I never watched the reruns and am just catching up with MSCL on Netflix. Random thoughts:
- You can see why this made Claire Danes a star; she's wonderfully naturalistic and completely believable even when some of the dialogue is a little ripe.
- Jared Leto's very good too - I remember those handsome, silent, dumb stoner guys with their sheepskin-lined jackets. It's very funny how they show him using eyedrops between classes.
- Did every school have a Rayanne Graff? Ours had Cindie. Cindie's mom was a hairdresser or something and usually spent the weekends at her boyfriend's house, which meant Cindie's house was party central.
- The kid that played Brian Krakow grew about a foot during the show and went from looking like a high schooler to college age.
- Good for Bess Armstrong for playing such an unlikable, brittle character and giving her some depth. Bill Irwin was also good (and very everyday-handsome) as Graham.
- Wilson Cruz was also good as Ricky, though the conceit that a gay boy could hang out in the girls' bathroom all the time without anyone kicking up a fuss was a bit much.
- This had to be the only high school in the world where no one locked their lockers.
The only episode which was bad so far -- and it was beyond terrible -- was the Christmas episode with Juliana Hatfield as a folk-singing angel in Doc Martens. Terrible dialogue and unbelievably mawkish. I think they were going for a bit of magic realism and instead made a "Touched by an Angel" episode instead.
I know this show has some rabid fans out there...any thoughts?
Sigh. This was my show when I was around 15-16. Nothing ever before, or since, has gotten the teenage girl experience as perfectly as MSCL did.
Some of the better writing, acting and over-all stories that have ever been on television.\
Still love Claire and Jared because of this show.
I''m sure a lot of it had to do with where I was at and what was going on with me at the time, but I used to literally feel it in my chest when I''d watch that show. All of it just hit so close to home.\
To this day, Rayanne Graff is one of my favorite television characters of all time.\
So is Patty Chase to be honest. Her performance in ''Weekend'' just kills me every time.
I was in my mid-20s when this came out. I thought the writers did a better job writing the parents than the kids. \
The guy who played Brian Krakow ended up as the lesbian trapped in a man''s body who dated Alice on the L Word.
Every school had a Jordan Catalano. Those boys were nothing but trouble, but oh so beautiful.
I love the way he leans.
Never saw it in broadcast, but when MTV replayed it in the early 90s I became hooked. \
Wonderful show. The only thing that comes close was Buffy.
Patty and Graham were interesting - super codependent relationship, and he just got less responsible as she got more brittle and controlling (though she attempted to control her controlling). He just never grew up and she made sure he didn''t have to. Plus they both ignored the younger daughter and concentrated on Angela. It was all fairly nuanced for network TV.
>>>the Christmas episode with Juliana Hatfield %0D\
That was the worst episode
[quote]Still love Claire and Jared because of this show.%0D\
Didn''t I read somewhere that she was the reason it ended so quickly? She was convinced she was ready to be a STAR and didn''t want to be held back.
That couldn''t be further from the truth. MSCL was very low-rated and could barely find an audience, despite ABC''s support. Eventually, ABC gave up. That is why it was cancelled.
ABC had been fucking that show around since the beginning. The reason that Devon Gummersall (who played Brian Krakow) grew so frickin'' much during the show is because there were huge chunks of time between filming because ABC only ordered new episodes in batches of six or so at a time.\
By the time they started hemming and hawing about continuing it or not, the cast and crew had been working on the show for two and a half years, and, I think it kind of played both ways -- the fact that ABC was on the fence about renewing added to Claire wanting to leave to do movies, and the fact that Claire wanted to leave added to ABC wanting to cancel.
The wikipedia article on it covers it pretty well.\
[quote] In a September 2004 edition of Entertainment Weekly, Danes admitted her role in My So-Called Life''s demise, while insisting that she didn''t have enough power to cause the cancellation by herself. It is generally accepted that ABC seriously considered bringing the show back for a second season and may have even intended to (as then-executive Ted Harbert claims) due to its devoted fanbase, its quality and its critical acclaim. However, low ratings combined with Danes''s unwillingness to return combined to end the series. ABC had no interest in getting into a public quarrel with a 15-year-old actress. Winnie Holzman theorized that the network was so on-the-fence about renewing the show that in some ways they used Danes''s reluctance to return as a convenient excuse not to renew the show.
AJ Langer, who played Rayanne Graff, married a British Lord and future Duke.
I graduated in 1993 so I didn''t want to relive high school so soon afterward. Claire Danes was annoying too.
