"I bet people can actually die of embarrassment. I bet it's been medically proven."
"People tell you to be yourself...Like yourself is some defined thing"
"My parents keep asking 'How was school?' its like saying 'How was that drive-by shooting?' You dont care how it was, you're lucky to get out alive."
"What I, like, dread is when people who know you in completely different ways end up in the same area. You have to develop this, like, combination you on the spot."
"You know how sometimes the last sentence you said, like, echoes in your brain? And it just keeps sounding stupider? And you have to say something else just to make it stop?"
"Love is when you look into someone's eyes and suddenly you go all the way inside, to their soul, and you both know instantly. I always imagined I'd fall in love nursing a blind soldier who was wounded in battle. Or maybe while rescuing someone in the middle of a blizzard, seconds before the avalanche hits. I thought at least by the age of 15 I'd have a love life, but I don't even have a _like_ life."
"But there are sometimes in my life where being me, right now, where I am, is just like, enough. "
"Sometimes it feels like we're all living in some kind of prison, and the crime is how much we hate ourselves. And it's good to get dressed up every once in awhile and admit the truth. That when you look really closely, people are so strange and so complicated that they're actually beautiful. Possibly even me."
"This life has been a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received actual instructions on where to go and what to do."
"When I was 12, my mother gave me my sex talk. I'm not sure either of us has ever recovered."
"Mom, I'm not having sex, alright? Really! I'm not even close. To an embarrassing degree."
"When someone compliments
your parents, there's like nothing to say.
It's like a stun gun to your brain."
"You're so beautiful, it hurts to look at you"
The first TV show to
get adolescence right.
- The NYC Village Voice's verdict on the show
I found myself settling
in front of the television, and happily, willingly, becoming lost in the
world of teenage angst and equally anxious parents.
- Ferdinand M. de Leon, "The Seattle Times"
Angela Chase is, in
fact, the closest thing to a real teenager on TV.
- Ron Miller, "San Jose Mercury News"
To a certain sort of
woman who is somewhere between late youth and an unacknowledged middle
age, the name Jordan Catalano isn’t a television reference, it is a sense
memory. You don’t recall Jordan Catalano, you feel him, as you do the erotic
miscalculations of your own adolescence. During a nine-month period between
1994 and 1995 when “My So-Called Life,” broadcast at 8 p.m. on ABC (alas
for its ratings, opposite “Mad About You”), Jordan existed as the obsession
of Angela Chase, the high-school sophomore played by Claire Danes, whose
defining state of melancholy he interrupted and enforced. Those who followed
Angela’s tenuous encroachments on womanhood followed passionately, continuing
to immerse themselves long past the show’s cancellation after 19 episodes...
Ms. Danes, of course, has gone on to movie roles and now Broadway, where
she is currently starring in “Pygmalion.” Pauline Kael once said of the
young Molly Ringwald that she possessed a “charismatic normality.” Ms.
Danes infused Angela with something else, a slouchy, endearing neurasthenia
that seemed to befit the indolent mood of the mid-’90s... To claim that
“My So-Called Life” is great, watershed television is to say something
so firmly ingrained in the conventional wisdom that it hardly bears repeating.
The series brought us the experience of adolescence outside the bounds
of artifice, peril and pathology that had provided the context for nearly
every other depiction of teenagers on television. Here what it meant to
be 15 was not to discover that you suddenly had to raise your 6-year-old
sister or that you might be pregnant with twins but merely that you suffered
everyday indignities: overhearing people talk behind your back, the plop
of a grim-looking lump of mashed potatoes on a pallid cafeteria tray. “My
So-Called Life” took us deeply inside the head of a decidedly middle-class
girl whose grievances with the world were confined to an aching crush,
the wish that her mother wouldn’t insist on well-balanced meals and her
belief that social studies ought to be less boring. While the agonies of
adolescence were felt catastrophically, they weren’t weighted with enormous
consequence... “My So-Called Life” is essentially a study of a young mind
processing desire into something less terrifying and more easily justified
— substantiating it with false hopes — and in that regard it is more than
a good TV show, it is a good TV show that attains the dimension and complexity
..On Beverley Hills 90210 and later on shows like “The OC” and “Gossip Girl,” wealth provides an aesthetic function — all those lush spaces and nice things — but more significantly it supplies the dramatic excuse for young people to be put in Gucci trousers and expensive cars and to better masquerade as grown-ups. The money soaps, for lack of a better phrase, blur distinctions between adolescence and adulthood, immersing children in the same problem pool where their parents — when they aren’t absent or forgettable or headed for incarceration — can always be found to wade... Angela wore late-grunge-era flannels and baggy shapes. So there is another way, finally, that “My So-Called Life” looks like no other teenage series that succeeded it: We never saw our heroine’s bellybutton.
- Ginia Bellafante, reviewing the DVD release of the series, "The New York Times"
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