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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SanDeE*
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Post by SanDeE* » Mar 29th 2003, 5:06 pm

Graham: "I guess it depends on how badly you need wallpaper."
Brian: "I'd say pretty badly."

So Brian is desperate? Or at least feels that way. I don't know, this part of their conversation always struck me. Poor Brian. He's so cute! Well whatever. I think I started this post with something more insightful to say in mind, but it left me. Maybe later I'll try again...
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 Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 29th 2003, 6:22 pm

Megs wrote: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 think that Rayanne is initially rude to Corey for the same reason that she is rude to other girls in the bathroom - she is rude to people who serve no purpose to her. Instead of ignoring them (the way most normal people do), she antagonizes them. Although we don't see it, we know that Rayanne must do a 180 and be nice to Corey to get him to paint her shoes and invite him to the dance.
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
I agree. I love that despite the fact that they are in the midst of a disagreement, they can still take a moment to share a parental moment. Their maturity and experience recognize a Bad Night at the Dance when they see it!
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Post by TomSpeed » Mar 29th 2003, 11:20 pm

I think Patty has tuned into Brian's attraction for Angela. She also knows that Angela probably doesn't feel the same way about Brian. I'm going back and watching the episodes again to prepare for my next fan fic project. I watched "Self Esteem" through "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" and I started over on the "Pilot" episode. Right now, I'm about halfway through "Dancing in the Dark." I'm almost at the point when Graham and Patty are discussing Angela's going over to Brian's house to work on the volumeter. Patty says that Angela might have a crush on Brian. It's amazing how the similar themes run throughout the series. Even though Patty and Graham "live in the back," they are very perceptive. A "Bad Night at the Dance" is probably easy for them to spot.
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 29th 2003, 11:24 pm

I think Rayanne likes to point out stupidity in others. The teacher is obviously not in the room. I don't think Rayanne intends to be mean. She just can't help herself.
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 29th 2003, 11:29 pm

Kristin wrote:Graham: "I guess it depends on how badly you need wallpaper."
Brian: "I'd say pretty badly."

So Brian is desperate? Or at least feels that way. I don't know, this part of their conversation always struck me. Poor Brian. He's so cute! Well whatever. I think I started this post with something more insightful to say in mind, but it left me. Maybe later I'll try again...
Brian is very lonely. He's been pining away for Angela for a long time. Yes, he could ask another girl out on a date. But he's shy. Plus, no other girl is Angela. So, he's probably desperate, lonely, and maybe a little horny. Maybe he's very horny. Anyway, he feels the need to do something to change things up a bit. Boys, for the most part, can't wait around for girls to ask them out.
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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Natasha (candygirl)
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 30th 2003, 12:09 am

And, as Rob says in High Fidelity, it's hard to resist someone who finds you irresistible.

:D
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Post by Nostradamus » Mar 30th 2003, 1:52 am

How did public high schools come to host social dances? Are boys still expected to ask the girls? Is it acceptable to arrive alone and "play the field"? Is this arrangement common throughout the modern world, or unique to North America?
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 30th 2003, 2:29 am

Granted it's been a long time since I was in high school so things could be totally different now :wink: but the social expectation for most dances (besides Sadie Hawkins) was for the boys to ask the girls; however, it wasn't considered gasp-worthy if a girl asked a boy. It happened, but it was more common for the boys to ask the girls.

At my high school (and my middle school), it was totally normal for kids to go without dates. "Not dates - just people, together. In a bunch." I remember my freshman year in high school a group of us went to the homecoming dance, most of us without dates. I think that it was more acceptable to go to the casual (meaning formal wear not required) dances rather than prom (although there were people who went to prom without dates too).

I'm not sure about the origins of public schools hosting social dances, but it probably has to do with the fact that there used to be actual dance steps, not just writhing about on the floor. Then, as now, dances were a chaperoned social event. If you think back to formal social parties (think carriages, powdered wigs, etc or heck, even Little Women or debutante balls), it was a way for men and women to interact. As more children began attending public schools in America, it probably seemed like a good school sponsored activity that allowed everyone (not just the elite) to participate. I'm totally guessing here though.

:D
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Post by Nostradamus » Mar 30th 2003, 7:26 am

Thanks for the clarification, CG. I didn't attend a bricks-and-mortar high school, and my closest experience to a formal dance was at a Swing club where it was not uncommon for a girl to grab a guy and drag him onto the dance floor -- not that the guys were complaining.

:D
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Post by Megs » Mar 30th 2003, 12:19 pm

In my high school, no one "asked" anyone to the normal, informal dances. The only two dances you had a date (and the guy asked the girl) were the Christmas Formal and the Prom. Every other dance people went with friends.
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Post by SanDeE* » Mar 30th 2003, 10:08 pm

Homecoming, TWIRP (like Sadie Hawkins), and Junior Prom were the only big dances at my high school. Come to think of it, there may not have been any more than that. Girls asked guys to TWIRP (acronym: The Woman Is Required To Pay). We didn't have a Senior Prom, but only Juniors and Seniors were allowed at the Junior Prom unless you were a underclassman invited by an upperclassman. I went to a few dances at the high school my then-boyfriend went to, and not many at my own school. There are formals here in college that the sorority and frat people go to, and it seems just like prom to me. No thanks.

I went to my Junior Prom about 45 minutes before it was over. I didn't get my hair done, buy a new expensive dress, put on any makeup, or have a date. It was awesome! I just decided at the last minute, and my mother thought it was so cool of me. She said she never would have done anything like that!
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Post by JPP13 » Mar 30th 2003, 11:08 pm

Just finished watching this episode. Everyone has pretty much covered all the details, but I thought I'd chime in with my two cents. :)

I loved this episode. To me, it was the first of the truly great MSCL eps. Not that what preceded it wasn't good, its just that those episodes were necessary to lay the groundwork or predicate for the impact and characterizations that Life of Brian had. This is (was) great TV.

