Discussion for Episode 10: Other People's Mothers

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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SanDeE*
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Post by SanDeE* » Mar 19th 2003, 6:11 pm

DANIELLE

I love Danielle's line in the beginning of the episode: "Mom it's no fair, my life is totally edited." I also love how she doesn't take crap from Gramma Libby.
D: I hate this outfit. I wish I were dead.
GL: No you don't.
D: How do you know? Am I allowed to have a feeling in this house, or is that just Angela?

Or something like that. Way to go Danielle! From the mouths of babes, I tell ya.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 19th 2003, 6:55 pm

Kristin wrote:Rayanne starts passing out flyers and inviting people to her party. Does it seem strange that she yells, "Not many sophomores!" Isn't she a sophomore? Aren't most of her friends probably sophomores?
I think that besides Angela and Rickie, most of Rayanne's friends are probably older. I don't say that based solely upon her drinking and partying - she just seems like the kind of girl who would hang out with seniors when she is a freshman.
A few minutes later, Rayanne and Angela are walking down the hallway at school and Rayanne echos Patty's statement earlier to Angela: "I've mentioned it at least a dozen times." I just thought that was interesting that Rayanne said the same thing that Patty said, because they are so inherantly (sp?) different.
I think that this mirroring reflects the way that Angela is willing to make sacrifices and try to please Rayanne in a way that she is not willing to do for Patty (again with the furniture moving and streamer hanging).
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Post by SanDeE* » Mar 19th 2003, 9:21 pm

Did I say Gramma Libby? I meant Gramma Vivian. I guess there was an Aunt Libby or something in the episode.

I also hung out with mostly older kids when I was in high school too. Then I was kind of screwed when I was a senior, because then I realized that I did have friends, but I missed out on a lot of social opportunities with them, therefore we weren't as close as perhaps I would have actually liked. So now in college I have lots of friends my age, even some freshmen this year!

Why was Amber so surprised with Rayanne's party? Doesn't she know that that is how Rayanne parties? She knew there would be drinking. Amber said, "Just having a few friends over, huh?" But still. I thought that Amber would have known her daughter a little bit better than that. One more thing about Amber: Why was Amber working so late on a Saturday, OR, why is Rayanne's party so early on Saturday? Wouldn't you think that Rayanne would have a later party?

Why wouldn't Patty just compromise with Angela? Sometimes I think that her strictness backfires on her. Angela did offer to stay at her grandparents' party for a while, then go over to Rayanne's later. And it was a Saturday! Not a school night!
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 TomSpeed » Mar 19th 2003, 9:57 pm

Patty probably would have compromised with Angela. However, Vivian drives her crazy. Patty feels boxed by her mother. So, she says things she normally would not say. Things tend to become very black-and-white when a person is under pressure. Also, Patty is trying to get some control over her life. She can't control Vivian, but she can control Angela. Of course, her attempt to control Angela backfires. Angela leaves for Rayanne's party anyway.

I don't think Amber expected Rayanne to throw such a big party. She probably doesn't know any of Rayanne's friends exept Angela and Rickie. She might have been expecting a small party. Also, I don't think Amber knows how far out of control Rayanne's drinking has gotten. It's interesting that Rayanne puts the beer she's drinking down when Amber enters the room and Rayanne then takes a sip from Amber's margarita. Rayanne might not drink that much in front of Amber.

Patty and Angela make a big discovery togther when Patty tells Angela about her roommate who OD'd. Patty realizes the limits of her ability to control Angela. And Angela realizes that Patty trusts her. Unlike Amber and Rayanne, Patty's trust of Angela seems to be earned. Amber seems to have a blind trust in Rayanne. Amber and Rayanne might have never seriously discussed issues like drinking and drugs except for Amber telling Rayanne to use those things in moderation. The big question is, "What is moderation for a teenager?"
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 » Mar 19th 2003, 10:06 pm

Angela's Call Home

Parents dread getting a telephone call that could mean one of their children is in trouble, hurt, or dead. Having Patty walk to the telephone in slow motion gives weight to this scene. She doesn't know what she is going to be told when she gets the phone. She does what most parents would do, she takes action to help someone in trouble. I remember my own calls home when I was in trouble. I remeber the phone calls of my sibblings. My mother always did what she could to help, no matter what the cost. That's what a parent does.

