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Ryan Atwood: Fish Out Of Water


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#1

SHHS Lancer

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Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 8:10 PM

We need a new episode, and we need it NOW! We're getting really mired in early, sad Ryan and forgetting about later, hopeful, almostperky Ryan. We need help! :)

(totally off topic: anyone living in the LA area should look out the window right now. The sunset is amazing!)

HAPPY NEW YEAR, RYAN THREADERS!

#2

Wolfie

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Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 8:27 PM

The way she abandoned him that first time, without any clue about where he was living or if he was safe, is just stunning.


Christ, Walter, I'm about to start bawling. She orders him to leave, without knowing if he had anywhere safe to stay, and then abandons him after he goes. It makes me wonder if she had been making plans to leave before the car-stealing disaster; if she only kicked him out because she knew she could make a clean getaway with him out of the picture. I always assumed that Dawn ordered him out because she was drunk and angry that Ryan, the good son, was getting into serious trouble and could possibly end up in prison like Trey and Papa Atwood (thus shattering any remaining hope that they could be a "normal family") but suddenly I'm not convinced that her actions were totally spontaneous and uncalculated.

And let's hope 2004 brings more, well, Ryan. I can see it now: The 'Beater Returns, This Time On Ryan.

#3

Walter

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Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 9:40 PM

You know, in all of these pages and pages of discussion, have we ever tried to figure out why Dawn really left that first time? I mean, I'm sure we've speculated about it in passing, but I don't know that we've thrown out any serious possibilities. Like Wolfie, I always assumed that Dawn threw him out on a drunken, pissed off whim, and I still believe that, but leaving him behind the way she did is a very calculated gesture indeed. Any theories as to what she was really thinking?

And let's hope 2004 brings more, well, Ryan.


I'll drink to that. To echo Lancer: Happy New Year, Ryan Threaders!

#4

Teah

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Posted Dec 31, 2003 @ 11:30 PM

I think the first time when Dawn told him to "get out" it was as you said Walter, out of drunken rage as she was angry that she had to deal with his troubles, along with her own problems, such as drinking, AJ and most definetely financial problems. Perhaps when she was momentarily "sober" again and had finally kicked AJ's ass to the curb she may have felt some guilt or shame that she had told Ryan to go. But i think as a person with serious alcohol dependency issues, she is too proud too admit that she was wrong or search for Ryan to apologise (which i tend to think that she did not say too often to him as it would be voicing her admission that she needs help) In "The Pilot" you see Dawn justify the way she is by blaming first Ryan's father, Trey and now Ryan...suggesting that she would not be such a mess if it weren't for the trouble that they caused.

Dawn might have believed that it was her chance to make a fresh start and an attempt to better herself, without the burden of caring for another person...possibly thinking down the track when she had gotten her life in order and is strong enough to face Ryan and ask for forgiveness. Dawn would have probably felt guilty that she is abandoming Ryan, but would have tried to justify her selfisheness by telling herself that he is better off without her as she is not a fit mother. Of course she did not expect to see Ryan again so soon and due to Sandy it was harder for Dawn to run away from having to face the tough questions from everyone. The first time round she just left a note and did not have to explain to Ryan why she was leaving. This time Dawn possibly told herself that with the Cohen's help, maybe, just maybe she can be a better mom for Ryan...but as we saw in "The Gamble" Dawn was not ready to be such a person. She again tried to do avoid facing Ryan and cowardly attempted to leave another note, but being caught she could no longer run.

leaving him behind the way she did is a very calculated gesture indeed


I tend to think that this is not so much a calculated move, but a final realisation and admission that she definetly must take responsibilty for the mess that she is and not blame it on everyone else...although i do agree that the option of abandoning Ryan into the care of the Cohens just because she knows that they will not abandon Ryan like her is somewhat calculated. When a mother says that leaving their child is the best thing they can do for them, they are simply being a wolf in sheeps clothing...how can such a selfish act be disgiused as something honourable?

#5

dorabelle

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 10:41 AM

In The Gamble there was still the possibility that he could live with Dawn yet still be connected to the Cohens (they could get a place nearby, etc.), but that possibility is gone now.


