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

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 8th 2006, 3:08 am

I thought this topic and discussion was going along nicely. It's got alot of response already.

I thought it was more interesting then discussing how hot Jordan is!

But ok, I am silenced? :(

I mean really! I love the show. But we have to maybe look at what could have gone wrong, what could have been done better, I think it's fun discussion.

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

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 8th 2006, 3:11 am

Oh yeah. The one episode that really sticks out in my mind is "WEEKEND" which was when Rayanne gets locked in handcuffs while the parents go out of town for the weekend.

This episode was horrible. We had to sit and watch Patty make a fool of herself getting drunk, while at the same time watch Grahm's brother breakup with his girlfriend? I mean, I was SOOO BORED.

User avatar
Posts: 1082
Joined: Jun 25th 2002, 4:51 am
Location: UK

Post by starbug » Mar 8th 2006, 5:10 am

MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD wrote:But ok, I am silenced? :(
Not if you can come up with some actual stats to back up your assertion that Graham/Patty get too much airtime.

For me, watching the show is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of detailed Patty/Graham interaction, not to mention their interaction with Angela. You have stated repeatedly that you think this is a TEEN show. I respectfully disagree: I think it appeals to most age-groups, actually - a fact borne out by the ages of members of this site. As for how it was marketed, I can only speak for the UK: it did appear in teen magazines as an upcoming show, but it also had short trailers shown in the early evenings on channel 4. Additionally, I remember reading about it in my parents' newspaper. When it did air, the show was given a 6pm time-slot.

And, I don't mean this to sound insulting (although I admit that it probably will because this is type-written on an internet posting-board :wink: ) but I get the feeling that maybe you've missed the point of many of the scenes with Angela's parents and the other adults. For example, Weekend (although widely regarded as a weak episode in the general scheme of things) allowed us to see Patty as a normal person who makes mistakes, cuts loose, and has fun. She's the one left behind while the others disappear on a jaunt, so she tries to fit in by drinking herself into a stupour. A parallel to Angela's attempts to fit in, don't you think?

In my opinion one of the most perceptive storylines in the show happens when Patty struggles over the dilemma of confronting Amber about her parenting skills: this is an issue fraught with politics, and speaks volumes about both Patty's character and about Amber's, and how this might impact on both their daughters. Even at the time I first watched the show (original airing when I was 16) I thought this was phenomenally well scripted and well acted.

The raison d'etre of shows does not have to be storyline, or plot. Much of the joy of MSCL was, in my opinion, the focus on rounded and complete character development. I think this is what marked it out from other shows, and still does. I really believe that you could not have had such excellent character development of all the younger cast, without the scriptwriters including the parents and adult figures to such an extent.

I think there are reasons why the show failed, but that they don't relate to how much screen time the parents were given. Plus, even if you're right about the amount of screen time, doesn't this show that MSCL wasn't a 'teen' show?

It seems to me like your two conclusions:
a) there was too much screen time involving adults
b) MSCL was a teen show
almost disprove each other, by your own rationale. MSCL is what it is: if you think there's two much screen time involving adults, I think you'll find it very hard to conclude rationally that it's a Teen show. I think that in your head you have compartmentalised it as a 'teen show', without really analysing the content of the show and drawing your conclusion from those facts.
It's important to find facts and draw conclusions from those facts, not pick a conclusion and then try to find facts to support it. If you find your conclusion first, you're going to miss a large amount of relevant factual information by blinkering yourself.


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

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 8th 2006, 2:07 pm

Well, I am watching the show again now on THE N cable network. I just saw the pilot last night.

As the show progresses I'll be able to give you more examples of this as it has been a while since I've seen all the episodes.

I am starting to think that some here are soo into the show that they don't want to accept that something may have been flawed with the show. It's like everyone is soo defensive.

I am a huge fan of the show! If it were up to me, all the original actors would quit whatever work they are currently doing and start filming episode 20 TODAY, even though they are much older!

That is one big reason the show failed. But you have said there are other reasons as well, I would like to hear them!

