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Archive-name: tv/my-s-c-life-faq
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
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                  _|_ \ _|_  \/ so-
                    ___   ___|_ called
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                     FAQ by Virany Kreng

 * Thanks to that Virany Kreng chick (so cool you drool!) for writing
   the FAQ,   Kory Lasker for the homepage,  Misty Jones (the music
   guru) and Harold Wexler for staying on top of things.

 * ftp site:

 * homepage:

Table Of Contents
 INTRODUCTION by Harold Wexler

   I. The So-Called History - It's history (take that either way)
  II. The So-Called episodes - Airdates and titles
 III. The So-Called Cast - Who's Who on the show.
  IV. The So-Called Characters - Information on the characters (duh^2)
   V. The So-Called Legacy - The "anti"-90210
  VI. The So-Called Music - Play that funky mscl music
 VII. The So-Called Trivia - Everything you might not want to know


INTRODUCTION by Harold Wexler

This newsgroup,, is devoted to discussing, 
analyzing, and celebrating the all-too-brief history of one of the 
best dramatic series in the history of television:  MY SO-CALLED LIFE.

It didn't start out that way, of course, when the group first came 
into existence in February of 1995.  Oh, the discussion, analysis, and 
celebration were present from the beginning, all right, but the most
important goal of the group was to be a significant part of the assive
grass-roots effort to attempt to save the show from cancellation.  As
you probably know, that effort didn't work; ABC officially cancelled
MSCL on May 16, 1995.  (However, MTV will be showing the 
original episodes for the next two years.)

But the newsgroup has taken on a life of its own, providing a forum 
for MSCL devotees to discuss their favorite (and least favorite) 
characters and episodes, to exchange ideas, to get to know each other, 
to mourn what might have been, to exult in what was.  To remember that 
while MY SO-CALLED LIFE was on the air, in the words of Angela and 
Rayanne, "We had a time", and to keep that time going.  And most of 
all, to ensure that MSCL will not be forgotten.

Skeptics may ask, "How can you hope to sustain a newsgroup for a show
that only produced 19 episodes and isn't coming back with new ones?"
The proper response to that is simply, "If you have to ask, you 
haven't seen it."  This FAQ, the work of Virany Kreng,  is the best 
introduction to the show that I know of, short of the actual episodes 

Keeping hope alive,

Harold Wexler



On Thursday, August 25th, 1994, at 8 p.m. PST, "My so-called Life"
aired after more than a year of languishing in programming limbo
at ABC.

The first show of the new fall season to air, MSCL's debut had been a
long-anticipated event.  The pilot for the show was shot in January of
1993, and shown to the Powers That Be in April.  The buzz was good:
here, at last, was a thoughtful drama told from the perspective of a
15-year-old girl.  Produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, the
creative team that helmed the successful "thirtysomething" series,
MSCL looked as if it would generate the same praise and adulation its
predecessor had.  ABC's usually unflappable programmers reportedly
flipped for the pilot.  Ted Harbert, president of ABC's Entertainment
division, said, "Not since 'Moonlighting' has there been a show that
when the rough cut comes in, the place stops."

In early May, the call from up above came down: ABC had reserved 6
slots for hourlong series in its fall lineup, and MSCL would not be
one of them.

Their show hadn't made the first cut, but there was a chance that it
could be brought in as a mid-season replacement.  ABC's option on the
show would run out in December.  Zwick and Herskovitz spent the summer
of 1993 waiting for further word.  Finally, on October 7th, ABC green-
lighted 7 more episodes.  But production couldn't resume until January
1994, so there was little chance of MSCL airing any time before March.

If the in-house buzz was good before, it was even better now.  On
October 24th, _The New York Times_ featured an article on the show and
ABC programmers' indecision over the MSCL time slot.  By February, the
word around town was that MSCL would be The Drama To Watch.
_Newsweek_ gave it a thumbs up, deeming Herskovitz and Zwick "the best
(and brightest) the medium has. [...] They try to make TV forget its
only teevee."  When _Rolling Stone_ came out with its Hot Issue, MSCL
merited a mention as Hot TV Show: "[W]e wait for the inevitable
moralizing conclusion -- or at least a public-service announcement.
But it never comes."  All this before the pilot had even aired.

