the unresolved in teenage identity formation

by

I think there’s an important scene in MSCL, “Life of Brian” episode that explores a central, underlying theme in the teen genre, and especially on this show.  The scene occurs at the dance when everything is beginning to go to shit.  Angela and Ricky are symbolically situated outside of the dance, laughter and pumping music fill the background.  Angela is wearing her native-american print jacket she always does, i love that.  

Ricky divulges to Angela in a typical sentimental, “awww”, pre-embrace moment that: “That I belong no where, with no one.  That I don’t…. fit”.  *Embrace*.  

Jordan exits the party with a group of friends, he lingers behind them.  Angela approaches him and he corners her against the fence; Brian looks on longingly at the pair as the super 90s music repeats “Release me”.  Angela wants to be released from Jordan, and Brian from Angela.  

From an intimate profile angle, we see Jordan and Angela’s lips almost touch.  But to do that would bring us too much satisfaction.  Instead..

“Why are you like this?” Jordan asks.

“Like what?”, Angela replies.

“Like how you are.” Yet another enigmatic Jordan response. 

“How am I?  How… How am I?”  A question unresolved as Jordan walks away.  

—————————————-

This scene is set up already by Ricky’s explicit statement that he does not quite fit in.  Through the series, and from the first episode we understand that he is a confused, possibly bi-sexual, boy who wears eyeliner.  But this is the first time Ricky outwardly expresses this sense of alienation as a result of his unresolved identity.  But what we learn from Jordan and Angela’s exchange is that you don’t need to be bi-sexual or gay to have identity issues, you just have to be a teenager.  The fact that Angela doesn’t know “how she is” and that she must turn to Jordan to tell her how she is, and possibly who she is, is of much importance.  This dependence on the external to provide validation (Ricky must find another gay male, Angela’s must interrogate Jordan) is something that is more pressing during teenage years.  And i think this scene perfectly embodies that sort of reliance.  

 

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