Discussion for Episode 16: Resolutions

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Discussion for Episode 16: Resolutions

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 28th 2003, 1:57 am

Welcome to our sixteenth MSCL.com episode discussion!

If you haven't already done so, please read the info about the weekly discussions here.

I highly recommend reading theAngela's World essay that pertains to this episode.

Other threads related to Resolutions that may be of interest are:
Brad's theory
Katimski's partner
the bear
is it just me...

Some threads about recurring themes:
rayanne nowhere to be seen
product placement
Patty and Graham suck
Angela, Rayanne, & Rickie
hair as a metaphor
food
the contradiction that we call Rayanne
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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 Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 28th 2003, 2:24 am

Tonight I realized that our MSCL weekly discussions will end the same week that the final Buffy episode is aired *sigh*

Did anyone keep track of who kept their New Year's resolutions?

Angela changed her mind about not being so introspective (does that count as breaking her resolution almost immediately after she made it, or should we be generous and give her a mulligan?), then proceeded to continue doing Jordan's homework, then offered to continue "helping" him even once he was in tutoring. I'd say she failed to keep that resolution.

Sharon resolves not to have sex with Kyle or anyone else again unless she really loves and respects him. Although she makes a valiant effort, the thought of Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise is enough to melt her resolve. Another no (unless you believe that his familiarity with the works of Brad Pitt suddenly rekindled her previous love and respect for him).

Kyle vows to spend more time with the dog...and Sharon. We don't get to see if he actually follows through with the dog resolution, but he does make an effort in his relationship with Sharon, even if he does have to resort to bribing her with the aforementioned Brad Pitt movie :D

Mr. Katimski says he will give up coffee, but he breaks down when Patty offers him some (repeatedly, like a typical mom who can't believe you really DON'T want something from the kitchen). Actually, we don't see Mr. Katimski drink coffee at the Chases' - what do you think? Did he give in to "the old temptess"? :wink:

Brian resolves to stop obsessing over Angela. Does he manage to follow through with this? Ehhhhh. On one hand, we don't see him showing up on her doorstep once during this episode, which is pretty good for Brian. The closest he gets to obsessing about Angela is talking to Sharon about not wanting to tutor Jordan. As a matter of fact, he takes it in stride when she visits Brian and Jordan during tutoring. Does this mean he has stopped obsessing about her? We all know the answer to this is a resounding no.

Danielle wants to badger Patty into letting her wear makeup. First of all, I love the wording. She knows that Patty doesn't want her to wear makeup at such a young age and realizes that she will only get her way if she wears Patty down. She does try, but Patty puts the smack down on that request. I'd say Danielle did not succeed in her resolution.

Rayanne resolves to REALLY stop drinking. She realizes that her swig at the movie theater is a dangerous first step back, so it's good that she's aware and making a conscious decision not to drink, rather than just following "Miss Kryzanowski's AA propaganda." We don't see Rayanne drink in this episode (as a matter of fact, we barely see Rayanne at all), but sadly we all know what happens in the next episode :(

Ahhh, Patty. She resolves "to be less judgmental, less critical, to lighten up! And above all, to be more supportive and less suspicious, no matter how much it seems like [Graham]'s hiding something." An admirable resolution, but her execution leaves something to be desired. Despite her initial statement to Graham to "take all the time you need [after class] - it's whatever makes [him] happy," later that night she says, "So I guess you stayed late after all," and puts on the fake smile (which I now refer to as Bitch Face TM after seeing Sarah on Joe Millionaire make this face repeatedly) as she asks, "That's great, how is Hallie?" When Graham tells her that he told Hallie he isn't going to open the restaurant with her, Patty replies, "Oh good," then backpedals into, "I mean, that's what you wanted to tell her, right?" A few days later, she is visibly annoyed when she comes home to find Graham on the phone with Hallie - she avoids his kiss, mutters to herself, and then asks, "So um, you are considering going into business with Hallie or you aren't?" I think that Patty feels as long as she adheres to her resolution on the surface (meaning she doesn't outwardly discourage Graham from the restaurant venture or make a big fuss when he comes home late) she is sticking to her resolution. Unfortunately, I disagree - she does not change her 1994 attitude until Graham confesses that he DOES want to go into business with Hallie; however, it seems that her joyous exclamation that she will be "unbelievably supportive" is more a response to the fact that he has not confessed to cheating than actual excitement and support of the restaurant. Interestingly, at this point she does not seem to consider the possibility that going into business with Hallie will afford Graham even more opportunity to cheat. So did Patty successfully stick to her resolution? In my opinion, not even close (about as close as Angela was to keeping her resolution not to do Jordan's homework anymore).