I agree with you, dorabelle, but I wanted to hear more of your thoughts about why that possibility is gone now. I think I mentioned earlier that Ryan would find it too painful to maintain a distant, non-familial relationship with the Cohens after he's been living with them for several months. What do you think?


walter, I meant two things. One, as other people have noted, I think it would take a demonstrable effort on Dawn's part to get the legal guardianship situation reversed, and at this point it's not clear that she's willing or even capable of taking the steps needed. Two, I agree that Ryan is too entrenched in the Cohen family for him to revert to a distant relationship with them. At the time of The Gamble he barely knew them, but now the situation is very different. I could see him having some sort of relationship with Dawn, but as for living with her again...no, I just don't see it. Of course, that could be because it's too awful to even contemplate.

#6

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 1:06 PM

When a mother says that leaving their child is the best thing they can do for them, they are simply being a wolf in sheeps clothing...how can such a selfish act be disgiused as something honourable?


I wonder about how much the horror of Dawn's actions here affected Kirsten's perspective about Ryan. Previously, Kirsten has been able to look at Ryan as a troubled youth, maybe even a juvenile delinquent- heedless of authority, rebellious, angry at the world.

But think about Kirsten's outraged and devastated reaction to Dawn's claim that abandoning Ryan is the best thing she can do as a mother. Kirsten simultaneously realizes the terrifying nature of Ryan's previous life as well as his assumed role of adult in his circumstances. She begins to understand that Ryan can't be a juvenile delinquent, because he has been responsible for his mother's life in every way. It was easier to deal with Ryan from the POV Julie Cooper likes to cling to- dangerous kid who presents a threat to her own child.

Understanding that this reserved and bewildered young man has been forced to take care of an alcoholic mother and himself shatters that illusion. Kirsten has been a caretaker for her own mother, when she was ill- the difference between that role as an adult for a loving parent and Ryan's own terrible circumstances must hit Kirsten hard. No wonder she tries to give him some of her typical mom behavior ("Mom! Don't say underpants!")- it's a world Ryan has never known.

I bet Dawn hasn't bought him underpants in years. And I bet she doesn't know his shoe size, either.

#7

bigmelvin97

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 1:39 PM

No wonder she tries to give him some of her typical mom behavior ("Mom! Don't say underpants!")- it's a world Ryan has never known.


Very true....I also wonder if Seth realizes just how lucky he is to have the kind of parents that he does. I would love for a scene where Ryan calls Seth on that, and points out just how blessed he is.

#8

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 2:11 PM

I completely agree, Crimsonclad, that Kirsten's turning point came when Dawn left, justifying herself as she went. That's when Ryan's situation became real to her. Before that, Ryan's situation had been very abstract for Kirsten.

She understood it intellectually, but not emotionally. Despite all sorts of hard evidence about his situation, she persisted in keeping it away from her, like a sad story she saw on Dateline about teens living on the streets because their parents kicked them out. Even when she's a little outraged about it in The Model Home ("What kind of mother just abandons her child?!"), she's still thinking of it in generic terms rather than specific to Ryan, the sweet, smart non-JD she'll come to know later. Even during most of The Gamble, Kirsten doesn't seem to have any reservations about sending Ryan back with Dawn, unlike Seth who's worried from the get-go. She seems to behave as though the only problem had been Dawn not leaving a forwarding address rather than Dawn actually skulking away in the proverbial dead of night.

Thinking about this brings up another niggling thought I had when the show first started, but then forgot about. Is Ryan only worth "saving" because he's smart, because he scored in the 99th percentile on a standardized test, because he once read and memorized an article about Social Security? What if he were an exceedingly average kid? Would he then end up stuck in the juvenile justice system getting the crap beaten out of him until he became a hardened criminal? I guess my real point is how sad it is that all kinds of kids end up worse off than before because the current system (which typically does not include soft-hearted PDs who are willing to take kids home with them) is unable to really turn them around.

Edited by SHHS Lancer, Jan 1, 2004 @ 3:38 PM.


