Title: My So-Called Life S1.E11 “Life of Brian”
Released: 1994

Drinking Game Tally: 17 drinks, 0 shots, 0 chugs
‘90s Fashion Award: Rickie
My So-Called Winner: Kathy Najimy
My So-Called Losers: Brian and Angela
Brian Krakow vs. Jordan Catalano: Jordan

It’s that time again! What time, you ask? Time for life lessons learned from Angela Chase!

In this episode, I’m assuming we are going to be learning about the life of Brian Krakow! I have a feeling it will be more in depth than my original asessement: go to school, take pictures of Angela, come home, rollerblade or ride my bike past Angela’s house, have an awkward conversation with Angela, climb the tree outside Angela’s house and ‘read’, go to bed…

What Happened

Ooooh, voiceover from Brian! Talking about his parents! While he’s watching Angela through a telephoto lens! (Stalker Points -1) We’re off to a great start! He thinks Angela’s family is awesome. Patty and Graham are going through stuff in the basement so Graham can wallpaper a room during his unemployment.

At school, Brian is watching girls at school through the lens of his camera, because he’s yearbook photographer. Sure, Brian. (Stalker Points -2) Sharon introduces him to a new girl, and tells him he should ask said new girl to the upcoming ‘dance of world peace’ or something. (So far, my initial version of how this episode would go is pretty right on, yeah?) Angela, Rayanne and Rickie are hanging out unsupervised in… Biology? Maybe? Rayanne suggests that if Angela wants to go to the dance of world peace or happiness, that she should go with Brian. Then a new boy comes in wearing a tam and a scarf, and Rickie gets all flabbergasted. New boy likes Rickie’s vest.

Brian has a talk with his mind about how even though he’s established verbal communication with the new girl, he thinks about Angela constantly, and it sickens him. (Us too, buddy.) He determines to stop, but then comes up with an excuse to visit her, and instead hangs out with Graham while wallpapering. They discussing picking out wallpaper in relation to a career (Graham) and girls (Brian). It’s pretty cute.

The new girl is kind of cute, but also kind of annoying, and I’m realizing she reminds me of a young Kathy Najimy. When Brian shows up at her place of employment (the burger stand) they touch hands over a soda and there is hormonal magic in the air. Brian thinks that something might be finally happening to him.

Sharon kind of fights with her boyfriend about his not asking her to the dance yet. Brian is working up the nerve to ask Young Kathy Najimy to the dance when the bell rings, signifying that there are, at least occasionally, classes in this high school. Rayanne is clean and sober now, at least for the past ten days, and teases Rickie about asking the new boy to the dance. Rickie does not feel ready for this step, and although my heart swells with hope that this show will, in fact, go there, I doubt that, at the time, ABC would have allowed it.

Angela approaches Jordan Catalano and tries unsuccessfully to casually bring up the dance. Jordan not only does not know what’s going on with the school, but also doesn’t know there IS a dance. (Dumb Points -1) He also explains his ‘theory’ about how he never makes plans, because then there’s commitment and expectation, so he just lets whatever happens, happen. Angela really respects this theory, as any high school girl might. This makes me giggle and want to add extra dumb points, because what a copout! He then awkwardly drives away. Poor Angela.

Brian sees Young Kathy Najimy looking through a microscope, and decides to help her ‘catch up’, since she just transfered. There is more hand touching, and Brian’s mind utters the best words yet spoken on this show!!! “Finally, an erection from actual physical contact.” Hysterical! But then Angela walks by and ruins the moment.

Brian is back at the wallpapering palace of metaphor with Graham, when Patty comes home, thankful that Brian is there, helping. She pressures Graham about these adult ed cooking classes. Graham paraphrases Jordan’s earlier fear of commitment speech. Aw, Graham, it sounds even worse coming out of your mouth. Patty Chase might have to smack a bitch.