Many people always just dismiss it as "BAD RATINGS" Well that may be, but why?

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

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Mar 8th 2006, 4:26 pm

No one is silencing you. If you read my post, I asked why you don't seem to contribute anything NEW to the discussion. You have stated in several posts that you believe that the adults being on screen too much is the problem, but you have no actual proof or facts about this. Several people have replied to this thread, but your response to each person is "But they showed the parents too much." That is not a discussion. Instead it is you repeating the same thing over and over.

In addition, you don't offer much by way of supporting your opinions. You claim that Patty & Graham have more than 20 minutes of screentime in more than one episode, but don't tell us which ones you are referring to. You state that the target audience was 12 years old (children who are Danielle's age) without any sort of source for this information, despite the fact that the show was advertised in at least one women's magazine. You state that the last episode was not intended to be the season ending episode, when Bedford Falls themselves have said that it was. In other words, you keep saying all kinds of things that have no basis in fact. You are always entitled to your opinions, but you don't back them up. You just fall back on your original statement that the parents ruined the show, which brings nothing new or interesting to the discussion. Responding to other people's posts by repeating "Patty and Graham are onscreen too much" is not interacting or discussing anything. It's just you saying one thing, other people answering your questions, and you saying the same thing. Over and over and over and over.
I am starting to think that some here are soo into the show that they don't want to accept that something may have been flawed with the show. It's like everyone is soo defensive.
I do love this show, and I think the reason that most people seek out this website and this forum is because they at least like the show. That doesn't mean I blindly trust that this show was perfect. If you bother to read other threads in this forum, including the link to another thread about Patty and Graham, you will see that many people (including me) have been critical of particular aspects of the show.

I don't think the other posts in this thread have been defensive - people have answered your questions and shared their opinions as to why they disagree with you. You seem to be the one who is defensive, insisting that you are right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong. No one is trying to change your mind in regards to how you feel about the show. Just because some people have different opinions of the adults' presence doesn't mean they are being defensive.
Natasha aka candygirl ::

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"?

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

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 8th 2006, 4:55 pm

I have provided some proof/examples already! I am re-watching the show because I have not seen it in a long time. Today I will see episode 2 later tonight.

But, I have referred to the weekend episode which was more about the parents.

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

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 8th 2006, 7:28 pm

I just started watching the beginning of episode 2 and it has had excessive air time with the parents.

We see a few scenes with Angela and Rayanne trying to convince Jordan to get Angela a fake ID. We are then bombarded with Patty and her inability to decide if she should cut her hair as well as take her husband salsa dancing.

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

Post by AniAnnika » Mar 8th 2006, 9:04 pm

I have to say that although I do disagree with you respectfully, I can see that people are getting a little defensive. I think perhaps you may have a point that the show's timeslot, channel, the way it was marketed, etc. made it seem like it was TRYING to be a teen show, which very well may play a part in why more people did not watch it. At the same time, saying that anyone involved in the show tried to make it simply a teen show would be wrong. I don't think the way the show is formatted is the problem (although in your opinion that may be); but, the marketing could've been a real turn-off to older people. I think the reason people are getting defensive is because there is a good number of us who believe that all of those scenes with Graham and Patty and everyone else are essential to what makes the show so valuable. Anyway, that is all I have to say. Ciao bellas!

Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 20th 2005, 12:23 am
Location: California


Post by Kryzbn1 » Mar 9th 2006, 1:58 am

Last edited by Kryzbn1 on Jun 9th 2008, 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 9th 2006, 2:06 am

YAY, someone who agree's with me FINALLY, hehe.

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

Post by SanDeE* » Mar 10th 2006, 1:37 am

Maybe it's better to think of MSCL as a show about a family and their friends, through the eyes of the eldest daughter... rather than a teen show. One of the interesting aspects was the parallels between Angela and her mom, "in my humble opinion." We get to see why Angela is how she is.

