“This life has been a test. If this had been an actual life, you would have received instructions on where to go and what to do.” –Angela Chase
I stumbled upon a My So Called Life mini-marathon on the Sundance Channel yesterday. When the show originally aired, I was 16 and a junior at Medina High School in small-town Medina, Ohio. Yes, I’m dating myself and I don’t care. Without the disclosure, there’s no way you can understand how I
felt feel about this television program. Though, I suppose unless you too were a 16 year old girl (or at least in high school at the time) you can’t really know what it’s like to watch it oh-so-many years later.
It’s an instant flashback to wide-rule, wire-bound notebooks, cafeteria lunches and trying to look busy at my locker because I knew the guy I like has a class across the hall next period and should be coming around the corner any minute; to a life pre-cell phones, pre-twitter, pre-facebook, even pre-e-mail. (How did we ever survive??) But, more than all of that, it’s the haunting return of the self-conscious, somewhat angsty, unsure, yet hopefully optimistic feelings now turned nostalgia.
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, finish reading this post (and feel free to peruse others ) and then go find My So Called Life on Netflix or Hulu. It was only on for one season – 19 episodes. It followed the
adventures, misadventures, everyday toils and tribulations of 15-year old, Angela Chase, and her friends circa 1994. It gave us fresh faced new comer, Claire Danes, and introduced us to her quivery bottom lip cry. 30 Seconds to Mars front man, Jared Leto, will always be Jordan Catalano to me. I cried when Ricky Vasquez (the first gay character I remember on television) was harassed, bullied and beaten because he was gay. It was an afterschool special, reality show and primetime drama all wrapped into one.
There was a character for everyone. My guess is most of us were a mix of a few. I dressed like a cross between Angela and Sharon Cherski. I had my Laura Ashley, as well as my flannel shirts and overalls and everything was at least a size too big.
Remember how Jordan was “always leaning? Against stuff? He leans great.”
The clothes, the music, the problems of a teenage old girl…it was my so called life!
I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of excited for the return of grunge (grunge 2.0??). Time to dig out the Doc Martens and the flannel! Perhaps that will be a post one of these days – weekend grunge for the new millennium. What do you think?
Of course, I couldn’t do a post on MSCL without mentioning the music. These are the songs I listened to while I did my homework. They were played at school dances and blared on the radios of our parents’ cars, driving around, windows down, with your friends.
My So Called Life Mix
Toad the Wet Sprocket – Fall Down (btw-Toad was my favorite band in high school!)