Ha, OP, before I even opened the rest of this thread I started thinking about how bad the Juliana Hatfield episode (and there is no other way to refer to it) was. \
I''m also fondly reminiscing about the last scene in the series finale with Angela and Brian and Jordan. Bittersweet.
Yes, R15, Lady Courtney also suffers that most debilitating of diseases:%0D\
[quote]In her spare time, she raises awareness and money for the research and treatment of fibromyalgia, from which she herself suffers
I was about 17 when that show came out. I have to agree there was never before and there has never been since, such an authentic depiction of the insanity that is the teenage years. The crazy thing about this show was that my mom happened to sit down and watch the first episode along with me and became just as addicted. We would sit down every week and watch it. My mom related to Patty for sure. My mom and I had a rocky relationship in my high school years. I really think this show was a way for us to understand each other''s view. In fact, half way through the season my mom turned to me and said, "I really forgot how hard it is to be a teenage girl." That meant the world to me. I really think the show helped us get through my last year of high school. When it was canceled we were both devastated.
[quote]So is Patty Chase to be honest. Her performance in ''Weekend'' just kills me every time.\
One of the things that kept Patty from being completely hateful was the fact that, even though it was probably too subtle for a lot of TV audiences, the show was always pointing out that Patty and Angela were a lot alike.\
This was especially clear in the final episode, where they showed that Patty had had her own Jordan Catalano, even though she ended up marrying her Brian.\
I spent a good chunk of my adolescence with flame-red hair because of the show.\
It''s Crimson Glow.
The Voice of the Night
I also caught up with the show when MTV ran it. Angela, Brian, and Rayanne, and the parents are all great. Graham was hot as hell.%0D\
My favorite moments are when the bratty little sister walks into a room, says something bratty, and quickly walks out. %0D\
I so wanted Graham to have an affair with that woman he was opening the restaurant with. But that wouldn''t have been true to the character, I guess. %0D
I tried to watch it a oouple of times, but could never make it to the end of an episode. The inarticulate speech of the teenagers made me want to claw my eyeballs out: "well, ya know, it''s like, well, it''s really, like, ya know"...ENOUGH! I mentioned this on some website and was told "that''s the way teenagers talk." If that''s the way teenagers talk, then get me the hell away from them!%0D\
I do remember some things from this show, at least I think I do. I seem to recall an episode where a teenager was homeless; he called a teacher who had been kind to him and tearfully tells him he has nowhere to go, in hopes that maybe the teacher will let him stay with him. The teacher listens but does not offer shelter to the destitute teen. Turns out he has a good reason why; he''s gay and lives with a partner. If that came out he would have been ruined as a teacher. Was that from "My So-Called Life?" I thought it was.
I also graduated in 1993 and didn''t catch this until college on MTV. Oh my god did I have a massive crush on Graham, yes Graham. I was an 18 year old girl, can''t explain it. God did I love that show. The other bad episode, though, was Halloween when Angela was transported back to the 1950s. Come on people.
R23=wandered in from the street, looking for some hot chocolate
I was just thinking about one of the episodes that depicted Angela and her best friend (not Rayann) growing apart and them just accepting that they both would always have a connection, but they were moving on. They always handled these moments really well on this show, very genuine.\
I also like that Jordan Castellano wasn''t just a mindless pretty boy but he actually had some depth once Angela got to know him and he was complex. And I also loved that moment when Angela finally realized who wrote that love letter to her.\
This is the only thing I can tolerate with Claire Danes. She was great in it, but now she''s entirely to actressy and pretentious, like Gwen Paltrow.
I watched it on MTV as a teenager, as well. But I always felt that they were too cool to be real and that whole thing played out as a fantasy. I mean, the dork doesn''t get to date someone like Jordan in real life.%0D\
I did crash on Jared Leto and wanted Ricky and Jordan to end up making out in the back sit of Joardn''a car.
Claire Danes is a star?%0D\
News to us.
99.9% of the planet
OP...Tom Irwin, not Bill Irwin.
I always thought that Ricky and Brian Krakow should have hooked up. They made a cute couple.
Brian was adorable.
Tom Irwin is bi.
In the early days of the internet (at least the early days for me) there was a movement to save the show, through email and letter writing, when ABC was back-and-forth about renewing it. I guess the fact that reruns played on MTV for a couple years shows that the decision to cancel was probably stupid, regardless of what Claire Danes wanted (surely she had a contract that obligated her if it were renewed).
Was the show already cancelled when Danes won the Golden Globe?
