My So-Called Life
I knew I would write about My So-Called Life eventually, but I wasn’t sure when. Then Music and Pop Culture Lover Rob Sheffield posted this video on Twitter to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ricky and Delia straight owning the floor at the world happiness dance and I knew I had to do it now.
It’s moments like those that make My So-Called Life timeless. These two kids who are feeling very out of place and uncomfortable at the school dance because they don’t really fit anywhere but they look at each other and decide screw it. Let’s give in to the addictive beat of Haddaway and experience some real actual joy. So, they do and it’s beautiful and all those kids who are trying to be cool and do high school correctly just have to stop and stare because they wish they could be that brave.
Ostensibly, this is the story of Angela Chase chasing Jordan Catalano who she has an epic crush on while coming of age. Getting that first taste of independence and heartbreak and giddiness that make being a teenager so awful/wonderful. It’s an ensemble though and all of the characters, from sweet, perfect Ricky Vasquez to wild child Rayanne, have moments to connect and shine.
I was in actual high school when this show aired it’s only season and I was transfixed. I had never seen teenagers written as anything other than comic relief but these kids were thrilling, complicated messes. It was the first time I felt truly seen by any piece of media. Angela was so awkward and yet eloquent even when she was describing her own embarrassing moments through voice over that even now, when I’m closer to her parents age than Angela’s, the show still holds up. It’s so well written that it’s almost painful to watch. Like a stranger found my high school diary and turned it into a whole media piece. It’s also occasionally hilarious like the episode where Brian Krakow inadvertently cuffs himself to Angela’s parents headboard with their borrowed sex handcuffs and the whole crew has to scramble to get him free before Angela’s parents come home and they all die from mass embarrassment.
I can’t imagine a world where anyone over 25 hasn’t seen this show. I can only imagine that you maybe haven’t watched it in a while and deserve to rewatch 19 perfect episodes of television. There’s even an excellent podcast called The Boiler Room that will happily watch along with you. They discuss the highs and lows of each episode as well as pick their favorite flannel fashion statements and wonder why and how often Rayanne had occasion to shave her legs in the bathroom sink at school. So, whether you’ve never seen it before or need a much needed catch up with the gang, I highly suggest watching My So-Called Life this holiday season. Go. Now. Go!