Discussion for Episode 11: Life of Brian

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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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 26th 2003, 2:44 pm

shorty wrote:At the very beginning of this discussion, CANDYGIRL commented on the pictures the characters have on the inside of their lockers, and said that on the inside of Rickie's locker, she'd only seen a picture of someone with funny eyes, but when I watched WHY JORDAN CAN'T READ again, I noticed a picture of Michael Jackson when he opens his locker.
Actually I said:
Sharon's locker has a drawing of eyes inside....We don't see Rickie's locker in this episode, but he has that picture of a guy with his eyes closed on a blue background.
I'm not sure it's Michael Jackson - I'll have to go back and watch WJCR :D
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Post by angela bee » Mar 26th 2003, 4:06 pm

I think that the song definitely applies to Brian, and could also apply to the catch-22s of many of the characters...
Angela with Jordan- if she tries to get him, he may reject her, but if she doesn't try, he may not pay any attention to her.
Rickie with Corey- if he tries to hang out with Corey, people may realize he's gay. but if he doesn't try, he will miss out.
Jordan with Angela- if he tries to hit on her, he'll be embarassed in front of his friends. if he doesn't try, then he won't have her.
Kristin wrote:The music at the end of the episode at the dance:
"You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't."

Could this apply to Brian's situation?

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Post by Nostradamus » Mar 26th 2003, 6:43 pm

Nostradamus wrote:Am I confused, or is the smiley Earth banner for the World Happiness Dance the same as the one on the cover of the "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy"?
I found a picture of that cover on Amazon.com, and it is kinda similar. The HG illustration has a smiling green sphere, which may or may not be a planet. The WHD banner featured a smiling plant Earth.

It's probably just coincidence, but perhaps there was a HG fan on the MSCL staff...

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Post by Nothingman » Mar 27th 2003, 10:20 pm

Work has been crazy, I can’t believe that the discussion is on its fourth page already. First off, this episode is so much fun since it is told from Brian’s perspective for a change. We also get to see Angela actions with out the VO, I find myself wondering what it would say in many of the scenes. It gives you a better perspective of how everyone else sees Angela. I wonder if the writers came up with the story and decided to tell it through Brian or if they just wanted to do an episode about Brian, hmmm. If I had a dollar for every time I gave myself the “SPEAK!” peptalk or wondered “why am I like this?” during high school, I would be a very rich man.

RICKIE’S DANCING

His dancing didn’t strike me as stereotypically gay. His character does seem to touch lightly on some of the stereotypes, but I think it’s only there to make him relatable to the audience. I think this goes for all the characters, the writers did a wonderful job of making them truly unique while still making them easily relatable. I think Rickie’s dancing is a way to release from the pressures and insecurities of his everyday life. Isn’t that why most of us dance? His dancing is a very enthusiastic, but I think it’s imparative to the plot, it’s definitely no African Ant Eater Ritual. I never felt like it was there to just have a dance scene in the show, props to writers. As far as Rickie coming out to his classmates, I think they already know. Seems that the makeup, the hanging out in the girls bathroom, and the unique clothes would be enough to be evaluated as at least “questionably gay” by his peers. Granted his clothes may be in style and not out of place for the period, but if you look at what everyone else wears at Liberty, he definitely stands out.

I find it interesting how Corey’s shoes match Rickie’s vest when they first meet. Anyone else notice the rainbow theme? Underlying message there, or just colorful clothes?

ANGELA AND BRIAN

I don’t think that Angela has any desire to have a relationship with Brian, but I do think she desires his attention. On some level I think she has always known that Brian likes her, even if she hasn’t always wanted to admit it to herself. I think she likes having Brian desire her just so she knows that she is desirable. She likes the assurance that it is possible for someone to like her. That gives her self confidence that it could be possible for Jordon to like her that way.