One image that remains for me is Graham doing home improvement stuff on a weekend, singing along to some Grateful Dead from the boombox. He was hot, and that scene spoke to his past in a way that the series never got a chance to explore. Was he on the roof, and Patty saw him drinking a beer, and said something like "Graham, it's barely noon..." And then she realized he was fixing the roof, and even maybe enjoying himself, and left him to it.
And yes, the episode where Ricky seeks help from the closeted gay teacher and is turned away was heartbreaking. It was incredibly progressive stuff for network TV of that time.
As far as I''m concerned, Devon Gummersall fell from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
What''s ironic is that after MSCL was canceled there was an explosion of teen dramas on TV and a whole network devoted to them (The WB). Buffy, Dawson''s Creek, Felicity, all came on about a year or two after MSCL was canceled. It would have fit in with that whole slate of shows. However, I sometimes think MSCL had that one perfect season and it''s better it never got the chance to become shitty and past it''s prime like Buffy did. It lives on and is remembered so fondly because it went out on just the perfect note.
Someone here claimed to have seen Tom Irwin in a gay bathhouse! I think it was in Chicago.
I would like to have seen Angela Chase play Temple Grandin.
[quote]I so wanted Graham to have an affair with that woman he was opening the restaurant with.\
I think it would have been in character (and if the series had continued, I''m sure Graham would have slept with her), but I hated the actress they got for the character. She seemed so shallow compared to the other nuanced performances in the show.
If I recall, the reason Mr. Katimsky doesn''t let Rickie stay with him at first because he''s gay and Rickie is gay, and he knows how bad that will look if Rickie stays with him. But he relents and lets Rickie stay eventually, doesn''t he?
I was a freshman in high school when the show came out and used to watch it with my mom (she was into all the teen shows like 90210, Party of Five, etc.) The one thing that always drove her crazy was that she could never figure out exactly what Graham, who spent most of the show attempting to open a restaurant, did for a living and thought he was kind of a loser. I''ve noticed since then that opening a restaurant seems to be the profession for EVERY loser father character on any show with teenagers. Jimmy on The OC opened a restaurant, Dawson''s dad opened a restaurant, Sela Ward''s ex on Once & Again opened a restaurant, the dad on the short-lived Life As We Know It opened a restaurant. It''s honestly a little weird.
Tom Irwin is a good friend of mine. If he''s bi (which I highly doubt), he''s very secretive about it. He dated Christina Hendricks for years. A great, great guy. And wonderful actor.
R44, get out everything you can about My So-Called Life from Tom Irwin. It''s one of the best TV shows ever. Be exhaustive.
uktfydtuvr7s7 ivrb6ikveo.rv e
I''m beyond restless.
Is Wilson Cruz a top or bottom?
He loved doing the show. They all thought they were doing something special and innovative. He doesn''t, at all, blame Claire Danes for doing what she did, though he does contend that if she had eagerly wanted to come back, the show would''ve survived another year, at least. He is still good friends with Bess. That''s all I really know. It''s not as though we talk about it all that much.
Thank you very much for contributing that information, r50. It''s awful to think that the show could''ve continued if only Claire Danes had wanted to stay.\
I''m linking to a magazine article from 1995 that''s about the show. Both a co-executive producer for My So-Called Life and the fan who started the campaign to keep the show on the air back at the time claimed that Danes'' agent was to blame for her wanting to quit the show. The fan, Steve Joyner, claimed that Danes'' agent wanted her to get into movies because that way the agent could make more money off of Danes.
[quote]I guess the fact that reruns played on MTV for a couple years shows that the decision to cancel was probably stupid, regardless of what Claire Danes wanted (surely she had a contract that obligated her if it were renewed).\
I agree. I think My So-Called Life could''ve flourished if it had had a better timeslot.
I liked the episode where Rayanne OD''s and Angela frantically calls her mother for help. We find out that the uptight Patty is wary of Rayanne because she had a similar friend in college who wasn''t lucky enough to survive a drug overdose.
I loved the fashion of the time.
And I also love the general aesthetic of the time, not just the fashion.
Another great show that was cancelled before it''s time was Eerie, Indiana. It too was only on TV for one season.
Do you think that Claire Danes has any regrets about possibly having helped in the show''s early demise? Has she ever talked about that whole situation?
R64, I recall an interview where she said it wasn''t pleasant being blamed for the show''s cancellation when she was only a teenager. I watched the show during it''s original run and it just wasn''t that popular on what was then network television.\
Link below is a listing of primetime television shows during the single season MSCL was on ABC. It was up against "Mad About You" and "Friends" for Gawd''s sakes; it was DOOMED.