#9

bigmelvin97

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 2:19 PM

Thinking about this brings up another niggling thought I had when the show first started, but then forgot about. Is Ryan only worth "saving" because he's smart, because he scored in the 99% percentile on a standardized test, because he once read and memorized an article about Social Security? What if he were an exceedingly average kid? Would he then end up stuck in the juvenile justice system getting the crap beaten out of him until he became a hardened criminal? I guess my real point is how sad it is that all kinds of kids end up worse off than before because the current system (which typically does not include soft-hearted PDs who are willing to take kids home with them) is unable to really turn them around.


Makes me wonder why Sandy brought Ryan home with him and not any of the other kids he has represented. Was he THAT impressed by the Social Securty rant of Ryans or was it ultimately the high test scores....Or, I suppose its possible that Sandy had given out his number to a few kids before, but maybe they never actually made that call like Ryan did.

Edited by bigmelvin97, Jan 1, 2004 @ 7:45 PM.


#10

AKA

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 4:56 PM

My we're all starting the New Year off cheerfully! Not like I mind or anything.

I think that Sandy's taking Ryan in was a combination of the whole 99th percentile thing, and the fact that Ryan's social security "argument" reminded him of something he himself would have said.

#11

Wolfie

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 7:40 PM

I think I agree with Melvin that Sandy had given out his card before. If I'm remembering correctly, his original plan was only to take Ryan in during the weekend and then hand him over to social services on the following Monday. So Sandy could have given his home phone number to a kid on, say, Wednesday, and then if the kid called him Sandy could immediately take him to children's services. Judging from Kirsten's reaction, Ryan was just the first juvenile delinquent he had brought *home*.

On the other hand, if Sandy did happen to see something special in Ryan, I would imagine that he saw himself. An angry, wiseass kid with a lot of potential, born to an unfit mother, whose only mistake was following the example of his older brother. Didn't Sandy even comment on how he and Ryan were alike? In the Model Home, Kirsten asks something like "What's so special about this kid?" And Sandy replies, "I was this kid. If someone hadn't helped me, I wouldn't be here."

#12

bigmelvin97

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 7:53 PM

On the other hand, if Sandy did happen to see something special in Ryan, I would imagine that he saw himself. An angry, wiseass kid with a lot of potential, born to an unfit mother, whose only mistake was following the example of his older brother. Didn't Sandy even comment on how he and Ryan were alike? In the Model Home, Kirsten asks something like "What's so special about this kid?" And Sandy replies, "I was this kid. If someone hadn't helped me, I wouldn't be here."


Sandy's "If someone hadn't helped me, I wouldn't be here" line is one of my favorite Kirsten/Sandy moments. When Sandy says "I wouldn't be here.", I always wonder if he is referring to living among the wealthy, thanks in large part to Kirsten, suggesting Kirsten was his savior, or is he simply referring to the fact that he pulled himself out of a rough childhood and made a life for himself as a public defender and a family man.

Also, I know that Sandy sees himself in Ryan, but I cant help but think that in Sandy's line of work, he has seen numerous kids with high test scores, great potential, having been born to unfit mothers placing them in the least ideal of home lifes....So I still wonder what exactly was different about Ryan....that set him apart from all of his previous clients.

#13

Old House Nut

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 8:23 PM

Also, I know that Sandy sees himself in Ryan, but I cant help but think that in Sandy's line of work, he has seen numerous kids with high test scores, great potential, having been born to unfit mothers placing them in the least ideal of home lifes....So I still wonder what exactly was different about Ryan....that set him apart from all of his previous clients.


I think Ryan is probably the exception and not the rule. Where I practice law, lawyers are appointed to represent children in Family Court cases. In my own experience, I have never been appointed to represent a kid with both great grades and no criminal past. I know. I know. Everyone has tons of potential if it were just nurtured. But, as a practical matter, very few children have the ability to raise themselves up by their own bootstraps and care for themselves without some positive parental influence. That's what makes the whole process so sad to see - wasted potential. I think that the fact that Ryan has been able to stay afloat for so many years even without that influence is what makes Sandy intercede and rescue him from the brink.

Edited by Old House Nut, Jan 1, 2004 @ 8:27 PM.


#14

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 9:28 PM

I think that the fact that Ryan has been able to stay afloat for so many years even without that influence is what makes Sandy intercede and rescue him from the brink.


Interesting. Sandy sees lots of lost causes, and fights for them just as hard- see the fifteen year old drug offender- but he thinks Ryan actually stands a chance. I like that.

