Leading up to MSCL's Debut.....

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
Post Reply
User avatar
CrimsonGlow
Overlooked Sibling
Posts: 36
Joined: Sep 18th 2002, 1:11 am
Location: Canada
Contact:

Leading up to MSCL's Debut.....

Post by CrimsonGlow » Sep 1st 2003, 11:50 pm

How did you hear about MSCL or what did you think of it whether before the debut or before you watched it later on?
When did you accurately watch it for the first time?
Did you see those ads on TV?

I have to admit, back in summer '94 when promo commercials were appearing for MSCL, I was a 13 yr old who thought that show was like, weird or even pushing towards dumb. But I sensed it was something different. Then, it was on Aug. 25, 1994 when I happened to be watching TV in my parents room because everyone in my family was watching a cheap movie on the main TV downstairs. So I was just flipping through channels from 7 to 8 in the evening, plus skimming through some magazines when eight o'clock hit. I happened to stop and leave it on ABC when all of a sudden, the first scene of MSCL aired. I was like, oh here's that show. But within a minute, something about the show, the look, the feel, was different. Then history for me was created. A root that has grown up til now! I felt a little dumb now when after two episodes (yes, I tuned in again), it was confirmed that I was now a fan. I was hurt when I tuned in expecting MSCL one day months later though, only to learn the hard way (no internet yet) that it had been cancelled leaving me and many others on the edge of our seats. It has truly been a gift. I LOVE MSCL!!!
"Seeing a teacher's actual lunch is like, sooo depressing"

User avatar
starbug
Lifehead
Posts: 1082
Joined: Jun 25th 2002, 4:51 am
Location: UK

Post by starbug » Sep 8th 2003, 5:27 am

Well, the TV channel that was showing it (channel 4) had been hyping it a bit (not in a major way but enough that it stuck in the mind) as 6pm pre-dinner viewing so I decided I'd watch it... and then got completely hooked.

Before I actually sat down to watch, I felt like it would probably be another 'Dawson's Creek' type experience. Reasonable, but not fantastic. Something to kill the time. I definitely didn't expect it to be as good as it was.

The first time round I managed to miss a couple of episodes (you know, 'stop watching TV and eat your dinner' demands from parents) and that really got to me, which was when I realised I liked it more than any other show. I remember going to school and finding only one other person who watched it but she really loved it too and she told me what had happened in the episodes I'd missed.

---------------------------------------------
http://www.urban-hills.blogspot.com
---------------------------------------------

User avatar
dTheater
Liberty High Graduate
Posts: 500
Joined: Dec 27th 1999, 12:48 am
Location: Philadelphia PA
Contact:

Post by dTheater » Sep 10th 2003, 9:47 pm

I don't remember any hype or anything of that nature, I just remember when it first came on. I was 15 and I just automatically added it to that pile of junk teen garbage on TV, ala 90210. My first actual solid memory of MSCL was seeing a commercial on ABC. There was a voice-over saying something about Angela kissing Jordan and I remember seeing the school hallway in the commercial. I remember thinking to myself in my very condescending tone: "Oh, god..."

Skip ahead about a year I guess. I always had my TV schedule from 6 to 8 PM. But they changed the Simpsons from 7 to 6, so my 7-8 PM hour was open. I would flip through and always pass by MSCL on MTV (this was during it's first run I believe). I don't remember how or why as I still looked down on it, but I guess every night I found myself flipping past it slower than I had the previous night. And the first thing I really remember seeing was the scene from Life of Brian where Brain comes to pick ANgela up and he tells her that Delia's gradfather "had to, like, go to the hospital. Like, actually to the hospital." And I guess I liked the fact that he was speaking as inarticulate as I did at that age. I couldn't believe I liked it, but I did. So eventually, my 7 o'clock slot was filled for a good while.
- Jim

Kaytee Bodle: Girl With Guitar
http://girlwithguitar.0catch.com (audio, video, tabs, lyrics, etc.)

