Monday, 7 March 2011

Retro TV: My So-Called Life

Angela Chase played by Claire Danes is an ordinary girl who lives in an ordinary town and attends an ordinary high school. Sounds like a pretty boring story right yet My So-Called Life was one of the most popular teen shows of its time. It aired over here in the UK in the mid 90s and I accidentally came across it while I was on holiday from university and I immediately grew to love it. Facing a teen-life crisis, 15 year old Angela dyes her hair red and dumps her childhood friend, Sharon Cherski played by Devon Odessa for wild child, Rayanne Graff played by A.J Langer and Rickie Vasquez played Wilson Cruz who is coming to grips with his homosexuality. She also has a huge crush on gorgeous but dim, Jordan Catalano played by Jared Leto. Her life goes from being mundane to something of a mini roller coaster with Angela, Rayanne and Rickie getting into scrapes after scrapes, some of them fun and some dangerous. My So-Called Life set the precedence for thought provoking teen dramas that spoke to its audience rather than at them. The series was created by Winnie Holzman and produced by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz who had brought us ThirtySomething, and boy it was beautifully told. The display of teen angst was brilliantly portrayed in the show and a lot of teens around the world related to Angela and her pals. It tackled issues such as child abuse, homophobia, teenage alcoholism, homeslessness, adultery, school violence, censorship and drug use.
Angela's insightful narrative really depicted the way today's teenagers thought and how minor issues such as being popular, getting a guy to like you and who is taking you to the prom were such a big deal. It also showed a young lady trying to find her identity and place in life. Prior to this my exposure to American teen life had been the cheesy aspect of cheerleaders, school presidents and jocks or the opposite with the class nerd or social misfit. My So-Called Life was the first show to deal with a regular teen who was questioning life and it paved the way for other teen dramas such as Dawson's Creek. The OC and One Tree Hill. No surprise that it was nominated for four Emmy Awards and took a Golden Globe with Claire Danes winning the Best Actress in a TV Series. It also came 33 on Entertainment Weekly's New Classics TV list of shows from 1983 and 2008 and in 2007 was listed as one of Time magazine's 100 Best TV Shows of All Time. Sadly the show only ran for one season due to many factors such as Claire Danes going onto other projects and low ratings but My So-Called Life will always live in our memories plus there is always the DVD box set.

Check out this fan page for the show.

My So-Called Life is available to purchase from amazon.

Have a peep at the trailer for the series below.

4 cool comments:

Mustard Seed Collective said...

This show is a CLASSIC. I remember every episode and could relate b/c I was basically going through the same thing at the time. When it was canceled we started a petition to get it back on the air. Unsuccessfully, of course.

LetsGoDeeper said...

"Angela's insightful narrative really depicted the way today's teenagers thought" - really?

Aren't Skins, Waterloo Road and The Inbetweeners more on the pulse with today's young people?

Ondo Lady said...

I don't watch either of those shows so I cannot comment. I was actually talking about the era when the show was made in the 90s, I guess I should have explained myself more clearly.

Adele Louise Humphrey said...

I used to love this show!!! Ooh, remember Jared Leto when he sang that "im gonna be sedated" song *swooon*