Dissecting Danielle

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Cami A.
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Dissecting Danielle

Post by Cami A. » Aug 8th 2008, 6:30 pm

My thoughts on why Danielle was extremely essential to the show etc...

DANIELLE CHASE
Image

Danielle Chase is absolutely necessary to My So-Called Life. Aside from being completely adorable, she serves as a backdrop against which the viewers witness Angela's transformation from a child into a young woman. In a way, she serves the same purpose as Sharon does in the beginning of the series--she is a depiction of the past or childhood--the thing that Angela is trying to escape.

Exhibit A: In "Father Figures" Graham comes home to find Angela and Rayanne in the kitchen, and tries to kiss Angela on the cheek. Angela pulls away and tells him his whiskers scratch. She then voices mistrust towards her father in the following voice-over. There is a distance growing between Angela and her parents as she starts to become an independent individual and notice their flaws. (Or as Patty says later, Angela is taking Graham "off his pedestal" and "she's right on schedule")

Later in the same episode, Angela is sitting downstairs trying to do homework (I believe) and Graham is sitting on the couch nearby with Danielle cuddled up next to him. Danielle giggles and exclaims that she likes the way it feels when he doesn't shave. Graham then proceeds to bury his whiskers into her hair and make monster noises. Angela gets irritated and storms upstairs. This is something you can imagine Angela doing when she was little and still had graham on his "pedestal." However, this is not something she wants to even witness anymore. She wants to discard of her connections to her family and be her own person.

Image

Exhibit B:
In "The Zit" Patty is practically forcing Angela to do the charity fashion show with her. Why doesn't she even think of asking Danielle to do it when Angela is being a total ass about participating? Simple. Patty NEEDS to feel connected to Angela. Her teenage daughter has been distant from her lately, and she is using this opportunity to bond and gain more influence in Angela's life. Danielle is still close and willing to "bond" with her mother. Therefore, Patty can safely take advantage of this willingness without fear that Danielle will stop wanting and needing her.

It is not until Danielle stops wanting her mother's attention that Patty even notices. Take a look at the following scene from "On The Wagon"

The phone rings, and Angela answers it:

Angela : Hello? Yeah. It's your boyfriend, Ryan.
Danielle: He's not my boyfriend. He was, but we're keeping it loose.
[Patty, Graham, and Angela all look at Danielle. Danielle puts
the phone down on the counter] I'll take it in the other room. [She leaves]
Patty : Are either of them married yet? I mean, how much have I
missed?


Then after a few minutes, Danielle gets back from talking on the phone:

[Danielle enters. Patty grabs her as she walks past]
Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait wait wait wait wait.
Who is this Ryan?
Danielle: Mom, I have to go to school. [She leaves]
[Graham hugs Patty]


When Patty hugs Graham in defeat we see that she is realizing Danielle will grow up and grow distant in the same way Angela is beginning to. And this scares her. If there had been a second season, perhaps we would have been able to see more of an exploration of Danielle's revolution from young child, to young child wanting to be an adult. I think we already see a little of this when she dresses up for Angela on Halloween, and then adoringly handles her things the next morning (upon returning clothes she borrowed to Angela's room). This is even more pronounced when she finally gets to narrate an episode! In "The Weekend" she expresses her excitement about hanging out with her "big sister and her cool friend" (Rickie).

To be Continued...
Last edited by Cami A. on Aug 9th 2008, 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by stburr91 » Aug 19th 2008, 10:16 pm

I always thought Danielle added a lot to the show. She plays the perfect little sister. Annoying, intrusive, a pain in the ***, everything a little sister should be.

I like the scenes that see see how much see wants to be like Angela, and how much she admires her. The Halloween episode, we see her dress up like Angels, and at the end of the episode, she's at Angel's dresser looking at her things, and she leaves a lolly pop for her. I always liked that scene.

Her acting in the series really added another layer of depth to the show.
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by TomSpeed » Aug 28th 2008, 8:36 pm

Thanks for the post, Cami A. Danielle is an interesting character on the show. She is a bridge to Angela's past and Graham and Patty's future. One wonders if Patty and Graham try to correct their perceived mistakes raising Angela in their dealings with Danielle. Would they give Angela more freedom? Or, would they clamp down more tighter on Danielle? Another good question is what influence would Angela have on Danielle?
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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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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by Cami A. » Nov 7th 2008, 4:22 am

Tom,

Thanks for replying. It's been a few months since I've been active on this site. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I hope you are still around.

You bring up a lot of very complex and difficult to answer questions. I'd love to hear your thoughts on them. Most likely if you are able to pose these questions, you have some idea as to how to answer them.

I think you are absolutely right. Danielle means childhood and past to Angela, and adulthood and future to her parents. Funny how the same character can mean something totally different depending on the relationship!

I think Patty and Graham might be easier on Danielle. Danielle seems to be growing up a lot faster than Angela did because she's got Angela to observe these "adult" attitudes from. I've noticed that about younger siblings, they pick up "mature" ideas much more quickly than a first child who has to learn it from friends and first hand experience. For example, my best friend's little brother is about 6 years younger than her, and he already knew the word "sex" when he was 4. The thing is we were still immature 4th or 5th graders giggling about it. This reminds me of how Danielle mentions "foreplay" all non-chalant and casual at the dinner table, lol!

This early maturity or attempt at maturity might force Patty and Graham to give her a little more freedom...what do you think?
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by TomSpeed » Nov 11th 2008, 4:45 pm

I agree that Graham and Patty would probably be easier on Danielle. Parents in general tend to get worn down through each successive child's trip through the teen years. Ongoing battes sap their strength. What seemed impossible to allow before becomes tolerable.
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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Cami A.
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by Cami A. » Nov 11th 2008, 8:32 pm

Danielle's crush on Brian: What do you think is the significance of that? Or is it just meant to be cute? I thought there was a major point there--in keeping with the theme of past and present for Angela.
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by MonnyUK2 » Nov 12th 2008, 8:30 am

Cami,
In terms of Danielle's crush on Brian then I do agree with you. I always find those scenes funny when she talks to him and some of the voiceovers. The scene in 'Jordan Can't Read' is hilarious when she talks him into giving her saxophone lessons. I think she is hurt though when Brian comes over and he and Angela have that argument over Jordan. He totally ignores her and when he tries to makes the offer again at the end of the episode, she turns him down flat.

II think this does show the difference between Angela in the past and the fact that she is growing up now. Although I don't think if Angela was Danielle's age and Brian was older, would she have a crush on him? I think that Brian is the only guy she sees come over that is Angela's friend. Ricky doesn't interest her and well she doesn't really see Jordan or I'm sure she would have a crush on him too.

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Cami A.
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by Cami A. » Nov 13th 2008, 4:12 am

Yeah. Angela might've been into Brian had she been in Danielle's place. She is so cute when she's swooning over watching him think...and over his arm touching her shoulder. And the moment during the Weekend when he says that getting Rayanne unhandcuffed from the bed he says its so simple "a child could do it" and he looks at her and smiles all embarrassed :lol:

But I think most importantly, the fact that she wants to spend time with Brian and Angela basically acts like he doesn't exist (unless she needs him) turns Danielle into a symbol of what Angela is growing out of...
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by Stick » Dec 30th 2008, 9:57 pm

I have to say, Danielle is in one of my favorite small scenes. Her and Angela are sitting on the couch and Danielle says something about wanting Gram to give her away or something and Angela responds with "Who would marry you?" Just the way that line was delivered made it seem like a true younger/older sibling moment. (Also in Weekend when Patty mentions Angela putting Danielle in the drier/washer.)

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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 2nd 2009, 6:24 pm

I agree - that is one of the great moments that, although not necessary for the plot, is a totally realistic depiction of sisters. In most of the Angela/Danielle interactions, one of them (usually Angela) is annoyed with the other, but in this one you can tell that Angela is kidding and that she loves Danielle. It gives us a glimpse of what their relationship was probably like before Angela became a teenager.
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Cami A.
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by Cami A. » Jul 30th 2009, 5:57 am

This is an interesting point, Natasha. This probably is another creative way for Winnie to give us glimpses of Angela's past and the place that she is coming from. It shows that she has a fun loving home, but she's still feeling dissatisfied, even bored with it--like many of us start to feel in our teen years. I wonder how Danielle must feel; how could she possibly make sense of Angela's changes?
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Re: Dissecting Danielle

Post by Superjesus » Jul 19th 2011, 2:03 am

I love Danielle's character. She reminds me so much of my little sister it's almost scary.

I wonder what she would think of Jordan Catalano?

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