One mistake, too many scenes with Angela's parents

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD
Nicky Driscoll
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 6th 2006, 2:00 am

One mistake, too many scenes with Angela's parents

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 6th 2006, 3:19 am

You know, one thing I have always thought that was wrong with the show and could have contributed to the show's early demise is the fact that they really do give quite alot of air time to Angela's parents, and even involving her dad's brother as well as his girlfriend in alot of scenes. I think that sure many adults watch MSCL, but most of the target audience was teens. People are watching the show to see ANGELA, RICK, RAYANNE and BRIAN.

But far too often, we have to watch long scenes with Angelas parents. There have even been episodes where the parents had much more screen time then ANGELA and RAYANNE.

Perfect example.

The episode where the parents goto some weekend vacation while Rayanne is handcuffed to the bed. That show was like 90 percent about the parents.

Anytime the parents have long scenes I have always become bored to the point where I want to change the channel.

I'm not sure why they did this as it was a teen show.

AniAnnika
Jody Barsh
Posts: 27
Joined: Nov 11th 2005, 10:15 pm

Post by AniAnnika » Mar 6th 2006, 4:51 pm

I actually completely disagree, although when I was watching the show when I was 12 I would've agreed. For me, watching it now as a 22-year-old, all the scenes with the parents are completely essential and add SO MUCH to the show. It would lose so much without the involvement of Patty, Graham, etc. I'm completely hooked to them...and their interactions really give you a huge understanding as to how they've shaped Angela's world view, morals, actions, etc. Also...I love the fact that nearly every argument/discussion she has with them or they have with each other I had with my parents at that age. It makes it so realistic.
-Ani

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Re: ONE MISTAKE, TOO MANY SCENES WITH ANGELAS PARENTS

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 6th 2006, 5:20 pm

MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD wrote:I think that sure many adults watch MSCL, but most of the target audience was teens. People are watching the show to see ANGELA, RICK, RAYANNE and BRIAN.
Often shows try to market themselves to as wide an audience as possible, so creating more storylines and characters can help reel in people (and demographics) who wouldn't otherwise watch. As for why people watched the show, you can say that you watched the show for the teenage characters, but that doesn't mean everyone else watched for the same reason.
But far too often, we have to watch long scenes with Angelas parents. There have even been episodes where the parents had much more screen time then ANGELA and RAYANNE.
I have never sat down and timed how long each character was onscreen in a particular episode, but I doubt there were many (if any) instances where Patty or Graham had MORE screen time than Angela or Rayanne.

The writers said that as a result of hiring Claire (who was a minor), they had to take some of the focus off of Angela because minors can only work so many hours per day. As a result, they were able to flesh out Rayanne, Ricky, Brian, Jordan, and even Patty and Graham.

Another thread you might be interested in reading:
http://www.mscl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=737
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

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"?

MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD
Nicky Driscoll
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 6th 2006, 2:00 am

EXACTLY MY POINT!

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 6th 2006, 5:53 pm

When you were TWELVE you would agree. That was the target age for this show, 12 year olds and or teens.

I just think MAYBE they tried to cram TOO MUCh into a show obviously targeted to teens about teen life.

TEENS watch MTV because it has teen shows. THE REAL WORLD, MUSIC VIDEOS, JACKASS, MADE, etc, etc, etc....

Adults watch CNN, MSNBC or COURT TV to see shows that deal with adult issues, real world issues.

If you were suddenly to show an episode of JACKASS on CNN, guess what happens, alot of adults would change to FOX NEWS very, very quickly.

Same holds true for MTV. If MTV decided to replay an episode of LARRY KING LIVE, they would have MILLIONS of teens shutting off their TV, or changing to VH1.

I feel very strongly about this. They just showed the parents too much that it aliented the target audience, causing a drop in ratings.

I'm not sayin this is the only reason the show went down early. But I feel like this was a big part of the problem.

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 6th 2006, 6:43 pm

When you were TWELVE you would agree. That was the target age for this show, 12 year olds and or teens.
Unless Bedford Falls specifically told you that the target demographic for this show was 12 years old, I have a hard time believing your statement. MSCL was one of the first teen dramas of the 90s (making way for shows like Dawson's Creek). Back then, there wasn't a tween demographic being targeted by primetime drama series. Although Angela, a teenager, was the main character, the target demographic was probably 18-35 (like most shows) because that is perceived as the age group with the most spending power, hence advertising dollars.
TEENS watch MTV because it has teen shows. THE REAL WORLD, MUSIC VIDEOS, JACKASS, MADE, etc, etc, etc....

Adults watch CNN, MSNBC or COURT TV to see shows that deal with adult issues, real world issues.

If you were suddenly to show an episode of JACKASS on CNN, guess what happens, alot of adults would change to FOX NEWS very, very quickly.