What has struck me recently, culminating now, is that Brian's character, to me, is the strongest on the show. By that I mean, bluntly, more Brian equals better TV. The interaction between him and Angela and in particular him and Delia is just awe-inspiring. I feel my emotions being twisted and turned as if I was standing right there. (in a sense, weren't we all?)

The parents, till now, either bored me or (worse) annoyed me. But here they didn't. It felt natural, and more of a sub-plot, which was beginning to crystallize. Of course I know where the food class leads, so maybe thats part of it. But again, I don't think that its coincidence that Brian was present for most of their screen-time.

Also, this was the first episode where the music took on a particular meaning, as if it were weaved into the storyline. Loved hearing the Lemonheads in particular.

OK, I sound like a cheerleader. But when I think back about how great MSCL was, the foundation for that opinion is episodes such as this. The show is really hitting its stride here.

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Post by Emeralduk » Aug 24th 2003, 6:30 pm

Candygirl wrote:
One of the great aspects of this episode is how we see that Brian is similar to Angela in many ways, in thought and action.

TomSpeed wrote:
Angela and Brian are alike in many ways. This isn't unusual because they spent a great deal of time with one another when they were growing up.
I love the way they stand apart from each other in this scene. It echoes the "Pilot" episode. They are standing close and apart from each other at the same time.
25:12 mins in – the shot of Angela and Brian, similar to the REM street scene in the pilot episode - they are both standing the same, holding their lunch with their feet twisted. Like you said 'Candygirl', this shows how similar they are and how actually perfect they are for each other.

Brian says “something truly amazing was happening” when Angela is talking to him about the dance. It’s similar to what Angela said when she was with Jordan in his car – (in ep 2) This obviously shows that Brian feels the way Angela does about Jordan. But Brian’s love is more real as he has known her for longer, and their relationship is deeper, even though Angela does not realise this fully.
Candygirl wrote:
Why does Angela ask Brian to dance? A moment of weakness? Wanting to be like everyone else for the three minutes that make up one song? An urge to actually dance at the dance? Why does Brian say no?
At the end of the episode Angela and Brian are both left. They both really want to dance, like Rickie (a metaphor for wanting a romantic relationship?), but even when Angela offers to dance with Brian, he says no. I think Brian realised that Angela wouldn’t really be enjoying herself, as she would rather be with Jordan. He knows that Angela doesn't feel the same way he feels about her. Plus he's probably saddened, after seeing her with Jordan outside moments ago.

btw: Sorry to dig up the episode threads again! :Fade-color

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Aug 24th 2003, 11:59 pm

Emeralduk wrote:[At the end of the episode Angela and Brian are both left. They both really want to dance, like Rickie (a metaphor for wanting a romantic relationship?), but even when Angela offers to dance with Brian, he says no.
Sorry to drag Buffy into this, but this reminds me of the BtVS episode Fool for Love:
SPIKE: She was cunning, resourceful... oh, did I mention? Hot. I could have danced all night with that one.

BUFFY: You think we're dancing?

SPIKE: That's all we've ever done. And the thing about the dance is, you never get to stop...Come on. I can feel it, Slayer. You know you want to dance.

BUFFY: Say it's true. Say I do want to. It wouldn't be you, Spike. It would never be you. You're beneath me.
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Look, if this is weird for you, being tutored? I don't mind helping you a little longer.
You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?

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Post by The Talented Krakow » Aug 25th 2003, 8:55 am

Emeralduk wrote: At the end of the episode Angela and Brian are both left. They both really want to dance, like Rickie (a metaphor for wanting a romantic relationship?), but even when Angela offers to dance with Brian, he says no. I think Brian realised that Angela wouldn’t really be enjoying herself, as she would rather be with Jordan. He knows that Angela doesn't feel the same way he feels about her. Plus he's probably saddened, after seeing her with Jordan outside moments ago.

btw: Sorry to dig up the episode threads again! :Fade-color

*~Emerald~*
I agree, I think he wanted to dance with her before because he was still hoping that he had a chance that things would work out between her and him. But after Angela ran away and walked to Jordan, Brian probably realised that she didn't want him, but only cared about Jordan. After that he probably didn't feel like dancing anymore. Maybe he was even a little mad at Angela, though she didn't really did anything wrong.

Btw, I love the following part of that sequence:
Brian: Her hair smelled incredible. (...) Her hair smelled like the orange grove we passed when I was eight on the way to see my grandmother. (...) But I guess that's just her shampoo.
I've thought a lot about the wallpaper part, I really didn't get it at first. But after watching the episode again few weeks ago, I understood what was meant by it. He was desperate, so he should pick Delia, since Angela was out of his 'price range' and he couldn't wait untill she got 'cheaper' (I don't really know how she could ever get cheaper, maybe by getting older and therefore less attractive or something). So he asked Delia, without realising that he couldn't ignore his true feelings: that he loved (or at least had a huge crush on) Angela so much that Delia could never satisfy him. But I guess everyone had figured this out already, or else it's probably on one of the previous four pages which I didn't read.

Next to the Pilot and In Dreams... this is my favourite episode. I've already told that I'm a lot like Brian, so I thougt it was incredible that there was a whole episode where he for once was in the center of things, instead of Angela.
"My parents keep asking how school was. It's like saying, 'How was that drive-by shooting?' You don't care how it _was_, you're lucky to get out alive."

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