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Sep 10th 2003, 10:11 pm

starbug wrote:Before I actually sat down to watch, I felt like it would probably be another 'Dawson's Creek' type experience. Reasonable, but not fantastic. Something to kill the time. I definitely didn't expect it to be as good as it was.
I'm not trying to contradict Starbug's memory, but I just wanted to point out that Dawson's Creek did not air until 1998 (in the US, it premiered almost exactly four years to the date that the last MSCL episode was aired). I distinctly remember this because during the media blitz that occurred before the DC premiere, I read a review that called it "My So-Called Life - without the life," which obviously stuck in my head! When did MSCL air in the UK?
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

Look, if this is weird for you, being tutored? I don't mind helping you a little longer.
You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?

JPP13
Angela's best friend
Posts: 246
Joined: Oct 6th 2002, 3:10 pm

Post by JPP13 » Sep 10th 2003, 10:13 pm

Great topic.

I had (and still do) a wonderful friend named Lynn. She had watched the pilot, and told me about it. I was non-plussed. She watched the second episode, and was practically begging me to watch it with her.

I watched the third ep (Guns and Gossip, of course) and was blown away. I had low expectations going in, and could not believe what I was seeing. A smart, realistic, different show.

I immediately called Lynn on the phone to excitedly tell her about it. She responded with a "told-you-so" response. We proceeded to watch the show together from there on out. After the finale we'd often make up scenarios for a true conclusion, as well as the classic Jordan v. Brian discussions.

Sadly the show was cancelled. And sadly for me personally, I don't get to see Lynn that often anymore. She's married now with 2 small children and life has taken on its adult obligations. Taking hours to discuss TV doesn't really happen anymore, and my time talking with her is now more stolen. But I do like to think about those times when things were simpler and TV better.

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Sep 11th 2003, 2:52 am

Uhhh, I forgot to answer the question because I was so busy talking about Dawson's Creek!

:oops:

I first read about My So-Called Life in the summer of 1994 when I read the following Sassy interview with Claire Danes (sometimes I STILL miss that magazine!):
Watch This Girl!
by Maureen (Sassy - August 1994)

This is a story about a chick you've never heard of, a show you have yet to see and why I am imploring you to pay attention.

First meet Angela Chase, the 15-year-old protagonist of My So-Called Life, a new show which chronicles her arduous coming of age in suburban Pennsylvania. By far she is the coolest, most realistic teenager ever to flicker through the scary glass box. In the first episode, she dyes her hair a punk red, dumps her best friend, runs around with the school hipsters, develops a crush on a luscious dumb boy, quits yearbook because she can't take the hypocrisy ("If you made a book of what really happened," she says, "it would be a really upsetting book"), gets hauled home by the cops after trying to sneak into a club, and discovers her dad is cheating on her mom. Angela's also going through existential confusion, trying to figure out who she is and who the people around her are. As she puts it, "It seems like you agree to have a certain personality to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, how do you know it's even you?"

My So-Called Life, with the intelligent, soulful Angela as its core, fills a gaping black hole in the otherwise mindless TV universe. If 90210 is all bright lights and primary colors, My So-Called Life is dark and somewhat somber, shot in tones of brown and gray. The high school halls have an ethereal quality; you feel uneasy looking at this shadowy picture. And unlike other moralistic shows aimed at teaching you a life lesson, this one doesn't confront a huge trendy social issue -- STDs, date rape, universal health care -- in the space of 53 minutes. Instead, it deals with smaller, much more honest moments -- like Angela's dad's flustered reaction when she talks to him wrapped only in a towel. Her home life is free of grating Walshesque blitheness and pass-me-the-insulin cheer. There's none of that over-the-top ersatz angst ("I just don't know what to do, Brandon!") or high melodrama ("Brenda, come quick! I think Laura's gonna hang herself in the theater because she didn't get the part in the school play!"). Actually, My So-Called Life goes out of it's way to avoid preachiness -- as when Angela gets away with lying to her parents to hang out on school nights at clubs and parties. No punishment, directly or indirectly, comes down. Angela's just a girl who's trying to figure out why she hates her mother, why she sometimes feels inexplicably sad, and, on the whole, what her deal is.