Same holds true for MTV. If MTV decided to replay an episode of LARRY KING LIVE, they would have MILLIONS of teens shutting off their TV, or changing to VH1.
Again, you are making broad generalizations. Do not speak for anyone but yourself. If you, as a certain aged viewer, will only watch certain things, that's you. I happen to know high school kids who watch CNN because they want to be informed about what is going on in the world. I also know 50 year olds who watch Veronica Mars, supposedly a teen show, and were diehard fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, another teen show. People are not defined by simply by how old they are, so please refrain from stereotyping entire groups of people by saying that certain age groups only watch particular types of shows.

In addition, MSCL was, in fact, targeted towards adults. The summer before it premiered, I saw ads for it in my mom's Redbook magazine which was firmly targeted at 30-50 year old housewives.
hey just showed the parents too much that it aliented the target audience, causing a drop in ratings.
It's been a long time so I don't remember what the exact numbers were. Do you have the weekly ratings for the original run? My understanding was that the ratings were never high enough for ABC's taste from the very beginning. According to this article from September 1994,
At 8 Thursday nights, [MSCL] s in one of the toughest time periods of the week, opposite ratings winners "Mad About You" on NBC and "Martin" and "Living Single" on Fox."


This article says that the premiere garnered an 8.7 share nationally.

According to this article from December 1994, MSCL was ranked 84 out of 91 shows.

By January 1995, this article said, "The show attracts a relatively small 21 per cent share of teen viewers, according to Harbert. At this point in the season, Harbert has "the right to expect" a 30 to 40 share. He'd like to have a 15 to 16 share among all viewers; Life is stuck at 12."

In another article, "Harbert pointed out that "My So-Called Life" has averaged just 12 percent of the viewing audience, placing it near the bottom of the prime-time pack. Yet ABC has remained firmly behind the show, extending its episodic order even in the face of overall viewer apathy."

From these articles, it appears that MSCL's consistently low ratings were the problem rather than a decline in ratings due to more scenes with Patty and Graham.
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

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"?

MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD
Nicky Driscoll
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 6th 2006, 2:00 am

Well!

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 6th 2006, 7:40 pm

Well, I am a big fan of the show. I'm not attacking it. I really love the show. But I've always felt that way about the parents.

Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but, it's very clear that this is a teen show.

That is why it is being aired on the same channel that airs Degrassi.

It's clear that MSCL is a great show. But we have to figure out why this show failed soo quickly. LIVING SINGLE & MARTIN are not that great.

I am just trying to figure out why such a great show went under soo quickly.

There must be somewhere to point the finger, something MUST have went wrong for such a cool show to die out with only 19 episodes. It should have lasted at least 3-5 years.

This could be one of the reasons more people didn't tune into the show. I know for me, it was definitely a reason. When I watch the show's on my DVR cable box I always fast forward the scenes with the parents and if I wasn't able to fast forward would probably change the channel.

I just don't think that you can have a TEEN/ADULT show at the same time and be successful for very long. The show has to be directed at a certain age group and stick to that.

You know? It's like...

EPISODE 1 FIND OUT WHY ANGELA LOVES JORDAN CATALANO!

EPISODE 2. WILL PATTY HAVE A HANGOVER AFTER GETTING DRUNK ON HER WEEKEND VACATION?

EPISODE 3. RAYANNE IS TOO SCARED TO SING ON STAGE!

EPISODE 4. PATTY IS UPSET BECAUSE GRAHAM ISN'T INTO DANCING LESSONS!

It just doesn't work.

It's just my theory on what could have happened to the show. Clearly SOMETHING went wrong.

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 6th 2006, 8:34 pm

Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but, it's very clear that this is a teen show.

That is why it is being aired on the same channel that airs Degrassi.
It aired alongside Degrassi years after it was written, after there was a teen demographic and corresponding cable channel in existence, but that doesn't mean MSCL was clearly a show only for teens or marketed solely towards teenagers. When a show is syndicated on cable, the channel itself isn't necessarily an indicator of the original target audience. Felicity later aired on Lifetime, so does that mean the show only appeals to housewives who enjoy watching women in peril? Buffy later aired on FX, so does that mean guys who watch The Shield were Buffy's original target audience? Angel and Charmed were syndicated to TNT. Does that mean their original target audiences were people who watch The Shawshank Redemption and Law & Order? Seinfeld, Family Guy, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Sex and the City all air on TBS now. Those shows don't all have the same target audience but they are on the same channel now. Conversely, MSCL would fit into the lineups of several different cable channels if only someone else was willing to pay to air it.
It's clear that MSCL is a great show. But we have to figure out why this show failed soo quickly.