“Try if you will, Try if they won’t, You’re damned if you do, You’re damned if you don’t”

These words can go for Angela, Brian, Rickie, Delia, or Corey, but more than that, they are an anthem for life when you’re 15. I love the image of Angela and Brian standing defeated at the dance as the camera zooms out and the song playing in the background, great ending!
"To come to your senses, you must first go out of your mind." - Alan Watts

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Post by SanDeE* » Mar 27th 2003, 10:53 pm

nothingman wrote:His dancing is a very enthusiastic, but I think it’s imparative to the plot, it’s definitely no African Ant Eater Ritual.
LOL :lol: Love the "Can't Buy Me Love" reference! That scene is great where all his geek friends recognize the dance on TV. And to echo Graham's statement in Dancing in the Dark: "Cliches happen." There is a little bit of truth to every stereotype and cliche, otherwise we wouldn't have stereotypes or cliches.
nothingman wrote: “Try if you will, Try if they won’t, You’re damned if you do, You’re damned if you don’t”

These words can go for Angela, Brian, Rickie, Delia, or Corey, but more than that, they are an anthem for life when you’re 15.
Or 20. Or 30. Patty and Graham still face that dilemma too. I think you probably find yourself in situations where those lyrics apply throughout your whole life. Bart Simpson says that line in several episodes of "The Simpsons" too!
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* » Mar 27th 2003, 11:03 pm

I just noticed that my quote is from this episode. That line cracks me up every time, because it's happened to me too, only not with off-center wallpaper. You just can't stop looking at whatever is bugging you! Brian is just so cute in this part, too. I have mixed feelings about Brian opening up to Graham and looking at him as a father figure, even if just for a scene or two. I think it's cool that he's comfortable enough with Graham that way (after all, he has known Graham since he was five), but at the same time I feel sorry for Brian that he doesn't feel his own father would be someone to go to for advice on this.

One more thing about this scene: Graham has to know that Brian is referring to Angela as the "more expensive wallpaper." He just has to. In Father Figures, Graham is sharp enough to say "I'm sorry sir, but I'm too busy picturing your daughter naked." Even if he was sort of joking to himself, he wouldn't have said it if there wasn't even a kernel of truth to it, I think. I also can't believe Brian would say the wallpaper thing to Graham! EVERY one of my male friends is or has been scared of my dad, even the non-prospective boyfriends, the strictly friends, were intimidated by my father. It was kind of cool, because it made them respect my father, but at the same time it was amusing because they really have nothing to worry about. My dad is the sweetest funniest man alive. But Graham doesn't look intimidating like my father. My dad is a big guy with weird hair. Okay I'm done rambling now!
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 » Mar 28th 2003, 12:09 am

nothingman wrote: ANGELA AND BRIAN

I don’t think that Angela has any desire to have a relationship with Brian, but I do think she desires his attention. On some level I think she has always known that Brian likes her, even if she hasn’t always wanted to admit it to herself. I think she likes having Brian desire her just so she knows that she is desirable. She likes the assurance that it is possible for someone to like her. That gives her self confidence that it could be possible for Jordon to like her that way.
Good points, esp. the part about Brian makes Angela feel good because he wants her attention. I'm sure she does know that he is in love with her. She's probably known on some level for a long time. She has used Brian's feelings for her to get him to do favors for her. But their relationship goes beyond her liking to have a puppy dog around. Others have pointed out that Brian and Angela definitely can be explosive with one another. Only people you care about can get on your nerves in such a way. However, no matter how much they fight or cut each other down, they remain friends and care for one another. Their relationship rests on many levels. They are friends. They are like brother and sister. They have passion for each other (not sex, sex, but they feel deeply for one another). Underlying those things, I think Angela does have some romantic feelings for Brian. I can't name all of the instances off the top of my head, but there have been many instances when these feelings are apparent. However, in all of those episodes, we see the other facets of their relationship as well. I can point to the way Angela looks at Delia and Brian when they are in the classroom and the way that Angela asks Brian to take her to the dance. I also can point to the last scene. Granted, the romantic feelings Angela has for Brian are not on in Angela's top 10 or 20 things to think about, but they are there, lurking beneath the surface of things. Just as Angela prevents Brian from finding happiness, Jordan prevents Angela from finding happiness. Of course, this is not to say that Angela and Brian would be happy together at this time in their lives without Jordan. They might never act on their feelings. Jordan does provide the catalyst for those feelings to smolder. I don't think Angela wants Jordan to like her the way Brian does. Angela takes Brian for granted in some ways. Angela probably wants what Jordan cannot give her -- love, respect, and devotion (among many things).
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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 » Mar 28th 2003, 12:14 am

Kristin wrote:I just noticed that my quote is from this episode. That line cracks me up every time, because it's happened to me too, only not with off-center wallpaper. You just can't stop looking at whatever is bugging you! Brian is just so cute in this part, too. I have mixed feelings about Brian opening up to Graham and looking at him as a father figure, even if just for a scene or two. I think it's cool that he's comfortable enough with Graham that way (after all, he has known Graham since he was five), but at the same time I feel sorry for Brian that he doesn't feel his own father would be someone to go to for advice on this.

One more thing about this scene: Graham has to know that Brian is referring to Angela as the "more expensive wallpaper." He just has to. In Father Figures, Graham is sharp enough to say "I'm sorry sir, but I'm too busy picturing your daughter naked." Even if he was sort of joking to himself, he wouldn't have said it if there wasn't even a kernel of truth to it, I think. I also can't believe Brian would say the wallpaper thing to Graham! EVERY one of my male friends is or has been scared of my dad, even the non-prospective boyfriends, the strictly friends, were intimidated by my father. It was kind of cool, because it made them respect my father, but at the same time it was amusing because they really have nothing to worry about. My dad is the sweetest funniest man alive. But Graham doesn't look intimidating like my father. My dad is a big guy with weird hair. Okay I'm done rambling now!
Great point about Graham knowing that Brian is talking about Angela. I'm sure that he might strongly suspect. In some ways, Brian is very brave ("Guns and Gossip"). It wouldn't surprise me if Brian decided to go ahead and talk about the situation with Graham knowing that he could make Graham angry. But the fact that he probably knows that Graham will be understanding allows him to do it. Graham probably does fulfill a fatherhood role for Brian. He needs to talk to someone. I'm sure talking to his parents makes Brian feel like a mental patient.
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 » Mar 28th 2003, 5:33 pm

I don’t think that Angela has any desire to have a relationship with Brian, but I do think she desires his attention. On some level I think she has always known that Brian likes her, even if she hasn’t always wanted to admit it to herself. I think she likes having Brian desire her just so she knows that she is desirable. She likes the assurance that it is possible for someone to like her. That gives her self confidence that it could be possible for Jordon to like her that way.
and
Underlying those things, I think Angela does have some romantic feelings for Brian. I can't name all of the instances off the top of my head, but there have been many instances when these feelings are apparent. However, in all of those episodes, we see the other facets of their relationship as well. I can point to the way Angela looks at Delia and Brian when they are in the classroom and the way that Angela asks Brian to take her to the dance. I also can point to the last scene. Granted, the romantic feelings Angela has for Brian are not on in Angela's top 10 or 20 things to think about, but they are there, lurking beneath the surface of things. Just as Angela prevents Brian from finding happiness, Jordan prevents Angela from finding happiness. Of course, this is not to say that Angela and Brian would be happy together at this time in their lives without Jordan. They might never act on their feelings. Jordan does provide the catalyst for those feelings to smolder. I don't think Angela wants Jordan to like her the way Brian does. Angela takes Brian for granted in some ways. Angela probably wants what Jordan cannot give her -- love, respect, and devotion (among many things).
nothingman - i agree with what you've said about angela's feelings for brian. she does not want a relationship with him, but she does want his attention. i also think that angela wants brian's approval, in a certain way, because she knows that he is an intelligent peer. i think that we all appreciate it when we realize that someone we know has a crush on us, or admires us, or whatever.
tomspeed - as far as whether angela has any overtly romantic feelings for brian, i guess i never got the impression that that matters very much. they are friends, they mean a lot to one another, and they drive each other crazy. sure, sometimes that's a recipe for passion, but not always. angela does crave brian's attention, and she does care enough about him to get very riled up when he upsets her, etc. only if we say that angela DEFINITELY has romantic feelings for brian, i guess what we are saying is that MOST close relationships between men and women have a romantic component.

the truth is, the "passion" between brian and angela might manifest itself in a very UNhappy relationship...ugh, i guess i am by the notion that because brian is more on angela's intellectual level, and because brian is not a hot popular guy, he is obviously gonna be a better boy for angela than jordan is. i am certainly not implying that jordan is a model boyfriend, but i do not think that brian would be, either, and i think his behavior in this episode proves it.

i find myself sympathizing with brian a lot and thinking he is such a cute, clueless nerd, and i love how his character is written. but brian, just like jordan, has a lot to work on in terms of his inter-personal skills. i am not so certain that brian would know how to "show angela respect" any better than jordan does. true, brian would not push angela to have sex, but he'd probably hurt her feelings about five hundred times a day if they were ever a couple.

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Post by likelife » Mar 28th 2003, 5:41 pm

kristin -
i always figured that graham DOES know that brian is talking about angela. but by now in the series graham is well-aware that angela is interested in another guy, so he does not see it as threatening or annoying that brian likes his daughter. he probably also sees some of himself in brian, so it's in some way fitting that he temporarily takes the father figure position. (by the way, does anyone else appreciate how BF made very clear the similarities between graham and brian and also between graham and jordan??)

as far as brian's part in all of this: i think that brian is brave sometimes, like you said, tomspeed, but also pretty clueless. he might not ever realize that this sort of topic is "embarrassing." for goodness sake, he's approaching it like a science project! brian does not seem to be embarrassed by the fact that he is interested in girls or that he thinks about sex. he's just scared of actually approaching girls. he can talk about them for hours on end, it seems. he does not know rickie very well before he starts talking about sharon...
maybe to brian, angela's parents are so much a fixture in his life that he hasnever thought to be intimidated by them.

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Post by Nothingman » Mar 28th 2003, 7:01 pm

GRAHAM AND BRIAN

Brain askes Graham about what he is going to do next, but Graham is the one who really starts into the conversation about making decisions. At this point Brian's delema is waying very heavily on him, and I think he jumps on the opportunity to discuss it with anyone. I don't think he planned on discussing it with Graham, but he saw a window to get something off his chest and he took it.

Graham is very relaxed when it comes to Angela's love life. Patty is the one who sets all the rules, Graham never plays the tough father role. We never see him try intimidate Jordon, he does the same thing that he does with all of Angela's friends, offers him food. Brian knows this and I believe that is why he is not intimidated talking to him. I don't think that Brian believes that his actions are as abvious as they really are when he shows up on Angela's doorstep constantly. I don't think Brian thinks Graham really knows how he feels about Angela. Another thing is that Graham and Patty discuss Brian as a possible date in the second episode and Patty states that she likes Brian, so it makes sense that Graham isn't suspicious about Brian's questions.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 28th 2003, 7:30 pm

And let's not forget Graham's great quote at the end of Father Figures, "Well, I'd, I'd like to help you sir, but I'm too busy picturing your daughter naked."

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Post by TomSpeed » Mar 28th 2003, 11:25 pm

candygirl wrote:And let's not forget Graham's great quote at the end of Father Figures, "Well, I'd, I'd like to help you sir, but I'm too busy picturing your daughter naked."

:P
:rofl: That has to be one of my all-time favorite lines. The more I think about it, the more I think that Graham does know Brian is talking about Angela. Graham, as he usually does, plays it cool. In some ways, he doesn't want to think about Angela's love life. What father does? However, he is willing to deal with what comes in a pretty level-headed manner. Also, since "Father Figures," he seems willing to be there when Angela needs him. He understands that he can't force Angela to tell him everything about her life.
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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 Nostradamus » Mar 29th 2003, 5:16 am

If Graham did suspect the true object of Brian's conjecture, I don't think he was terribly concerned. Angela and Brian may not have the best sense when it comes to romance, but they do at least know enough to avoid the really disastrous outcomes. Furthermore, if she ever did throw herself at him, Brian would probably be so overwhelmed as to run away screaming or fall into a catatonic trance. Now if he'd used the wallpaper as a transparent way of discussing pregnancy and a quickie marriage in Vegas, that might have given Graham some concern.

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Post by Megs » Mar 29th 2003, 4:48 pm

I love the set design in this show, apparent with the nice touch of the Ansel Adams picture on Brian's wall.

Why is Rayanne so rude to Corey when he comes into the classroom asking for the teacher when Angela, Rickie and Rayanne are there?

I love when Brian asks Graham if he is retired. Always makes me laugh. :lol:

I also love the laugh Patty and Graham share on the bed about Angela's face when Brian told her that Delia wouldn't be going to the dance. "There are going to have such a terrible time." :D

The scene where Brian comes to take Angela to the dance is wonderful. I love all of the "Oh My God"'s. And Danielle standing in the backround admiring Brian with those lovey-dovey eyes cracks me up.

I think someone asked why Patty questioned whether or not Brian's dad was going to pick them up. Like she was slipping and didn't know ahead of time. I don't think that was the case. I think Patty knew it, but she was just double-checking. A thing my mom always did.

I also love Patty's face when Brian tells her that Delia won't be coming b/c her aunt or someone is in the hospital. "Oh, I hope it isn't too serious." Hee.

I also love the extras in this show. There are kids of all shapes, sexes, colors, groups (heads, grunge, prep, etc.) in the hallways. It really is true to life. They got a great sampling of extras for the back-drops.

Back to work on this lovely Saturday! :hammer1:
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