Even though it got only one season, they packed a lot into it. By the end many things came full circle. I''ve recently watched Freaks and Geeks for the first time and I found it a bit overrated. S/L and characters were not as fully developed as they were in MSCL. I think a show like F&G would have benefited more from a second season.
[quote]Link below is a listing of primetime television shows during the single season MSCL was on ABC. It was up against "Mad About You" and "Friends" for Gawd''s sakes; it was DOOMED.\
It never belonged on ABC. If it were a year later it would have been the perfect fit for the WB. It was a niche show, it never would had the audience that ABC required. A smaller network with like minded programs would have been better.
Anybody here know any behind the scenes info or gossip about the show? Anything about the show''s cast, crew, production, the industry buzz surrounding it, or how the show was perceived?
I was a sophomore in high school the year it came out (the same year Angela and her friends were in during that season). Even though I was a gay male, I still related to how the friendships and social lives played out. My favorite part about that aspect was the ever-elusive "Tino" that Rayanne always referred to. Tino always threw cool parties, could get drugs, and could get them into "Let''s Bolt!", but we never met him. There were a couple of people like that when I was in high school.
All the scenes -especially Angela''s parents''- where people always had to act busy, fidgeting, using their hands to do anything in front of the camera are a real pain in the ass. Rayanne was the worst at that.
Where do you think the show would''ve gone if it had been on for more than 1 season?
Who the heck wants to see Claire Danes'' pasty, pretentious face for two seasons? They should have had Angela commit suicide or something so Brian Krakow could become the lead. A hell of a lot more fascinating, that boy.
R74, were you also poster r34?
Wouldn''t ABC have locked Claire Danes into a longer contract than one season?%0D\
I have a hard time believing she was committed to the show for only one year. ABC dumped it because of the ratings.
But the weird thing is that the show had so much acclaim(even the pilot received hype from people in the industry who had seen it way before the public), and yet ABC screwed the show by putting it in a horrible timeslot.\
You''d think they''d try to showcase something that was high quality.
Claire Danes'' plain looks were an asset to the show. They made her easier to relate to.
So apparently everyone who worked on this show peaked in 1994, right?
i was a junior in high school when MSCL premiered in August of 1994.\
What i find so interesting now is how back then getting 9-10 million viewers a week was considered such a failure.\
Sure FRIENDS was getting like close to 20 million.\
God the broadcast networks would give anything to get that many viewers now.\
Sure American Idol does big numbers but most shows now especially on basic cable dont even get half that many viewers.\
I mean all the shows on the CW average less than 5 million.\
The 2 most successful to come out of MSCL are Jared and Claire- they do and did movies.\
Tom Irwin still does TV- i remember seeing him on ER and he does theater in Chicago.\
The one bit player that made it big from one small appearance on MSCL is LAURA INNES- she had quite the long run on ER as Carrie-the lesbo with the crutch.\
I loved Senta Moses on this show too.\
i was and still am a gay latino male\
and i so wanted to be like and be with Jordan Catalano...I even let my hair grow out and dressed like him.
Liberty High School......."i want to be sedated"
Were you a fan of the show?
Tom Irwin goes to my vet.
I can''t go out in West Hollywood without running into the guy who played the gay one. I swear he goes out every night of the week.
You can currently stream the entire series from Netflix now.
Tom Irwin was on Law and Order SVU last week. He got a little fat, but I recognized him right away even as he was staggering around with a knife wound.
Angela''s friend Sharon had a boyfriend named Kyle in a handful of episodes that I always thought was majorly hot. I know his real name is Johnny Green, but I can''t find any pics of him (old or new) online at all.
Claire Danes never really made it as a movie star, did she? Soooooo flat-chested.
I used to run home from the bus stop, drop my bags on the basment floor and tune in to My So Called Life.%0D\
She''s not very attractive either, but she thinks she is.
R40 Patti LuPone''s character on LIFE GOES ON also opened a restaurant, but she was the mother.
MSCL was exactly like my high school. it looked like, similar students and teachers, etc. i was in high school when it came out as well so I felt very connected to it. rickys character was groundbreaking ...there wasnt, and hasnt been, any gay character on tv as 3D as him. this might be unpopular opinion, but i find the gays on glee somewhat tired and 2 dimensional. in a way, im glad MSCL ended early as they didnt have an opp to possibly ruin it.
I was just out of college in ''94. I had a my first ever gay crush on a str8 friend (yeah yeah, it was rough). I vividly remember the scene where Angela is "over" Jordan ,and she jumps up and down on the bed while "Blister in the Sun" plays.%0D\
I blasted that song a LOT that year.
