Discussion for Episode 5: the Zit

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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Discussion for Episode 5: the Zit

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 10th 2003, 5:35 am

Welcome to our fifth 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 the Zit that may be of interest are:
the zit
Princess Patty
Sharon and Brian
Patty and Graham suck
why we love Graham

Some threads about recurring themes:
food
Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie
school
baggage
the contradiction that we call Rayanne
plaid
colors
product placement in MSCL?
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 10th 2003, 12:43 pm

One thing that is striking about "The Zit" is the virtual absence of Jordan. This episode is about Angela and her relationships with Patty and Sharon. It's also about self-images of young women.

I will also give my required Brian/Angela update. Angela is jealous of the attention Brian pays to Sharon. The look Angela gives when she watches Brian stare at Sharon's breasts in class is priceless. Brian usually focuses all of his attention on Angela.

One of my favorite lines: Brian asking, "Was I absent the day us pairing off was discussed?" He seems genuinely surprised.

A telling line: Sharon asking Brian about the attention she's suddenly attracting, "Brian, what's wrong?" It's obvious that Sharon and Brian have known each other for a long time. A person would not ask someone a question like that if she did not know him well.

Angela's spite: (to Sharon) "Oh, you didn't know about the poll?" Dagger. I'm kind of surprised about the venom of the comment.

Rayanne, Miss Most Slut Potential -- How much do you think this perception of Rayanne hurts Angela? How much hurt does Angela internalize?

I miss your initial comments Candygirl. I know my comments can't hold a candle to yours. Anyway, the discussion of "The Zit" has begun.
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 Megs » Feb 10th 2003, 1:19 pm

TomSpeed wrote:Angela's spite: (to Sharon) "Oh, you didn't know about the poll?" Dagger. I'm kind of surprised about the venom of the comment.
The venom is not so surprising to me since Sharon "started it" by saying, "Oh, go pop your zit." Or something to that effect. Ouch. Talk about hitting you where it hurts.
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Post by Megs » Feb 10th 2003, 1:21 pm

TomSpeed wrote:One of my favorite lines: Brian asking, "Was I absent the day us pairing off was discussed?" He seems genuinely surprised.
I enjoy Rickie's response to that, "You know I was!" :lol: Rickie/Brian interactions, as well as Jordan/Brian interactions are some of my favorite moments in the series.
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 10th 2003, 2:19 pm

I think the scene with Angela and Patty shopping at the mall is interesting. Patty suggests that they go over to the cosmetics counter. The salesman says, "What a beautiful girl." Patty looks up, seeming to think he is talking about her. Doesn't this reaction seem odd? I remember we talked about the meaning of calling someone a "girl" not too long ago.

Angela's reaction when she realizes he is talking about her is very telling. She cannot imagine someone would think she's beautiful at this point. I really felt for her.
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 » Feb 10th 2003, 2:28 pm

Megs wrote:
TomSpeed wrote:One of my favorite lines: Brian asking, "Was I absent the day us pairing off was discussed?" He seems genuinely surprised.
I enjoy Rickie's response to that, "You know I was!" :lol: Rickie/Brian interactions, as well as Jordan/Brian interactions are some of my favorite moments in the series.
Even though Rickie is joking ("You know I was!") his pain is slightly in evidence. If you couple this comment with the awkward feelings/feedback he gets from spending time with his friends in the girls' bathroom and the out-of-placeness of his using the boys' bathroom, it's becoming clear that Rickie doesn't really have definite place.
Last edited by TomSpeed on Feb 10th 2003, 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 K-man » Feb 10th 2003, 2:28 pm

O.K. I admit I didn't watch the ep last night, but one scene in this show that stands out for me is at the dinner table when Patty brings up the fashion show and Angela starts in on Patty with the lines about "Did you ever model prefessionally" "I can't believe you have a 15 year old daughter" Angela and Danielle together "Because you look SO YOUNG!". That kills me every time.
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 10th 2003, 2:31 pm

K-man wrote:O.K. I admit I didn't watch the ep last night, but one scene in this show that stands out for me is at the dinner table when Patty brings up the fashion show and Angela starts in on Patty with the lines about "Did you ever model prefessionally" "I can't believe you have a 15 year old daughter" Angela and Danielle together "Because you look SO YOUNG!". That kills me every time.
I agree it is a funny sequence. It's funny because the joke is at Patty's expense. She can be such a goody-goody. It's also funny because they can joke with each other. It makes me feel good about them that they can laugh with and at one another. It's a sign of a healthy family.
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) » Feb 10th 2003, 2:43 pm

TomSpeed wrote:I miss your initial comments Candygirl.
I apologize - I was out all day yesterday and planned to watch the Zit last night, but my sister called with tales of woe and crisis about five minutes into the episode so I ended up talking to her until almost 2am and then I fell into bed. She loves MSCL too (and her roommate has both MSCL and Felicity so they watch at least one episode of either show every night!) but I thought it would be rude to tell her that I had to do my MSCL homework in the middle of her call. I posted the initial info with the thread links while I was still talking to her - multitasking! Anyway, I will finish watching the ep tonight.

