My So-Called Life.
I got the complete series from the library and I love it. I missed it the first time around because I was in college and had no time for tv, but it’s almost better that I’m seeing it now. The pilot was filmed during my senior year in high school and it’s like a free pass back to adolescence for me. I also have the added bonus of now being halfway in age between Angela and her parents and I can see both perspectives.
The writing is smart and funny and perfectly captures the dramatic, self-centered, grandiose thoughts that are so cringe-worthy when rereading your own journals, but so delightful when someone else is thinking them. A perfect example from “Why Jordan Can’t Read”:
“Love is when you look into some one’s eyes, and suddenly, you go all the way inside, to their soul… and you both know, instantly. I always imagined I would 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 fifteen, I would have a love life. But, I don’t even have a “like” life.”
The only thing better than the writing is Claire Danes’ delivery.
The characters are also incredibly realistic for a television series. The main character is confused about who she wants to be, the “bad girl” isn’t one dimensional and the “maybe bi” character doesn’t collapse under gay stereotypes. The parents don’t just flit in to deliver the moral message once per episode, they have their own struggles and bad judgments during the crucial split-seconds of parenting.
And the clothes! My god, the clothes! There was a whole ugly floral thing going on in the 90’s I had completely blocked out of my brain. It’s wonderful to see what was actually being worn. And the flannel! And the baby doll dresses with the little clip in the back! And the flannel baby doll dresses! In episode two Rayanne is wearing a flowery long skirt and black Converse high tops, a look I wore at least once a week through high school and during college.
I’m excited to see what happens as the series develops. And I rejoice that complete series are released on DVD.