[quote]As far as I''m concerned, Devon Gummersall fell from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.%0D\
And he stayed kinda pretty for a few years after the show
[quote]Claire Danes never really made it as a movie star, did she? Soooooo flat-chested.\
She was a good choice because she looked like a normal(but not unattractive) girl.
I would have liked the show better if it had been centered around Rayanne.
Why is that, R96? Did you dislike Angela, or did you just like Rayanne a lot?
r97: I just liked Rayanne a lot. I thought she was more interesting than Angela. She had many more flaws and her moral compass was more often askew so I think it would have made for more exciting stories though I understand that Angela was probably more relatable for the target audience. Angela was always kind of a cypher to me.
I see, thanks. Perhaps if the series had continued the focus or viewpoints may have transitioned a bit. But sadly we''ll never know.
does anyone remember the soundtrack? so good at the time. juliana hatfield, buffalo tom, sonic youth, the lemonheads, daniel johnston. i probably have a sweet spot bc it reminds me of the show and being 13.
I own the soundtrack! I think I got it from a Columbia House deal back in the day.
It''s interesting how great shows like "My So-Called Life" and "Freaks and Geeks" that truly reflect high school life don''t garner high ratings. But phony, unrealistic shows like "Beverly Hills 90210" were huge successes. I guess people need an escape from reality.
So is this the last we''ve heard from My So-Called Life? Will anything else related to this series ever come out(even if it''s just extra information about the series)?
Jordan Catalano was so dumb.
So did fame sour Claire Danes'' personality?
Saw Wilson Cruz the night of the GLAAD Awards. His boyfriend was hot.
DL circa 2002 was where I first heard the loose and roomy vagina rumor about Claire Danes. \
Now that''s some hilarious fucking gossip right there.
R214, explain. I''m not familiar with that story.
Wilson Cruz ("Rikki") was so femme and unrelatable. He gossipped in the girls'' bathroom.%0D\
Now (2011) he''s a roided up professional gay. Yay, progress?
Does the show still hold up after all of these years?
Rayanne was a good supporting character but wouldn''t have worked as the lead because she was too much.\
If you haven''t noticed, most leads play the straight and narrow role that the zanier side characters can play off of.
The cast was not too good looking, which makes things seem more realistic and relatable.
I had never before or never since seen any tv program that understood what it is REALLY like to be a teen. The challenge of dealing with a changing identity coupled with an almost suffocating lack of self confidence, extreme pressure to conform, and that uncomfortable butterfly stomach feeling that seemed to be present for the good the bad and the ugly.%0D\
The crap on tv these days for teens is an insult to their intelligence. %0D\
PS music from the 1990s rocked.
Sundance is showing reruns and the whole thing is available on Youtube. Wonderful show, the whole cast is spot-on. The problem with Danes is that she was so good right out of the gate she''s never had the chance to really shine again. Temple Grandin was a collection of spasmodic tics. Bess Armstrong deserved an Emmy.\
Shocking to see insecure, introspective teenagers when were now bombarded with the likes of Rebecca Black and Willow Smith and other entitled brats.
Introspection and shyness are practically crimes nowadays, R124.
[quote]Did [italic]every[/italic] school have a Rayanne Graff?\
God you''re a tard.
bump for the immortal Jordan Catalano
Everytime i see this clip, it brings me right back to the show and that time in my own life.
Other than the music playing, I love how there is barely any dialogue until the end. A great bunch of talented young actors.
I'm 50, and that clip (as did much of the series) takes me right.back.there.
I read an interview with the creator of the show and she said in the second season the gay teacher was going to get fired for being gay and taking in a student.
Claire Danes was so pretentious in this. The way she carried herself in smug superiority, looking down on lovely Brian Warsaw with her stupid purple hair made my heart SICK. I despised that twit.
R120, you are a pretty noxious cunt to Brian Krakow yourself.
It was so of its time, mid-1990s. The clothes, the hair, the music, the furnishings...
This was a series that deserved another season or two on network TV, but probably was ahead of its time (the reruns on MTV ran for years, right?).
Clare Danes won the Golden Globe, but in season 2 maybe it would have been an Emmy, and maybe Bess Armstrong or Jared Leto or Wilson Cruz might have picked up supporting actor nomination at least
Agreed, R132. You never really forget that time.
'AJ Langer, who played Rayanne Graff, married a British Lord and future Duke."
The Lord must have a sense of humor!
Does Ms. Danes ever talk about MSCL in any interviews?or is it something she would rather forget?
Does she stay in contact with any of the cast?
I watched the show when it first came out on ABC and loved it. I just watched through the episodes again and still end up crying. The two worst was the Juliana Hatfield and Halloween. The best was the finale and the Zit episode.
I loved that the ever elusive Tino was never shown.
I can't believe Rayanne is a dutchess.
Those school years always seem to have the highest emotional stakes, everything is felt so vividly. I think we are right to feel that way. After those years, we just end up feeling emotionally dead and depressed. I miss feeling like I was part of something, like I was living in the moment and had real hopes and wishes.
Sadly, I basically missed out on everything at the time and after school, everything went wrong. But I still think about what could have been.
I prefer the teenagers in Once & Again to this bunch. Maybe I was already too old when this came out.
I hated the cast. The very plain mother, the intense father, the freaky gay friend, the sad psycho hippyish friend, the sad blonde guy who lived next door and was in love with Angela. Everyone seems off. Claire Danes came across as someone who was very unhappy with everything about herself. It depressed me actually.
Rayanne is not a very believably acted character, it's Hollywood and exaggerated, but it's very fun for what it is. She's entertaining if over the top.
[quote]She's entertaining if over the top.
& she looked TERRIFIC.
I think that Angela and Jordan was pure fantasy. In real life, the "jordans" of the world would not have gone for the plain, bookish "Angela" let alone hold her hand in school, date, and eat milk and cookies at her Mom's house.
But it was a nice dream for us plain folk.
Here's an extended interview with some of the cast and crew from the show about the show's demise. It is suggested that Claire Danes wanted to move on, and there were other factors leading to the cancellation, too.
Page 3 is just an ad and doesn't link to page 4, so go back to page 2 then click on page 4 for the next page. 1, 2, 4, and 5 should be the full text, but you can check for yourselves:
"Weekend" is one of my favorite episodes ever. There are great performances in it by all the actors, but especially Bess Armstrong as the uptight mother ruining everyone else's good time (and in agony because she knows it and can't help it), and whoever plays Angela's cast-off friend Sharon.
So where do you guys think the show would've gone if it hadn't been cancelled? It's fascinating and bittersweet to speculate.
I saw Winnie Holzman, the show's creator, speak at Princeton University (her alma mater) the year after the show was canceled, and she was asked where the show was going to have gone next had it continued.
She said she had planned that Graham Chase (Angela's father) was going to leave Patty (the mother) for the woman with whom he was opening the restaurant, and that Patty was going to be very depressed and stay in bed and deal with it badly for a while.
She also said that Angela was going to be officially going out with Jordan Catalano, but that in the season finale she finally realized that Brian Krakow might be worth more than Jordan, and that she would have been increasingly attracted to Brian and less interested in Jordan.
Wow, thanks for the great info, R149! And that was right after the show was cancelled so it was still fresh in her mind. I wonder what would've happened to Rayanne, especially in regards to her relationship with Angela. Could've made for some interesting moments.
I just finished watching the show for the first time. The show is good but overrated. The writing is not very realistic and the characters' constant use of the word 'like', much like in the show 'Friends' which came out the same year, is grating. Also the pausing/halting way of speaking that all of the characters use was annoying but supposed to make things sound more realistic(it didn't work).
Jordan's character had no redeeming qualities. It was an unrealistic portrayal with how cold and disconnected he was, they also made him way too stupid. It's also odd how the same few students are hanging out with each other nearly every episode but then they act like they forget who each other is and their names. Their wasn't enough of a realistic sense of a school or other students in their lives.
Sharon could've been a very interesting character but they didn't take it anywhere too interesting and Devon Odessa wasn't a very good actress. She made the same facial expression the entire show. They could played up some interesting dramatic angles with her as the former friend, but they didn't.
Another big complaint way too much Patty and Graham. I think the parents' screen time should've been a third of what it was. They made Brian blurt out something very awkwardly negative every once in a while in a forced attempt to make him unlikable. He is somewhat unlikable but not nearly as much as Jordan who is a void. I get that people get crushes on dumb people and that's a true to life thing to portray, but his complete stupidity and basically never looking anyone in the eyes like he always had somewhere better to be was annoying.
Angela and Rayanne were the two best characters, and Danes and Langer were good, even if Rayanne is a bit too much of a cliche and not naturally acted(the walk seemed to be a bit much). But they were both good and memorable characters. They should've been the heart of the show with the focus on Jordan from Angela's perspective from a distance have been played up more without such an early involvement, more unrequited love.