Graham resolves "to tell Hallie Lowenthal once and for all that [he]'s not going into restaurant business with her. And to stop all those long talks with her after class." Pretty cut and dry one here - nope and nope.

Rickie vows to find a place where he belongs. Of all the resolutions made, this is the most difficult one and one of the few that comes to fruition (Kyle's not withstanding). He finds a place where he is safe, accepted for who he is, and loved for it (rather than in spite of it).
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 28th 2003, 3:14 am

Does it seem weird that Jordan isn't with his friends on New Year's Eve? Considering the lofty holiday goals his friends seem to have (as seen at Halloween), I thought they would have something to set on fire or at the very least get together to drink.

Within a few minutes, we see the food theme reiterated - Angela and co. eating popcorn on New Year's Eve, Graham's delight that Rickie made pancakes, and the conversation about Graham's Hollandaise class that night.

Patty says that Rickie is "like [her] mother, only mature." I understand that she is saying Vivian is immature, but in what ways does she think Rickie is like Vivian? Is she merely referring to his domestic skills, or is there more to it than that?

Note that Rickie isn't wearing makeup in this episode. On a practical level, I understand that he is homeless again so eyeliner is not his primacy concern, but he is still neatly dressed. The only change in his appearance seems to be the lack of makeup. Is this because he is trying to make himself seem more mainstream/acceptable? The other thing I noticed is he wore bandanas (known as do-rags back in the day for all you youngens) throughout the episode. Although Rickie has worn them before (I specifically remember Why Jordan Can't Read off the top of my head), it was more of an accessory. In this episode, it seems to be more than a fashion statement (although to be fair, he does wear a blue one and then a brown one so maybe I'm just not hip to his flair).

Angela insists that Jordan is not taking advantage of her by having her do his homework. Interesting that Jordan is the one to choose this particular phrase in light of their history. Also funny that he says, "Yeah I am. It would be different if we were like...but now you're just...you know, a friend or whatever... I can't do this anymore." So if Angela was having sex with him, THEN it would be okay for her to do his homework? And what does he mean when he says "I can't do this anymore"? Let Angela do his homework? Hang out with her?

For some reason, Sharon looked extraordinarily happy and pretty in the scene where she hid in the closet. I don't want to chalk it up to the "just got laid" vibe since she is obviously so wracked with guilt about it - maybe it's her clothes (which look halfway normal for once).

Interesting that we get to see Rayanne making out with someone at school. Despite her "Slut Potential," we have only actually seen her making out with Joey the drummer up until now. True, we have heard her own description of making out with Mark Hammer in the orchestra pit during the talent show and seen a guy assault her in the Let's Bolt parking lot (as well as leaving the house on Cloverdale!), we haven't seen too much skanky behavior from her.

We get to see more of Patty's home ec skills in this episode - needlepointing! She sounded sick throughout this episode though - her voice was a little raspy.

The conversation between Patty and Graham about what the other person wants is classic passive aggressive non-communication :lol:
Graham : I told [Hallie] I wasn't doing this restaurant thing.
Patty : Oh good. I mean, that's what you wanted to tell her, right?
Graham : Well, I mean, isn't that what you wanted me to tell her?
Patty : Well, only if that's what you really want?
Why does Rickie lie about going home? I know that overhearing Patty and Graham's conversation at the beginning of the episode upset him, but staying one more night until he at least figured out a new place to stay wouldn't have been a big deal. Rickie's pride prevents him from letting people help him, which is why it's even more ironic that the place Miss Kryzanowski wants to place him in is called Pride House.

In previous episodes, we discussed the way that relationships were building and circles were expanding. In this episode, it seems almost like the circles are splintering off.
Angela : Um, wait Rickie! Listen Rayanne's all concerned, you have to tell her everything's okay, I mean everything is okay, right?
Rickie : Oh, of course, of course.
Angela : Tell Rayanne okay, she thinks my mom kicked you out or something, she's driving me crazy.
Rickie : Okay, I'll talk to her. Later.

