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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TomSpeed
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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 10:05 pm

candygirl wrote: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.
I agree with your thoughts, Candygirl. And, as I probably mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I think Angela has a double reaction to being the center of attention. She hates it. And, she also likes it. Sometimes, it is good to be noticed, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable. Wonder why politicans make attack ads? Part of it is to simply get their names out there. Does it work? That's debatable. Rayanne is introducing Angela to a type of thrill totally new to her.

I must agree that I would totally notice Angela in her PE clothes if I were in her school. That purple top presses some of my buttons.

You know, it is kind of sad that guys pay more attention to girls who go all the way than girls who don't in high school. They might dog them behind the girls' backs, but they would probably sleep with them if they had a chance. Society has taught us that good girls say no. But, guys still want/crave sex.
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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 TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 10:14 pm

RyeBlume wrote: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?
I definitely think the look Angela gives Brian as they walk into the school at the end of the episode is a different look than she has given him previously. It's not a look of love, but it is a look of respect/admiration/friendship. It took guts to stand up to Principal Foster. Angela is looking at Brian with new eyes.
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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 TomSpeed » Jan 27th 2003, 10:43 pm

Graham's reaction to Patty's desire to talk with Angela about the rumored relationship with Jordan

This exhange is so funny, but it is so true. Fathers, for the most part, simply cannot think of their daughters as sexual beings. They know that their daughters might be having sex, but it's not something they want to address. Fathers simply want to think of their daughters as "daddy's little girls." If I had daughters, I would be squirming all over if the subject of my daughters having sex came up. However, Patty's instincts are true. A parent must be ready to discuss sex. She also decides to pursue the subject with Angela in the right way -- I don't think you are ready for sex, but if you choose to have sex, use precautions. And, Patty tells Angela to come to her if she has questions or needs help. It's important for teenagers to know that their parents are there for them. Yes, it would be easy for Patty and Graham to forbid Angela from having sex/seeing Jordan (not while you are under our roof). But, they know that if they do that, they will force Angela to rebel and make the wrong choices. Plus, you can see our sexual sterotypes working again. If Graham had a son, he would be winking and/or applauding secretly if his teenage son Angela's age was having sex. Hopefully, he would encourage his son to wear a hat, like my father did.
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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 SanDeE* » Jan 28th 2003, 12:46 am

It's always been said: If you do, you're a slut, and if you don't, you're a prude. It's a double-edged sword. I know a few girls that had sex with only one person in high school, and the guy dumped them not long after. That didn't make them feel any more interested in sex, I can tell you. Angela wants it to mean something (and largely it should for everyone), and she wants it to be magical and special. Not initiated by the rampant rumors that it has already happened. I'm surprised that Angela doesn't know more about past girlfriends (or girls he "ummed"). You would think she would have asked Rayanne to tell her as much as she can about Jordan. On the other hand, Angela still wants him to be perfect and defend him and such. I'm starting to talk in circles!
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 28th 2003, 3:45 am

Kristin wrote:It's always been said: If you do, you're a slut, and if you don't, you're a prude. It's a double-edged sword.
Hee, I love any reference to the Breakfast Club! This thread discusses the idea of sex, Angela's attitude towards it, social mores, etc.

I think perhaps the reason that Rayanne never mentions Jordan's previous "ummm"ing partners (like Cynthia Hargrove) is because Rayanne assumes that it's general knowledge. When Angela expresses surprise at this news, Rickie says to Angela, "You knew that. You *must* have known that. *I* knew that." Rayanne isn't deliberately withholding information - again, she assumes that certain things are known around school. For example, when Rickie asks if Rayanne knows where Angela is in Self Esteem, Rayanne says of course she knows. When Rickie asks HOW she knows, Rayanne replies, "Because I live in the world." She just figure that everyone knows what she knows and hears what she hears.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 28th 2003, 3:57 am

TomSpeed wrote:I think Angela has a double reaction to being the center of attention. She hates it. And, she also likes it. Sometimes, it is good to be noticed, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable. Rayanne is introducing Angela to a type of thrill totally new to her.
I agree - Angela is conflicted about this attention. She likes it, "only [she]'s programmed to never admit it!" In addition, she is uncomfortable receiving attention due to her (supposed) sexuality, unlike Rayanne. Even prior to Patty's little "I don't think you're ready to have sex" talk, was there any doubt that Patty and Graham's party line would be "no sex until marriage"? Not many middle class parents tell their 15 year old daughters to go ahead and have sex. Angela has been raised to treat her virginity as a gift to bestow upon someone she loves, so she is visibly uncomfortable at the thought that boys are assuming she puts out (during gym) and so upset by an actual proposition that she leaves class. Even Jordan's proposition initially discombobulates her enough to walk away from a guy she has a huge crush on. Even though she later says that "maybe it wasn't so wrong," she wasn't ready to run behind the gym and actually have sex with him right then and there. I think her admission that "the rumor was right" means she has evaulated Jordan and concluded that he is the guy who she might give her virginity to (like on Friends, when Monica calls it giving her flower? :wink: ).
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Post by Nostradamus » Jan 28th 2003, 10:41 am

It always amazes me how Patty can calmly send Angela to school every day without knowing even the most basic information about what classes she takes, who her teachers are, who her best friend's parents are, and yet still be shocked when something bad happens at said school. Isn't that kinda like tipping the parking valet a nice, shiny quarter and then seriously expecting that your car could not possibly be damaged or stolen? :roll:
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Post by Megs » Jan 28th 2003, 2:25 pm

TomSpeed wrote: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.
Today is the 17th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. I only remember my neighbor telling me about it and me calling her a liar. In high school and college I researched it thoroughly for a few assignments. Very sad. And very preventable.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 28th 2003, 3:03 pm

Nostradamus wrote:It always amazes me how Patty can calmly send Angela to school every day without knowing even the most basic information about what classes she takes, who her teachers are, who her best friend's parents are, and yet still be shocked when something bad happens at said school. Isn't that kinda like tipping the parking valet a nice, shiny quarter and then seriously expecting that your car could not possibly be damaged or stolen? :roll:
Like in Ferris Bueller ("I'm gonna give him a fiver")?