And of course, thanks to the wonder that is Tivo and DVDs, you can always skip the scenes with Patty and Graham if you don't mind missing those parts.
Um, in my room, one seam is a little off and I stare at it constantly. It's, like, destroying me.


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

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 10th 2006, 2:54 am

YES! Thank god that I can fast forward through scenes with the parents that I don't want to see with mY DVR Cable box, hehe. It really is great.

Yes, now we are getting somewhere! MSCL really is a FAMILY show. But many teens thought it was going to be a TEEN SHOW. When they tuned in and found out it was actually a family show, they could have changed the channel! Maybe that is what caused low ratings.

They were expecting a teen show and instead got a family show.

User avatar
Three Rivers Resident
Posts: 57
Joined: Sep 10th 2002, 2:49 pm

Post by nkatsa » Apr 4th 2006, 12:07 pm

i actually think that the poor ratings had very little to do with the content. it's bad programming decisions by the network. they put it on a thursday night, which is the night with the toughest competition. if i'm remembering correctly, it went up against Friends and Seinfeld, right? Ouch. For a small heartfelt drama about the emotions of these characters to go up against broad, already-established popular comedy with a monster-sized audience? It seems like it was basically doomed from the start. MSCL found its strong following later when it was on reruns and on MTV, and became much beloved for the show that it was, with the parents and all. I think the adults are a huge part of why this show resonates so much, are very important in drawing parallels and making points about the characters, and I know some of the moments with the parents are among my favorite parts, and they are definitely the parts that get me the most emotional.

to name just a few examples:
- in the pilot, how angela climbs back into her mother's arms tearfully. if they hadn't taken the time to set up the tension between them, how patty so wanted to be important to her and was afraid she was becoming a stranger, this moment wouldn't have meant what it did.

- i so totally adore the parallel in "dancing in the dark," when you hear the voiceover of the dancing coach saying not to loose your footing, and to look up and smile, juxtaposed over her tentatively walking over to jordan's car. beautifully put together!

- i'm sure i didn't think so when i was younger, but nowadays i find that "father figures" and "strangers in the house" are two of my favorite episodes. i want to cry at the end of "father figures" when graham seems to panic and tells patty that he doesn't want to lose angela, and she tells him that he has to let her take him off her pedestal, and he just has to be strong and let her know that she can do what she wants, but he'll always be there to love her. aww man, that's killer. and "strangers in the house" had a great balance of teenage and adult issues, well put together and to great emotional effect.

there are so many more, but those are examples from just the first handful of episodes where i can think of the parents part in the story as being invaluable. every character on this show was a 3-dimensional role, including the parents, unlike other teen shows where the parents are cardboard cutouts standing in the background while their kids are portrayed as these smart-ass know it alls. it was painful but completely realistic to see the kids get humbled sometimes and have to call mommy for help (ie. the night rayanne almost ODed). after all, they are just kids. how independent were any of us at 15? it was one of the best shows to portray the full teenage experience, and the teenage experience, whether we like it or not, involves our parents.

and if a "Teen show" is something like Laguna Beach, then thank goodness MSCL was not that, because if it was then we wouldn't be here and this site wouldn't exist!! Because although that may be popular and successful for now, there's no way that people are going to look back on it 12 years later with the kind of admiration and respect that we can look back on My So-Called Life with.
I bet you can actually die of embarrassment. I bet it's been medically proven.

Posts: 5
Joined: May 1st 2006, 11:18 pm
Location: South Jersey

Post by MoonSongs » May 1st 2006, 11:54 pm

I think "kids" today are slightly more mature than when we were their age when the show aired. The relationship between the parents and the children is essential. The point of having so much of Angela's parents in the show was to compare her family life with that of Rayanne and Amber, a single mother with no boundaries, Ricky who gets beaten up by his uncle and kicks him out of the house, Brian and his sterile, pedantic, psychologist parents, and Jordan, who doesn't seem to have parents that really care. The relationship a teen has with their parents is just as important as their relationship with friends, peers, and teachers. It is an explanation of the influence of the transition, conformity or non-conformity one has during these adolescent years.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests