Tuesday, June 1, 2010

TV Meme: Day One - My So-called Life

Day 01 | A show that should have never been canceled

There are so many shows that can fill this slot. Firefly, Wonderfalls, Dollhouse. But let's go back. Before I was an internet junkie, before I had a sense of myself, or a good strong friend base. Before I was Bunny.

My So-Called Life premiered in 1994, and ran to 1995. Unlike Firefly and Wonderfalls, it managed to survive one season. Unlike Dollhouse, it was not given a chance to give closure. And therein lies the really painful part.

I was 12 years old when this show premiered. I was not an ardent fan, but I did watch it when I caught it, which wasn't often. It wasn't until the show started running on MTV that I really caught on, and got hooked.

I was Angela. I was awkward and uncomfortable with myself, and ready to grow and be my own person. I had a best friend who was crazy and fun and damaged and (as I thought at the time) totally supportive of me. And while she didn't OD, what happened to Rayanne and Angela's friendship is eerily similar to what happened to mine, though some years later. Didn't see that one coming. I would be interested to know what the writers would've done to heal the friendship, had more seasons of the show been forthcoming.

Every high school had a Rayanne, and a Ricky, and a Jordan Catalano. But the versions on the show were the best version possible, and everyone wanted to know these people. Everyone wanted to be Rayanne's friend, and Ricky's hag, and Jordan's makeout buddy. We all wanted to go to the boiler room with Jordan Catalano. I don't care who you were, you wanted to.

The show was on for a grand total of 19 episodes. And in those, it touched on so many high school issues, it's mind blowing. From the mundane (pimples, crushes, mother issues, daddy issues) to the hardcore (alcohol, drugs, overdose, hate crimes, gun violence in school FOUR YEARS before Columbine, I might add), this show was ready to tackle all of them. And it wasn't in a Full House, 1-hour-and-life-is-good-again way. Rayanne's rehab lasted, up to her very real relapse. Everything was moving forward.

The moment that sealed your fate as a MSCL fan was the hallway scene. Where Angela is leaning against her locker, and Jordan walks up, asks to speak to her, and as they walk away...he grabs her hand. And fangirls around the world melted, and Jared Leto became the stud muffin so many children of the 90's still believe in today, despite the guyliner and weird hair.

The soundtrack was also fantastic. I could list so many amazing 90's songs that were featured on the show, but really, there is no other option but Blister in the Sun by The Violent Femmes. Just listening to the opening riff makes me want to jump up onto a bed and start dancing and singing my fool head off. That was Angela at her best. Just being a teenage girl.

MSCL was canceled for two main reasons. Low ratings (I should've known then all of my favorite shows were doomed to failure), and a reluctant star. I have never really forgiven Claire Danes for her part in the death of the show, along with so many other fans. She went on to do quite a few movie projects, the most popular being Romeo and Juliet, though I will always know her for her heartwrenching turn in Brokedown Palace.

But no matter how many movies she's in, I don't believe I'll ever forgive her for the death of such an amazing show.

The show that never should've been canceled. It can be watched any decade, and still loved. Sure, most teenagers today would say, "The Cranberries? Who are they?" (which is, I might add, depressing). But the message still works, and the desire to actually know these people is still so strong and powerful.

Never should've been canceled. At least, not before Angela got to boink Jordan.

For fun:


I Wanna Be Sedated

One Day...I got over it

Note: If you decide to do this meme, please link me to your blog so I can follow along with you for the 30 days. I'm very interested.


  1. Hi. I love you for this. Well, this and so many other things. But a lot for this.

  2. And I love you for helping me keep the MSCL love going. ;-)

  3. Ah, the infamous "it hurts to look at you." I used to use this show as an example of a narrative that was missing a conclusion, but sadly, over the last five years, I've had to drop referencing it as no students now understand when I say, "Whatever you do, do not write an essay that lets Angela drive off in Jordan's car thinking he wrote the letter and not Brian Krakow."