So, why didn't MSCL make it anywhere into the 1993-1994 season?  The
problem, according to Harbert, was that programmers couldn't figure
out the right spot for the show.  The traditionally family-oriented 8
p.m. time slot would draw younger viewers, but ABC felt the show might
be too sophisticated, provocative, and "agonizingly honest" for that
audience.  On the other hand, at 10 p.m. the show might capture the
adult audience, who could relate to the ordeal of the Chase parents,
but that would mean sacrificing most of the potential younger viewing
audience.  The logical compromise would be a 9 p.m. assignment, but
ABC was completely booked at 9:00 -- except for Thursdays.
Programmers nixed trying that slot, which would have pitted the newbie
MSCL against the NBC blockbuster "Seinfeld."

Instead, they gave MSCL the only spot they could come up with: sitting
on a shelf, waiting in the wings for its own spot in the '94-'95 fall
season.  Rather than giving it a late spring tryout, Harbert decided
MSCL would fare better in its own 8 p.m. slot on Thursday nights.
("Missing Persons" was axed, as was its mid-season replacement, "The
Byrds of Paradise.")  Hoping to catch the attention of young viewers
before school resumed, late August was set for the the long-awaited

Throughout June and July, ABC ran a batch of promos for MSCL,
depicting the show as an honest, non-90210 portrayal of the teenage
experience. The commercial voice-overs informed listeners that
_Rolling Stone_ had named MSCL the best new show of the season.
Anticipation was high.  ABC hoped for another "thirtysomething"-sized
hit on their hands, and the MSCL team was eager to present their baby
to the world.  All that was left was for the show to premiere.

It did just that, on August 25th.  Critics gave the show generally
positive reviews, and even the detractors were praising star Claire
Danes for her dead-on portrayal of Everyteen.  In an otherwise
unremarkable season,  reviewers embraced the originality and
authenticity MSCL had to offer.  Now if only the Nielsen families
could do the same...  Showing their faith in MSCL, ABC ordered six
more episodes, the first of which aired Oct. 27th.  The network later
ordered four additional episodes, bringing the total to 19 episodes,
just 4 under a complete season.  Recognizing the series' unique spin,
the Viewers for Quality Television recently added MSCL to its
Qualified Support list.  Operation Life Support, an organization of
fans dedicated to generating support for MSCL,  was organized in
November by Steve Joyner and Robyn Landis.

_People Magazine_ listed MSCL in their "Best of Tube" list in its
year-end issue.  Claire was also included in it's section on "New
Faces."  _Time_ mentioned MSCL in their best of TV section, as have
many other noteworthy newspapers and magazines.  On Dec. 22nd, Golden
Globe nominations were announced, and our own Claire Danes received
MSCL's only nod, as Best Actress (Drama).  She faced stiff competition
from Kathy Baker ("Picket Fences") and Angela Lansbury ("Murder, She
Wrote"), and (no) competition  from Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine
Woman") and Heather Locklear ("Melrose Place").   Danes won the award.

On Dec. 5th, ABC delivered the first bit of crushing news: after
the last of the new episodes airs in January, MSCL would go on hiatus
-- a word often associated with, but not necessarily synonymous for
cancellation.  Despite the rave reviews, MSCL was one of ABC's worst
rated programs.   Harbert stressed that the show was a "strong
candidate" for renewal, but his reluctance to give MSCL the support it
deserved was not a good sign.  It's the kind of thing that makes fans
cry, and many of us actually have.   On May 15th,  1995,  ABC handed
MSCL it's final blow.

MTV is currently airing the 19 episodes of MSCL on Saturday nights and
at 5pm ET in the afternoons.



Except where noted, MSCL aired on ABC Thursdays at 8 p.m. PST/EST and
at 7 p.m. CDT.

Episode  Air Date     Title
 1.1     08-25-94     My So-Called Life (Pilot)
 1.2     09-01-94     Dancing in the Dark
 1.3     09-08-94     Guns and Gossip
 1.4     09-15-94     Father Figures
 1.5     09-22-94     The Zit
 1.6     09-29-94     The Substitute
 1.7     10-06-94     Why Jordan Can't Read
 1.8     10-20-94     Strangers in the House
 1.9     10-27-94     Halloween
 1.10    11-04-94     Other People's Daughters
 1.11    11-11-94     Life of Brian
 1.12    11-18-94     Self-Esteem
 1.13    12-01-94     Pressure
 1.14    12-08-94     On the Wagon
 1.15    12-22-94     So-Called Angels
 1.16    01-05-95     Resolutions
 1.17    01-12-95     Betrayal
 1.18    01-19-95     Weekend
 1.19    01-26-95     In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

* WRITERS: Winnie Holzman, Justin Tanner,  Betsy Thomas. Jason Katims,
Liberty Godshall,  Jill Gordon, Richard Kramer,  Ellen Herman,
Elizabeth Gill.

* DIRECTORS: Scott Winant,  Marshall Herskovitz,  Mark Rosner, Victor
DuBois, Ellen S. Pressman, Piznarski, Ron Lagomarsino, Claudia Weill,
Todd Holland, Michael Engler, Jeff Perry.



The MSCL regulars were:

       BESS ARMSTRONG as               Patty Chase
       WILSON CRUZ                     Rickie Vasquez
       CLAIRE DANES                    Angela Chase
       DEVON GUMMERSALL                Brian Krakow
       A.J. LANGER                     Rayanne Graff
       JARED LETO                      Jordan Catalano
       DEVON ODESSA                    Sharon Cherski
       LISA WILHOIT                    Danielle Chase
       and TOM IRWIN                   Graham Chase

also   SENTA MOSES as                  Delia Fischer
       LISA WALTZ                      Hallie Lowenthal
       JEFF PERRY                      Richard Katimski
       KAREN MALINA WHITE              Abyssinia Churchill
       ADAM BIESK                      Corey Hellfrick
       PATTI D'ARBANVILLE-QUINN        Amber Vallone

Guest starring:

       MARY KAY PLACE                  Camille Cherski
       PAUL DOOLEY                     Chuck Wood
       BARBARA BAIN                    Vivian Wood
       DANTON STONE                    Neil Chase
       JOHNNY GREEN                    Kyle Vinnovich
       SHANNON LETO                    Shane
       BENNET GUILLORY                 Principal Foster
       WINNIE HOLZMAN                  Ms. Krzyzanowski
       MARGARET NAGEL                  Ms. Chavatal
       MAY QUIGLEY                     Ms. Lerner
       STANLEY DESANTIS                Mr. Demitri
       NANA DESPOTOVICH                Ms. Mayhew
       DEL ZAMORA                      Mr. Renaldi

Note: The newsgroup is an excellent source for tracking of the cast's
      current projects and appearances.

CLAIRE DANES - Youngest of two children, born in New York to her
painter/teacher mother and computer consultant father.  Started
studying modern dance at age six, and still studies it; at nine took
acting class at Lee Strasberg Studio; attended Professional Performing
Arts School in New York.  Likes gymnastics, humanities, science, and
more recently, surfing (she's currently hanging in L.A., dude).

* Credits:
    Stage appearances in "Happiness," "Punk Ballet," "Kids on Stage."
    TV appearances as a guest star in "Law and Order," "No Room For
    Opal," and a key role in cable film "The Coming Out of Heidi
    Film appearances in _Dreams of Love_, _Thirty_ (short film), The
    Pesky Suitor_ (film festival short), and _Little Women_
    (major studio film!).
* Birthday: April 12, 1979.

