Teens and Transit in Three Rivers

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Jody Barsch*
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Teens and Transit in Three Rivers

Post by Jody Barsch* » Apr 13th 2006, 2:11 pm

Hey, did you like that alliteration? So, something that I’ve always wondered about in this show, more mysterious to me than Tino, the Chase’s cat and basement, is: How are these kids getting around like they do?
Now Jordan’s obvious, and Brian has his bike, which takes him to Big Guy Burger, and Angela to Jordan’s. There’s Rickie’s cousin in the Pilot, and Rayanne’s mom in (was it Father Figures or Dancing in the Dark?) But a lot of other moments are unclear. For instance, how was Angela going to get home from band practice if Jordan didn’t take her (wait, how did Rickie and Rayanne leave? am I forgetting or do they not say?) How does Angela get home when she leaves the Buffalo Tom show? Why does Brian take the bus to and from school if he can get there on his own on Halloween night? How did Angela get Rayanne’s party? How did Rickie get home from Let’s Bolt? How were they planning on getting home from Let’s Bolt? How did Angela get to the abandoned warehouse?
My real question is in regards to “Pressure” when Angela leaves the abandoned house without Jordan – does she really walk home by herself so late at night?

I guess we’re meant to assume that either Three Rivers is an incredibly small town, or that they have a stellar public transit system that runs late and has stops wherever the Three Rivers teens hang out. In the Pilot, and, I think, in one other episode, they talk about taking a bus, but I guess it doesn’t seem very real to me because we never once see any of the characters actually using public transit.

Just thought I’d throw that out there to see if this had grabbed anyone else’s attention, if people have other theories, or just any cool stories about how they got around in high school before they had a car.
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Also, after multiple V. Mars reiterations, and finally a Deadwood movie, still wishing for some continuation of The Riches !

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Apr 13th 2006, 5:25 pm

I think we talked about this in one (or some) of the episode discussion threads because I remember talking about how Patty said she had to drive "clear across town" to pick Angela up from Rayanne's house and that she would be there in twenty minutes (in Other People's Mothers/Daughters) but later in the episode, Angela manages to get to the party on her own. In Father Figures, Rickie says he's taking the Third Street bus (from Angela's house) and asks if Rayanne is coming with him. Rayanne says no, because Amber is picking her up later.

I have no problem believing that Rayanne (and Rickie, by extension) often finangles rides from people she knows and even people she doesn't really know. Angela, on the other hand - I have a hard time picturing her just hopping into some random guy's car and demanding to be taken somewhere.

Brian taking the bus - in my school district, your neighborhood had to be more than two miles from the school in order to warrant a bus stop. My parents paid for me to have a bus pass so they wouldn't have to drop me off and pick me up each day, but there were days when I walked home. Sometimes I had to stay after school and couldn't take the ONE late bus home because whatever I was doing ended after the late bus left. If Three Rivers is similar, I can see Brian taking the bus to and from school because his parents paid for the annual pass and it's a chance to be near Angela every morning and afternoon. Since the yellow school buses don't run at night, he would have to find another way to get there on Halloween night. Maybe he rode his bike and locked it in the bike rack like a good boy!
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Post by toolostinyou » Apr 16th 2006, 12:02 pm

my high school was the same, but luckily i lived in the bus stop boundries because i lived 3 miles from the school.

i take public transpotation alot and i think the average time buses stop running (at least in my area because i live in an urban area outside of nyc) at about 2:30am. if it wasn't too late out then she would've had no problem catching a bus. although if buses run as they do in my town then she probably waited an hour for it and then we're probably back to square one trying to figure out how she got home.
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Post by starbug » Apr 20th 2006, 9:06 am

Yes, this has bothered me. I always put it down to a combination of public transport and walking. I suppose I just assumed the buses would run late into the night (they tend to in the UK: it's *all* night in London but that isn't indicative), or certainly as late as the kids would be out.

Where I have difficulty is that like CG mentioned, there are certain things I just can't imagine Angela doing. I can easily see Rayanne and Rickie getting the bus at say, 10pm. But not for one minute do I think that Patty would permit Angela to do the same, alone, from the sorts of places the kids were going. I have this impression that Angela would have had it drummed into her that public transport + late evening = muggers and rapists. Especially if it's a suburb not a city and there aren't that many people using it during off-peak times. Of course the real danger is not actually on the transit itself, but after you get off and have to walk through potentially quiet streets, so in my head it is the fact of Angela being out in the big bad world by herself late in the evening that I can't picture.

The first time I watched the pilot and Angela came home in the police car, I was really stunned that Patty was awake. I thought it was alot later than that, given how long it appears they were out. Because Patty wasn't aware Angela was coming back, I don't think she was waiting up for her. So it can't have been later than, say, 11ish. Anything else would be out of character for Patty, I think. So this either means they left quite early (around 7pm) to go to Let's Bolt, or that they weren't there as long as I thought. There's a huge sense of time passing in the Let's Bolt scenes though, so I'm inclined to think that while I imagined initially something which correlated with my teenage years (coming home at midnight), maybe this is all happening earlier in the day than we (or I) presume. Maybe getting the bus at those times is OK. I realise that in the scenes I mention they were driven, but I'm thinking about more generally during those excursions where they weren't: maybe it isn't as late as we think, so public transit is a realistic option.


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