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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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 4:12 pm

Kristin wrote:
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.
Sometimes, things are so obvious, you overlook them. I think that Brian's affection for Angela has been evident for so long, she takes it for granted. Also, she probably doesn't know where the line is between friendship and more than friendship, esp. with someone so close to her. I think Sharon clearly sees Brian's affection for Angela. However, Sharon can't really talk to Angela easily anymore.

It would be great if Brian could have said, "You did damage to me because I love you." However, Brian can't bring himself to say it.
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?
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Post by RyeBlume » Jan 27th 2003, 4:19 pm

Yeah, Foster is awful. I used to fast foward through the scenes with him and Brian because they made my stomach turn with disgust. When I was a "pre-teen," I was treated in a similar way by a principle that reminds me a lot of Mr. Foster. Unfortunately, I let myself be bullied. Watching that episode makes me want to turn back the clock and tell him off! :x

In addition to the reasons that you guys have already mentioned, It's possible that Brian didn't want to rat out Rickie simply because Brian knew that he was getting to be really good friends with Angela, the girl he is crazy about. Brian had his reasons to be hurt and angry with Angela because she "used him" in the previous episode. But in his own way he did get back at her by talking to Sharon. Maybe in Brian's head that settled the score?
Telling on Rickie would give Angela a concrete reason to be pissed at him which is something that Brian would definitely not want. I mean, heck, she acts like she's angry with him most of the time regardless.
After their conversation in the comp. lab, despite increasing pressure from Foster, Brian holds his ground admirably. Perhaps he is given a new determination to do something good in Angela's eyes after she discovers that he started the rumor?
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Post by RyeBlume » Jan 27th 2003, 4:24 pm

I just want to scream every time I see the "what damage did I do to you?" scene. I just wanna go into the screen and shake Angela and say "how can you not know that Brian is in love with you???" But, yeah, Tom, I think you're right about Angela... she is just so used to Brian's affection that it feels totally normal and insignificant to the point where she can't distinguish it as something special.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 5:07 pm

TomSpeed wrote:That's why I should stick to examining one episode at a time. I'm easily confused. :wink:
I know what you mean! Most of the 19 episodes of melted together into a blurry mess in my head. Sometimes I'll remember something that a character said but have no idea which episode it came from! My excuse - old age :wink:
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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 5:35 pm

Angela's VO that begins "Guns and Gossip" always gets me. It always seems like nothing happens when you are a teenager. Nothing important happens anyway. During the 60s, there was Vietnam, Nixon, women's liberation, etc. During the 80s, my high school years, almost nothing happened. At least, nothing happened that caused me to remember where I was when it happened.

The only thing I remember happenning of any significant importance is the Challenger explosion in January of 1986. Being a Florida boy, I was not used to cold weather. I walked about 2-3 miles to school everyday. On that morning, the temperature got down to 7 degrees F, which was unually cold for FL. I was in a human development type class (my memory has faded a bit) when the principal came over the intercom. We almost never heard from our principal. He was one of those shadowy background figures. Almost all announcements were made by the Deans of Boys or Girls. As soon as I heard him announce himself, I got this instantanous chill. "The space shuttle blew up," I said aloud. Sure enough, the principal announced the Challenger exploded. Everyone was dead. I've never had such an experience since. It was really strange.

Anyway, that's the significant thing that happened during my senior year in high school. I'll probably never forget it.
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, 6:07 pm

I was a bit younger, but I remember the Challenger explosion as well. There was some discussion of it in relation to Guns and Gossip here

Eerie that it occurred when everyone wanted to become an astronaut (remember "Space Camp"?).
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Post by K-man » Jan 27th 2003, 6:15 pm

TomSpeed, do you remember when Reagan was shot? I was in 8th grade and school was almost out and the announcement came. At the time there was no word (yet) on whether he survived or not.????. I was a freshman in college when the shuttle blew up. I was in class and probably nursing a hangover so it didn't seem all that earth shattering at first. But then when you saw the footage it really sank in. Sorry if I am getting OT here.
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Post by K-man » Jan 27th 2003, 6:23 pm

It is killing me that at my current job I am not able to post as often and as long as I would like. I really wish I could get in on these weekly ep. discussions. But honestly I think I have debated/discussed a lot of these topics in the past. (Still would like to get in here though.) I love the line in the kitchen when Patty says," Honey, who's Jordan?". That kills me. Graham smoothly disappears to avoid the crossfire. I also remember the first time I watched the ep., and how the last scene struck me as the kids approach the metal detector. It's like the times are a-changin'. It helps to re-wind your brain to the early/mid 90's before watching this ep. I think. Back to the time when not every school had airport-like security at the front door.
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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 6:32 pm

K-man wrote:TomSpeed, do you remember when Reagan was shot? I was in 8th grade and school was almost out and the announcement came. At the time there was no word (yet) on whether he survived or not.????. I was a freshman in college when the shuttle blew up. I was in class and probably nursing a hangover so it didn't seem all that earth shattering at first. But then when you saw the footage it really sank in. Sorry if I am getting OT here.
I remember seeing the clips of Reagan getting shot over and over again. It was scary. I was around 11-12 years old when Reagan was shot, I think, so my memory of that event isn't as vivid as the Challenger explosion. I probably didn't understand the importance of our President being shot. Plus, unlike Kennedy, Reagan survived. It was after the fact that we learned how close that Reagan came to dying.
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, 6:34 pm

TomSpeed wrote:Sometimes, things are so obvious, you overlook them. I think that Brian's affection for Angela has been evident for so long, she takes it for granted. Also, she probably doesn't know where the line is between friendship and more than friendship, esp. with someone so close to her. I think Sharon clearly sees Brian's affection for Angela. However, Sharon can't really talk to Angela easily anymore.
Why hasn't Sharon told Angela before? If she is aware of Brian's feelings for Angela, you'd think she'd have known for years. You'd think that Sharon would have said, "Oh my god Angela, Brian totally loves you. Like, for years." It's pretty obvious that she hasn't said this to Angela. Which is weird, because I don't get the impression that Sharon feels all that close to Brian, like she thinks she should keep it a secret for Brian's sake.
TomSpeed wrote:Angela's VO that begins "Guns and Gossip" always gets me. It always seems like nothing happens when you are a teenager. Nothing important happens anyway.
I was in high school from fall 1997 to spring 2001. I can think of three significant things that happened: The Columbine massacre, Princess Di's death, and JFK jr.'s death. Not that I was at school when I heard about any of these things. But there was plenty of talk at school in the days following these events, except JFK jr.'s plane crash (summertime). I remember the OJ Simpson trial quite well. I was in 7th grade and there weren't enough TVs for every classroom so there would be like two or three classes crammed into one room with a TV. Wow the drama of that!
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Post by likelife » Jan 27th 2003, 6:35 pm

did jordan know about the rumor?

i think that jordan was honestly surprised about the rumor. he's probably kissed a ton of girls at parties once or twice without a single rumor starting. you have to remember that the rumor was started by brian and then sharon. i have always seen sharon's "popular" friends as being in a completely different social circle than jordan's "popular" friends. plus, angela is not the kind of girl who has hordes of guys trying to score with her, so if he HAD tried to gossip, most of his clueless pals would have been like, "you kissed WHO?"

patty and amber

this is the perfect way for these two characters to meet. they are brought together because they both want to be good parents and protect their daughters. it's just ironic that their methods are so different. i agree with whoever said that patty cannot relate to the rayanne being obsessed with angela statement because SHE was always the one who people tried to emulate. it's interesting, though, how we see such similarities between patty and angela in this episode. patty always tried not to seem vain, and angela just plain isn't vain, and yet it sounds like their relationships with friends in high school mirror each other.

how did patty know about the shooting?

guns in school are always a big deal - plus, it's a suburb, right? guns in suburbian schools are an even bigger deal. often the first news reports will say "police have stated that no one was seriously injured" before they know anything..... i bet patty had already assumed angela was in danger after the first news snippet.

angela and brian

i like how brian and angela both struggle with the idea of personal worries vs. larger community concerns in this episode. to angela, the gossip is what has her up at nights, not the gun. but she also knows that her moral responsibility is to try everything she can to get brian to protect rickie. she knows rickie is innocent and she also senses that it would be WRONG for the school to use rickie (gay minority with questionable home life) as a scapegoat.
brian is terrified that his bathroom trip has cost him his academic reputation. he is also personally hurt to know that angela did SOMETHING in jordan's car that night. he has no problem planting the seed of gossip about a and j, but is fervent in his protection of the gossip surrounding the gun. brian feels the responsibility of doing the right thing weighing heavily on his shoulders, but he realizes that what foster considers the right thing to be and what he decides will be two different things.
and folks, in angela's defense, when you have a big crush on a boy in high school, you do not consider who might have a crush on YOU when you are about to lean in for a first kiss. i say this only because i know that brian was hurt by the goings on in dancing in the dark, but i do not think it was entirely angela's fault. it was just a bad set-up all the way around.

challenger

i agree with you folks that angela should have remembered the challenger. i'm just claire's age and i remember vividly when it happened. on the other hand, i thnk everyone always sees themselves as not getting to experience what others have (the grass is always browner?). we always feel left out. i was in nyc on 9-11; i'd just moved there. i also did recovery work for 10 months. and you know what everyone says to me, "wow, you should feel lucky that you were in nyc at such a historic moment!" that's just how people see events.

okay, more later!

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Post by likelife » Jan 27th 2003, 6:42 pm

something that's always bugged me, maybe it's a generation gap thing. BF just was not at the heart of the grunge movement or something.....

BUT, when angela and jordan are talking about the chicken bone, and angela notices that jordan's shirt is frayed, she says that it's "like he's from a poor family that can't afford new shirts" (or something like that). now, i was in high school then, and flannel shirts with little worn-out rips and holes were IN. that's what people wore. is this indicative of the fact that angela is just this side of being grunge? that she would never wear a torn shirt? or is this an oversight by adult writers who sensible mend or throw-out their hole-ridden shirts?
or maybe, angela is just letting her imagination get the best of her and she is romanticising that jordan is some poor out-of-luck hero in a fantasy of hers? she does dream of nursing a dying soldier back to health, afterall (which is an anne of green gables refernce, no?).

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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 6:44 pm

candygirl wrote:I was a bit younger, but I remember the Challenger explosion as well. There was some discussion of it in relation to Guns and Gossip here

Eerie that it occurred when everyone wanted to become an astronaut (remember "Space Camp"?).
Remember that that by this time space travel was seemed to be old hat and normal. They were putting a teacher in space. Interest was high at my school and most others in the States. However, everyone, from NASA to school children took spaceflight for granted. The Challenger explosion was a total shock. That I KNEW or GUESSED what happened (I really think I had a psychic event) was disturbing. Reagan's speech that honored the dead Challenger crew, that was written by Peggy Noonan, was the first political speech that really moved me and spurred my interest in politics. The Challenger crew reached out and touched the face of God.
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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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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 7:04 pm

likelife wrote:something that's always bugged me, maybe it's a generation gap thing. BF just was not at the heart of the grunge movement or something.....

BUT, when angela and jordan are talking about the chicken bone, and angela notices that jordan's shirt is frayed, she says that it's "like he's from a poor family that can't afford new shirts" (or something like that). now, i was in high school then, and flannel shirts with little worn-out rips and holes were IN. that's what people wore. is this indicative of the fact that angela is just this side of being grunge? that she would never wear a torn shirt? or is this an oversight by adult writers who sensible mend or throw-out their hole-ridden shirts?
I think that Angela is truly a middle class suburban Abercrombie kind of girl (although MSCL predates A&F's popularity) meaning her plaid flannel shirts were brand new AND that Patty wouldn't let her go to school in ripped up clothes. No matter how grungy Angela's clothes look, they also look new, clean, and unwrinkled. When I think back on the advent of grunge in the early 90s, I already had some old plaid shirts from various boyfriends, etc. that were soft from wear with some fraying. If you think about it, that is where grunge came from - we're talking Sears workshirts, not trendy multicolored brand new shirts from the mall. Jordan, as a member of a working class family, is not wearing flannel shirts to fit in with the popular crowd - those are just the clothes he has: t-shirts for warm days (which we don't see much of on the show), flannel and a few long sleeved shirts for cool days, the brown coat for cold days. Angela, on the other hand, wears plaid as more of a fashion statement. She is visibly removing herself from Sharon's circle of flowered dresses and placing herself with Rayanne's fashion sense (plaid goes with everything!).
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 27th 2003, 7:12 pm

likelife wrote: challenger

i agree with you folks that angela should have remembered the challenger. i'm just claire's age and i remember vividly when it happened.
Angela was only 6 when the Challenger exploded (she is a 15 year old sophomore during the 94-95 school year which means she was a 6 year old first grader during the 85-86 school year), so I wouldn't be surprised if her suburban elementary school (as well as Patty and Graham) felt it was better to shield the children from what happened.
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