Ricky was fun but a bit cliched. Some of the stuff with the teachers annoyed me. Basically, almost all of the stuff with the adults, with a few exceptions, should've been dropped. I hated Rayanne's mom, and Patty often had a stupidly fake grin on her face.
But in summary, it was a good show that could've improved in the second season, but hardly the flawless show people make it out to be. Angela was 'us', and Rayanne was the friend that we all wanted to have. I know that it was established early on that Rayanne was supposed to be promiscuous, but I didn't really buy her betrayal of Angela. Jordan yes, but Rayanne, no.
The little sister was annoying, too.
Re 152 isn't that the point?
I ran into the guy who played the drama teacher - Jeff Perry - a few months ago on the set of Scandal, and told him I thought he was great on MSCL. He was very nice and friendly, and a lot like he was on the show.
This is the only thing I've ever liked Clare Danes in, and she was amazing considering her age and lack of experience at the time.
The Juliana Hatfield episode really sucked. It's the only one I never watch, and the Halloween episode is unreaistic and kind of dumb.
"Turn on the radio, what do you hear..."
I loved Corky on this. He is Micheal Phelps estranged father.
Yet another in a long line of quality shows canceled too soon.
And of course, I was in total swooning lust with Jared Leto.
The clip from 130 was the best scene of the entire show :)
[quote] I just finished watching the show for the first time. The show is good but overrated. The writing is not very realistic and the characters' constant use of the word 'like'
A lot of people - a lot of young people - spoke that way back then used. They still do
[quote] Jordan's character had no redeeming qualities. It was an unrealistic portrayal with how cold and disconnected he was, they also made him way too stupid
[quote] Jordan who is a void. I get that people get crushes on dumb people and that's a true to life thing to portray, but his complete stupidity and basically never looking anyone in the eyes like he always had somewhere better to be was annoying
I actually knew someone just like him in Jr high School. I think he was the way he had a rough home life and he lived a foster home. He actually looked very similar to Jared Leto in a generic way.Jordan's character supposedly had a rough home life
[quote] It's also odd how the same few students are hanging out with each other nearly every episode but then they act like they forget who each other is and their names
yes, but in a way that isn't that odd. An example is there are people you are friends with in your neighborhood (usually an older neighbor - a yr or 2 ahead of you or a friend's older more popular brother/sister) who hang out with you and are super friendly outside of school but then when you're at school they act like they barely know you in front of their friends.
I hated Rayanne's ridiculous obnoxious walk and the way she swung her pony tail. I think the actress was trying to get more attention
R153, I just didn't like the actress. It's fine that's she's an annoying little sister, but pick a less annoying kid. Obviously the character was only there to break things up between Angela and/or her parents by occasionally injecting a line or two(which is fine), I just didn't like the actress.
Thanks for the remarks, R158. I get what you are saying, but even within the context of the show, I think the things I complained about where not realistic in how they were portrayed and I think they were weaknesses.
I agree with you about Rayanne's walk. Yes, AJ Langer's portrayal of Rayanne was affected and exaggerated, but I can't help but still like her and find her to be a memorable character.
It's interesting that someone suggested that Rayanne should've been the lead. While it would've gotten old and she seems more interesting when seen from the perspective of another person(Angela, who is basically us in many ways), I can see how they could've done more interesting and dramatic storylines if there was more Rayanne involvement in some way. Scale back some of her ticks a bit, get rid of the overdone mother, and you have a character that added the most vitality and interest to the show.
But ultimately, Rayanne is interesting because she's someone we'd like to know, but not be.
Another problem of the show is that you sometimes got the feeling of hearing each of the characters use the writer's same voice, not enough differentiation. And I agree with R23's criticism, and I didn't find it to be realistic, just an overused cliche.
Is it true that AJ Langer tried out for the part of Angela? I thought I read that somewhere but I definitely could be wrong. Langer as Angela could've been interesting. I think that some of my criticisms could also be the fault of the direction.
Rayanne and Sharon also played Kevin Arnold's classmates on The Wonder Years when they take a field trip to the Griffith Observatory.
Jared Leto's brother Shannon is the longer-haired friend in that clip who is always with him on the show.
This show was at the top of its game. The actors, the writing, directing, editing, music, capturing a place and time. Even one more season would have brought at least 5-10 great episodes of rare, personal moments brought to TV.
"People always say you should be yourself. Like yourself is this definite thing...like a toaster or something. Like you can know what it is even. But every so often I'll have like, a moment, when just being myself, in my life, right where I am, is like...enough."
