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Flashback Friday - My So-Called Life

Angela_chase  Continuing with last week's theme of misanthropic teen entertainment for the early 90s Gen-X/Millennial set, this week is brought to you by flannel and—*drool*—sexy, stupid Jordan Catalano.

When My So-Called Life first aired, I was about the same age as Angela Chase, and to this day I can't think of a show before it or since that more vividly and accurately portrayed what teenage life was like. The brilliance of My So-Called Life was that the writers never talked down to their audience, or trivialized the issues that affect teenagers. The agony of growing apart from your best friend was just as important and real as your new best friend drinking so much she nearly dies.

However, at 15, I'm not entirely sure I recognized just how rare and special this show was until it was gone. I just knew that Jordan Catalano was fucking hot.

Jared-leto-as-jordan-catalano
 

My favorite character on My So-Called Life was Angela and Rayanne's best friend, Rickie. The thing that was so great about Rickie is that he wasn't like the typical gay character on TV. First off, he had depth, whereas most supporting gay male characters are flat and exist solely for comic relief. Some of the best episodes of the series centered around Rickie's struggles. 

Rickie-vasquez  

Second, while most gay male characters on television are white, affluent beefcakes, Rickie was of mixed race, was homeless for a time, wore eyeliner, and hung out in the girls' bathroom. Rickie was also perhaps the kindest and most sympathetic character on the show. I've seen the entire short-lived series at least three times, and my heart breaks every time Rickie, speaking about Rayanne, asks, "Did you ever try to protect someone so much that it, like, hurt?" While Rayanne seemed so tough and unbreakable on the surface and Rickie suffered regular beatings by peers and his uncle, it was clear which of them was the strongest.

Unfortunately, My So-Called Life was cancelled because, as the show itself often taught us, life is unfair. An upside to its brevity, however, is that you can watch the entire series in a couple days. If you live in the U.S., I recommend you clear your schedule this weekend and watch all 19 episodes on Hulu.







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Comments

Andrea

Oh, this show! I was crushed when it was canceled. I was also about the same age as Angela when the show aired, so I really related to it.

My best friend and I used to watch the show together over the phone every time it was on.

I am so freaking stoked that it is on hulu. Hello, weekend plans!

Washington "Teen Angst Sucks"  Cube

Adored this show and not one snarky thing to say about it. I would only add "perfect blunt cut." Thanks for alerting readers of MamaPop of it's availability.

Sara

I am still not over this show. Jordan Catalano. Sigh. Though we all know that she would have been off with the other guy...what the hell was his name? It also drives me nuts that I won't ever know what happened with the marriage of Angela's parents. Do they split? Does he cheat? Curse you Mamapop for reminding me of my heartbreak!

Kate

This show aired during my junior year of high school, and I totally related to it. My mom bought me the complete series on DVD when it came out a few years ago, and it was interesting to watch it again and find myself identifying with some of the struggles of the parents now.

But Jordan Catalano- *sigh*- I wore my "I Jordan Catalano" t-shirt last weekend.

JellyBean

I was in my early twenties when it originally aired but loved it all the same.

Sarah Lena

Rayanne was my favorite character on this show because, at the time it was on-air, my best friend WAS totally that girl. That lost, tormented, trying to find herself girl who we all knew was going to end up dead by 25.

Cristie

Whee! I can't believe there is someone else out there who loved it like me. I still quote lines from that movie and get sad every time I see Jared Leto in real life because he just isn't upholding Jordan well enough.
I hitched my wagon to Felicity in later years as well. Not quite the same-but still helped fill the void. I'm totally going to watch Hulu later (after I continue to obsess over high school kids on Friday Night Lights).
What the heck is my problem? I really should grow up.;)

mstiegirl

This show was on when I was a freshman in high school and it really shaped my formative years, particularly in regards to sex, gender and relationships. I was devastated that it was canceled.

steff

dude.
hot is a total understatement when describing jordan catalano. id call it "smoldering raw sex in human form". i can remember taping (REMEMBER tapes?!) the "boiler room" episode and watching it over and over and over AND OVER AGAIN wishing that my highschool crush would use me and then deny the existance of our relationship in public in a similar fashion. oh wait, that DID happen.
ahhhhh, youth... so totally fucked up.
MSCL still is, and always will be, one of my most favorite things that television ever produced.
that was a magical time...

LauraJT77

Oh My God! We still have My So Called Life Sleepovers! I was In love with Jordan Catalano. Don't you just love the way he leans?

Marieka

Oh, I loved this show, and for all of the reasons that you listed! To this day, I can still quote from some of the episodes. I actually ran right out and bought the entire season on DVD when I heard that it was being released. Jordan was beyond hot, but I was actually rooting for Brian Krakow.

tifRN

sigh. i love you, snarky amber. :)




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