On August 25th 20 years ago My So-Called Life pilot episode was aired for the first time in the US. I never knew the impact of the series in its country as it was broadcast here 2 years later by Canal +, the first private pay TV channel in Spain, in free-air hours. The reception was quite poor because it was August, and being scheduled at 8pm wasn’t very appropriate either to catch the teenagers attention. Too many distractions and activities better than spending the evening in front of a T. For no reason I was THAT freak. I was home alone for the month so I could watch TV, listen to music or do whatever anytime I wanted. Same as nowadays except for working.
Up to that moment I had never been very interested in teenage “drama” series. If I had to enjoy an empty-headed series I’d choose Melrose Place over Beverly Hills 90210, with more adult characters, but If I had to get deep in shit, I’d choose classic Dynasty and Falcon Crest over any. Getting back to these teenage oriented series, none of them could catch my attention. However the impact of Angela Chase’s view of life was huge.
The story was happening in my time, we were in the same range of age, and being Claire Danes super gorgeous, we share that slob dressing style, with plaid shirts, XL tees… There were some moments I wanted to be her, and express myself as clear as she did in her thoughts or to her friends. I had never felt so close to some fictional character, with so much reality and deep thinking.
Hatred can become like food, it gives you this energy that you can like, live off of.
The coolest thing was that teenage drama was dealt in a teenage way. I mean, when you are 16 and your one-month boyfriend dumps you for another girl you reckon is hotter but never as cut as you, the world falls apart, and you feel like that’s the worst thing that can ever happen to you. When you are to date that guy you like so much and a damn huge spot sprouts in your chin and you even consider calling off the meeting. Or when there’s no communication between you and your parents and they just don’t understand you. All things considered, becoming an adult is not as easy and irrelevant as many people reckon. It’s pretty fucked up actually, so in My So-Called Life you could see yourself reflected as in a mirror. And it worked as some sort of painkiller, showing you weren’t the only one having complexes and insecurities and low self-esteem.
And then there was Jordan Catalano. Thinking of Jared Leto nowadays makes really hard to believe I had a crush on him, but yeah, I had it, because this handsome but not very smart guy was a symbol. Thus I sighed for Catalano, my ex was in love with Angela and secretly wanted me to be her, and I also wanted to be Angela because she was cool.
Unfortunately the series was suddenly cancelled, and apparently it had to do with the decision of Claire Danes to quit, leaving lots of open plots. Would the relationship between Jordan and Angela have worked? I don’t think so. At the end of the day he was a prick and she seemed to be more into experiencing and discovering.
Truth is that My So-Called Life marked a starting point for teenage drama series, with Dawson’s Creek as one of the most remarkable examples, but I was never into any similar story anymore. Perhaps I had already grown up, or just because the first time is the experience which will prevail in memory throughout the years. I don’t know.
Right now I’m speaking out of my memory, but I really want to recover the story of Angela, Jordan and Rayanne, and see how it feels being now an adult. I might learn something I didn’t notice back in the day. Who knows?