There has been a breakdown in communication among the three of them, and in fact we don't see the three of them together during this episode. The only time we see Rayanne is with Sharon (in the closet - no pun intended, in PE, leaving the bathroom together). The fact that Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie are now relaying messages back and forth indicates that their relationship has changed (despite their NYE together).
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Look, if this is weird for you, being tutored? I don't mind helping you a little longer.
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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 28th 2003, 3:51 am

Angela describes Jordan as "really smart in a lot of ways, but isn't doing real well in school, especially in English..." I think one of the reasons that Jordan likes Angela is that she sees things in him that no one else has ever verbalized. Although Mr. Racine was the first one to say that Jordan is smart, Angela is continuously concerned and supportive regarding his academic struggles.

In PE, Sharon asks Rayanne, "Why are you even here?" Ha! I love Sharon's messy hair in this scene too - because we all know what that means! :wink: Anyway, Rayanne tells Sharon, "You don't have to be in love to have a good time," but Sharon feels guilty that her sex life with Kyle is better now than it was when she loved him. Sharon thinks that she is using Kyle (interestingly, she is using him for sex, while Jordan feels he is using Angela because she isn't having sex with him). By the end of the episode, Sharon comes to realize that Rayanne is right - she doesn't have to love Kyle to have a good time with him - and agrees to let him come over and watch Thelma and Louise.

Hallie insists that she needs to know what Graham thinks - great transition of her need for Brad's approval to her need for Graham's approval. When she confesses that she and Brad broke up - ugh. That particular phrase annoys me because that's what you say about your boyfriend, not your fiance. I actually heard a guy refer to "breaking up" - with his WIFE. I guess this is a good indication of Hallie's emotional maturity.

Neil claims not to know anything about Graham's restaurant venture of Hallie. I believed him when he said he didn't know about the restaurant, but he was a little too strange when Patty brought up Hallie. Maybe he thought she was referring to the tie grabber, or maybe he knew about Hallie, or maybe he really was clueless, but he looked like he was covering for Graham. He fixes the stereo - does that mean it's brand new and they had never used it? Or that Graham was fiddling with it and messed it up? :D

Jordan tells Angela that he will go to tutoring since he's already signed up. Is this because of his sense of obligation (i.e. Halloween)? Because Angela is the one who signed him up? Because he really wants the help but wouldn't take the initiative to find a tutoring program on his own?

Interestingly, Brian CORRECTS Jordan's pronunciation of his name, but Jordan continues to refer to him as "Brain." Stubborn or forgetful?

"As You Like It" was displayed on the chalkboard in Self Esteem, and in this episode we see a poster for the play in Mr. Katimski's classroom and another in the hallway. Maybe a school production earlier in the year?

Why does Mr. Katimski's definition of in medius res ("in the middle of things") prompt Rickie to confess his living situation? On a related note, the transition from Mr. Katimski's classroom to Miss Kryzanowski's office is awesome.

Sorry to cut this short, but I have to be up early tomorrow - more later!
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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 TomSpeed » Apr 28th 2003, 1:32 pm

Being a gentleman means you should only have a girl you are sleeping with do your homework for you. In one way, by signing Jordan up for tutoring, Angela is giving Jordan a chance to learn how to fish instead of giving fish to him. I have to go to lunch, but I'll have more later.
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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 Megs » Apr 28th 2003, 3:21 pm

I always wondered why they had school on the first day of the year. That never seemed right to me. Doesn't everyone have New Year's Day off? Mr. Kamitsky says in his classroom that it has been 12 hours since he last had caffeine, so that would make it New Year's Day.

Any thoughts on this?
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Post by TomSpeed » Apr 28th 2003, 3:37 pm

Megs wrote:I always wondered why they had school on the first day of the year. That never seemed right to me. Doesn't everyone have New Year's Day off? Mr. Kamitsky says in his classroom that it has been 12 hours since he last had caffeine, so that would make it New Year's Day.

Any thoughts on this?
Yes, this does seem strange. Jan. 01 is traditionally considered a holiday. Maybe they meant to write 36 hours. It just seems like a mistake to me.
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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 TomSpeed » Apr 28th 2003, 5:03 pm

I wonder if Angela talks to Jordan about signing up for tutoring before she signs him up. It seems kind of weird if she doesn't. Even if she doesn't tell him beforehand, Jordan seems to have a positive reaction to being tutored. Maybe he has realized that learning to read better is important.

Upon seeing Brian's name listed as being Jordan's tutor, Angela tells Jordan that the tutoring might not be a good idea. Jordan says it is a good idea, but he barely knows Brian. The fact that he calls him Brain is pretty funny. Do you think Angela should tell Jordan why she doesn't think Jordan's being tutored by Brian is a good idea? She knows by now that Brian cares for her. She also knows that Brian knows she has been in love with Jordan. Brian even knows why Angela and Jordan split up. Needless to say, Brian tutoring Jordan is bound to create an awkward 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 TomSpeed » Apr 28th 2003, 5:34 pm

Resolutions usually are easy to make but almost impossible to keep. I don't think I've ever kept one for more than a few days or a month or so. I don't even bother making them anymore.