This scene always got to me, the way Jordan is passive-aggressively being a dick to Angela, and then her crushed looks. Danes really captured the hurt; it's written on her face, even if she doesn't come out and cry rivers.
My favorite scene, and the one that always makes me tear up a little when I think of it, is where the dad remembers Angela as a little girl, when he'd come home, and she'd be overjoyed and scream, "DADDY!!!" and run into his arms.
Remember when Corky burned the house down and blamed Becca?
My favorite episode is called "Betrayal" and is when Rayanne has sex with Jordan.
Rayanne sees on the list that she got a part in the play, calls Angelas name, and Angela keeps on walking. Rayanne lets out a clipped gasp.
I've been in similar situations from both perspectives and that scene always reminds me of friendships that I loved that ended.
Anyone who nitpicks this show must not have watched TV for the last 30 years. Compared most anything else, MSCL was excellent.
As for the characters, Brian was easily my favorite. I don't get the hate for Danes. She was so good as Angela that it's hard to think of her as anything else. Now Rayanne and Ricky, they got annoying at times.
The pilot of this show is probably the best episode of all. It introduces all the characters, and has moving scenes throughout.
Most shows, like "Friends" and "Will and Grace" have almost unwatchably bad pilots. The characters are one-note and the writing obvious.
The stars were aligned when "My So-Called Life" came out of the gate.
In real life, Angela would be laughed at if she approached Jordan, Rayanne would be bi curious, and Ricky would have AIDS face.
I really liked this show. It's far from perfect, but when it got things right ... they were perfect. Bess Armstrong was the best of the bunch, to me at least. I never liked or disliked her before this, but she nailed that character. She was the first parent figure I could really identify with. I was about 25 when this show came out, and I really felt her pain, as Bill Clinton would say. I liked Angela, and Claire was really good in this role. Just didn't buy everyone falling in love with her. She was a little too whiny for everyone to fall in love with. But for me it wasn't really about her. She was the cipher at the middle of the show. Bess Armstrong and Bill Irwin were fantastic. Rayanne's mother (forget her name now), she was excellent, too, as was Rayanne. Mary Kay Place, always fabulous, was great in a tiny, revisiting role. I guess it was the adults who made this worth watching for me. I was never crazy about Ricky or Jordan. I did like Angela's former best friend. She was weird/funny.
I generally thought that the earlier episodes were better, although there were some high points later on.
I think that AJ Langer should've been a bigger star.
Have any of you read the books about MSCL, or read any of the fan fiction?
[quote] I was about 25 when this show came out, and I really felt her pain, as Bill Clinton would say.
So you're lying?
[quote]But for me it wasn't really about her. She was the cipher at the middle of the show.
Agreed. Angela was 'us', for the most part.
I was incredibly nostaglic the other day missing my long lost friend from school Rayanne when I realized that I didn't go to school with Rayanne.
The only way this show could've been more 90's is if Kurt Cobain had been a guest star. Oh wait:
"So you're lying?"
I was 25, maybe 26 when this came out. What does referencing a later Bill Clinton quote have to do with that, R172? What's your problem?
R170, it was a Bill Clinton joke.
Sorry, R180/172. Didn't get the joke. Still don't, really. One day, kids, you'll look back so fondly on the Clinton days. When we're all corralled in Romney's anti-Family Values camps, maybe. But you'll remember the good old days, and wish things had gone differently...
I had no idea Tom Irwin was gay, though. I always thought he was a hot daddy.
Not to single him out, they all lie.
Back on topic now. I miss the much hated(at least at DL) fashions of the time.
"The Handmaid's Tale" is very close to its fruition.
Corky was whacked, but at the end it was all about the AIDS guy who was Lowe's bro
Seeing the actress who played Rayanne on some show (I forget which one, one of the hospital spin-offs) was one of the most depressing things ever. She morphed into a 50 year old frau. Very depressing. Rayanne was so hot and perfect.
I thought it was very well written, with two HUGE, glaring exceptions: the Halloween and Christmas very special episodes.
The were both mawkish, superticious, laughable shit.
I was surprised a show so otherwise wise and grounded would go off the rails so easily in cheap ploys at sentimentality.
Although I know it was incredibly cloying and mawkish, I still love to watch the Christmas episode around the holidays. I just love the scene when they all gather at the midnight church service.
The halloween episode had a good initial setup(breaking into the school at night, the mystery of life cut short, an urban legend), but definitely failed after that. Could've been much better. It was just cheesy when it could've been more mysterious and romantic, a time of your life scenario.
I get this horrible nostalgic feeling of missing Rayanne, although she isn't. real. Anybody else get that with fictional characters?