And Sandy's comment that Ryan is him has always meant more for me than just the similarity in circumstances. I think Sandy and Ryan had very real chemistry from the first time they met- I'm not talking sexually here, just a strong connection and understanding. That link of similarity is what makes Sandy so perceptive, and means Sandy always knows what to say to push Ryan in the right direction. Sandy not only knows the sorts of things Ryan is used to hearing, he also knows how Ryan reacts to hearing them.

I wonder how terrifying it must be for Ryan- having an older father figure who not only refuses to give up on him, but actually understands what's going on in his head. Ryan is so used to shielding his thoughts- he must feel incredibly off balance with Sandy, since he's able to see through all of Ryan's walls. But in a good way. Dawn was never able to look past Ryan's defenses, and I'm sure he always wished she'd make the effort to try.

#15

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 9:40 PM

I agree that Sandy and Ryan have a strong connection. Sandy is able to relate to Ryan better than Seth. I have been wondering if we might see some jealousy someday from Seth with regard to Ryan's relationship with Sandy. I'm looking forward to the Cohens attending one of Ryan's soccer games.

#16

bigmelvin97

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 9:45 PM

I agree that Sandy and Ryan have a strong connection. Sandy is able to relate to Ryan better than Seth. I have been wondering if we might see some jealousy someday from Seth with regard to Ryan's relationship with Sandy. I'm looking forward to the Cohens attending one of Ryan's soccer games


I am actually hoping to see some jealousy on Seth's part in response to Ryan's connection with Sandy and perhaps Kirsten as well in the episodes to come. I really think a bout of jealousy from Seth would make the situation they are all in seem that much more realistic.

As for the Cohens attending Ryan's soccer game....I so we dont miss out on a scene like that this season =)

#17

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 9:54 PM

I am actually hoping to see some jealousy on Seth's part in response to Ryan's connection with Sandy and perhaps Kirsten as well in the episodes to come.


I think that is a good avenue that the writers should explore...Seth's parents know that Seth unconsciously knows that his parents love him, so they don't need to voice it often. At this stage, due to Ryan's insecurities Sandy and Kirsten would most definitely think they need to show him more often that they care for him and he is part of the family...especially with Sandy since he can better relate to Ryan and see that Ryan needs a father figure in his life. OTOH Seth and Sandy's relationship have not been as close.

Although the jealousy would be exciting, i also believe that given the strong friendship of the boys, the issue will be cleared up pretty quickly.

#18

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 9:55 PM

An angry, wiseass kid with a lot of potential, born to an unfit mother,


I agree with the wiseass, but didn't Sandy say his mom worked, like two or three jobs? I guess I need to watch the Pilot again, but I thought that, at that point, Sandy thought Ryan's mom was 'like his', i.e. working hard but had bad breaks, and that was the reason that Ryan was left on his own. When he realized that Dawn was a drunk and a layabout, I think he had his own epiphany, and gave Ryan his card.

#19

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 9:59 PM

The only indication we have that there was anything wrong with Sandy's mother is the look on his face when Kirsten asks "what kind of mother abandons her own child?" And it's hard to know whether that was TPTB laying the groundwork for something or just an acting choice on PG's part.

I am really dying for more Sandy backstory.

#20

Walter

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 10:08 PM

I think Sandy and Ryan had very real chemistry from the first time they met- I'm not talking sexually here, just a strong connection and understanding.


I definitely agree with crimsonclad that it was a chemistry thing, that Sandy and Ryan simply "connected" the first time they met. Ryan got Sandy's attention with his test scores, but their chemistry is what made the connection different from anything Sandy had experienced before, with other kids, I think. Then, when Sandy first saw Dawn, that just sealed the deal for him and made him decide this kid needed a break.

I also wonder if another factor might have been Sandy's growing discomfort with his life in Newport. We see over the next several episodes after The Pilot that Sandy doesn't like that he makes so little money and is unable to support his family, that he eagerly accepts a new job, that he pushes Kirsten to leave Newport. Suppose Sandy was going through a mid-life crisis of sorts (not the right phrase, but you know what I think I mean), and he met Ryan, a kid whom he could really help, at just the right moment. It must have been supremely satisfying for Sandy to feel like he could accomplish something with this kid when he otherwise seemed to be feeling a little useless or impotent, both in his personal life and his career.