Patty's resolution to stop being critical is potentially the most harmful of all of them. She can't keep the resolution without lying to Graham. She suspects that Graham might be having an affair with Hallie. This is a natural suspicion. But instead of talking about it with Graham, she decides to say the opposite of what she feels. Given her suspicions, I find it strange that she would be overjoyed about Hallie and Graham going into business together. I agree with Candygirl that their going into business together would make it more likely for them to have an affair. Instead of saying nothing when Graham asks what she really thought he would say, the old Patty would say that she was afraid that he would say they were having an affair. Instead of meeting this issue head on, she sidesteps it. So, the potential of Graham having an affair with Hallie lingers. This could seriously damage their marriage later on.
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 meggrrrl » Apr 28th 2003, 9:17 pm

Given her suspicions, I find it strange that she would be overjoyed about Hallie and Graham going into business together.
Yeah, I found that strange too. It makes me wonder if part of her knows Graham isn't having an affair. That is, she's trying to ignore her suspicions that he is, but a deeper part of her may realize that she is being silly and truly trust him with Halle.

I always loved that scene in the restaraunt with Halle sadly saying that Brad has a thory about Graham and her. It's so touching, partly because Graham doesn't seem to get what she's saying.

I also wanted to point out that scene where Patty and Graham are talking and Graham puts on Patty's glove and she has to yank it off his hand. Remember that happens in "On the Waterfront" - I wonder if that was an homage; it's such a sweet, down-to-earth, absent sort of thing to do.

When Patty comes in and Graham is on the phone with Halle and he tells Halle that Patty says hi and then laughs like Halle said something awful. I love it. Patty knows what's going on and she's really pissed off. I don't have anything deep to say about that, I just loved it!
I wonder if Angela talks to Jordan about signing up for tutoring before she signs him up. It seems kind of weird if she doesn't. Even if she doesn't tell him beforehand, Jordan seems to have a positive reaction to being tutored. Maybe he has realized that learning to read better is important.
I always assumed she didn't. He seemed suprised that she signed him up, though he is a really good sport about it. I think he has wanted to learn to read, but hasn't been willing to make the effort on his own. Angela is moving from being "really low," using any excise to touch Jordan, to someone who truly does care about him. Watching this show as a teen, I thought one of the things you were supposed to get from this show was that Angela was pretty shallow to be so obsessed with Jordan; he's drop-dead-gorgeous, but other than that he has no appeal. But I think at this point you are seeing a true relationship of two people who care about each other develop.
Neil claims not to know anything about Graham's restaurant venture of Hallie. I believed him when he said he didn't know about the restaurant, but he was a little too strange when Patty brought up Hallie. Maybe he thought she was referring to the tie grabber, or maybe he knew about Hallie, or maybe he really was clueless, but he looked like he was covering for Graham.
Oh, what a wonderfully, terribly uncomfortable scene! I think Neil thinks Patty is talking about the tie-grabber and has no idea how much Patty knows or how much to give away. His awkwardness feeds Patty's suspicions that Graham is "hiding something." If only this show had been able to develop further!! So many more questions! Has Patty always been this suspicious? How long has Graham been flirting with the idea of straying? It doesn't seem to matter who - he dropped the tie-grabber pretty quickly for Halle, there is something else going on between Graham and Patty and I wonder how long it has been going on.
Does it seem weird that Jordan isn't with his friends on New Year's Eve? Considering the lofty holiday goals his friends seem to have (as seen at Halloween), I thought they would have something to set on fire or at the very least get together to drink.
I bet they did get together. Jordan can be pretty flaky, and he doesn't even realize what day it is. His "Is today...?" sounds as if he might be remembering somewhere he's supposed to be.

Candygirl, that was a great insight about the name of Pride House. I had never put that together before, but it seems so obvoius now that you say it!

