Help me, Brain. Help me figure out something good to say to Angela.

My So Called Life – In Dreams Begin Responsibilities
Brian is enlisted to help Jordan win Angela back. Graham’s dream of opening a restaurant is becoming a reality, and Rickie finally finds an accepting home.

Angela has a recurring dream about Jordan in which she screams at him for how he’s hurt and betrayed her, but he just stands there motionless. In real life, Jordan is silently pining for Angela. He tries to talk to her but she ignores him, so he asks Brian to help him say something that will win her back. Brian points out the irony that Jordan can get any girl’s phone number, but is afraid to tell Angela he’s sorry. Jordan is not amused.

Brian is understandably reticent about helping, but A) he wants to make Angela happy, and B) he is unable to turn down the opportunity to express his true feelings to her. He tells Jordan what to say, and it works but Jordan can’t carry it off when she tries to continue the conversation. Jordan returns to Brian, who writes an letter that turns Angela to mush. Brian, teeming with angst, confesses what he has done to Rickie.

Meanwhile, Delia has developed a crush on Rickie. When he finds out, he sees a chance to be “normal” so he asks her out. She tells him she thought he was gay, and he stops for a moment and then says, “Yeah, I’m gay. I’ve just never said it out loud before.” Yay Rickie! In other relationships we love, Sharon and Rayanne finally admit, out loud, that they are friends.

In parent world, the financial backers get cold feet about the restaurant so Graham cooks them a meal. They love it, and the restaurant is a go. Patty has a dream about her high school boyfriend, who happens to be in the restaurant business, so they make a date to meet up. Back in the day, this guy was like Patty’s “Jordan Catalano” – she gets all giggly and her voice goes up about two octaves when she talks to him.

Jordan shows up and keeps Patty company while she waits for her date, and she finally understands her daughter’s attraction to him. AND, we learn more about Jordan in a minute than we have all season when he says, “It’s like you think you’re safe or something, cause you can just walk away anytime. Because you don’t, like, need her. You don’t need anyone. But the thing you didn’t realize is … you’re wrong.”

Rickie, unable to let Angela believe a lie, tells her that Brian wrote the letter. In a complete circle back to the pilot, Angela and Brian meet in the street in front of her house. She is furious that the letter was a lie, and Brian replies, “No, I meant every word.” Angela FINALLY realizes that Brian is in love with her and they share a loaded look. But of course, when Jordan comes out of the house Angela gets into his car. She looks sadly at Brian as they pull away.

The end.

After two lovely months, I have finally reached the end of MSCL. I had a really great time writing these posts, and though the show has been off the air for 12 years, I hope some of you enjoyed reading them. I’ll leave you with a few choice bits from the extras:

A Conversation with Claire & Winnie
Not a lot of interesting stuff here, except when they talk about what would have happened with Brian and Angela had the show continued. Apparently Winnnie Holzman’s idea for second season was to have Angela embroiled in an inescapable “train wreck” of a relationship with Jordan, going to Brian for advice as a way to subtly make her romantic feelings toward him apparent. Eh. That doesn’t sound so great.

The Friends
A fun and interesting series of interviews with grown-up Devon Gummersall, AJ Langer, Wilson Cruz, and Devon Odessa. This segment focuses largely on Wilson Cruz – apparently Rickie was the first gay teenage character in American series television history. If you’d like to read more about this, there is a nice interview with Wilson Cruz here. They all look ok – actually Wilson Cruz looks amazing – but AJ Langer kind of looks like she’s had too much Botox. Sadly, Jared Leto is not a part of the special features at all.

The Wardrobe
One thing I found particularly interesting was the discussion of the wardrobe for the show, particularly the teen characters. Apparently they created a “closet” for each character containing a limited amount of clothing, and they would put together different outfits from each closet. It really is noticeable, particularly now in the age of high-fashion TV teens, that the MSCL characters wear the same clothes over and over again, and this lends to the realism of the show.

And, an excerpt from an essay by Joss Whedon (from the booklet notes):

“[MSCL] captured the momentous minutiae of adolescent life with such precision that it’s painful for me to think of even now … [The] tension, between feeling exactly what Angela feels and knowing so many things she doesn’t, made the show pulse with life. Nothing in the show is simple; the tenderest moment is undercut with brutal self-awareness, kindness toward one person inevitably hurts another … [and] we are left with the most crushing cliffhanger in history … [but] we have this much: a show that delivered more joy, laughs, pain, and cringing self-recognition than any before or since, all in less than one season … No show on TV has ever come close to capturing as truly the lovely pain of teendom as well as My So-Called Life.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. RIP MSCL.

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