Title: My So-Called Life S1.E13 “Pressure”
Released: 1994

Drinking Game Tally: 14 drinks, 1 shot, 1 chug
‘90s Fashion Award: Rickie
My So-Called Winner: Angela
My So-Called Loser: Jordan
Brian Krakow vs. Jordan Catalano: Brian

Angela is under so much pressure, you guys!!! At least, I’m pretty sure she is. But you know, Brian Krakow is under a lot of pressure — to get A’s — too. And Graham must be feeling the pressure from Patty to get a new job. And Rickie is under pressure ALL THE TIME to conform to society’s opinions of how he should be! It’s so unfair!

This is my impression of the episode from the title alone, and I’m sure I’ll learn some Life Lessons about how to deal with pressure as I watch, because this show was so right-on it’s STILL teaching me stuff! Let’s see how accurate my initial guess is…

What Happened

Angela is Driving Red (which you will remember is the name of Jordan Catalano’s car)! Very poorly! But she finally finds the brake, which is thinly veiled (Like, gauze-thin. Like, so thin you could use it to strain your feta) reference to the fact that Jordan Catalano wants to eat more than her face. Jordan just wants a cuddle (ahem, British boys, I’m looking at you) but Angela has too many thoughts that distract her from getting busy in the car. In broad daylight. In a parking lot. Which reminds me that if I could go back to being a teenager knowing what I know now, I’d have a lot more sex. It’s okay, Angela. He’s really pretty. No, it’s probably not going to last. But he’s really pretty. Just joking. Kids, don’t have sex until you’re ready. Angela decides she should go to the dreaded Geometry class. I wonder if she’s taken that test from last week yet?

At school, Angela calls sex ‘um’, and Angela, the fact that you call it that tells me that you’re not ready. She stalks the halls of her school imagining students and teachers alike having lots and lots of S.E.X. Even her new English teacher, Mr. Spadner, and a lady teacher who happen to be talking to each other. No, Angela, they are probably not having sex. Together or individually.

At the Chase residence, Patty and Graham ignore Danielle while discussing the similarities between Red and an apartment, in terms of its ability to house sexual relations. Later that night, Jordan Catalano takes Angela up on her earlier pretend offer to come to her house to have sex, and eats some cold cuts while he talks about going to an abandoned house, AND HE ACTUALLY SAYS THE WORDS “Just entering” when Angela asks if they’re going to be breaking and entering now. WOW. This episode is about sex, you guys! It’s also about flu shots, as is evidenced by Danielle’s incessant talking about it, and the NEXT scene where Angela is waiting for her mom to take her to get a flu shot. So what do you think about flu shots? Personally, I’m against them. Because I don’t like needles, and they hurt for DAYS, and I got my first one last year, and last year I GOT THE FLU.

While waiting for her painful and possibly pointless shot, Angela asks Sharon why she and her boyfriend broke up, and Sharon tells her that it was because of her ‘beliefs’. Angela automatically translates ‘beliefs’ to mean ‘SEX’, but Sharon tells her that oh no, they had, like, constant sex. So Angela tries to be sneaky with her doctor asking about percentages and stuff, when what she really means is SEX. Maybe she should have asked about beliefs. The doctor totally sees through that feta-cheese-straining veil and tells Angela to use condoms AND a sponge!!! SHAZAM!!! I LOVE this doctor! Listen to the doctor, kiddies.

Hey, it’s Lisa Waltz, and her fiancé, Brad. They’re over for dinner, and Lisa Waltz seems to think that she’s going to open a restaurant and wants Graham to cook for her! Then Jordan shows up for Angela, and has ONE OF THE MOST ADORABLE AND AWKWARD EXCHANGES EVER WITH GRAHAM!!!! Arghhh! I’m dying from the cuteness! Of course, that’s only because Graham doesn’t know with 100% certainty that Jordan is there to take out Angela’s virginity. Angela, for her part, freaks out, and asks her dad if maybe he doesn’t want her to go — but Graham acts the clueless father.

At the abandoned house of sexual relations, Angela and Jordan Catalano are super awkward as they wait to have sex, and it makes me really sad, because Angela is clearly terrified of the sex, and Jordan is clearly pushing for it, which kind of makes me have to give Jordan a (Stupid Point -1), although maybe it should really be a douchey point, but aren’t all douches kind of stupid? Just as a room opens up (Eeewww!!!!!! The germaphobe in me has just had her shit FREAKED out at the thought of the rooms of sexual relations. I mean, at least in the car, there’s… no, never mind.) Angela makes an excuse and flees through a window.