It failed because ABC wanted higher ratings. Great shows don't always get great ratings. It's sad, but unfortunately true. The tv execs care about money, and that means ratings which determine how much they can charge for commercials. If the ratings aren't high enough, that's the end of the line for a lot of shows, no matter how much critical acclaim (see: Freaks & Geeks, Wonderfalls, the list goes on and on).
LIVING SINGLE & MARTIN are not that great.
That is your opinion, but many people thought those shows were great, and they are both still running in syndication right now. They also got better ratings (on Fox, before Fox had ratings winners like American Idol). Like I said, higher ratings don't necessarily translate to "this show is better," but the bottom line is always money, and those shows had higher ratings.
There must be somewhere to point the finger, something MUST have went wrong for such a cool show to die out with only 19 episodes. It should have lasted at least 3-5 years.
The main reason was low ratings. ABC was on the fence about whether to bring it back for another season. The decision was made for them when Claire said she didn't want to come back for a second season (as stated in the Bedford Falls interview on the MSCL bonus disc). They didn't want to get into a public battle with an underage actress by forcing her to fulfill her contract if the show was renewed so rather than go that route, they bowed to the inevitable and the show was cancelled.
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

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"?

MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD
Nicky Driscoll
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 6th 2006, 2:00 am

Yes, but WHY were the ratings low?

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 6th 2006, 9:56 pm

I know that the ratings were low, but we should try and figure out why this show which was very good got poor ratings!

I would like to explore what everyone thinks about why one of the coolest teen shows ever suffered with low ratings.

I think my reason is very valid.

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 6th 2006, 10:38 pm

At this point, over a decade after the show was cancelled, I don't think it matters very much why the show had such low ratings because all the theories in the world aren't going to bring the show back.

Ted Harbart pointed out one of the reasons for the low ratings was the tough time slot on Thursdays at 8pm. Think of all the shows on other networks that couldn't compete against Friends in the same time slot. Or think Veronica Mars now trying to get higher ratings when it's up against Lost and American Idol. You can only pull so many people away from those kinds of juggernauts.

ABC was not a very teen-centric network either. In the 80s, they were not at the top of the tv pyramid. They had some successful shows like Hotel, Who's the Boss, Webster, The Fall Guy, Roseanne, Growing Pains, Full House, The Wonder Years, and Dynasty while NBC had huge hits like Hill Street Blues, Family Ties, St. Elsewhere, Night Court, Mama's Family, Miami Vice, Hunter, LA Law, and the Cosby Show. That means people were not used to thinking of ABC as the channel they watched all the time. Hard to believe, but back in the days before everyone had cable, there were very few viewing choices.

During the 90s ABC focused even more on family friendly shows like Home Improvement, Step by Step, Hanging with Mr. Cooper, Boy Meets World, Grace Under Fire, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Their more grown up shows (although you could certainly argue about how adult these shows were) included NYPD Blue, the Drew Carey Show, Ellen, Dharma & Greh, Spin City, and the Practice. What that translates to is that a lot of people didn't watch ABC. For the longest time, I couldn't tell you which was ABC versus CBS. And that was the stage that was set when MSCL debuted - a critically acclaimed show that was on ABC. Critical acclaim is great, but is it enough to convince people to watch? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

In addition, the reigning teen shows at that time were fluffy shows that made passing attempts at social commentary (Jessie's famous "I'm so excited" pill scare on Saved by the Bell, all of the pregnancy/drug/gambling problems on 90210). There wasn't another show like MSCL, and ABC didn't know how to market it (hence, ads in Redbook magazine as well as teen magazines). MSCL was the first of the new generation of teen shows, so ABC didn't recognize its potential or exploit its teen potential (I mean that in a good way though!).

Again, I think it's overly simplistic to blame the show's low ratings or subsequent cancellation on the adult presence on the show.
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

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"?

MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD
Nicky Driscoll
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 6th 2006, 2:00 am

IT MATTERS

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 7th 2006, 12:53 am

WOW, excellent analysis.

But I think that, really it does matter why the show didn't have higher ratings. It won't bring the show back, but it opens up some good new discussion!

If the show had a tough time slot, WHY DID THEY PUT IT THERE? Why did they give a new show a tough time slot? Why didn't they move the show to FRIDAY, SATURDAY or SUNDAY so more teens could watch?

And I still think that too much air time for PATTY and GRAHAM? that could have hurt the show.

AniAnnika
Jody Barsh
Posts: 27
Joined: Nov 11th 2005, 10:15 pm

Post by AniAnnika » Mar 7th 2006, 2:34 am

My point about saying I would've agreed when I was 12 was simply pointing out the fact that the show would not have as much relevance NOW (at 22) if it did not include all aspects of family life; it would be seriously lacking something. And honestly, when I was 12, I could've done without Rickie, Brian, Mr. Katimski and a lot of storylines with Rayanne (the whole play thing...I didn't care). I was just in love with Jordan Catalano and wanted Angela to get it on with him. Seriously. Now, having grown up, I see that the show has so much more that's important...in fact, the Jordan/Angela storylines are not even close to the most important aspects of the show for me anymore. I was a teeny-bopper when I was 12. What I thought of the show then is pretty much irrelevent to why the show is actually good.
-Ani

MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD
Nicky Driscoll
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 6th 2006, 2:00 am

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 7th 2006, 2:46 am

You could have done without RICKY, BRIAN and RAYANNE? Are you SERIOUS?? !! ?? !!

