Title: My So-Called Life S1.E03 “Guns and Gossip”
Released: 1994

Drinking Game Tally: 19 drinks, 1 shot, 3 chugs
‘90s Fashion Award: Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie
My So-Called Winner: Brian
My So-Called Loser: Jordan

Greetings and salutations fans of My So-Called Life! Are you ready to see what teen life in the ’90s has to offer us in the way of worldly wisdom?

So far, we’ve learned some very valuable life lessons, like how some moms are bitches even when they don’t mean to be, and that maybe kids misunderstand their parents just as much as parents misunderstand their kids, and that sometimes, the fantasy of the boy we like might be more fun to hang onto than the boy himself. But enough reminiscence! On with the show!

What Happened

In which a gun goes off in school. Oh, the days before Columbine. So really, in the little intro, WHERE are Angela and Rayanne? I mean, the red telephone box would indicate the UK, but so far, there has been no mention of such an excursion. I am confused.

Anyway, everybody is watching a video of President Kennedy while Angela waxes about knowing or not knowing, as the case may be, important things. Meanwhile, a note is being passed around that Angela and Jordan Catalano had TOTAL SEX in his car. Then, while Brian is running to relieve himself of his IBS symptoms (except this was before IBS) he sees someone bullying Rickie. Then a gun goes off, and an innocent soda bottle is killed. Angela is upset about it (the note saying she had sex, not the gun going off so much) because she says they barely made out –which is true, he kind of just assaulted her mouth with his tongue. I wouldn’t call those kisses.

Mom gets her panties in a twist, and thinks maybe they should put Angela in private school –yeah, because they’re so much better. Graham tries to talk her down. But its the change in the world that’s really bothering her. Kids in the ’90s have to worry about guns and AIDS.

Angela deals with new attention, now that everybody thinks she puts out, and Rayanne checks to make sure Jordan isn’t the one who started the rumor. Meanwhile Brian gets bullied by the principal to spill the beans about what he saw in the hallway before the gun went off, and Angela is witness to the junior hate crimes committers messing with Rickie. Then guitars build in the background as Angela accidentally backs into a very large police officer to show how much has changed in the school in just one day. Brian and Rickie exchange guilty looks in the hallway.

At a town hall meeting, the parents of Angela’s school show that they are complete idiots by expecting the school to keep the guns out of itself, instead of maybe, say, the parents keeping better tabs on their kids and making sure they don’t carry the guns to school in the first place. Angela’s mom meets Rayanne’s mom, and she is both drawn to and disturbed by her. Rayanne’s mom also lets it slip (in a really gross way, I might add) that Angela is in love with Jordan Catalano.

Patty is upset, because she believes that Angela is having sex, and because she’s awake. But then she tries to connect with Angela and be all accepting. Angela is disturbed, and then believes that maybe Rayanne is the one who’s starting the rumor? I think?

Back at school, Rickie continues to be molested by the haters, and speaks out in class that he thinks he should be able to maybe, like, have a gun to protect himself in an impassioned speech that lets us know that it hurts to be bullied, and that also makes him look very, very guilty.

The principal keeps pressuring Brian, and Angela keeps getting more and more upset by the rumor mill, so, like any self-respecting teen, she lays in bed and listens to the Cranberries. Mom tries to talk to her about safe-sex, and is relieved to hear that Angela’s not ready. In a related scene, Jordan suggests that since everybody thinks they already had sex, that maybe they just should.

Angela finds out that Rickie wasn’t actually the one with the gun, that the whole thing was a big misunderstanding, but that Rickie kind of wants everybody to think the gun was his, because maybe then he’d seem tough, and maybe then the closeted-gay (because homophobia is really often a symptom of what you’re afraid you might be, isn’t it?) douchecanoes would leave him alone. Then Angela and Rickie realize that they have actually become friends apart from Rayanne.

Brian finally stands up for his rights to the principal in a moment that made me take an extra drink in his honor.

Angela has a convo with her mom about how they can’t protect her from everything, and then as the students are all sharing secret glances of camaraderie, there is a solemn moment as we see the first installation of metal detectors in the school entryway, ushering in the era in which we live. Wow. Remember life before those things?

Drinking Game Tally: 19 drinks, 1 shot, 3 chugs

90s Fashion Award

It’s going to be a tie this week, between Angela’s sweater that looks kind of like a Frogger game screen, Rayanne’s bowler hat, and Rickie’s pink shirt/bolo tie and navy blue plaid jacket.

Lessons I Learned About High School

  • Did I already learn that there’s lots of unchaperoned time in the hallways?

  • There’s also apparently extra time for walking around outside on the school grounds.

  • Principals can be super-duper assholes.

My So-Called Winner

I really want to say the little munchkin who works for the school newspaper and is crushing on Brian, because she’s so weirdly awkward and cute, but I really have to give this one to Brian. In the face of expulsion, he doesn’t crack under the principal’s pressure.

My So-Called Loser

Well, Brian gets points taken away for talking to Sharon about Angela and Jordan, but Jordan is a dufus when he offers to tell everybody that he has no interest whatsoev in Angela, and apart from her sticking up for Angela with Jordan, I was really annoyed with Rayanne this episode. But the real loser this episode is Sharon, for taking what Brian said to her about Angela and Jordan kissing and turning it into them having the sex, and spreading it around the whole school.

Life Lessons Learned

  • Presentation is everything. Not two moments after Angela thinks that, in her heart, she’s already had sex with Jordan, he suggests the very same thing. It turns her off completely, and I blame his utter lack of smoothness when he was speaking. Also, it’s probably a good idea not to try to get into a girl’s pants right after telling her your uncle choked on a chicken bone. Just sayin’.

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.