Title: My So-Called Life S1.E04 “Father Figures”
Released: 1994

Drinking Game Tally: 15 drinks, 1 shot, 0 chugs
‘90s Fashion Award: Rickie
My So-Called Winner: Patty
My So-Called Loser: Patty’s Dad

Greetings and salutations, dear readers! Now that our tears from HP 7.2 have all dried (KIDDING! We’ll never stop! Never!) it’s time to get back to… our so-called lives. Ahem.

We last left Angela dealing with a gun going off in school, so now, of course, it’s time to face our daddy issues! Hooray!

So grab a cocktail or ten and get ready for some life lessons!

What Happened

In which Angela is angry at her dad. Graham comes home to no one caring, has an awkward exchange with Rickie, and bonds with Rayanne over cooking and The Grateful Dead, while Angela sulks. Angela’s mom comes home and is upset. Surprise! But she actually has something to be upset about this time: her company is being audited. Yikes! Graham is upset that Angela seems to be judging him silently. Patty’s dad, who owns the business, comes over and is generally bossy, but Angela gives him a big ole’ hug, because he’s her grandpa.

At school, Rickie and Rayanne gush about Graham, and Angela is grossed out.

At home, Graham convinces Patty to hire an accountant to help with the audit, and Patty convinces Graham NOT to go to the Grateful Dead concert. So, in trying to score brownie points with Angela, he gives her and Rayanne the tickets. Rayanne is over the moon, while Angela tries to show that she could care less. Patty is also less than thrilled with his decision, and we wonder how he ever has sex with her. Later that night, she discusses how much she misses Johnny from The Tonight Show.

The next day, after deciding to take her dad to a healthy restaurant, Patty ends up at a diner eating chili fries and banana cream pie with him. He is a pushy bastard.

At school, Angela gets paired with Jordan Catalano, and in an effort to have something to say to him, ends up scalping her tickets. Rayanne is REALLY pissed. Like, really. Like, storms out of the bathroom pissed.

Patty’s dad continues to boss them all around, and arranges for the IRS lady to meet them all at Patty and Graham’s house. Graham tries to get frisky, but she just keeps talking about her dad.

In her effort to try to find something to prove that her dad was doing something wrong, Angela sneaks downstairs in the middle of the night and goes through his briefcase. He catches her. Nothing happens.

The IRS lady comes over and starts assessing the valuables in the house before going over the returns. Patty’s dad plays the veteran and the disabled cards, to no avail. The IRS lady tricks him into telling the truth about how much he uses the ‘business car’ for personal use, and Patty finally steps in and tells the IRS lady that they will pay all of the back taxes that they owe. Her dad goes out in a huff, and we see that the IRS lady isn’t so bad.

Graham has forgotten to tell Angela that her mom doesn’t want her to go to the concert, not knowing that she already sold them. She says that Rayanne has the tickets and runs outside, where she hangs out in Brian Krakow’s car. Patty does a good impression of her father.

Angela hangs out with Brian, but they fail to have a meaningful or truthful conversation. But he gives her his sweater. And then tells her not to sweat in it. Her dad comes outside to check on a faulty gutter and sees her outside.

The next morning, Angela decides to try to be nice to Graham, but he gives her the silent treatment. This makes Angela cry.

She tries to make up with Rayanne, but Rayanne’s not having it, and Rickie’s stuck in the middle. Then Rickie, being Rickie, figures out that Angela has been mad at her dad. Angela finds Rayanne in the bathroom, and tries to make up with her. Angela tells Rayanne about how she saw Graham talking to a girl in episode one, but Rayanne makes Angela realize that whatever Graham may or may not be doing, he is is good dad.

Patty, closing up shop for the night, is confronted by her dad, who is, of course, mean, but then she stands up to him, and also talks about getting into the high-speed copier business.

Back at home, Patty tells Graham what a good father he is, and that he has to be able to push him away. That it’s healthy.

The next day, Graham works on fixing the gutter, and asks for help from Brian, who ignores him. Angela begrudgingly helps him, and they start talking again. Soon there is some laughing, and connecting and love.

Drinking Game Tally: 15 drinks, 1 shot, 0 chugs

90s Fashion Award

That would be for Rickie’s floral pink shirt with blue and red geometric patterned vest.

Lessons I Learned About High School

  • Apparently, there are classrooms that don’t even have teachers assigned to them. And the school neither knows nor really cares.

  • That whole ‘smoking in the girl’s room’ thing? It’s totally true. And they don’t get caught, like ever.

My So-Called Winner

Patty! I know! I can’t believe it either! She learned a lot about her own relationship with her father in this episode, and turned that information around to benefit Angela and Graham.

My So-Called Loser

Patty’s dad. What an A-hole.

Life Lessons Learned

  • That it’s better to pull away from your parents when you’re younger than it is to have to face the fact that they don’t always know what’s best for you when you’re already an adult, and you’ve been letting them make decisions for you for a really long time.

  • That, in most cases, it’s the giving of the gift that means the most, not the gift itself.

  • That the dad of that girl you’re obsessed with knows you picture her naked in your head. All the time.

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.