My So-Called Life
Weekend

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Sars: B- | Grade It Now!
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You looked under Hallie Lowenthal's hood?

Ah, "Weekend" -- the episode almost universally reviled by fans of My So-Called Life, the goes-without-saying entry on everyone's least-favorite list. Back in the day, when my email address consisted of a string of incomprehensible numbers assigned to me by the late, non-great Compuserve, I belonged to a mailing list devoted to the show, and the members of said mailing list (myself included) got awfully heated about various predictable issues, like whether Brian or Jordan "deserved" Angela and would Rayanne and Sharon have gotten close and blah blah blah, but no other topic of discussion drew forth anything approaching the venom that the "listies" reserved for "Weekend." Everyone had reasonably legitimate reasons for hating the ep: too much time spent on the Chases' marriage; heretofore-unseen sitcommy humor (i.e. the handcuffs thing) that didn't work; unearned suspension of disbelief; well, you know, Neil, no one gives a shit. But it seemed to boil down to resenting wasted time -- to not understanding why, when the show got the axe in the end, the creators chose to burn off an episode with wackiness.

That said, I don't hate "Weekend." It's a trifling ep, in context, but I think it works, both in giving the viewer a little break from the high level of emotion of the previous handful of episodes, and in sharing insight into Patty and Graham. It's contrived, but it's not a failure. And for the record, "Halloween" is my least favorite episode, for all the reasons people usually cite when loathing "Weekend." Awful, awful ep. Key Grip's recap of it rocks, though.

Okay, enough explication. Let's go, now, go.

Pan slowly up Danielle's legs to Danielle, poutily playing with a Gameboy. Well, it looks like a Gameboy. Did Gameboys exist in 1995? Anyway, Danielle VO -- believe it, it's true -- sulks that "my whole life is waiting for something to happen." She's standing off to the side as Patty and Camille Cherski go through Patty's closet, and Camille holds up a little black dress and calls it "killer" and says that it may well have given Andy the heart attack. Patty squawks all "you're so bad." DVO tells us that it's really easy to eavesdrop on adults' conversations while pretending to "play some stupid game" while Camille and Patty confer on the backless dress, Camille advising Patty that "men love backs" and the dress will "drive Graham insane" and "you will have an incredible weekend" and so on. Since when do men love backs? Men love fronts, hon. Patty gazes at the dress, shoots a nervous look at Danielle, and says no, she doesn't think it's…her. Camille shrugs and hangs up the dress, and Patty folds a ruffly white shirt and complains that Graham "isn't back here yet" because he's at a meeting with another potential investor for the restaurant. Camille sniffs that he's with "that Hallie Lowenthal person," then, and Patty says tolerantly, "Yes, and shut up." Camille's all, "Hey, I didn't say anything," and Patty defensives that she's not upset because Graham's with Hallie; she's upset because Neil and Marla are due "any minute" and Graham's not home. Then she adds that she's not upset in the first place. Inserted into Patty's blather is a shot of Danielle, taking it all in. Camille asks how long Marla's been with Neil, and Patty says with a condescending smile that it's been six years and it's "like a prison sentence," and then Camille tries to sell Patty on a green negligee-type thing. Patty laughs nervously. DVO: "It's truly amazing. I have the power to be…invisible." Yeah, if only. That's Patty's cue to suggest that Danielle go downstairs and get herself "a piece of fruit." Danielle reacts much the same way that I do, making a "piece of…fruit?" face and expositioning that Angela's in the kitchen with Rickie and booted Danielle. Patty orders her to get a piece of fruit, and she'll come down in a sec to have a word with Angela. Danielle slouches off. Patty nixes the negligee and Camille's like, "Oh, come on!"

On the stairs, Danielle VO sighs that her life "is different people kicking [her] out of different rooms." Mmm hmm. It's called a hint, shorty. Take one.

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My So-Called Life

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