BESS ARMSTRONG - A popular film and TV actress.  Married (to film
producer John Fiedler) with children (two sons, ages 6 and 2-1/2).
Born in Baltimore Maryland, middle of five children; parents were both
teachers.  Attended Bryn Mawr School for Girls for 14 years; graduated
from Brown University with a double degree in theater arts and the

* Credits:
     Stage appearances include Jules Feiffer's "Knock, Knock."
     TV appearances include series "On Our Own," "All is Forgiven,"
     and "Married People," the miniseries "Lace," and the recent
     telefilm "Take Me Home Again" with Kirk Douglas.
     Film appearances include _The Four Seasons_, _Nothing in Common_,
    _The High Road to China_, _Jaws 3-D_, and _Dream Lover_.
* Birthday: Dec. 11

TOM IRWIN - A native Illinoisan, born in Peoria.  Attended Illinois
     State University.  Joined Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre
     Company.  Continues to act in and direct plays for the company.
     Lives in Chicago and L.A., with two cats, Michael Jordan and
     Frances Glass.  Avid basketball fan of the Chicago Bulls and the
     less successful Los Angeles Clippers.

* Credits:
     Stage appearances (there are lots) include Steppenwolf
     productions of "The Grapes of Wrath" as the narrator ragman,
     "Love Letters" with Laurie Metcalf, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,"
     "Frank's Wild Years,"  and "My Thing of Love."
     TV appearances include the starring role in ABC's critically
     acclaimed but short-lived series "My Life and Times."  Telefilms
     include "In the Best Interest of the Child," "To My Daughter,"
     and a recent one with Jennie Garth [what was its name?].
     Film appearances include _Mr. Jones_, _Deceived_, _Midnight Run_,
    _Light of Day_, and _Men Don't Leave_.
* Birthday: June 1

JARED LETO - Born in Bossier City, LA.  First job at 12 as a
dishwasher; at sixteen he became a doorman. Enrolled at University of
the Arts in Philadelphia to study painting; transferred to the School
of Visual Arts in New York to study filmmaking; in March 1992 moved to
L.A. to pursue acting.

* Credits:
    TV appearances include guest spots on "The Torkelsons" and "Camp
    Wilder."   Also, a starring role in Showtime's "The Cool and the
    Crazy" directed by Ralph Bakshi.
    Also directed and starred in a film entitled _Crying Joy_ while in
    film school.
*Birthday: Dec. 26, 197?

A.J. LANGER - A native Ohioan who moved to L.A. at five.  A.J. stands
for Allison Joy; the nickname comes from being the only girl in little
league.  An algebra teacher suggested acting after A.J. was elected
student-body president in 9th grade.  Likes reading the sports
section, hiking, camping and fishing.  Also creates one-of-a-kind
necklaces, picture frames, and decorative pieces as gifts.  Lives in
the San Fernando Valley.

* Credits:
    TV appearances include the Fox series "Drexell's Class" and
    noteworthy guest starring roles on "The Wonder Years," "In the
    Heat of the Night, "Blossom," "Baywatch," "Parker Lewis Can't
    Lose," and  even "90210."
    Film appearances include a starring role in Wes Craven's _The
    People Under the Stairs_ and in _You Thought Your Parents Were
* Birthday: May 22, 1972

WILSON CRUZ - New Yorker who moved to San Bernadino, CA with his
Puerto Rican family when he was 10.  Eldest of three brothers.  Sang
and toured with Young Americans.  Featured in shows at Disneyland,
Disney World, and Sea World/Orlando.  Graduated from Eisenhower High
School and pursued a double major in English and theater before
joining MSCL.  Plays saxophone and collects vintage photos of actors.

 * Credits:
    Stage appearances include "Cradle of Fire," "Supporting Cast," and
    a number of Shakespearean productions.
    TV appearances include a recurring role in the Fox series "Great
* Birthday: Dec. 27, 1973

DEVON ODESSA - A native West Virginian brought up on a farm.  Moved to
New Orleans, then to Los Angeles.  Graduated from Notre Dame High
School (Sherman Oaks, CA).  Likes dancing, horseback riding, tennis,
rollerblading, and cooking.  Has three dogs and two cats.  Splits her
time between her home in Parkersburg WV, and the San Fernando Valley.

* Credits:
     Stage appearances include "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "The
     TV appearances include a recurring role as Dana on "Angel Falls."
     Guest starring roles include "The Wonder Years," "Full House,"
    "Step By Step," and "The Facts of Life."  Also, the telefilms
    "Girl of the Limberlost" and the Herskovitz-Zwick production
    "Extreme Close-Up."
     Film debut in _Pumpkinhead_.
* Birthday: Jan. 18, 1974

DEVON GUMMERSALL - Born in Colorado, middle son of three boys.  Father
is artist C. Gregory Gummersall.  Moved to Los Angeles area.  Did
commercials at 10.  Currently a 10th grader.  Likes poetry,
literature, J.D. Salinger,  and sports.  Has a German shepherd named
Nick and a cat named Feisty.

* Credits:
    TV appearances include guest starring roles in "Dr. Quinn,
    Medicine Woman," "Step By Step," "Dream On," and "Blossom."
    Film appearances in _My Girl II_ and _Beethoven's 2nd_.
* Birthday: Oct. 15, 1978

LISA WILHOIT - Native Los Angelena.  Third generation of a show-biz
family.  Grandfather scored TV music, father is a sound effects
editor, and her cousins are the twin boys on "Full House."  At five,
trained in gymnastics; at ten, did stunt work on "Hook."  An honors
student and Girl Scout.  Takes dance classes, and likes bowling, ice
skating, Thai food, and UB40. Owns collections of frogs, music boxes,
seashells, nutcrackers.  Lives in San Fernando Valley with three cats,
a bird, and lotsa frogs.

* Credits:
     TV appearance in "Talking with T.J."
     Film debut as Baby Tinkerbell in _Hook_.  Voice-overs in films
     such as _When a Man Loves a Woman_, _Fearless_, _Home Alone 2_,
     and _Searching for Bobby Fisher_.
* Birthday: July 30, 198?

WINNIE HOLZMAN - Born in New York City, raised in Long Island.
Graduated from Princeton University with a major in English and a
concentration in creative writing.  Won many poetry awards, including
the Academy of American Poets Prize.  Studied acting at The Circle in
The Square Theatre School;  joined the N.Y.U. Musical Theatre Program.
Joined the "thirty-something" writing staff in 1989, writing 9
episodes during her 2 seasons. Married to actor Paul Dooley (Chuck
Wood!); they have an 8-year-old daughter named Savannah, and live in
the San Fernando Valley.

* Credits:
   Stage writing credits include "Serious Bizness," and "Birds of
   TV credits as story editor and writer for "thirtysomething."
   Guest-role as Ms. Krzyzanowski in "My So-Called Life."



15-year-old adolescent in search of her True Identity.  Used to be
close with her parents, esp. with her father Graham.  Former best
friend to Sharon, who has known her all her life and was a fellow Girl
Scout.  Currently hangs with Rickie and Rayanne, occasionally Jordan.
Prone to daydreaming about Jordan.  Kissed 4 times in her life.  Hates
fondue, worships Anne Frank.  Writes poems about greenery for English
class.  Likes Porno for Pyros, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the
Machine, Stone Temple Pilots, Billie Holliday, R.E.M., Crowded House,
The Frozen Embryos, and _The Bicycle Thief_.  Often  referred to as
"the girl with the red hair."  Was seeing Jordan for a while, but
broke up over, er, philosophical differences.  Currently a sophomore
at Liberty High.

Mother of Angela and Danielle, wife and former employer of Graham,
daughter of Vivian, and best friend of Camille.  A baby-boomer in
search of her True Identity.  Adopted by Vivian and Chuck Wood.  Once
tried to find her natural parents.  Went to high school with Camille
and Graham, never met him there.  Queen of her class, a popular pretty
girl who hung out with all the right people.  The prom was postponed
when she had her appendix out, according to Graham.  Had a roommate
incollege who died of a drug overdose.  Currently runs Wood and Jones
printing, which she took over after Chuck took ill.