Young Kathy Najimy (YKJ from here on out) hints about going to the dance to Brian, and he gives a really wordy monologue that makes very little sense, but asks her to go with him. Good job, buddy! Rickie and Angela decide to go to the dance together, but then new guy approaches telling him that Rayanne planned that the three of them would go together. So Rickie has a freakout about how the new boy would interpret Angela and him showing up together, and ends up uninviting Angela. Angela, feeling desperate, interrupts Brian and YKJ, telling him it’s an emergency! Oh Angela. Party foul. Brian tells her he’s going to the dance with YKJ, and Angela is really happy for him, but asks if she can go, too. Brian’s heart sores. And probably also his penis. Rayanne tells Rickie that she’s actually not going to the dance after all, and Rickie freaks out some more at the setup.

Brian shows up at the workplace of YKJ, and tells her that he forgot another commitment, and she is actually really awesome and tells him he just needs to be honest, so he tells her he’d rather go with someone else. Ooooh. Brian. This won’t end well.

Patty has enrolled Graham in the classes behind his back, and he is not pleased. Brian shows up to pick up Angela, and is stunned by her beauty. He lies and says YKJ can’t go because of a sick aunt. Patty finally sees the finished product of Graham’s wallpapering, and is duly impressed. They have a laugh about Angela and Brian’s non-chemistry, and Patty apologizes for being a nag. Graham decides that he should go ahead with the class, and thanks Patty for pushing him. In this instance, I have to agree.

At the dance, Rickie and the new boy are getting along like gangbusters, until the new boy realizes that Rayanne isn’t coming, and Rickie realizes that the new boy likes Rayanne. Brian and Angela arrive, and Angela sends him away to get her some punch. Rickie asks Brian if he can hang out with them, and Brian asks him not to, in case he and Angela might want to dance. Angela is not pleased by this. She and Brian fight and he paraphrases Jordan’s ‘whatever happens happens’ speech, and Angela finally agrees with me that it’s the stupidest thing she’s ever heard. Then they see YKJ, and Angela accuses Brian of being heartless before storming off… and seeing Jordan Catalano and his friends show up! Intense eye contact ensues.

Brian tries to talk to YKJ, but Sharon swoops in and saves her. Angela heads outside and hangs with Rickie, and Rickie tells her how he feels. That he belongs nowhere and with no one. Angela hugs him as Jordan comes out with his friends, but then stops a few feet away from them, waiting to see if Angela will come talk to him. Of course she does. Jordan pushes her up against a chain link fence and asks her why she’s like the way she is, and although the mechanics of it are not wonderful, IT IS SO INTENSE!!!!!

Inside, Rickie asks YKJ to dance, and Rickie starts busting out some serious dance moves!!!!!! Soon they are at the center of the floor, with everyone cheering them on. Did I mention that Rickie can REALLY dance??!!!! They must have been just holding on to that talent, waiting for a chance to use it. Brian looks on.

Angela comes back in and apologizes for ruining Brian and the new girl’s night. Then she asks him to dance. Brian says no. They decide nobody actually has fun at these dances, and proceed to watch everybody else having fun.

Drinking Game Tally: 17 drinks, 0 shots, 0 chugs

’90’s Fashion Award

Rickie for his jewel-tone floral on black shirt and magenta vest and lavenderish tie. Because I think I had a version of that shirt.

Lessons I Learned About High School

Again, there aren’t many actual classes in high school. Just lots of empty classrooms to hang out in. Maybe it’s because they still haven’t gotten a new teacher to replace The Sheriff, so the school’s short staffed?

My So-Called Winner

Young Kathy Najimy! She was sweet and honest and easy to like, and Brian really effed things up.

My So-Called Loser

Brian! And Angela. For obvious reasons. I hope they learned something.

Brian Krakow vs. Jordan Catalano

Jordan wins, with only 1 dumb point! Plus he gets extra points for that little moment by the chain link fence. Swoon.

Life Lessons Learned

  • A fear of committing to things is just that: fear. It’s not cool. Or cute. Or charming.

  • Wallpaper makes for great conversation.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.