In the "Is it just me" thread, they were debating Bess Armstrong's acting in the scene with Mr. Katimski - some said she overacted. I watched closely, and the crying and all were believable to me. I think that's how I would react if someone randomly started yelling at me about something I already felt guilty about. Especially as a mother. As a mother you tend to transfer - I'm not sure how to word this - if a child the same age as my child is suffering, I can hardly stand it. I can hardly bear to read stories or see shows about children baing hurt, abandones, etc when they are the same age as my child beacue I imagine it happening to my baby. I think Patty must feel so responsible for Ricky and feel so protecting and motherly towards him in this totally organic way. (This also addresses her strong reaction to Rayanne's overdose and the homeless girl in "So-Called Angels") Poor Patty probably was hoping against hope that Ricky was okay, but feeling really guilty about his leaving. Suddenly hearing that he's not okay and being validated in her guilt must have been overwheling - as if the homeless, beaten, cold and hungry child was her own Angela.

Excuse me while I go hug my babies.

Meg

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Post by TomSpeed » Apr 28th 2003, 9:57 pm

I know that some time has passed since "Pilot," but it was only a few months ago when Patty told Graham to go wherever he is going." Maybe she is trying to bury her suspicions in "Resolutions" about Graham's fidelity. So far, the shoe hasn't dropped -- Graham's infidelity remains unconfirmed. Maybe that is why she is so relieved. She might think that Graham being who he is will admit he's having an affair. The fact that he says he wants to open the restaurant allays her fear. But it shouldn't totally make her fear go away. The more time people spend together, the more apt they are to become involved.

It's interesting that Graham makes a resolution not to go into the restaurant business and spend so much time with Hallie. He must feel guilty even though nothing has happened. I've noticed that it's sometimes difficult not to develop romantic feelings for single (but involved) and married women friends. I have to tell myself that she's married, stay away from those types of thoughts. Graham is probably having to do the same thing.
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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 Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 29th 2003, 1:29 am

Jordan : Wait, you actually signed me up?
Angela : I know, in a way it was wrong, but I just have a feeling, that this is going to be really good.
Jordan : I don't know...
The way that I interpreted this conversation is that Jordan had no idea about this scheme of Angela's until she led him over to the sign-up sheet and showed him. We join them mid-conversation, so I assumed that Angela was confessing what she had done and was explaining to him as she brought him over to see who his assigned tutor was.
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Post by TomSpeed » Apr 29th 2003, 3:37 pm

I kind of feel sorry for Brian in the beginning of this episode. He is spending New Year's Eve all by himself. That's no fun at all. I wonder if he was invited to Angela's house.
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 meggrrrl » Apr 29th 2003, 6:15 pm

Poor Brian seems to be forgotten a lot.
That reminds me of an article I once read (In Martha Stewart Living, no less) about kids' social development which broke down the social circles in an intersting way. It said that 60% of kids in a class will be either "popular" or "accepted." I don't remember the smaller percentages exactly, but the other groupings of social status were kids that were outcasts but friendly with each other, like the drama geeks that are considered nerds by the rest of the school, but don't care. There were the kids who were completely rejcted and picked on, and the last group was kids that were ignored. It seemed the saddest, even worse than being picked on - to be the kid that just wasn't noticed at all. I don't think Brian is that kid, obviously he has social skills and interactions with the others, but he is the kid that most represents that corner of high school society, I think.

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Post by TomSpeed » Apr 29th 2003, 10:50 pm

I think Mr. Katimsky gives in to Patty's offer of coffee. It's kind of funny the way she offers it, "Are you sure you don't want a cup of coffee?" It sounds like a dealer saying, "I got what you need." Giving up coffee is like giving up cigs -- there is never a good time.

Kyle's resolution is pretty funny. The dog comes before Sharon. But he did add her at the last minute. What a guy!

I couldn't imagine Angela not being introspective. I'm glad that she rethought her resolution. In some way, she has already become more aware of what's going on around her. But she needs to keep in touch with herself.

I think Pride House is a good name for a alternative home for teenagers. Many down-on-their luck teens lose all of their pride. That's one of the things they try to get back when they are in one. Of course, you could say that the Pride House is like the term Gay Pride. But I don't think that is what the writers are alluding to with the name.

I can't really think of any teachers who would have taken me in if I was homeless when I went to high school. I was only close to three or four. Luckily, I was never in Rickie's situation.

It would be nice if you could flip a switch and not be obsessed with someone. I don't think Brian has a good chance to keep his resolution. Feelings come and go, but you can't manually turn them off.

Sharon's resolution is healthy in one way. She is learning that sex doesn't equal love. I didn't learn that lesson fully until my late twenties. I'd rather be in love when I'm having sex with someone, but the fact that we have sex doesn't mean we are in love.

Just a few rambling thoughts.....
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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