40-year-old Baby Boomer in search of his Place in Life.  Father of
Danielle and Angela, husband and former employee of Patty, older
brother of Neil. His mother's dead.  A Deadhead, aspiring chef,
near-adultere, wallpaper expert, and constantly-befuddled
"In-touch-with-his-emotions" Dad.  Was tight with Angela before her
breasts came between them.  Still outdistanced by his wife's
intelligence.  Fired from Wood and Jones Printing for his own good.
Was unemployed or semi-retired for a while; currently teaches
intermediate cooking classes for continuing education.

Perpetually unnoticed 10-year-old Chase daughter.  A Girl Scout in
search of someone to buy her cookies.  Once had a crush on Brian.
Does a great impression of Angela.  Excels in gymnastics and talking
without people hearing.  May actually have a love life at school.

Perpetually perky wearer of pink.  The school good girl. Daughter of
Camille and Andy, ex-girlfriend of Kyle, and former best friend of
Angela.  Has known Angela all her life, surviving Girl Scouts and a
tonsillectomy together. Oboe player, yearbook staffer, World Happiness
Dance organizer, Teen Hotline volunteer.  Voted Best Hooters in the
sophomore class. "Miss Perfect," she even flosses after meals.  Made
upwith Angela after Andy's heart attack.  Friends with Rayanne, though
neither will admit it.  Likes Buffalo Tom.  Lost her virginity to
Kyle.  Currently a sophomore at Liberty High.

Daughter of Amber, best friend of Angela and Rickie.  Her father split
when she was very young.  Can't take care of herself but watches out
for Rickie and Angela.  Shows up for classes she's not in.  Voted Most
Slut Potential in the sophomore class.  Weakness for scumbags,
security guards, and guys who generally make us cringe.  Afraid of the
dark.  Takes to liquor like me to Skittles, but won't remember a thing
the next day.  Had her stomach  pumped after near OD; lived clean and
sober for more than 33 days, then fell off the wagon after disastrous
attempt at singing lead vocals for Frozen Embryos/Between Names.
Likes Sesame Street and the Grateful Dead.  Currently a sophomore at
Liberty High until someone starts taking attendance.

Resident school genius.  Surprisingly perceptive, but a complete dufus
in all-important extracurricular matters of the heart.  Jewish.
Behavioral psychologist mother (Berniece) and Freudian psychiatrist
father (Bob). Older sister is married and lives in Denver.  Yearbook
photographer, school band's flute and sax player.  Social outcast, and
not-so-secret admirer of neighbor and longtime acquaintance Angela.
Left-handed.  Only person who seems to do the assignments.  Bonded
with fellow outcast Rickie, spent a night (so to speak) with Rayanne,
and blew a good thing with Delia.  Currently a sophomore at Liberty
High taking calculus and a triple minor.

Resident bisexual romantic.  Best friend of Angela and Rayanne, good
friend of Brian.  Once had a crush on Jordan, and was interested in
Cory.  Half Hispanic and half Black.  Tries to protect Rayanne from
self-destructing. So sensitive it hurts (and so do we). Knows a lot
about sewing.  Lives with an abusive uncle he considers his father.
Has a tendency to get beaten up but won't talk about it.  A devout
Catholic and a great dancer.  Loses his voice when really nervous.  A
southpaw.  Recently joined the drama club. Currently a sophomore at
Liberty High.  Admitted to himself that he was homosexual,  not
bi-sexual,  in the first season's final episode.

Resident enigmatic loner.  Left back two years, probably due to his
difficulty reading.  Part Italian.  Interested in Angela.  Ditches
virtually every class but PE and shop, and now English.  Sings, plays
guitar, and writes songs for The Frozen Embryos.  Really loves his
car.  Can get you a fake ID.  Smokes, leans, and blinks with the best
of them.  Used to get a beating from his father before he fought back
and threw a chair at him.  Currently a junior at Liberty High.

