LadyGhosts of TV Past

My So-Called Life: Episode 4 (Daddy Issues)

The fourth episode of My So-Called Life veers dangerously close to “very special episode” territory. It seemed to have more of a theme than the other episodes so far, that theme being daddy issues. The three main women of the show (Angela, Patty, and Rayanne) have to deal with their fatherly issues throughout the episode. A little to neat and perfect, yes, but we do get some important insights into the characters, particularly Rayanne.

Tracing back to earlier in the season, Angela is still upset and disappointed in the affair that he almost had ““ but she thinks he’s still having. The series has already set up the close relationship between Angela and her dad, so we know what’s at stake when she’s upset with him. The early scene between he and Rayanne was pretty cute, as Rayanne relishes in the opportunity to cook with Graham, then almost passes out when he finds out he’s a Grateful Dead fan. Moments later, Patty’s dad walks in, declaring that the Chase’s loose gutters are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Turns out the family business is being audited.

I remember from my first viewing of this show that I found the audit subplot incredibly boring. It’s not much more fun now, but it’s an important insight into the lives of Patty and Graham. In arguing about the audit, Patty tells Graham he can’t go to the Dead concert he has tickets for. He sees this as the perfect opportunity to try and buy Angela’s love by giving her and Rayanne the tickets.

Angela, though, in what we now would refer to as a “dick move,” gives the tickets to Jordan Catalano so he can scalp them. She seems to do this in desperation to have a reason to talk to him. Rayanne is understandably devastated; after all, she tells Angela, Graham gave a ticket to her too.

Meanwhile, Patty is having trouble trying to tell her gruff boss of a dad how to properly conduct their audit. He doesn’t want his daughter telling him how to conduct his business. He also completely botches the audit by trying to make the agent sympathize with his veteran status and the fact that he has diabetes. These scene was actually infuriating to watch, as an adult.

So the two dad relationships come to a head at the same time. Just as Patty goes over her dad’s head to the auditor, Graham tells Angela that she can’t go to the concert, and demands the tickets back. Cornered by her lie, Angela runs out of the house just minutes after Patty’s dad storms out. Of course, Rayanne wasn’t there to pick Angela up; instead she was hiding in a car in Brian Krackow’s yard. Graham goes out to check on the faulty gutters and sees her.

The episode wraps up pretty neatly. Patty and Angela bond over how it feels for your father to be angry at you. Patty tells her dad that she’s not going to act like his little girl anymore. Rayanne admits to Angela that it wasn’t just about the tickets; she doesn’t want Angela to take her relationship with her father for granted. And a small moment between Angela and Graham in the front yard illustrates that the two are on the way to repairing their relationship.

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