My So-Called Life

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

7
Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Aug 25, 1994 on ABC

Episode Recap

The opening sequence introduces us to Angela Chase and her wild friendship with Rayanne Graff as both girls ask strangers on the street if they could "spare some change" and end up falling in heaps of laughter. We then match-dissolve to Angela at her high school and to her voice-over narration while her former best friend Sharon Cherski rants on and on about the Yearbook, oblivious to Angela's inattention. Walking past rows of locker, Angela muses about the onlooking boys, thinking to herself: "how they have it so easy. How you have to pretend you don't notice them… noticing you."
Throughout all this Angela is still a blond, but we switch to a shot of her rinsing off her hair in the bathroom sink and see that she has dyed it "crimson glow". Her mother Patty is not too happy about this change, or the unexpected presence at her house of her daughter's newest friends Rayanne and Rickie.
Later that night during the family diner, Patty continues to obsess about Angela's hair, wryly commenting: "we'll always be able to spot you... in a crowd." Her dad Graham doesn't seem to care ("I mean, it's her hair") but does appears a lot more upset to see his daughter coming out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel. Angela's voice over explains: "My dad and I used to be pretty tight... The sad truth is, my breasts have come between us."
When we see Angela again at school the next morning, we discover she's in love with a student named Jordan Catalano. Rayanne immediately notices her interest in Jordan and advises Angela to come at a party the following night where Jordan will be.
Meanwhile, Angela decides to quit the Yearbook, and when her teacher Ms. Mayhew asks her why, she replies that she doesn't understand why everybody's in such a hurry to make this book, "to supposedly remember what happened. But it's not even what really happened, it's what everyone thinks was supposed to happen. Because if you made a book of what really happened, it'd be a really upsetting book."
That night at home, Angela takes advantage of her mother being out late to sweet-talk her father into letting her go to the party, pretending it's a rehearsal for a school play. Graham agrees, which later causes him to get into an argument with his wife, and Angela is able to have her first laconic conversation with Jordan at the party.
The next day Angela strikes again and fakes a sleepover at Rayanne's house to go to a Club for a rave. Her neighbor Brian Krakow, who's secretly in love with her, tries to talk her out of it to no avail. Neither Angela nor Rayanne and Rickie manage to get inside the club, but Rayanne nearly gets raped in the parking lot. Angela is rescuing her friend when the police intervene. Just as both girls are getting into the police car to get a ride home, Jordan arrives and sees them. Angela is thrilled to see that her crush recognizes her and actually knows her name.
Before Rayanne is dropped off at her house, she promises Angela to always look out for her. This effectively replaces Angela's friendship with Sharon Cherski, whom Angela has has words with earlier on. Finally the police car pulls up in front of Angela's place and we see that she has been discussing The Diaries of Anne Frank with the policeman along the way. She describes the book she has been studying in literature and its author as: "this diary of her life. See, these Nazis were gonna kill her, so whatever she'd been like with her friends or her teachers… that was just over. She was hiding. But in this other way she wasn't. She, like, stopped hiding. She was free."
The cop lets her go with just a warning, and instructs Brian, who had been reading perched on a tree by the sidewalk, to watch out for his friend. Brian asks Angela what happened, but she just evasively replies that some guys started hitting on her and Rayanne. So Brian changes the subject and tells her a theme has been picked for the Yearbook: the Year 2000. Angela seems uninterested ("That's a pathetic theme") and something else catches her attention when she sees her father engaged in what looks to be a heated conversation with an unknown woman out on the street. Upset, Angela rushes home, leaving a forlorn Brian behind. She tearfully apologizes to her mother for her behavior lately and falls asleep in her arms.
Back at school the next Monday, Angela crosses Jordan's path in the hallway. "Out on bail?" he teases her. The exchange that follows is as succinct as their first one, but is enough to make Angela grin while Rayanne catches up with her. Still excited about their adventurous week-end, Rayanne asks: "Didn't we have a time?". "We did. We had a time" a beaming Angela replies as the episode ends on her smile.
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