#21

Wolfie

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 11:23 PM

I agree with the wiseass, but didn't Sandy say his mom worked, like two or three jobs? I guess I need to watch the Pilot again, but I thought that, at that point, Sandy thought Ryan's mom was 'like his', i.e. working hard but had bad breaks, and that was the reason that Ryan was left on his own. When he realized that Dawn was a drunk and a layabout, I think he had his own epiphany, and gave Ryan his card.


Oops, you're completely right. After the look beastie mentioned and the comment about his mother working often, I drew my own conclusions about Sandy's childhood and assumed that his connection to Ryan was based off the parallels in their lives. I figured his mother was unintentionally neglectful and Sandy guessed Dawn was the same. I need to learn not to use my own speculation in trying to make a point, huh?

And Walter, that makes a lot of sense. (Makes for some mental eye candy too; can't you just see a stressed Sandy pouring over paperwork, then seeing this Atwood kid's high test scores ... ) How does that explain his reluctance to take a bigger stand for Ryan, though? I know you guys talked about this before, but Sandy never pushed very hard against Kirsten for Ryan to stay - wouldn't he put all his weight behind the cause if he considered Ryan his chance to make a difference?

#22

Walter

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 11:58 PM

How does that explain his reluctance to take a bigger stand for Ryan, though? I know you guys talked about this before, but Sandy never pushed very hard against Kirsten for Ryan to stay - wouldn't he put all his weight behind the cause if he considered Ryan his chance to make a difference?


I think that can be explained a couple ways. We all tend to lose sight of the fact that, even if Sandy felt an instant connection with Ryan, he'd only known the kid all of a few days, or maybe a week or two (depending on what you believe about the show's nutty timeline) by the time The Gamble took place. Sandy, I think, knew it would be *a lot* to ask his wife to take in a troubled teenager who was basically a stranger. In fact, he'd already asked his wife to take in Ryan, at least a couple times (if you count all of the times when he indirectly suggested he wanted to keep Ryan at the house), and she had only very reluctantly agreed to let him stay the first time.

I think he also knew that he couldn't force his wife into that decision. Kirsten had to decide that for herself, or else it would have easily been a disaster, with Ryan even more on edge than he already is/was, and Kirsten looking to kick him out for any transgression. Consider what happened at the end of The Pilot, where all it took was a fistfight and a drunken Seth to get Kirsten to remove Ryan from the house. Then the kid lives in one of his wife's homes, helps burn it down, gets in another fight...Sandy had to know it would be a pretty useless battle to convince his wife to keep Ryan around after all that.

All things considered, I think Sandy really did just about everything in his power to help Ryan before Kirsten agreed to keep him. Sandy was Ryan's advocate, and I like to believe that if Kirsten had never come around, Sandy would have maintained some kind of presence in Ryan's life even after he'd been forced into the state system.

#23

Wolfie

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 1:09 AM

I agree that it would've been disastrous if Sandy tried to force his wife into such a decision, but I still think that he could have tried a little harder, especially if Ryan's arrival in juvi happened just as his discomfort with Newport reached its peak. In The Girlfriend, he nagged Kirsten about giving up her job with Caleb and moving everyone back to their old house in Berkeley, even to the point of actually getting her fired - and this was after everything with Ryan had mellowed out. The prospect of going back to his roots was an emotional and exciting one for him, so he fought tooth and nail to get what he wanted, even though it really upset his wife and the whole family dynamic. (At least, his insistence caused Caleb to yell about "adopting juvenile delinquents" within earshot of Ryan, and you know Ryan must've felt really wonderful hearing that.)

He probably wanted the best for the household deep down; but like you pointed out earlier, his discomfort at the thought that he was financially expendable was probably his main reason for wanting to pack up and head out. I think that same discomfort would've pushed him to work harder on Kirsten to accept Ryan in their house, even moreso when he saw Ryan as his chance to be useful. And that sounded cold, but you know what I mean. Ryan had messed up several times, sure, but I can see Sandy at least *trying* to milk some guilt of her, maybe by mentioning some of his other cases that ended brutally because the kids had never gotten chances like Ryan was currently getting.

