My So-Called Life

Season 1 Episode 5

The Zit

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Sep 22, 1994 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
80 votes

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Episode Summary

Angela and Patty come to grips with the feeling that they are not measuring up to some standard of beauty as Angela breaks out and Patty develops laugh lines.

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  • Self consciousness is for everyone, not just teenagers.

    Being a teenager is hard enough when you've got high school to worry about, the friends around you who might turn on you any second and members of the opposite sex who you are trying not to notice noticing you. But all the pain that comes with all of the above is nothing, NOTHING compared to getting a zit. That red, fat, puss filled spot on your face is a beacon of teenage normalcy but also possibly the most smallest thing that can effect your self esteem to the point you want to wear a paper bag on your head. Strange isn't it?

    This episode deals with a lot of the self esteem issues everyone goes through at one point in their life. The cruel jocks at Angela's school have published and handed out the Sophomore List, rating various girls on their looks and body. And Rayanne being Rayanne triumphantly parades her badge of "Most Slut Potential" that the jocks had given her on the list. Angela is taken aback when Sharon is on the list as "most endowed" and then wishes she measured up to the girls around her a certain way. It's not just the teenage girls who are worried about their looks, Angela's mother starts to worry about the crows feet around her eyes. The lines that don't go away even after she smiles. Those days of being the high school hottie seem so far away now. Unfortunately for her.

    Sharon, still angry at Angela for just abandoning her as a friend cruelly points on the red spot on Angela's chin. Angela wanting to have the last word congratulates Sharon on making the list... congratulates both of them. Kids can be so cruel. And then it wraps up in a mother daughter fashion show, where everyone realises that they're not perfect. That no one is perfect and that physical change should be embraced. This was a good episode and very true to life with the social awkwardness our looks can entail.moreless
  • When angela develops a zit she becomes very self conscious elsewhere sharon gets unwanted attention after shes on a poll for hot babes

    I liked this episode it wasnt too edgy it wasnt too boring it was just right my favorite part was when angela and sharon were fighting in the bathroom they had some good comebacks im new to the show so hopefully i enjoy later episodes its kind of sad how they cancelled it anyways i think the sharon charecter handled the whole poll thing a little too overdramatic and angela handled her zit problem good so i liked this episode and will review the later ones when i see themmoreless
Tracy Melchior

Tracy Melchior


Guest Star

Del Zamora

Del Zamora

Mr. Rinaldi

Guest Star

Bill Damaschke

Bill Damaschke


Guest Star

Johnny Green

Johnny Green


Recurring Role

Mary Kay Place

Mary Kay Place

Camille Cherski

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Danielle: "Turn on the radio, what do you hear? Twenty five cheerleaders doing a cheer. Firecracker, firecracker, boom boom boom. We've got the muscle, he's just got the brain. A girl's got the sexy legs, so we win the game! Turn on the radio, what do you hear?"
      Angela: Danielle, cut it out! You have recited the same mindless, sexist cheer, like, fifty times.
      Danielle: It's not sexist. The girls win.

    • Patty: Please, Graham, everybody gets pimples in high school.
      Graham: Oh, you didn't.
      Patty: I... did too.
      Graham: Oh, oh right. I remember now. That one! Come on. My face was an Italian entree. You, you had one. One pimple. Like this single, perfect rose.
      Patty: Well, so now, the tables have turned, haven't they? I mean, I, like all women, am becoming less and less attractive in the eyes of the world, more and more expendable as I grow older. While you, like all men, are considered more desirable and more attractive the older you get. Of course, you'll die sooner.
      Graham: That's right. Well, we'd better have sex right now, then.

    • Rickie: What? Who's in there?
      Brian: Sharon and that guy.
      Rickie: Oh, so what? Were they kissing?... More than kissing?
      Brian: He was, like, making her beg for her shoe.
      Rickie: Wow! I never heard of that.

    • Brian (About Kyle and Sharon): They've been holding hands for, like, two weeks. I'm serious, they never let go. I mean, it's like their hands have been surgically implanted, you know? I mean, how do they eat? Not that I condemn it, I mean, if they wanna hold hands...
      Rickie: No, exactly.
      Brian: I mean, it's fine with me... just... I'm just wondering when all this happened, you know?
      Rickie: Do I.
      Brian: I mean, people pairing off... into couples. It's like...I wasn't expecting it, or something, like, like, did we cover this, was I absent that day?
      Rickie: You know I was.

    • Rayanne: Potential slut. Now where do people get that kinda idea about me?
      Rickie: Research.

    • Rickie: Okay, so the Eygptians, they wore eyeliner to... ward off the evil spirits. They believed if they outlined their eyes, that the good spirits would spot them easier. I read it in a book. So that's why i tried it. The eyeliner, I mean.
      Brian: So you believe in, like, evil spirits?
      Rickie: Oh no, I'm a Catholic. Basically I just like the way it looks.

    • Rayanne: Biggest rack-Sharon Cherski?! God! If I had a rack like that, I'd own a small country!

    • Angela: It had become the focus of everything. It was all I could feel, all I could think about. It blotted out the rest of my face, the rest of my life. Like the zit had become... the truth about me.

    • Angela: The worst feeling is suddenly realizing that you don't measure up.

  • NOTES (3)


    • The video shown in history class about accepting yourself was an excerpt from a speech by Malcolm X, an influential human rights activist.

    • Patty: You think there's anybody in this world who really believes that they're beautiful?
      Graham: RuPaul.

      RuPaul is a famous American drag queen who became famous in the 1990's through singing and acting.

    • Angela: Like some kind of warped version of The Patty Duke Show.

      The Patty Duke Show was about a teenage girl living in New York when her identical cousin moved in with her family.

    • Patty: See, I want to get kind of a... Mary Quant look.

      Mary Quant is an English fashion designer who, among others, took credit for inventing mini skirts and hot pants.

    • "The Metamorphosis" studied in English class is writer Franz Kafka's most famous work, first published in 1915. The excerpt read by Mr. Rinaldi in this episode is the incipit, i.e the opening paragraph of the book, and tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a man who one day awakes to find himself transformed into a monstrous vermin.