Good comments though - I was thinking some of the same stuff Tom!
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Post by likelife » Feb 10th 2003, 8:21 pm

the zit is one of my favorite episodes, though i hate the title. i have always thought that this ep should be called "self-esteem."

BRIAN AND RICKIE

the conversation between rickie and brian about people pairing off is priceless!! they really begin to show signs of a true friendship here. it's also great because it shows how two people who are so different on the superficial layer -- different race, different religion, different looks, different styles, different sexual orientation, etc. -- can have so much in common or at least feel similar feelings.

JORDAN OR THE LACK OF JORDAN

i think it's important that jordan is not a big part of this episode. angela is a young woman who deals with much of the same pains that all teenaged girls deal with. it's nice to know that though she has a lot of insecurities, they are not all defined by the men in her life. does anyone know what i mean? angela would feel bad about her chest and her zit and the fashion show whether or not catalano existed. another reason jordan's absence is affective is that it sresses to us that no matter how much a part of angela's THINKING jordan may be, he is not yet a part of her life in any concrete way. thus, she is more in the brian/rickie camp.

PATTY AND ANGELA

ah! angela and her mother have such a similar relationship to the one that my mother and i shared. to add to my list of insecurities, my mom is 5 ft 3 inches and 100 pounds. she looks ten years younger than she is. i am 5 inches taller than she is. she has unintentionally passed on her eating-disorder way of thinking to me and my sister. every time i watch this episode i think of my mom innocently trying to give me tips on how to wear my clothes in high school. it's not like she's a fashion guru - she's a lot like patty, but she always had an opinion...
i am not surprised that patty looks up when the guy behind the counter says "pretty girl." my actual complaint about that scene is that if i were patty and thought someone was saying that about me, i would have looked annoyed instead of flattered. who SAYS that? angela's reaction is so realistic there.
it IS heart warming that danielle and angela can joke about their mom's vanity... and sweet that patty lets them.
i think the power in this episode is that it shows how angela, patty, sharon and rayanne (as well as danielle, brian, rickie, etc.) can all suffer from societal pressures dealing with attractiveness and beauty. if you asked angela she'd assume that sharon went home happy every night, gloating about her breasts. and yet we all know that;s not true. similarly, patty's feelinsg about aging COMPLICATE her once pretty well-intact self-esteem. furthermore, we see how a "pretty girl" like patty can suffer from her desire to overcome that label -- to not fully celebrate or NOTICE how beautiful she really is.
I CRY EVERY TIME I WATCH THIS EPISODE!!!

DANIELLE AND ANGELA

does anyone else feel truly touched when angela tells patty to pick danielle for the fashion show? i think that's great. i also smile at the abvious adoration and respect that danielle has for angela. she wants to be like her sister so badly, and she wants her sister to accept her and love her.

THE MODEL

the model who shows up in the bathroom is such a hoot. her comments let us know that as much as angela may resent the "perfect girls" in school, she knows that there is way more to life than being conventionally attractive. you have to have a brain, for starters. also, i think this episode helps us to notice/appreciate angela's individuality and style. rickie tells her that she blends in, but come on, she has her own style, her very own hair color, and she really does not try to fit any preconceived mold. she is who she is. i think rickie honestly means that in a good way, and just does not realize how it sounds.

RAYANNE's SLUT POTENTIAL/ANGELA'S REACTION

i think that on one level, this part of the poll is no surprise... not even to rayanne. she cultivates this image, after all. i think what it makes rayanne think about is this: if the only thing people think about me is that i can be a slut, then i better hurry up and be one, because otherwise i am nothing! that is truly the saddest part of her behavior in my mind. she can sleep with whomever she wants... but that she thinks that she has to in order to be likeable or noticed....
i believe that angela is a little bit annoyed by rayanne's response to the poll. it's yet another time during which rayanne's personal feelings/situation completely engulf her and she fails to notice what her friends are going through. also, it was not so long ago that angela was suffering/enjoying the aftermath of a big deal rumor. part of her probably misses the attention and the other part wonders, "why would rayanne EVER want people to think that way about her?"
i do not really think that angela is worried about being associated with rayanne, but i could be wrong.


more in a minute...

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Post by likelife » Feb 10th 2003, 8:27 pm

SHARON

okay, i associate myself with both sharon and angela in this episode. sharon because of the global endowments and angela because of how she feels in relation to patty and also that she feels invisible at times.
i LOVE that sharon calls kyle out on his friends making the poll. it shows that she has a lot of self-respect and also that she is not oblivious to the TYPE of guy that kyle might be.
i always expected more from kyle in the scene where he takes the shoe. anyone else? come on, kyle! she's smart, she's interesting, she's talented. ugh.
i thought that sharon's comment about the zit was mean, really mean, but i can see how she and angela are going in that direction..... each comment has to be meaner than the last.

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 10th 2003, 9:34 pm

Danielle I think it's great that Angela suggests to Patty that Danielle participate in the mother-daughter fashion show. Danielle is often overlooked by the rest of the household. Of course, parents sometimes deal with problems at hand. Danielle hasn't presented any problems....yet. So she can easily be ignored from time to time. Children crave attention. They also need attention. We saw Graham helping Danielle with her homework in "Father Figures," but it's important that the family realizes that Danielle is growing up, too. Angela shows that she is not always totally absorbed by her own problems.

Women's Breasts Wow! In many ways Kyle's opinion about Sharon's breasts is very typical. He noticed her breasts, of course. However, he doesn't understand how a young woman would not like having large breasts. For guys, things are pretty easy. We can work out if we want to build muscles to be more attractive to women. And, unlike women's breasts, men's penises are pretty well concealed most of the time. Women's breasts are obvious even when they are clothed. We don't go around thinking, that guy has a larger penis than me. Angela pretty clearly sees that she doesn't stack up. Sharon clearly sees that she might stack up too well.

I'd like to say that I'm an exception to the general male rule. However, I'm not. I notice large breasted women. It's something built into men since the stone ages. Big breasts equal fertility. Men learn breasts are fun. Of course, men learn that only part of the female breast is sensitive, etc., if they are in a very communicative relationship. I have to say that I have dated women with large breasts and small breasts. I didn't really date women who had large breasts because they had them. The large breasts got my attention. However, I enjoy the company of women with large and small breasts. It's not just breasts; it's the whole package. For somene who is about 15 years old, Kyle actually did a good job of explaining is attraction to Sharon. How in touch is 15 year old to why he likes something or someone? How often to they have to articulate about something important? Some men can't even get such abstract concepts across.

Angela is hot Basically, MSCL takes me back to my high school days. I see Angela with a high school boy/man's eyes. It's complicated. That's something people who aren't fans of the show don't understand. I don't go around thinking 15 year old girls are attractive in the same way I think a 21 or 35 year old woman is attractive. However, in the context of the show, I appreciate the scene of Angela buttoning her shirt in the locker room. It took me back to my high school days when probably the greatest thrill I could have on certain days might be walking outside the girls' locker room and hoping to see something/anything. Plus, there were the times I spied on the girl who lived next door. Guys do those things. Anyway, I'll stop here.

OK, I will add that the red dress Anglea wears at the mother-daughter fasion show makes her look so good. Plus, we witness another winning "Angela's smile." Her smile makes me feel good for her.
Last edited by TomSpeed on Feb 10th 2003, 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 likelife » Feb 10th 2003, 9:36 pm

BRIAN

brian's role in this episode clues us in just a bit to how much bri probably thinks about girls and sex. i mean, we could assume as such because he's a teenager, but i like the little moments in this episode such as:
- he doesn't CONDONE the poll, but he understands the motivation behind it
-he has obviously noticed sharon's figure
-he sees kyle's shoe thing as a sex game or foreplay or something! ha ha.
- he even eyes rayanne's behavior with interest (though maybe also with disgust, who knows....)
i agree that he and sharon must have known each other for a long time... they act like siblings sometimes.

GRAHAM

i like that graham TOTALLY stays out of angela's and patty's way during the talent show argument. i also think it's pretty sweet and realistic the way he talks to patty about her wrinkles..
and she's right to say that women find graham more attractive as he gets older... it's something that he isstarting to notice as well.

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Post by likelife » Feb 10th 2003, 9:42 pm

tomspeed - you are prob. right that kyle does a fine job at explaining his attraction to sharon, esp. for a 15yr old. it's just that i can see how sharon will soon need more than kyle... someone more challenging and a little deeper, and i believe that his speech is indicative of that.

angela does look great in that dress -- she also looks very unique ina room full of mother daughter twins. not all daughters need to make their conscious move away from their moms in the area of fashio and style, but for angela, it's obviously something that she needs to do. i'm glad she realizes that.



isn't it cute how rickie and patty have that moment about mary kwant? it's foreshadowing the fact that rickie fits nicely into that house and it also goes to show that one can find a kindred spirit among the unlikeliest of people!

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Post by likelife » Feb 10th 2003, 9:50 pm

something kind of great about both brian and jordan....
you know in self-esteem how the sonnet relates to both bri and jordan and it explains to us and to them how they could both be in love with angela without really having a concrete physical list? they just think she's special, and real, and interesting, and beautiful, but definitely not perfect. definitely not the kind of girl who makes it onto the top 40 list (which by the way showcases some really CONVENTIONALLY pretty, white, preppy girls). anyway, i'd like to point out that neither one of them EVER tries to break angela down into parts. even when jordan is pressuring her to have sex (which admittedly is not cool), he's still admiring her and thinking that she -- the whole package -- is really attractive to him.
in other words, both bri and jordan pass "the zit" test that kyle almost failed.

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