I could always be thinking of Sandy as more selfish than he actually is. I'm only picking at your idea because I want to believe it - I just have to get this nagging thought smoothed out. Reassure me, dude?

Edited by Wolfie, Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:35 AM.


#24

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 1:43 AM

Attempting to reassure, dude...

To be honest, I tend to agree with a lot of what you say, Wolfie. It still bugs me that Sandy didn't fight harder for Ryan, but I've been able to explain it well enough to myself that I feel a little better.

To me, the biggest factor for why Sandy didn't try harder to persuade Kirsten in The Gamble was the simple matter of the fire. Ryan, whether he was entirely at fault or not, caused some major, major damage there. We never really saw it, but Kirsten must've been *furious* about what happened in The Model Home. So it doesn't really surprise me that Sandy didn't fight for Ryan more after the fire.

Before the fire, I think the main reason Sandy didn't work harder to convince Kirsten was because she had made it clear that her mind was made up. She explicitly refused to take Ryan in near the end of The Pilot, and then in The Model Home she restates that opinion, several times. She leaves no room for debate. I've always thought in that beginning scene in the kitchen, when Kirsten and Sandy are talking, that he looks resigned, like they've had the same discussion many times. I think we're supposed to believe that Kirsten and Sandy have had several offscreen talks about Ryan's fate.

Now, you make the good argument that Sandy seemed to fight much harder about moving the family back to Berkeley, to the point of (nearly) getting Kirsten fired. But there are two main differences in that battle compared to the one for Ryan. First, Kirsten wasn't flat-out refusing Sandy's proposal. She was uncertain, she was unhappy with what was happening with her father _ Sandy had an opening to work with. He never really had that re: Ryan. The second difference is that we're talking about Caleb. Sandy hates Caleb and I imagine he pretty much can't help himself when it comes to battling his father-in-law.

I think that same discomfort would've pushed him to work harder on Kirsten to accept Ryan in their house, even moreso when he saw Ryan as his chance to be useful. [snip] I can see Sandy at least *trying* to milk some guilt of her, maybe by mentioning some of his other cases that ended brutally because the kids had never gotten chances like Ryan was currently getting.


And I think that's the only part about Sandy's "easy" acceptance of Ryan's fate that still bugs me. I would've liked to have seen one more scene where Sandy did just that, pushed Kirsten's buttons a little and tried the guilt angle (esp because, in part, that's ultimately what sold her on Ryan). But then, we've seen that Sandy is somewhat reluctant to bring up Ryan's past around his wife (or at least, we haven't seen them talking about it *at all*), so maybe he was trying to protect her a little and not talk too openly about just how worried he was about this kid. That's all I can come up with.

#25

Wolfie

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 2:58 AM

You make a great point about the fire; I never realized how much it made a case against Ryan. Kirsten was unwilling to let him stay with them for an extended period of time in the first place, and then he runs away, which surely must have irked her somewhere deep down - she opened her home (however hesitantly) to this boy, her husband worked hard to find him a good group home, and he runs away from their generosity - and then he burns down one of her homes, which makes her fear and doubt about him being trouble well-founded. Even Sandy would have trouble arguing against that.

I agree, too, that Sandy was so insistent about moving back to Berkeley because he saw an opening in Kirsten's uncertainly, but I have to argue that he might have been able to find weakness in Kirsten's motherly instinct, as Dawn did later. Ryan's life was just chock full of less than pleasant events, so Sandy should have been able to pull out a few that weren't as bad as the others. Just the mention of a police report on the Atwoods, filed at Christmas, would have thawed her a little.

That's all I can come up with.


You sold me. <grin>

#26

Walter

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 3:54 AM

Apparently you and I are the only ones around tonight, Wolfie! Or else everyone else is bored by this discussion.

I wonder how much Sandy actually knew about Ryan's background before Dawn showed up again. He might have suspected abuse and alcoholism and drugs, but did he really know for sure? Kirsten knew that Ryan's mom had abandoned him, and I doubt Sandy had any evidence from Ryan's background that would have been much more useful than child abandonment. If Sandy was willing to try to return Ryan to his mom in The Pilot (and we've discussed that matter quite a bit) instead of turning him directly over to child services, then he must not have known quite how awful things were at the HoT. I just don't think Sandy had a lot to work with in terms of laying the guilt on Kirsten.

