Lady Crush: Rayanne Graff from ‘My So-Called Life'

Word up.  Are you still feeling it?  I am.  It’s been hundreds of years since Angela Chase and pals were on TV, doling out weekly nutrition for our teenage souls, but I still remember it like it was…now.

I was going to do my lady crush on Angela, because who doesn’t love/understand/want to be Angela?  But then I thought about the other women in the show.  Re-watching the series for a second time as someone over the age of 13, I had much more empathy for Angela’s mother.  She’s an amazing woman.  But I think Rayanne is actually the one who requires our full attention this week.  Here is why.


1.  It’s Tough To Be Tough

Angela is wonderful.  She’s the girl that girls like me look to; she’s our mirror.  I always worked really hard in school, I had nice friends who dated nice boys, but I also went to “rock shows” with my “rock friends”.  Groan.  I didn’t really understand anything, especially how to behave around boys, and I was always getting emotional and wiping my lipstick off.  Actually, I think maybe I was her little sister, and my big sister was Angela.  Or maybe I was the mother?!  Whatever.  The great thing about this show was that no one was a stereotype.  Everyone was flawed and complex and you could see yourself reflected in all of them.  However, as a teen I think it’s sometimes easier to be a nice girl who does the right thing most of the time than it is to be the girl that keeps messing up.  When Rayanne slept with Jordan Catalano in the car he wrote a song about, I felt terrible for Angela, but I felt even worse for Rayanne.  While that act affected Angela so that she felt heartbroken and rejected by a boy and her best friend, Rayanne was the one who actually did it.   And the fact she did it hints at a well of trouble beneath the surface that probably stretches down for miles and miles, and it isn’t going to disappear.  As she says herself, ” You lost nothing, Angela. You lost nothing you lost a lousy selfish friend and a guy you never really had; you lost nothing, I lost a really good friend. I lost everything.”

I had friends like Rayanne at school.  Ones who I’d tell I liked someone and they’d immediately go after them.  At the time I thought it was just that I wasn’t as pretty as them, or that they, like, HATED ME.  But I don’t think that way any more.  It’s tough to be tough.

2. Her Style

I don’t just mean clothes, but let’s take a look at her clothes, anyway.




As for her personality, Rayanne is spectacular.  She has this crazy energy (oh wow, did I just say that?) and she actually bounces when she walks.  She’s Tigger, if Tigger plaited bits of his hair and dyed it pink and wore hats.  She’s bombastic and huge and could call someone “daddio” without it being weird.  At first Angela’s mother hates Rayanne because she’s every mom’s worst nightmare.  She’s the kind of girl who would top a list of most-likely-to-put-out, she  drinks, she loves The Grateful Dead, she has a wayward mother.  But she’s also vulnerable and sweet, and loves her friends intensely.  It’s also so lovely when she nearly dies – stick with me here – and *spoiler alert* Angela’s mother saves her life, revealing to her that she too had a friend like Rayanne at school.  I think we all did, or we wish we did, or we were that friend.


3. What She Does To Angela And Sharon

This isn’t a Heathers deal.  When Angela sort of kinda ditches her old best friend Sharon for her new best friend Rayanne, it’s because she doesn’t feel like she fits in with Sharon’s new cheerleader persona.  It’s not that she hates her.  But obviously Sharon is upset at being rejected, and she understandably cites Rayanne as the problem.  The two circle each other in the bathroom at school, nipping each other with insults, but ultimately they reach an understanding because of Angela.  It’s amazing to see Sharon open up more as the series progresses and she realises that her and Rayanne aren’t actually that different.  Rayanne can be childish and mean, but she does it out of defense rather than aggression, and who here hasn’t jumped for the bait in our lives?


4. Brian Krakow

Brian Krakow is an incredible character.  He’s so weird and socially awkward, but you know that when he grows up he’ll be this great guy with a personality that’s funny and unique.  TIP: It’s easy to be an interesting and cool adult when you weren’t seen as hot at school.  Jordan Catalano, on the other hand, is doomed to stay in the same town, drinking with the same people and never really learning to read.  Another point in Brian’s favour: his love of Angela.  Of course Angela, being a nice girl, can’t help but fall for the troubled Jordan, even though it’s around Brian that she’s actually most comfortable.  We’re never really sure if Angela is aware of Brian’s infatuation.  It seems like she is subconsciously but she doesn’t really understand how deep his love for her goes.  Rayanne understands.  She needles Brain constantly, making him twist awkwardly and get defensive.  Although her methods may not be the most conventional, I feel like Rayanne sees that Brian is good for Angela and tries to encourage him to go for it…But sadly the show got cancelled, so for the rest of time Brian will just be circling Angela on his bike outside her house, asking her if she liked the letter he wrote vicariously through Jordan.  De Bergerac for the ‘90s.   Anyway, Rayanne’s handling of Brian was yet another example of her awesome friend-skills.

FACT: A. J. Langer who played RG is now a Lady and one day will live in a castle in Devon.  Huge!  I like to think that’s what would have happened to Rayanne as well.

Love you forever RG xxx