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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Post by SanDeE* » Feb 11th 2003, 1:57 pm

Something that always bugged me was the first band room scene (full band rehearsal, not with Sharon & Kyle). First of all, high school bands can play harder stuff than that. Second, there is no full drum kit in a wind ensemble. Third, the director says bar for nothing, and then he just gives them a pickup beat. [/rant] I'm a musician and I was in band in high school.

Sharon did a pretty good job of faking the clarinet, though. One more thing that bugged me is that they made Brian a flute player. They would. Just because he's a geek. That makes me mad. Yes, he can play sax too, which is a step up, but I guess I would have seen him as a cello player. That seems to fit his personality much better. Therefore, he would have been in orchestra, not band. But they needed Sharon and Brian to have that conversation, so... whatever. [/rant (again)]
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brian's geeky instruments

Post by dougjess » Feb 11th 2003, 2:48 pm

Kristin wrote:One more thing that bugged me is that they made Brian a flute player. They would. Just because he's a geek. That makes me mad. Yes, he can play sax too, which is a step up, but I guess I would have seen him as a cello player. That seems to fit his personality much better. Therefore, he would have been in orchestra, not band.
JMO (and this is not meant as an insult to cellist, in fact the cellist I know best ROCKS my world) but I think the cello is an even more geeky instrument to play than the flute. First of all the cellists I've ever met having that really commited to playing their instrument/really good academic quality. Secondly because cello really isn't that common of an instrument to learn in a public school. So cellists usually have had private instruction and paid for that expensive instrument (more commitment that someone who is just in a school band).

I would say that sax is a way cool (even sexy) instrument to play. Sax also opens up the possiblity of being in Jazz Band, which of all the bands at my school it was the coolest by far. Also everyone I've ever know whose played sax has (image-wise) been way cooler than cellists, who generally fit in the stereotyped geek category. (And the flute players were always the "nice" people.)

But lets face it Brian is a geek. That's he's school persona. So he's not gonna play the cool sax in band, he's gonna play the less cool flute.

Personally I think it's cool that he also plays the sax. It opens up the possiblity of this other less geeky Brian. But then again, (as far as we know) he doesn't play either instrument because he has a love for them or music, but rather "because they say that colleges really like it if you play more than one instrument" (jumping ahead to "Why Jordan Can't Read"). And playing instruments just to look good on a college application is such a geeky thing to do.

Jess

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 11th 2003, 3:36 pm

I don't know as much about music as I should. Is the cello the medium size string instrument (as in violin, cello, bass)? The cello is played between a person's knees. There just seems to be something sexy about a woman playing the cello. Doesn't a blonde woman play the cello in one of the Lethal Weapon movies? I like that image in a "wrapped around my engines" Bruce Springteen's "Born to Run" kind of way.

Sorry for the digression.
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Post by likelife » Feb 11th 2003, 3:46 pm

tomspeed and others who have talked about "the game..the big away game.":

i think that both angela and rayanne are being a little facetious here. whether or not they like football, they are both referencing the fact that football and MEETING at the football game are two very different things. they are making fun of the fact that to have a social life in high school, you have to act a certain way, be around certain people, etc. neither one of them is the type to go to a school dance or a game just to be seen or seem cool, but, if it seems like going to that event might allow you to run into a certain someone, then i bet rayanne and angela would both consider going.
i personally am totally bored by football. i grew up in a town where the big sports were soccer and cross country and hockey. sure, people went to the football games, and certain social groups considered football games, like, the place to be, but it was not the focus of our lives. living down south has clued me into the fact that a good part of this country eats sleeps breathes football and that;s fine, but it's not my thing. if i was dating a football player or someone who was in the pep band, sure, i'd go to the game, and if someone suggested we go as a date, i'd go, but only if he went to a ballet with me... or an indigo girls concert (ha ha).
my point is that maybe at liberty football is attended mostly, not exclusively, by certain cliques. so be it. angela and rayanne are not really the type to attend. that's their right. furthermore, if you are at all socially awkward or nervous in high school, a great technique is to make fun of everyone who is not like you. brian does this. angela does this. rayanne does this. sharon does it with rayanne at first. jordan does not, but that;s mostly because he's so out of it.
maybe for angela and rayanne, they need to make fun of social gatherings based on sports because they wouldn't know the first thing about how to act or what to do if they were at "the big away game."
also.... graham may in some cases be a man's man, but he does not strike me as the football type. he was a hippie, or at least wanted to be one. my parents and their hippie/intellectual fans didn't DO sports in high school or college because they were concentrating on other things. a lot of the baby boomers in my town just were not part of the american sports culture. i can imagine the chase family being like that. patty may have participated in the sports culture in high school, but i bet she abandoned it afterwards.