Seriously though - I think that Patty's ignorance (or denial) is mainly about Angela's new life. Until Angela becomes friends with Rayanne, she spends most of her time with Sharon (who Patty knows), at Sharon's house (under Camille's supervision), or at Patty-approved activities with Sharon (yearbook). Patty knows what is going on - at least on a superficial level. When Sharon says, "You know, you could have told me you were quitting," Patty knows that she is talking about yearbook. In Self Esteem, Patty knows what classes Angela is taking and which midterms are when ("Hey don't you have your geometry midterm tomorrow?"). I think part of what makes Patty so uncomfortable about all this change in Angela's life is the disruption of a routine that Patty has known about. This is the point where Angela breaks away from doing what Patty expects. I remember that I knew all of my youngest sister's friends for ages - I could keep track of her new friends, recognized the names of her old friends when they joined different sports in high school, etc. but her senior year I came home and realized I didn't recognize most of her new friends and I thought, "When did that happen?!" Patty feels the same way AND she dislikes losing control of and contact with the important parts of Angela's life. As she says in the pilot, "she's like a stranger."
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Post by TomSpeed » Jan 28th 2003, 3:35 pm

Megs wrote:
TomSpeed wrote: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.
Today is the 17th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. I only remember my neighbor telling me about it and me calling her a liar. In high school and college I researched it thoroughly for a few assignments. Very sad. And very preventable.
That's hard for me to believe. Seventeen years? I am getting ever so closer to being, dare I say it, old. I wonder if my high school senior class will be having a 20th year reunion. Or, does it usually go 10 then 25 year reunion? Guess I'll find out shortly. I did not attend my 10th year reunion. I received an invitation forwarded by my mother, but I forgot about it, then decided not to go. However, I think I want to attend the next reunion. Hopefully, I'll have enough time to get my life together. The good thing is that I feel much better about myself than I did when the big number 10 came along. Who knows? There might be a special woman who had a secret crush on me back in the day. It's funny, but I dated daughters of a friend of my mother for most of my high school years. Who knows what possible connections I might have overlooked?

On serious note, I will say a special prayer for the Challenger crew today. Thanks for reminding me.
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 shorty » Jan 29th 2003, 12:45 pm

What I would like to know is, why does everyone start to rally round trying to protect Rickie from getting into trouble, when he supposedly isn't that popular and gets pushed around? It just seems like a big contrast especially when, in this episode in particular, they highlight the amount of times he gets hassled in one day, and then all of a sudden there are people giving Brian threatening hand signals and theres that group of kids at the end gathered outside Foster's office giving Brian dirty looks, as if to pre-warn him about the consequences if he does 'rat on Rickie'. Is it just the 'no snitching' rule coming into play, or do these people actually care about what would happen to Rickie? :?

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Post by Megs » Jan 29th 2003, 1:02 pm

I always thought that it was the "no snitching" rule. I don't think anyone, besides Rayanne, Angela and Brian, know that it was Rickie who was involved. So the other kids are just giving him a hard time because they don't want him to snitch. Either that, or they are friends of Rickie's cousin, who brought the gun into the school.
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Post by K-man » Jan 29th 2003, 1:42 pm

I agree it's a "no-snitching" thing. That whole 'us against them' mentality when you are in high school. The mob outside Foster's office probably don't know Brian that well, but they may know he is the "brainy kid" which usually sets a student up as a target. As high-school logic often goes...who better to label a nark than the brainy kid who always has his homework done?
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Post by SanDeE* » Jan 29th 2003, 2:45 pm

I really love the interaction/conversation between Rickie and Angela in the car near the end of the ep. Angela is a really good friend, and so is Rickie. I think that this shows how their friendship will ultimately grow to be stronger. It just broke my heart when Rickie said, "You just think of me as someone who's just around." (close enough.) Just "Rayanne's friend." But he really isn't. Angela hugging him was the perfect thing for that moment. Rickie's the best!
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Post by RyeBlume » Feb 1st 2003, 9:03 pm

This scene is also such a great representation of the way that friendships actually develop in real life. There are so many people that I have become close to after thinking of them as "just around" upon meeting them initially. I think its great that MSCL managed to mimic the development of a friendship so well (and over the course of more than one episode... that's important!). Any other show would have thrown Rickie and Angela in a room together (at some cheesy party or dance) and forced them to make awkward conversation until they eventually started enjoying each other's company. That's just not enough. I mean, all of us accept situations like that in television all the time just because we would all be endlessly frustrated if we didn't... but with MSCL you don't have to suspend your disbelief when it comes to the development of relationships between characters. It is done in a way that is so real... and it becomes real to us as a result.
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