It's interesting that Angela asks to speak to Patty and not Graham. Does Angela think that Patty is better prepared to help in this situation?
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) » Mar 20th 2003, 12:16 am

TomSpeed wrote:It's interesting that Angela asks to speak to Patty and not Graham. Does Angela think that Patty is better prepared to help in this situation?
I think that as much as Angela craves emotional support from Graham, she instinctively knows that Patty is the go-to person for practical stuff like this. Not that I'm saying Graham has his head in the clouds or anything, but Patty has been portrayed as very knowledgeable in many areas - running the business, sewing (dresses and curtains), how to take care of a zit, etc. These are things that require fact based knowledge. True there is plenty of room for trial and error in all of these cases, but mastering this kind of stuff requires some sort of base of knowledge, whereas Graham's known area of expertise is based on a lot of instinct. I know that we later see him reviewing information in a cookbook, but I think that the difference is that Graham has innate knowledge and he had books as a point of reference, while Patty started out with book type knowledge and used her instincts to refine what she learned.

In addition, the rift between Graham and Angela hasn't completely healed. Patty did push them to talk at the end of Father Figures, but the male/female father/daughter relationship has a different vibe than a mother/daughter relationship. Patty and Angela have fought repeatedly since Angela began adolescence and they are still able to communicate (albeit sometimes reluctantly) or at the very least they are able to keep fighting. Angela is used to having a relationship with Graham that is more of a friendly authority figure, and they have departed from that. That might have contributed to why she immediately thought of Patty rather than Graham.
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Post by SanDeE* » Mar 20th 2003, 2:32 am

candygirl, I agree. The relationship between a mother and a daughter is truly something. I have to admit that if I were in the situation Angela found herself in at Rayanne's, I would have called my mom instead of my dad first. I love my dad, he's smart and funny and wonderful, but in my view, mom is the one to call first. My brother may feel differently. He might call our dad first, I don't know. I'm sure that my dad would do exactly what my mom would do in an extreme situation.

Also, it is clear that Patty is the boss of the family. She's in charge, she "wears the pants." My mom certainly does in my family. I think that had Angela spoke with Graham, Patty would have gone anyway. If Angela had spoke with Graham, would he have gone along to Rayanne's too, or would he have told Patty, she would leave, and he would stay? Speaking of Graham, I noticed that Vivian didn't tell Graham where Patty went and what the situation was. Angela walks in at the end and Graham asks her, "What's going on?" Was that just Vivian being...Vivian? I'm also a little surprised that Patty didn't just tell Graham on her way out. That's serious enough to stop for just a second and tell him. She also could have called from the hospital.

How long was Patty gone from the party? She drove to Rayanne's house, which is about 15-20 minutes. Then they were trying to revive her until the ambulance. Then they went to the hospital and Rayanne got her stomach pumped. They waited for Amber to get there. THEN they went back to the Chase house. But Patty still didn't come into the house right away. I'm surprised the party wasn't over by the time Patty and Angela got back home. In my experience, hospital trips tend to take up your entire evening.
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 Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 20th 2003, 2:39 am

Kristin wrote:I noticed that Vivian didn't tell Graham where Patty went and what the situation was. Angela walks in at the end and Graham asks her, "What's going on?" Was that just Vivian being...Vivian? I'm also a little surprised that Patty didn't just tell Graham on her way out. That's serious enough to stop for just a second and tell him. She also could have called from the hospital.
Very good point - I would like to give Vivian the benefit of the doubt and say that she either got caught up in the party or didn't want to worry Graham. It's entirely possible though that she didn't want to ruin the party mood and have everyone saying, "Oh I hope that girl will be okay," aka taking the spotlight away from herself.
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Post by Nostradamus » Mar 20th 2003, 6:33 am

Kristin wrote:Why was Amber working so late on a Saturday, OR, why is Rayanne's party so early on Saturday? Wouldn't you think that Rayanne would have a later party?
Amber is an X-ray technician. I don't know if it's ever confirmed in the show, but I presume she works at a large hospital open 24/7, so it's not that odd for her to be working late.

Regarding the ominous phone call, I don't think Angela specifically asked for either parent, all she did was speak to Vivian in a panicked tone of voice and Vivian handed the phone to the nearest parent, which happened to be Patty. Patty knew that time was critical, so she asked Vivian to tell Graham and left (and somehow managed to call an ambulance after leaving the house?).