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Post by likelife » Feb 11th 2003, 3:51 pm

ABOUT BRIAN AND JORDAN AND WHAT I SAID ABOUT THEIR FEELINSG FOR ANGELA

i am not trying to make any big assumptions about how deep either of these two guys are. i would not be surprised if they both have tons of sexual fantasies about anything and everything that seems female. what i meant about my appreciation for THEIR appreciation of angela is that neither one of them ever comments on her body or her "look" as if that's the most important thing about her, and i like that.

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Post by likelife » Feb 11th 2003, 3:58 pm

COMPARING INSTRUMENTS... tee hee

i remember in high school that our orchestra teacher was going to be cut before our band teacher when funding was low. i would not be surprised if the school could not accomodate both a band and an orchestra. maybe brian (and sharon?) would have chosen other instruments if given the chance.
and i sort of agree that the flute is not a very "brian" instrument to play, but it also shows that he's not worried about silly things like what the flute may imply about his masculinity. he's just worried about silly things like how many instruments he should play to get into a good college.

and as far as the quality of the band... i guess we could always write it off as a funding prob. as well. if you do not have good music programs in schools, you do not have good and thorough music lessons. you do not have a large population of musicians to choose from when you hold band auditions because only a few kids show interest in a dying program. or of course maybe mscl did not take the time to bother to make that scene realistic. who knows.

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 11th 2003, 4:09 pm

I was halfway kidding about not liking Angela because she doesn't attend football games. It's OK if people don't like football.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I like most female tennis players and golfers. Smart, athletic, and pretty women really get me going. There can't be enough of them for me.

Remember Jordan in The Great Gatsby? She is an attractive female golfer who cheats. She is one of my favorite characters in literature.
Last edited by TomSpeed on Feb 11th 2003, 4:14 pm, edited 2 times 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 likelife » Feb 11th 2003, 4:09 pm

ABOUT CHEERLEADERS

candygirl - i agree with you that cheerleaders are not all the same. some are smart some are not so smart, most are very athletic and there's no way for us to know what someone is like just because he or she is a cheerleader. i think the cheerleader crying in the first episode is testimony to the fact that BF wanted to show us that angela's position on cheerleaders is not necessarily accurate.
however, i DO believe that the way angela sees cheerleaders is a realistic way for her character to react. they are the mainstream to her. the people who are automatically included because they agree to cheer for the same thing. they are in the same clique as the people who attend the "big away games" and angela just does not get them.

i am a ballet and modern dancer. i made fun of cheerleaders in high school not because of their athleticism or because of their intelligence but because i saw cheerleading as tacky. i still sort of do. but that does not mean that it doesn't deserve any respect. i just mean that i like doing splits and dancing and all of that but i would never do it on a team or a squad, it's just not my thing. i was proud of our cheerleaders when they won competitions and i never assumed that they were dumb or easy. i guess i am just pinting out that everyone has their assumptions and opinions...

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 11th 2003, 4:26 pm

Kristin wrote:Something that always bugged me was the first band room scene (full band rehearsal, not with Sharon & Kyle).
What kind of bugged me about that scene was that it looks like Sharon is the only clarinet player. I guess I'm biased because my high school band had over 200 people so I assumed there should be at least a few people playing each instrument. Maybe the other clarinet players are all sick that day? Or the wind ensemble is so small that they only need one?
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Post by SanDeE* » Feb 11th 2003, 7:44 pm

I thought Brian would play cello because he is a sensitive, intelligent person. I just thought that would fit his personality better. Partially because I have a friend from high school who played cello that was similar to Brian in some ways. That could be why I thought that. But I never thought flute fit Brian. In my high school band, there were about 20 or so flute players, all of them female except one. Sax doesn't really fit Brian's personality either, because most sax players I know (and I'm studying at a conservatory in Kansas City, home of Charlie Parker, so I know plenty) are pretty arrogant people. They are full of themselves, but also mostly laid-back. Hard to describe, exactly. But not like Brian. You have to admit, Brian is somewhat uptight. I have a feeling Brian is not loud or obnoxious enough to be a jazz musician.

Yes candygirl, I agree. Why is Sharon the only clarinet player? My high school band was really large too, and there were definitely more clarinet players. And just the fact that virtually all of band music has at least two clarinet parts makes it non-sensical.

Back to the cello thing, I think that Brian's parents could have and would have funded/supported Brian in cello lessons. They probably would have encouraged it. What parent wouldn't? And Brian's excuse that it looks good to colleges is lame. Unless you are a music major (and even then), it doesn't matter really at all. Most people play something in high school, then they put it down and don't look back after graduation. Most of my fellow students here at the Conservatory play just their one instrument, or instruments very closely related (trumpet/flugelhorn/cornet, tenor/soprano sax, percussion insts, etc.) Some only sing.
Um, in my room, one seam is a little off and I stare at it constantly. It's, like, destroying me.

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Post by SanDeE* » Feb 11th 2003, 7:49 pm

candygirl wrote:Or the wind ensemble is so small that they only need one?
The wind ensemble certainly could be that small. I get the impression that Three Rivers is a very small suburban town. The high school could be pretty small, although it doesn't look like it from any front view of the building or in the classrooms. My high school had a population of about 2000, and Liberty High looks only slightly less populated in hallway scenes, etc. than my H.S. was.
Um, in my room, one seam is a little off and I stare at it constantly. It's, like, destroying me.

~~Kristin~~

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 11th 2003, 10:04 pm

I'm going to let out the teacher in me for a minute. I love the usage of Kafka's Metamorphosis in "The Zit" and it's incorporation in the plot. I'm guessing that many teenagers watching MSCL have never heard of Kafka. Maybe some of them will read his book.

Almost all of the characters are changing. Angela, Sharon, and Patty are changing physically and emotionally. Brian is changing in that he has become aware of people pairing off and sex. Rickie is changing in that he is starting to recognize just how alone he really is as he is coming to terms with his own sexuality. Rayanne seems to be changing as well. She seems to becoming more comfortable and strident in her efforts to be different, sexually adventurous, and infamous.

First comes The Diary of Anne Frank. Now comes The Metamorphosis. I love it.
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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 » Feb 12th 2003, 4:57 pm

Brian's being able to play the flute and sax kind of goes with his triple majors. The young man has many talents. Plus, it just sound impressive to people. He can play two instruments. Wow! I'm impressed if somebody can play one instrument.

The sax does have a reputation as being a sexually alluring instrument. I can't imagine Danielle having a momentary crush on Brian for his flute playing.

Plus, Brian playing the sax is probably a bow to Pres. Clinton. Brother Bill plays the sax, too.
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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 Lindsay » Feb 12th 2003, 7:06 pm

I do love how all the students in the band go crazy and get out as much as they can after the teacher instructs them to "put their instruments away." That always struck me as very realistic.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 12th 2003, 7:19 pm

And this one time, at band camp...

:P
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