My So-Called Life
In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

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Sars: A | 3 USERS: A+
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Choose Their Own Adventure

Don't go, now! Don't go!

Fade up on a sleeping Angela "Give" Chase, who starts awake and stares all disoriented into space as Angela VO tells us, "In the dream I keep having about Jordan Catalano, I'm trying to catch up with him." Cut to a dream sequence filmed in a wash of overexposure light; Angela's in the hall at My So-Called High in her flannel nightie, filmed in color, but most of the rest of the scene is black-and-white. She hurries down the hall in a weird stop-motion slo-mo, peering around corners. Jordan "Scaredy" Catalano leans against a locker, putting Visine into his eyes as usual. Angela sees him. He sees her. A long look. Jordan pushes off the bank of lockers and walks away from her. Angela VO: "But it's hard, because there's something wrong with the floor." Shot of Angela's booted feet mired in a gluey substance. Shot of Jordan walking away in his big lumberjack coat. Shot of Angela. Angela VO: "Sometimes my father is there." Cut back to Jordan, coat off this time; next to him is "Candy" Graham Chase. The guys, both wearing plaid shirts, turn around and give Angela an "…and?" look, then turn back and walk away from her; she watches them go and tries not to look worried.

Okay, here's the quick dream-symbol clip-and-save, which I've decided to share because 1) in all the discussions about this episode, which number in the gazillions, I very seldom hear the dreams themselves discussed, although 2) they must serve as more than a device, since they figure in the episode's title, and 3) it's not like Holzman et al. to introduce a symbology like that without giving it some thought. So, here we go. First, Jordan and her dad. Obviously, Angela loves both men, and even idolizes them to some extent, but doesn't trust either of them and feels abandoned by both of them. Just as obvious is her anxiety about separating from her parents. Less obvious: She feels unprepared (the nightie) and frustrated (can't move); dreams that take place at school symbolize lessons that the unconscious is trying to teach the dreamer. The only color that shows up in Angela's dream, really, is red, which signifies passion and/or anger (especially when paired with black, as it is in her nightie). And then there's the funeral, coming up in the next paragraph. Death in dreams usually symbolizes…well, death, but metaphorically -- the death of a relationship or an emotional loss of some kind. Funerals, on the other hand, signify eliminating the negative influence of a parental figure, generally whichever parent matches the gender of the dead person in the dream; here, then, it implies that Angela wants to cut ties with her mother, or at least avoid repeating patterns that Patty has perpetuated in the family. Finally, hallways often represent the womb, but I don't think that's at work here. So that's the basics of Angela's dream. Uh, probably.

Moving on. Angela finally gets unstuck from the floor, but Jordan and Graham have vanished, and Angela VO tells us that, sometimes, her great-aunt Gertrude's funeral "kinda gets mixed in" with the rest of the dream. Angela tries to keep walking, but a wind kicks up, and pallbearers cut her off to carry a casket past. "York Peppermint" Patty Chase, kitted out in a filmy black dress, waves and smiles brightly at Angela; Graham stands behind her. Angela, brow furrowed, waves back hesitantly. Patty and Graham beckon her towards them, but Angela shakes her head slightly "no," and her parents make elaborately regretful faces and wave goodbye; Graham pulls Patty away. Angela smiles again, almost thankfully, and rounds a corner as AVO says, "The end of the dream is always the same. I catch up with him." Angela dashes down the hall after Jordan and pulls up alongside him; she's screaming at him about how he "hurt and betrayed" her and how she can never forgive him, and I mean really screaming, arteries bulging in her forehead and everything. AVO narrates this, and adds that "he just stands there, like someone caught in the storm, who's stopped caring how wet he gets." We see Dream Angela continuing to berate him, and as is his way, Jordan leans against a wall, utterly unconcerned.

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My So-Called Life

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