From a practical standpoint, I don't think that it would have made much difference to Rayanne's well-being if Graham had responded, but from a plot standpoint, it had to be Patty, so as to complete the mother-daughter theme.
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Post by TomSpeed » Mar 20th 2003, 12:12 pm

Remember: Being an X-ray technician is not as glamorous as it sounds. Amber probably works the swing shift -- somtimes days, sometimes nights. You usually get paid a little bit more to be flexible. Hospitals usually have pretty good benefits, too. The benefits help offset the low wages.
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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 likelife » Mar 20th 2003, 5:25 pm

ANGELA AND RICKIE REACTING TO RAYANNE'S BEER

rickie is used to rayanne drinking but he's also used to fending for himself and being in family situations in which no one pays attention to you unless they are being abusive. i would not be surprised if he does not think about how big a rule rayanne is breaking when she takes the beer. also, he is an enabler for rayanne up until this point in the story. he and angela share a glance about the beer because he knows rayanne should not help herself like she did, but it isn't until later that he realizes the full extent of what's going on.
angela still looks up to rayanne at this point in the show. she has begun to separate herself from rayanne in the sense that she has other good friends - rickie and sharon -- and also in the sense that she voices her own opinion. when it comes to sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, though, angela still assumes rayanne is somewhat of an expert. remember how angela takes a drink from rayanne in the pilot while they are waiting outside let's bolt? she does so because it seems cool and she wants to appear nonchalant; she may have never even gotten drunk before. when rayanne takes the beer out ofthe fridge at the chase house, angela does not yet have the courage to say an outright NO to rayanne, even though she knows rayanne could get her into deep trouble. she also does not want to remind her friends how different her family is from theirs. in her family, she is definitely still a child who has to follow rules.

WHY $270?

i agree that this amount is arbitrary and implies that the gift was an afterthought, not a carefully thought out one. i also think that it COULD be the amount of child support that rayanne's dad is supposed to sending every month but doesn't.
it would be interesting to find out if 2, 7, or 0 or some combo of those numbers has any significance in terms of bad luck....

PATTY AND VIVIAN AND CHUCK

patty calls her dad "daddy" because they have never broken out of that mold of father and daughter. also, her calling him that helps us see her as a "little princess" kind of daughter -- patty the princess.
vivian talks about her husband in that removed sort of way like she does not actually know him very well or care about him much anymore. we already know that patty married graham in part to have a dad for her kids who was nothing like her own.... so i'd say that both patty and vivian are well-aware that chuck is a pain in the arse!
i think that there is a great comparison here between viv and chuck and patty and graham. both patty and vivian are control freaks, but graham and patty work TOGETHER. they balance each other nicely and honestly enjoy each other's company. viv and chuck, on the other hand, can't even show up at a party in their honor.

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Post by likelife » Mar 20th 2003, 5:30 pm

ABOUT RICKIE IN THE GIRLS' ROOM

i think that we were supposed to assume from the very first time he said it that rickie is not REALLY going to stay out of the girls room. he said it because he thinks he should, but we know he'll be back. i'd say rayanne brings it up because she's intoxicated and doesn't have the faculties about her to be diplomatic or understanding.

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Post by Megs » Mar 20th 2003, 9:18 pm

Kristin wrote: Why wouldn't Patty just compromise with Angela? Sometimes I think that her strictness backfires on her. Angela did offer to stay at her grandparents' party for a while, then go over to Rayanne's later. And it was a Saturday! Not a school night!
I always thought that since Patty was sufferinhg there at the party and had to be there, she wanted Angela to be there, too. This reminds me of how my mom was. If she had to suffer going to visit her in-laws (my grandparents), then we all HAD to suffer with her. She didn't want Angela to get out of going to the party, because she couldn't get out of it.
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Post by TomSpeed » Mar 20th 2003, 9:28 pm

Misery loves company. Plus, Patty believes it is important for her family to do things together. I still think Patty might have let Angela split time between the two parties. But Vivian gets her so riled up, she is incapable of compromising with Angela.
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 » Mar 20th 2003, 9:32 pm

Here's another transportation mystery. How does Angela get to Rayanne's when she storms out of the house? Does she take the bus? Or does she borrow Brian's bike? Rayanne lives "clear across town" according to Patty.
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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