Now meet Claire Danes, who plays Angela. The day I see her on the set, she's preparing for a few tough scenes. "In one, I'm in a social worker's office," she explains, "and I'm very upset because a gun went off in school. And there's a note being passed around that Angela and Jordan [the boy she likes] had sex." Of course, Angela's more worked up over the note than the gun -- see why this show is so damn brilliant?

Claire herself has just turned 15, and in almost every way seems to be Angela's polar opposite. She was raised in New York with her older brother and bohemian parents (Mom's a painter and Dad was a photographer). She was dancing, she claims, at age 2, and grew up in the dingy Lower East Side theaters, doing "these small artsy-fartsy things." At 10, Claire decided she wanted to try acting, so she enrolled in the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. "they had us do these weird exercises," she says, "like 'Pretend and egg was cracked on your head and feel all the places on your body the yolk touches.' I loved it." She landed a part in a student film, playing a molested kid. "My parents decided it would be OK because I had a really firm handle on it." She was all of 11.

She did a few made-for-TV movies, and enrolled at Dalton, a cushy private school in NYC. But then she spent a week in LA going on auditions -- one of which was for My So-Called Life. All of the sudden she felt caught between this new job waiting for her in LA and the life she would leave behind in New York. "When I found out the show was getting picked up," she says softly, "I was like, forget this. So I put up this wall. I don't let people get too close, because I know I'm just gonna have to settle and leave and settle and leave."

Angela declares high school "a battlefield for your heart." I ask Claire how true she thinks this is. "Adolescence is such a torrid time," she says. "Every emotion is heightened, and a pimple is the end of the world, and if a guy dumps you, it's the worst. And you're having these sexual feelings for the first time. That's hard."

Not a bad description of what it's like to be a teenager -- yet it really doesn't sound like it came out of the mouth of one. Claire talks in this real adult way that doesn't quite fit her: she tells me she's gonna have to make a real effort to meet people "outside the business" (that phrase makes me cringe) and how important it is for her to have a "peer group." She adds, unashamedly, that she used to love Sassy, back when she read (she confesses to not reading anything now, which I feel I must subtract points for). And she admits that a few months ago, if she had been asked to be in Sassy, "I would have been screaming. Now I'm sort of jaded." But I really feel for her when she talks about how lonely she gets. She misses her friends, walking through the park gawking at cute boys, riding the subway. An hour later, though, she's being wrapped in bear hugs by other cast members as she finishes one of her scenes.

When I speak to Claire a few weeks later, she sounds kind of down. She tells me she probably won't be going back to Dalton and her parents are looking for a house in LA. But she's psyched about all these other incredibly cool opportunities: She's spending her break up in Vancouver, shooting Little Women with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon (she plays the ailing, selfless Beth). Claire surprises me a bit with her Zen-like attitude; she says that she's not necessarily losing anything. "I'm just exchanging one reality for another. This," she says, "is my normality now. Besides, the kids at school are all on the teams and they go to the homecomings and that's their whole lives. That's not my reality. You know what I mean?" Yeah. Angela would too.
How could I not watch the show after reading that?!

:D
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

Look, if this is weird for you, being tutored? I don't mind helping you a little longer.
You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?

User avatar
starbug
Lifehead
Posts: 1082
Joined: Jun 25th 2002, 4:51 am
Location: UK

Post by starbug » Sep 11th 2003, 4:48 am

candygirl wrote:
starbug wrote:Before I actually sat down to watch, I felt like it would probably be another 'Dawson's Creek' type experience. Reasonable, but not fantastic. Something to kill the time. I definitely didn't expect it to be as good as it was.
I'm not trying to contradict Starbug's memory, but I just wanted to point out that Dawson's Creek did not air until 1998 (in the US, it premiered almost exactly four years to the date that the last MSCL episode was aired). I distinctly remember this because during the media blitz that occurred before the DC premiere, I read a review that called it "My So-Called Life - without the life," which obviously stuck in my head! When did MSCL air in the UK?
Heh. How did I know you'd pick up on that? :D DC didn't air until after MSCL in the UK, and I was trying to find a way to describe how I felt MSCL might be before I actually watched it. What I was trying to say was the same as DTheatre, that I thought it would be 'teen-barf' in the way that DC is... I just couldn't think of the name of an actual show that I could bracket it with that aired before MSCL so I picked DC as a demonstrator of my state of mind without having an actual tangible example.

