MSCL, not enough real life teen drama?

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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MSCL, not enough real life teen drama?

Post by MYSOCALLEDLIFEDVD » Mar 8th 2006, 2:58 pm

Hey. I hate to always compare MSCL to DEGRASSI, but I just can't help it, lol.

I think that another reason why MSCL could have been cancled early due to low ratings could be that they didn't have enough real life teen drama?

First, don't get me wrong, MSCL did bring some real drama. Like Ricky being bi, Ricky going homeless, a gun going off in school, Rayanne's overdose & drinking & Rayanne sleeping with Jordan, just to name a few. But was this enough?

I am not a huge Degrassi fan. But sometimes when I am up late at 4 and 5 AM waiting for THE N to show it's next MSCL episode, I end up watching Degrassi too.

I have only seen a few Degrassi episodes and all I can say is they REALLY bring the serious teen drama. In only a few episodes I have seen a SCHOOL SHOOTING, and a DATE RAPE episode. They also touch on sensitive issues like racial issues, and black and white dating. They even feature some serious violence. I recently saw an episode where one of the kids who was gay was attacked and brutally beatun up.

Could it be that MSCL didn't provide enough real teen life drama to keep teens interested? Could that be another reason the show didn't have more success!

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Post by nkatsa » Mar 31st 2006, 9:29 pm

i don't like the idea of using a lot of "teen issues." it would've given it a real "this week on a very special episode of..." kind of feeling. i loved the way mscl addressed issues at times without being really heavyhanded or condescending or preachy (ie. seventh heaven. arggh) like an after school special. like the episode of the gun going off in school was excellent, and it talked about the issue realistically, was able to draw fascinating metaphors about what life in school is like on a daily basis (rickie being afraid every day with or without the issue of a gun), and offered no tacked on suddenly-happily-ever-after endings or easy solutions.

also, a lot of shows seem to use "teen issues" as a gimmick. you know, like during sweeps when they have a school shooting episode or a gay character episode or something, and to me it feels a little cheap. I'm glad MSCL never stooped to the lowest common denominator.
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Post by MoonSongs » May 2nd 2006, 12:01 am

Sometimes nothing is a realistic teen issue. I think if the show had too many crucial events taking place every episode, it would be a lot less realistic. And the realism is what makes the show so great and allows people to make more of a connection. I know when I was in highschool, I had a lot of drama, but I didn't have a life altering experience every day.

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Post by dTheater » May 26th 2006, 4:35 pm

They didn't get ratings because they didn't use enough FAKE teen drama, something that was perfected by 90210 and Dawson's Creek. And that's not a compliment to those shows.
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Post by luvjordan » Aug 30th 2006, 11:15 am

What I loved about the show was that is was totally realistic. We've grown accustomed to manufactured drama. The reality is that at 15, the drama you are most likely to encounter is the "he said," "she said" gossipy nonsense (the rumor about A & J having sex), the pain and frustration of being "in love" with someone you have no hope of getting (Brian), not fitting in (Ricky), addiction and being the co-dependent friend of the addicted (Rayanne & Ricky), sexuality and sex (all of them), the fear of your family falling apart (Angela), basically everything that the MSCL characters encountered. I think what made the whole thing watchable is that you could relate to the characters. We all know a Brian, a Jordan, or a Rayanne. More likely, we probably have known all of them over the course of our schooling, depending on how old you are. At nearly 40, I watch the show and remember people I went to school with who were these same characters and having been an Angela, I remember feeling all the things she describes. Totally relatable.

Degrassi is, in my opinion, contrived and sensationalist. My teenage stepdaughter loved this show and I couldn't be more disturbed by that. She liked MSCL, but of course, Degrassi was more exciting. I can honestly say that the behaviour and attitudes of some of the characters on that show seriouly influenced her behaviour and not in a positive way. I found that MSCL, on the other hand, had somewhat timeless themes with teenagers doing, for the most part, what teenagers do and Angela, while rebelling, still holding fast to her priciples (waiting to have sex, distancing herself from Rayanne after the OD incident, standing up to Jordan about hiding the relationship). I recognize that times have changed in 13 year s(wow, it's been a long time), but watching MSCL today, I don't see a whole lot that's dated. Teenage sex and addiction, divorce rates, and tolerance/accpetance for gays are all in a difference place than they were during the run of the show, but I don't think 1994 and 2007 are exactly lightyears apart.

Overall, MSCL is superior show. As far as why they got such low ratings, I believe it was because they were up against some real heavy hitters on the other networks. I can't recall what shows they were, but there's a thread on here somewhere that discusses the competition. They were really unfairly matched. The show didn't have enough exposure to build a strong enough following before the end of the season. Good ratings may not have saved it anyway, given the fact that two of the main characters (A&J) wanted to persue film and were ready to leave. Besides, if it had continued to a satisfactory conclusion, we wouldn't have all this great fan fiction to obsess over. :D
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