RAYANNE was AWESOME!! She rocked on MSCL. She made the show SOOOO INTERESTING.

She was a loose cannon party girl. We never knew what would happen with her. Would she sleep with someone's boyfriend? Would she get drunk? Would she overdose on drugs? Would she end up dead? It was anyone's guess. Without RAYANNE, there really was no show AT ALL.

RICKY was a huge part of the show too. Without him, whoa. That super cool dance Ricky did that one episode. NO WAY!!! He rocked too!

BRIAN on the other hand, LOL. Who knows.

User avatar
SanDeE*
So-Called Addict
Posts: 989
Joined: Sep 24th 2002, 4:40 am

Post by SanDeE* » Mar 7th 2006, 11:05 pm

AniAnnika wrote:My point about saying I would've agreed when I was 12 was simply pointing out the fact that the show would not have as much relevance NOW (at 22) if it did not include all aspects of family life; it would be seriously lacking something.
I agree. I'm 23 now, and I watched the show for the first time ten years ago when it aired on ABC (I was 12-13). When I got the DVDs a few years ago in 2002, I remembered very little of anything in any of the episodes, including the storylines for Angela, Rickie, Rayanne, etc. in addition to the adults. But watching them again as an adult, I can definitely see why Patty, Graham, Sharon's parents, etc. had to be focused on. Think about what a HUGE role your parents play in your life when you are 15 (the age of the teens on MSCL). They are so important. I can't honestly imagine the show being as interesting or impacting without them.
Um, in my room, one seam is a little off and I stare at it constantly. It's, like, destroying me.

~~Kristin~~

MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD
Nicky Driscoll
Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 6th 2006, 2:00 am

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 8th 2006, 12:48 am

Well, I'm sticking to my guns on this one no matter how many people disagree with me, hehe.

The parents are needed, but they really overdid it a bit too much.

The parents should have maybe 10 MINUTES MAX AIR TIME, if that.

But on MSCL it's not uncommon for the parents to take up 20 MINUTES or MORE on each episode. Not to mention boring scenes with GRAHAMS brother, girlfriend, as well as Patty's friends & neighbors. They just overdid it. Some episodes even feature the parents over 20 MINUTES, taking up basically the entire show.

It is a huge huge mistake.

DEGRASSI is much more successfull then MSCL because yes, they do have scenes with parents, but not very much at all. It's always focoused on the teens, which is where a teen TV show SHOULD be focoused.

MSCL tried to appeal to teens AND adults? It just didn't work. Want proof? The show was cancled in it's first season and in fact didn't even complete a season as episode 19 is not meant to be a SEASON ENDING EPISODE.

Clearly something went wrong with MSCL. The things they did right, THEY DID PERFECT. Angela, Rayanne, Ricky, they rocked.

But the things they did bad, they did HORRIBLE. Giving EXCESSIVE AIR TIME to parents on a teen show.

It simply doesn't work people.

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 8th 2006, 2:32 am

The parents should have maybe 10 MINUTES MAX AIR TIME, if that.

But on MSCL it's not uncommon for the parents to take up 20 MINUTES or MORE on each episode. Not to mention boring scenes with GRAHAMS brother, girlfriend, as well as Patty's friends & neighbors. They just overdid it. Some episodes even feature the parents over 20 MINUTES, taking up basically the entire show.
Which episodes feature 20 minutes or more of the adults? And how many minutes are the adults featured in each of the episodes you are thinking of? If you are going to make such a claim, I'd be interested in the specifics.
MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD wrote:MSCL tried to appeal to teens AND adults? It just didn't work. Want proof? The show was cancled in it's first season and in fact didn't even complete a season as episode 19 is not meant to be a SEASON ENDING EPISODE.
The show was cancelled months AFTER the last episode aired. Winnie said that the last episode (In Dreams Begin Responsibilities) was intended to be the last episode of the season.


You have made it clear that you dislike the adults having screen time, but there is no need to repeat your point over and over. We get it. There is a way to have a discussion without being defensive and dismissive. You are entitled to your opinion, so if you think Patty and Graham were boring, that's fine, but AniAnnika's opinion that Rayanne's storyline with Our Town was unnecessary is just as valid. It's not about being right or wrong, as you seem to be making it. If you have nothing new to add, why beat a dead horse with the same statement about Patty and Graham being the entire downfall of the show?
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

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"?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests