My So-Called Life

Episode Report Card
Wing Chun: D | 6 USERS: A+

As wet red hair dribbles over a sink, AVO brings us up to speed: "So when Rayanne Graff told me my hair was holding me back, I had to listen, because she wasn't just talking about my hair -- she was talking about my life." Angela straightens up -- for the red hair is hers -- and we see Rickie beaming appreciatively at her new look. Angela gazes at her new reflection. You'll find she gazes a lot.

Patty Chase, Angela's mom, stands in the kitchen with a bag of groceries on her hip, and bemusedly remarks, "So it is you." Angela appears in the frame, her red hair much brighter, having dried, and she explains, "I had my hair dyed." Patty passive-aggressively busies herself putting the groceries away, and snarks, "Oh, you had it dyed. I thought it had died of natural causes." Is there any wit like the wit of an irritated parent? Before Angela can answer, we hear Rayanne's voice, and then she bounds into the kitchen and, seeing Patty, abruptly shuts up. Rickie, right behind Rayanne, smiles his adorable, friendly smile, and asks Patty, "You're Angela's mom?" Patty stares at Angela for a second, then turns back to the kitchen cupboard, tersely (yet superficially cheerily) replying, "Yes! I am! That's true!" Rickie brightly says, "I like your house!" Patty says, "Thank you. Who are you?" Angela glances from Patty to Rickie and Rayanne and then back again, and introduces her friends to her mom. By way of answer, Patty mutters, "You dyed your hair. Okay. Well, here is some...cheese. And there are drinks in the, um --" "Fridge?" Rickie offers helpfully. Patty says, "Thank you. So, okay. I'm leaving now. Well, not the house -- the, um, room." She boots it on out of there, and well before she's out of earshot, Rickie comments, "She's nice!" "Not really," Angela mutters. Rayanne observes, "She took your hair real calm." Angela notes, "That's just because you two were here." I used to do that to my mom -- only spring news that would annoy her when there were "strangers" around to prevent her from reacting normally. ["That never worked on my mother. She'd just ream me anyway. I hated that." -- Sars] "Good cheese!" says Rayanne. Not around here -- it's just "good," no "cheese."

Later, Angela messes with the peas, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf on her dinner plate, and rests her sullen elbow on the table, and her sullen head on her sullen hand. That never would have been allowed at my house. AVO says, "I cannot bring myself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of my mother. It just means too much to her. I mean, if you stop to think about, like, chewing? What it really is? How people just do it, in public." The camera pans around to show Patty, her husband Graham, and Angela's ten-year-old sister Danielle. The silence is broken by the not-at-all obtrusive sound of Graham trying to connect with his teenaged daughter: "Wait. Don't tell me! There's something different." Danielle snorts, "I would never dye my hair red." Defensively, Angela informs her, "It's not red. It's Crimson Glow." Graham says, "Ohh, well, I can see it now -- the social whirl! Wild parties! Axl Rose!" AVO explains, "My dad thinks every person in the world is having more fun than him. Which could be true." Word. I don't know how much fun would be possible for a person married to Patty. You can tell that, off-camera, Patty just shot him a nasty-ass look, because Graham defensively asks, "What am I supposed to say?" Patty insists, "Nothing!" "I mean, it's her hair!" Graham adds. "Exactly," Patty agrees, adding sweetly, "And, we'll always be able to spot you in a crowd." Angela seemingly can't even muster the conviction to scowl back, but AVO tells a different story: "Lately, I can't even look at my mother without wanting to stab her repeatedly." Angela stabs at her meatloaf with her fork to punctuate her voice-over. Patty notices, but says nothing. My mom is a lot like Patty. And we had these kinds of Mexican standoffs throughout my adolescence, mostly because we're so much alike. ["Roger that, and roger the stabbing impulse also." -- Sars]

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My So-Called Life




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