Discussion for Episode 15: So-Called Angels

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Re: Discussion for Episode 15: So-Called Angels

Post by BuffaloLawnmower » Aug 2nd 2011, 6:25 am

I just saw this episode this morning for the first time (just started watching the show a few weeks ago and am still in the process of viewing all of the episodes) and I literally cried. (This is coming from a "dry eye" who almost never cries at anything: not that I'm cold or unfeeling, just that it's rare that I encounter a show or film so beautiful that it moves me that deeply).

First, as to whether or not this episode is "jumps the shark" because of the spirit/angel: I think that whether or not this is realistic depends on your worldview. For those of us who do believe in angels and spirits (I'm in that number), it wouldn't necessarily be implausible. And, too, this angel/spirit offers guidance, and points the characters in the right direction, but she doesn't just clap her hands and make Rickie have a good home, or give Brian people who really love him. Her presence isn't a panacea. So, even if one doesn't believe in angels or spirits, I do think that she is at least "closer to real" than other depictions of angels.

This episode is so powerful and I could go into great detail about so many things, but Brian's situation struck me the most (in part because I myself relate to Brian the most; I can't tell you how many times during my viewing of the show that I've really been 'socked in the heart' because of that), so I'll go with that for now; don't want to "hog the board" or ramble too much or anything.

One thing that really stood out to me was how Sharon was going into detail about symptoms of depression when she was talking to Brian (re: his backing out of volunteering), yet she was completely oblivious to his own pain. It was all over his face, his eyes, the 'air' that he had about him, but she was too wrapped up in her own feelings (stressed out about not having him as a volunteer and about being tied up in too many projects at one time) that she didn't even seem to notice. It was particularly heart-wrenching for me when she made the comment about the loss of appetite, offered Brian a cookie, and then he said, "I'm not hungry". As has been pointed out before by others and in the Angela's World articles, food is sometimes a symbol for nourishment on this show. Brian--not just in this episode, but in others as well--both needs emotional nourishment but is unable to seek it out, perhaps afraid to seek it out, perhaps unware of how to seek it out successfully, perhaps all of this and more. He can't come right out and say that he's lonely or depressed, and no one seems to really pick up on it, but he desperately wants to be able to reach out to someone, as evidenced by his calling of the anonymous hotline. People use him all of the time, a fact of which he is painfully aware (his comment to Sharon about how he's seen as never having plans is just one example of how aware he is of this). I think that it's very telling that his own parents not only do not take him with them but also allow him to be home alone for ten days: for all of his parents' psychological knowledge and training, they can't connect to their own son or reach him emotionally even though they are trained to do that (and possibly are successful in doing that) with others: even if they can reach their clients, they can't reach the one closest to them. As seen in "Life of Brian", they understand Brian's emotions only on a superficial level: they aren't able to empathize with Brian or nuture him, for all of their insights into the human mind. Brian doesn't seem to feel close enough to his sister and her husband to stay with them; this suggests to me that things are no better between him and his sister. I find it interesting that his sister is geographically far away (Denver): perhaps she's as far away literally as she is emotionally and figuratively from her brother. Even in his own family, he's an outsider and a stranger. With the Chase family, he is a neighbor--again, connected--but he'll never be a part of the family, not really. It's just heartbreaking for me.

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Re: Discussion for Episode 15: So-Called Angels

Post by Mutajon » Aug 4th 2011, 10:48 am

I think that watched "properly" (i.e with no distractions and in the right mood), this show would make almost anyone cry at some point(s).

And as "always" (since you joined this forum) your insights are a delight to read. :)
Have fun watching the last few episodes of this wonderful show!
"Aaaand dance by the light of the mooooon"

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Re: Discussion for Episode 15: So-Called Angels

Post by Superjesus » Aug 4th 2011, 5:59 pm

I admit the end sequence made me cry as well.

And I just watched the episode again today, and I'm more convinced than ever that Juliana Hatfield wasn't actually dead until she appeared to Patty as an angel. One particular thing - when Angela takes off her warm boots and leaves them with her, she takes her old shoes and wears them home. Where I come from, ghosts don't wear shoes that living people can wear.

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Re: Discussion for Episode 15: So-Called Angels

Post by Kbranagh » Nov 12th 2020, 8:51 am

Winnie Holzman and Jason Katims together in the writers room and Scott Winat return almost a year later behind the camera! The result is pure gold of course.
Incredibile episode and a very different Christmas departure from what we usually see in this kind of episode on tv! There are some moments of hope and happyness but still remains the most dark Christmas episode (maybe) ever!
Congrats to the writers for this bold decision, at this point of the season they know for sure the problem of the poor ratings but however they keep going with their story and their vision. For now "Stranger in the House" and "So Called Angels" are the most adult episode of the show. After the Hallowenn episode return again the theme of people dying too young but this time all the subjects are handle way way better. After "Gun and Gossip" finally another Rickie centric episode, one bit at the time we learn something more of this character that the background remains a bit of the mistery! But all the journey of the characters are very well handle, Angela shine in this episode, the relathionship with the homeless ghost girl is amazing, the scenes with Patty are amazing and....every little moments with Angela and Brian are always appreciated, their soo good "together".
Four episode to go but the quality remains at the top.

Grade: A-
"Or something'

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