It’s like this show reads my mind. Just when I started to think that we needed to Talk About Brian, they give us a Brian-centric (and Brian-narrated!) episode. It was kind of funny how they just started off with some Brian narration, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. We learn that Brian’s parents are therapists with opposing ideologies, and I think we as the audience are supposed to go, “Oh, so that’s why he’s like that.” But it didn’t really do it for me. And really, this is a sign of the episode to come; it’s a little revealing to learn more about Brian’s inner workings, but there aren’t any stunning revelations.
The theme of this week, besides Brian (and his poorly-timed erections), is basically Unrequited Crushes. So yeah, I guess after dealing with death, mom-drama, and substance abuse the writers thought they’d give us some fluff. So, just to catch you up: Angela likes Jordan, who clearly likes her but doesn’t give her much attention. Ricky likes boys but seems to be the only semi-out kid at their school, and is admiring a new artsy boy at Liberty High. Brian, who is in love with Angela, gets a cute, quirky girl literally shoved in his face by Sharon Cherski. And all this just days before the big school dance!
So the girl, Delia, is super cute, and super into Brian. In addition to being incredulous that a girl likes him at all, Brian pretty much destroys this development from the get-go by constantly reminding himself that she’s not his dream girl, Angela Chase. (Looks like someone hasn’t figured out how to have simultaneous crushes!) I can’t figure out if we’re supposed to hate Brian or feel sorry for what he ends up doing to himself and Delia, but I’m firmly in the feeling-sorry camp. With a side of frustration, because GET A GRIP, KRAKOW!
The show addresses the very real phenomenon of everyone acting like they don’t want to go to the lame school dance when they’re actually dying to go. And dying for their crush to ask them to go with them. Angela tries to get Jordan to ask her, but to no avail. His, like, philosophy is, like, whatever happens “¦ happens. Meanwhile, Rayanne (10 days sober!) is trying to set up a Three’s Company scenario with her, the new boy, and Ricky. This leaves Angela the odd person out, and she ends up doing something deplorable.
Now, I understand why she did it. She legitimately had no one to go to the dance with, because her (only) two friends were otherwise engaged. And I honestly think some of it was simple jealousy that Brian might not be in love with her anymore. But when she sidled up to him and asked if she could tag along with him and Delia, I actually yelled at my TV. (And by TV, I mean computer monitor/YouTube.) GOD, Angela. You’re already an expert at self-sabotage, and now you’re running other people’s happiness as well?
So, things shake down about the way you’d expect. Brian blows off Delia for Angela, who’s surprised to learn the night of the dance that Delia isn’t coming. Patty and Graham “Wallpaper Expert” Chase have a good cackle upstairs about how horrible of a night Brian and Angela are going to have. This was actually hilarious. Rayanne never tells New Guy
that she isn’t coming, leaving him disappointed and alone with Ricky. Delia, cute little scrappy girl she is, shows up at the dance anyway with Sharon and Generic ’90s Boyfriend, who give Brian the cold shoulder. And Jordan shows up, gives Angela a meaningful glance across the dance floor, and then leaves. But not before coming really close to kissing her and then throwing her own weird, vague BS back in her face: “Why are you like this? Like “¦ how you are?”
So Ricky does the only reasonable thing and dances his goddamn ass off with Delia. This scene could have been horrible and cheesy, but instead it was kind of cathartic and triumphant for two sweet characters that got screwed over, and whom we know will get screwed over time and time again. Also, Wilson Cruz is an awesome dancer, so he sells the hell out of it.
Angela, in a refreshingly self-aware move, apologizes to Brian for ruining his night with Delia. All he can think about, though, is how good her hair smells. I’m actually not mad at him about this one; her shiny, perfect hair does look like it would smell great. But in the end, he turns down Angela’s genuine offer to go dance, and unfortunately the voiceover doesn’t come back to give us any insight as to why. Is he still mad at Angela? Or is he trying to force himself not to nurse his crush on her? It’s too late now; we’re out of Brian’s head again and his brain is back to being firmly hidden behind that formidable curly mop. We’ll just have to wait and see.