But, in the end, I do agree with you that Sandy could have plied Kirsten's weaknesses a little more. Especially at the end of The Model Home, when Sandy tells Seth that he tried everything he could, I can't help but wonder if he really did.

#27

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 9:45 AM

The two W's are like a perfect tennis match of wit and insight. I love it.

Suppose Sandy was going through a mid-life crisis of sorts (not the right phrase, but you know what I think I mean), and he met Ryan, a kid whom he could really help, at just the right moment. It must have been supremely satisfying for Sandy to feel like he could accomplish something with this kid when he otherwise seemed to be feeling a little useless or impotent, both in his personal life and his career.


Can I say how much I love the idea that Sandy's midlife crisis results not in a convertible or an affair with a younger woman, but instead an irrepressible urge to help a struggling youth take hold of his life and future?

Before the fire, I think the main reason Sandy didn't work harder to convince Kirsten was because she had made it clear that her mind was made up. She explicitly refused to take Ryan in near the end of The Pilot, and then in The Model Home she restates that opinion, several times. She leaves no room for debate.


That is really important to me. We've seen how Sandy can fight and fight tirelessly for his causes, often steamrolling over others' objections. Kirsten's firm stance shows that she understands that, and knows how to react when she absolutely will not give way. I wonder how many times she's had to protect Sandy from his own crusader urges by being the one person in his life who can tell him no?

My thoughts about Sandy not fighting harder for Ryan is that Ryan would almost certainly figure it out if Sandy had used any guilt trips and/or emotional blackmail to convince Kirsten that Ryan should stay. Ryan, pride-monster that he is, would not accept an invitation to live with them if Kirsten still held any resentment or reservations about it. As it happened, Ryan saw every moment where Kirsten's ideas about him were altered, and so he knew her decision was based on her own knowledge, not Sandy's.

And let's not forget, Sandy knew he had Seth in his corner. Even his unrevealing comment about trying to keep kids out of juvie (instead of saying yeah, he's ok) has a strong impression on Seth, who still feels responsible for the burning down of the house incident. Seth can be as unstoppable as his father, and Seth is the one constantly trying to wear Kirsten down in the aftermath of Ryan's arrest.

And behold the result- months later, at the company christmas party, Kirsten pretty much blames the house burning and the destroyed Range Rover on Seth, her son who needed protection from a juvenile delinquent. In that sense, Ryan has not only found his niche with them, he has helped Sandy and Kirsten to understand their first son more fully.

#28

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 10:27 AM

I think that for a Ryan thread, for all that we've given the 'rents their due, we've talked remarkably little about Seth and his influence in all of this. I was drawn to the show by the bond between my two favorite archetypes in Seth and Ryan, and I still think it's the heart of the show.

What really sold me on the show was when Seth put it all on the line to try and save Ryan. His complete willingness to put his head on the chopping block in order to get Ryan out of a bad situation and try and solve all of his problems. I still maintain that if it wasn't for Seth, Sandy and Kirsten wouldn't have come through for Ryan the way that they did.

Oh, and you guys rock.

#29

Nysha

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 12:31 PM

I don't have a problem with Sandy not fighting more for Ryan. As far as Kirsten is concerned Seth had never drank, fought, or lied to his parents. Ryan shows up and within a week he has done all three. I would not have kept Ryan at that point.

As a foster parent with teens of my own, I will only keep teens for 3 days (emergency shelter care) and I don't allow them to interact with my kids unsupervised. Sandy and Kirsten were incredibly naive and extremely lucky.

#30

Gibasi

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Posted Jan 2, 2004 @ 3:25 PM

I think Kareny might be right and we're not giving enough credit to Seth's influence on Kirsten. It only took one word from him in The Gamble for Kirsten to suggest that Dawn stay and go to the party.

As far as Kirsten is concerned Seth had never drank, fought, or lied to his parents. Ryan shows up and within a week he has done all three. I would not have kept Ryan at that point.

In real life me neither, Nysha. And I'm not sure I would be able to resist the physical charms of Ryan so I wouldn't even tempt myself.