Patty comes home to dinner and wine (which she chugs — well, sips, but it’s more fun to imagine Patty chugging) and is treated to a description of Jordan from Lisa Waltz. (He’s trouble, because he’s too gorgeous. Oh Lisa.) After they leave, Patty and Graham joke about what a ‘Brad’ Brad is.

In the girl’s bathroom, Rayanne and Sharon have a conversation — with some other girls — about Angela’s fear of sex, and Rayanne mentions Mickey Rourke!!! Remember when Mickey Rourke was sexy?!!! It was right around the time of Angel Heart.

Then there is crazy soft core porn on the screen!!! Oh my goodness, this show is showing soft core porn, with a couple kneading dough! This is amazing! It turns out to be a video Sharon is showing Angela in an attempt to be helpful. Sharon also tells Angela to be sure to use a condom, which is just so wonderful. But then she talks about how once she had sexual relations, it became ‘expected’, which wasn’t cool. But then she drops a major truth bomb on Angela by reminding her that she should talk to Jordan, because she kind of has a tendency to shut people out. Way to go, Sharon! You are rocking my world tonight!

Brian Krakow is riding his bike around in circles in front of Angela’s house, drawing imaginary pictures of Angela’s vagina in the pavement with his bike. (Stalker Point -1) Angela borrows said bike.

Graham finds the soft core porn and watches it, thinking that Patty has left it for him, which leads to them having a fight about SEX and the proposed restaurant, which is a thinly veiled reference to his career issues. Or her issues with his career. Or lack thereof.

Angela goes to talk to Jordan, and he confronts her about using Rayanne as her excuse for leaving the house of sexual relations, and has a fair point in telling her that at least he never lied to her, but then cancels that point out by telling her that sex is what she’s SUPPOSED to do, unless she’s abnormal. Ouch. (Dumb/Douche Point -2)

Through some sort of mishap that included Graham catching Angela with the soft core porn, then her leaving it in her backpack on the bus, Brian Krakow and Rickie end up watching the video together. And Rickie has the best line: “I wish I could get away with bicycle shorts.”

Angela second-guesses her freakout about the sex. Maybe she should have just had the sex with Jordan? Rickie tells her that maybe the sex should be special. And then some blonde girl who had HAD the sex with Jordan tells him that what he just said was so beautiful, and then asks Angela if she ever worked at the local burger joint.

Patty and Graham start to have the sex on the sofa in the living room, but are interrupted by the phone, which they don’t answer. This leads them to a discussion in which they decide that Graham should go into business with Lisa Waltz. Then they don’t have the sex, and Patty is sad.

Brian Krakow drops off Angela’s backpack and is understandably mad that she left his bike at Jordan’s. She tells him that she’s sad about boys, and how they only care about getting girls into bed. Graham wakes up and listens in and Brian tells her not all boys just want the sex, although he SO TOTALLY DOES. Meanwhile, Jordan is returning the bike, because he can be so sweet sometimes. Angela explains to Jordan why she wasn’t ready, and he tells her that he won’t ever hold it against her, but then she talks about sex and death, and I don’t think she’s ever even heard of la petite mort. She has a tearful confession about how she’s going to miss the softness of his hair, which is SO teenagerish and adorable, and then they say goodbye, but then they kiss!!! Ah teen love is such a mindfuck! And Graham has been on the sofa in the next room the whole time!

Angela gets on Brian’s bike and rides off into the distance, having a moment where being her is just enough.

Drinking Game Tally: 14 drinks, 1 shot, 1 chug

’90s Fashion Award

Rickie’s back this week, with the sky-blue animal print shirt with burgundy best and brown plaid scarf!!!

Lessons I Learned About High School

Some teenagers actually think their teachers are having sex, instead of assuming just because they’re old or awkward that they aren’t getting any.

My So-Called Winner

Angela! Because even though I’d like to encourage her to RELAX and live a little, at least she won’t look back on that experience and feel like she cowed to the wishes of someone else.

My So-Called Loser

Jordan. Poor Jordan, sometimes it’s like he can’t help himself. I think there’s so much potential there most of the time, but then he’ll open his big mouth and ruin everything.

Brian Krakow vs. Jordan Catalano

Despite the really hot non-face-eating kiss at the end of the episode, I have to give this one to Brian, based on points alone.

Life Lessons Learned

  • That maybe I should be glad I was so uptight as a teenager, because at least I didn’t give into peer pressure or the pressure from a boy.

  • Nah. I totally wish I had been less uptight.

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.