What can I say - you're at work, you're in a rush, you haven't had your coffee... your thoughts become fuzzy :morning:

Enter Candy from the wings to note any discrepancies!

:admire:

---------------------------------------------
http://www.urban-hills.blogspot.com
---------------------------------------------

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Sep 11th 2003, 1:49 pm

:oops:

I wasn't trying to bust you starbug!

The only other shows that really portrayed teens at that time (that I recall anyway) were 90210 and Saved by the Bell, which are both amusing in a cheesy fake kind of way but are in no way realistic. Having Sassy (the old Jane Pratt Sassy, before the magazine went to hell the next year - because I didn't believe anything that the new evil Sassy had to say) tell me that MSCL was the anti-90210 was great marketing and made me want to watch it.
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

Look, if this is weird for you, being tutored? I don't mind helping you a little longer.
You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?

User avatar
starbug
Lifehead
Posts: 1082
Joined: Jun 25th 2002, 4:51 am
Location: UK

Post by starbug » Sep 12th 2003, 4:07 am

candygirl wrote::oops:

I wasn't trying to bust you starbug!
I know :)

---------------------------------------------
http://www.urban-hills.blogspot.com
---------------------------------------------

JPP13
Angela's best friend
Posts: 246
Joined: Oct 6th 2002, 3:10 pm

Post by JPP13 » Sep 21st 2003, 10:40 pm

Reference my above post, Lynn actually saw what I wrote and seemed quite touched I credited her. :oops:

Guest

Post by Guest » Sep 22nd 2003, 2:13 am

My babysitter was overly excited about the debut...I was only 10. Obviously I had a hard time relating to the show, it wasn't until years later that I mysteriously stumbled upon the dvd set in my basement. I had a vivid picture of each character, only because I was forced to watch the show as a pre-teen. After truly watching the first episode, these images were greatly altered, as with my understanding of them. I was now viewing the show from the intended angle. I am attached. I will forever reimburse my babysitter with gratitude for giving me my first taste of teenage anguish. Now I understand...

User avatar
Hunee
Between Names
Posts: 155
Joined: Oct 19th 2003, 12:52 am
Location: EARTH!!!
Contact:

Post by Hunee » Oct 22nd 2003, 10:01 pm

well after watching the pilot I was hooked!!! The pilot is probally my favorite episode so the rest just kind of follows... I dont even remember back when it first showed but I do remember watching it on mtv... ALL THE TIME
so make the best of this test, and dont ask why
its not a question, but a lesson learned in time its something unpredictable, but in the end is right i hope you had the time of your life

User avatar
Natasha (candygirl)
MSCL.com Team
MSCL.com Team
Posts: 5374
Joined: Dec 7th 2001, 3:05 am
Location: California

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Oct 23rd 2003, 3:38 am

One of the last good things that MTV did was show MSCL - they know their audience, I'll give them that much.
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

Look, if this is weird for you, being tutored? I don't mind helping you a little longer.
You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?

User avatar
Hunee
Between Names
Posts: 155
Joined: Oct 19th 2003, 12:52 am
Location: EARTH!!!
Contact:

Post by Hunee » Oct 23rd 2003, 3:41 am

probally the best show to hit mtv scince well there are really no good shows on there except for mscl...
so make the best of this test, and dont ask why
its not a question, but a lesson learned in time its something unpredictable, but in the end is right i hope you had the time of your life

Loz_179
Overlooked Sibling
Posts: 35
Joined: Oct 20th 2003, 2:38 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by Loz_179 » Oct 23rd 2003, 8:01 pm

MSCL first aired in 1997 here in oz, and I remember the only reason my friend and I 1st watched it was because her pen friend in the US said it was her favourite show - so we thought we'd give it a try. So our last 2 years of high school were spent quoting and saying stuff like "OMG, he's such a Jordan", with no one else having any idea what we were talking about coz they didn't have cable!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests