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Watching: My So Called Life

Monday 11pm 2nd floor lounge

an American television teen drama created by Winnie Holzman and produced by Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. It originally aired on ABC from August 25, 1994, to January 26, 1995. Set at the fictional Liberty High School, it follows the emotional travails of several self-aware teenagers. The critically acclaimed, but short-lived, show ended in a cliffhanger with the expectation that it would be picked up in an additional season, but it was officially canceled on May 15, 1995.

The show placed #33 on Entertainment Weekly's "New Classics TV" list.

  • Angela Chase, played by Claire Danes, is a 15-year-old sophomore at Liberty High School in Three Rivers, Pennsylvania, a fictional suburb of Pittsburgh. Like most teens in the throes of self-evaluation, Angela is attempting to discover and assert her identity. To do this, she distances herself from her past, pulling away from her parents and her childhood friends, Sharon Cherski and Brian Krakow. In their place, she befriends Rayanne Graff and Rickie Vasquez. Angela has a crush on Jordan Catalano and admires him from afar until they begin dating; they eventually break up but remain friends. With these new relationships, Angela finds herself in several precarious and sometimes dangerous situations; however, despite temptation, she always remains true to her values. Angela's voice-over narrates 17 of the 19 episodes in the series.
  • Patricia "Patty" Chase, played by Bess Armstrong, is Angela's mother. Unlike many TV couples, she is the main bread-winner and, at the beginning of the series, even employs her husband. She is opinionated and often can't help but express her strongly held beliefs, which at one point leads to a confrontation with the free-spirited mother of Rayanne. She is also adopted, and has at times looked into who her biological parents were. She is reactionary and self-absorbed, seeing the actions of Angela and her other family members as primarily motivated by the way they affect Patty. Her family frequently becomes flustered by her demands for respect and complaints about her burdens.
  • Graham Chase, played by Tom Irwin, is Angela's father. Graham is the more affectionate and understanding parent who cooks and is far less strict than his wife. He's relatively soft-spoken and continues to struggle with his role in the household and the direction of his life in general. In an effort to broaden his horizons, he decides to take a cooking class, which sparks a friendship with a female classmate, causing tension with Patty. He eventually is invited to teach the class and makes plans to open a restaurant with his classmate.
  • Danielle Chase, played by Lisa Wilhoit, is Angela's younger sister. There is an emphasis on how much she is ignored by her family. She is constantly being kicked out of rooms and situations where the action and dialogue are taking place. She has a crush on Brian and secretly yearns to be more like Angela, whose life and friends fascinate her. In the episode "Halloween," she dresses up as Angela and fools her parents for a brief moment with her near-exact replication of Angela's red hair, clothes, and demeanor. Danielle's voice-over narrates the penultimate episode, "Weekend."
  • Rayanne Graff, played by A.J. Langer, is Angela's new best friend at the beginning of the series. She is wild, sexually active, and irresponsible. Parented by a negligent single mother (radiology technician, tarot enthusiast, and hedonist Amber, played by Patti D'Arbanville-Quinn), Rayanne's freedom is costly, resulting in a flighty sexual life and bouts with drugs and alcohol.
  • Enrique "Rickie" Vasquez, played by Wilson Cruz, is Rayanne Graff's other best friend. He is an openly gay multi-ethnic (Hispanic-Black) 15-year-old boy raised by his uncle, who physically abuses him. Rickie wears eyeliner and bright clothing and feels most at home in the girls' bathroom with Rayanne and Angela. When his uncle kicks him out of the house, he is fostered briefly by the Chases; he is then fostered by gay English teacher Richard Katimski (played by Jeff Perry), who becomes a mentor to Rickie.
  • Sharon Cherski, played by Devon Odessa, was Angela's best friend throughout childhood, until Angela became friends with Rayanne. Sharon's and Angela's mothers are best friends from high school. From Angela's point of view, Sharon represents a suffocating world of boredom and conventions, in stark contrast to the wild world of Rayanne Graff. Sharon is very conventional and academically minded, as well as active in school groups, including the yearbook committee and concert band. During the series, she becomes sexually active with her football-player boyfriend Kyle and begrudgingly develops a friendship with Rayanne by the last episode.
  • Brian Krakow, played by Devon Gummersall, is the geek of the show. He is remarkably intelligent, but can be rigid. Despite his high IQ, he lacks emotional intelligence and is often socially awkward and self-righteous. This, more than anything else, alienates him from his peers. Much like Sharon, he is often mistakenly believed by other characters to be devoid of emotion. The other characters usually turn to him only when they have an academic or technological query. Brian is a yearbook photographer and plays both the flute and the alto saxophone in the high school concert band. He is in love with Angela, but has no hope of her noticing him in that way, as he knows his peers perceive him as awkward and unattractive. Brian has known Angela and Sharon since they were all very young. He makes friends with Rickie towards the middle of the series. His voice-over narrates the episode "Life of Brian," in which we learn more about his inner and outer worlds. He is Jewish, and his parents are psychiatrists.
  • Jordan Catalano, played by Jared Leto, is one of the best-remembered characters of the show, though he was possibly the least seen and had the fewest lines of dialogue. He is good-looking, popular, and rebellious, a major slacker who constantly cuts class and is on the brink of being expelled. Jordan is nearly illiterate due to dyslexia, and is mistakenly believed to be stupid because of this. Angela is in love with him, and during the series they begin an on-again/off-again relationship. Although he appears to belong to a group of rebellious teens, he is tired of the meaningless acts of vandalism that his friends commit for fun, yet has no reason to believe that his life will change. He reveals his emotional depth in his songwriting ability and occasional — and seemingly accidental — profound thoughts. He writes a song called "Red," which Rickie and Angela think is written about her because of her dyed red hair, but is actually about Jordan's red convertible car.
  • Tino was an oft-mentioned character who was never actually seen. He was a friend of Jordan and Rayanne. Over the course of the show, Tino's name is mentioned in almost every episode. Tino was also the lead singer of Jordan's band, Frozen Embryos (later Residue), but he never actually appeared on screen. In the Academy Award-winning 2008 film Juno, the titular character is asked if her band will get back together, and she replies, "Once Tino gets a new drumhead, we should be good to go." This was confirmed as a reference to My So-Called Life by screenwriter Diablo Cody on the DVD audio commentary.

From Wikipedia