of sorts - in the following episodes, pretty much everyone and their mom (Mr. Rinaldi, Miss Krzyzanowski, Mr. Racine, Miss Lerner, and finally Mr. Katimski) end up subbing for the class at least once (with the exception of Miss Chavatal, Mr. Demitri, and Principal Foster!).
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Post by SanDeE* » Jan 27th 2003, 2:58 pm

I just have to say - I HATE the way Mr. Foster is with Brian. He's so condescending and interrogating. I mean, I know he has to be a little interrogating, but you know! Asking Brian if he was going to the bathroom for no.1 or no.2? Why! Could you make a kid more uncomfortable?! I really respect Brian so much in this episode. I've always hated being spoken to in a manner, and I think that adults usually think they can get away with that with teenagers. Thank god I'm not a teenager anymore! Watching those scenes with Brian and Mr. Foster just make me cringe and my skin crawl!
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 3:09 pm

I agree - Mr. Foster is such a jerk! No wonder Brian mouthed off to him at the end. I'm no legal expert, but I also think that Mr. F is full of it when he says that he could have Brian kicked out of school - for what? Sheesh, if he said he didn't see anything, there is really no way for the school to prove that Brian is lying. And they definitely wouldn't want to kick out someone who makes the school look so good - Brian will probably end up a National Merit Scholar (among other things). Mr. F is bluffing, so Brian was right to stand up to him. I do love his speech at the end - yay Brian!

I think that Brian saw Rickie's involvement in the incident was not malicious - it's not like Rickie was running through the hallways waving the gun around. Once Angela implies to Brian that Rickie is innocent, it validates his initial response to protect Rickie (even though he does bluster about "this is serious - this is the police we're talking about" and "why should I get kicked out of school?" etc).
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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 4:02 pm

candygirl wrote:
When Patty goes into Angela's bedroom, she picks up her Anne Frank book. Does that mean Miss Mayhew isn't AWOL yet?
Maybe she isn't gone. But, we don't really know. I think showing the Diary of Anne Frank is an echo of "Pilot." Anne Frank deals with threats to her life; Angela also deals with such threats. We don't see really see or hear about Miss Mayhew from "Pilot" to "The Substitute." My guess is that she leaves sometime soon after "Pilot."
Actually by the next episode Father Figures, we learn that Miss Mayhew is gone (one student says, "She's outta here - she couldn't deal," and Angela says, "I think she quit") and that Mr. Rinaldi (the Spanish teacher) has been subbing (if you can call showing "Alive" subbing). In the Zit, Brian says that "half the time [Rinaldi] never shows up." English class becomes a joke of sorts - in the following episodes, pretty much everyone and their mom (Mr. Rinaldi, Miss Krzyzanowski, Mr. Racine, Miss Lerner, and finally Mr. Katimski) end up subbing for the class at least once (with the exception of Miss Chavatal, Mr. Demitri, and Principal Foster!).
That's why I should stick to examining one episode at a time. I'm easily confused. :wink:
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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?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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