My So-Called Life: 1.03 “Guns and Gossip”

Season 1 Episode 3
Airdate: September 8, 1994

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In class, the kids are watching a speech by President Kennedy. Wannabe Ginger talks to us about how Baby Boomers have a collective boner for JFK while her generation doesn’t have a big event like the Kennedy assassination. She will in 2001, but whatever. Some girls pass notes in class. They are very obvious about the note passing. The teacher just doesn’t care.

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Pink Shirt (note: he is not wearing a pink shirt today) has to go to the bathroom. In the hallway, he sees some boys picking on Gay Friend and then a gunshot! The bullet went through a locker and some molasses(?) spills out. Someone had molasses in their locker?

The students all rush out into the hallway, because what you do when you hear gunfire is to run in the direction of the sound. They see Pink Shirt next to the gun and ask him what happened.

Ginger does not notice the commotion because is fixated on the note, which is about her having sex with Jared Leto. That is not true, it is just a sexy rumor.

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The lady’s room is crowded after the shooting. Lots of girls have to poop because they heard a gunshot. It’s why you can’t take them deer hunting. The black girl you see in that screencap is sad that her soda was shot and she won’t shutup about it. Yup, black people and their soda.

Hippie Friend says people should stop worrying because there has to be hundreds of guns in the school. And since none have gone off before, it only proves how safe this place really is. She has been reading that NRA brochure about why gun free school zones are a bad idea.

Hippie Friend then yells “Bang! Bang!” which panics the other girls. Does anyone else not like Hippie Friend? She’s supposed to be the friend Ginger admires, but I find her to be jerk.

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At home, Ginger’s family eats dinner. The mom is upset about the gun incident, but the dad doesn’t seem to care. The family has this big salad at the dinner table. My family has never had that at dinner, or even ate together, so I expected this family would all eat out of the same bowl, but they didn’t. Is salad at dinner a common thing? When I ate dinner, we never had salad. Maybe if my family had salad at dinner my parents would still be together.

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The school now has a security detail, who randomly stop students and go through their bags and lockers without permission. On the show this is depicted as an outrage, but that’s how security acts today. MSCL was ahead of its time.

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Kind of witnessing a shooting has gotten Pink Shirt some attention from the ladies (two of them). They think he was chased at gunpoint. “I have to leave the room when my father uses the electric knife,” one girls tells him. What? I want to know what kind of crazy, horrible home life this girl has.

The principal taps Pink Shirt and makes him come to his office, where he is interrogated about the shooting. Pink Shirt says he was going to the bathroom. “And you were in the bathroom because?” asks the principal. How did this guy become principal? He asks Pink Shirt which bathroom he used and Pink Shirt tells him the location. “No,” says the principal. “I meant what kind.” Huh?

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The parents meet at the school. They cram into a classroom. Does this school not have a conference room? Or maybe not many parents showed up. It looks like a small crowd. I thought the principal was wearing a tuxedo, but when the camera gave him a close up, I saw he was just in a regular suit with a bow tie. I think would have been funny if he was there in a tuxedo. He could have said he came straight from a ballroom party. “I am so serious about this incident that I came to this meeting in a tuxedo!”

The parents call the principal an asshole and then leave. That’s pretty accurate for a school board meeting.

Outside, Ginger’s mom meets Hippie Friend’s mom for the first time. Hippie Friend’s mom congratulate her on Ginger having sex with Jared Leto. No, seriously, she does. I mean, she doesn’t say the real Jared Leto, she calls him his character’s name, which I have still not bothered to commit to memory. Or any other character’s name.

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The next day at school, two boys harass Gay Friend about being gay. How can they even tell he’s gay? All three of them are dressed the same. I love early 90s fashion. People wore flannel to proms.

In class, the teacher tries to get the kids to discuss the shooting. Gay Friend argues that some people are forced to carry guns for protection because the authorities won’t protect them. Gay Friend has been reading the same NRA brochure as Hippie Friend. He has a point. There’s like fifty cops roaming the school now and none of them are doing anything about the bullies.

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The guidance counselor talks to the students. That one black girl could have saved her soda. She is such a horrible stereotype. Black people love grape soda. Or is that orange soda? I always thought that black people were supposed to love orange soda, but that comes from watching Kenan & Kel.

Pink Shirt is again interrogated by the principal, along with some police. When he is in the hallway, Hippie Friend tells him not to snitch and them some jock guys raise their fists to him. I can’t tell if they are threatening him or are giving him a hell yeah fist pump. Maybe they are in the Black Panthers.

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Ginger is depressed so she lies on her bed listening to the Cranberries. This show is so fucking 90s. Her mom comes in and tries to talk about using protection, but Ginger is all, I’m not having sex with Jared Leto, but her mom won’t accept that answer and keeps talking about condoms. What do you say when your mom refuses to believe you’re not having sex?

I’m getting tired of this review, so here’s what happens next really quick. Ginger talks to Jared Leto who tells her about the time his uncle chocked on a chicken bone. Ginger starts to suspect Jared Leto may be retarded. I’ve though that since episode 1. Not the actor, I mean his character. The actor could be retarded, I don’t know enough about him to say no. Jared Leto thinks since every assumes the two of the had sex, they may as well have sex. Everyone believes they did after Pink Shirt told Ginger’s ex-bff that he was watching them have sex through his kitchen window. Why Pink Shirt would admit to that, I don’t know.

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The principal is fed up with not knowing who brought the gun to school so he is going to charge Pink Shirt with bringing a gun to school, just for the hell of it. It’s implied that he saw Gay Friend with the gun and will turn him/her in. Ginger confronts Pink Shirt in the computer lab. Old computers seem weird. Most of the time when I see them on 80s or early 90s TV, someone is making a graph with them. Meanwhile, my computer today is many times more powerful and I can do so much more with it, but I have no idea how to make a graph with it, unless it’s a pie chart.

Ginger asks Gay Friend what is up. GF says his cousin brought a gun to school to sell it. I guess a school is a good place to sell a gun. Pink Shirt tells the principal if the school administration threatens him anymore, he will sue the school. The principal backs down, even though a lawyer and police detectives are in the room with him.

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The episode ends with Ginger and Pals having to pass through metal detectors to enter the school. That’s a lot of security. I wonder how the school can afford this. If this town is anything like my town, the number of voters who have kids and want the school to be generously funded are dwarfed by the number of old people on Social Security who hate all taxes and parents who still don’t want the school to have any money.

Grade: A