*** Recurring/Important Characters ***

Mother of Sharon, wife of Andy, best friend of Patty.  Has known Patty
forever.  Close to Sharon, even did that Mother-Daughter fashion show
thing together.

Free-spirited appetizer-loving ex-hippie mother of Rayanne.  Reads
Tarot cards and didn't lose any sleep over Rayanne's "casual" drinking
and drugging before the near-OD.  A Deadhead and one-time wharf rat.
May have given up a baby in a past life.  Once served a BLT to Bob
Dylan.  Currently working as an X-ray technician and dating Rusty, a
Vietnam vet.  Reads Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Football jock and ex-boyfriend of Sharon.  Dates girls for their
smiles, not their hooters.  Currently a sophomore at Liberty High.

Father of Patty, husband of Vivian.  Quit Wood and Jones Printing when
he had a stroke in 1992.  Ran the business for 30 years.  Currently
"retired" and dodging the IRS.

Mother of Patty, a.k.a. "The Empress".  Likes oregano,  and seems to
enjoy being a nuisance to Patty and Graham.

Student in Graham's cooking class.  Completely uninhibited and free-
speaking.  Was engaged to rich guy Brad, who suggested she take
classes because she can't cook worth a damn.  Currently sells
advertising time, but interested in starting a restaurant with Graham
as chef.

Of the variety felis invisibilus, the cat has been mentioned but never
actually seen.

_The_ Guy to Know at Liberty High.  May or may not be a student.
Throws big parties.  Friend of Jordan.  Has yet to be seen in an
episode, though his presence is always felt.  Recently quit post as
lead singer of The Frozen Embryos.

** The Liberty High Teachers **

The new English teacher (Rickie and Rayanne's period and moderator of
the Drama club.  Master of...strange pauses mid-sentence.   He is
sheltering Ricky at his apartment.

Rayanne's drug counselor.  Also, teacher of some class none of the
main characters are in.  Substituted for English class (Angela,
Jordan, and Brian's period) in "Father Figures" [1.4].

Angela's geometry teacher, who subbed for English until Mr. Katimski
was hired.  Dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi for Halloween (though nobody got
the joke).  Was interested in Mr. Katimski.  (Was "Mrs. Lerner" until
1.9 when she was listed as "Ms. Lerner.")

Principal of Liberty High.  Not a man to be trifled with.

Social studies teacher.  Teaches U.S. History.  According to Angela,
he's incredibly boring.

The biology teacher.  She's the one in the lab coat.

Spanish teacher who substituted for English class in "The Zit" [1.5].

Read Kafka's _The Metamorphosis_ to the class.

The English teacher and yearbook moderator seen only in the pilot.
She quits her job sometime after that, and the havoc this causes is
seen in later episodes.



When "thirtysomething" ended its highly successful, critically
acclaimed run in 1991, ABC was eager to keep the show's producers, Ed
Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, from wandering to some other network.
The two were signed to produce three pilots for ABC over the next five

For a new series, Herskovitz and Zwick approached Winnie Holzman about
collaborating with them.  Holzman, once a prize-winning poet and a New
York playwright, had previously worked with the two on
"thirtysomething."   For the show's last two seasons, she had made her
presence felt as a writer, story editor, and a co-executive producer.
The three brainstormed on ideas for a new show, and eventually the
trio came up with the idea of portraying the teenage experience from a
teenager's point of view.  They wanted to present something other than
what Zwick called "television's fatuous, inaccurate depiction of what
teenage life is."

Think of it as the anti-90210.  Unlike that series, MSCL would have no
conveniently packaged all-around happy endings, no self-righteous
moralizing about current popular social issues, and no nauseatingly
beautiful people running amuck in shiny convertibles.

To get a feel for the teenage psyche and lingo, Holzman, credited as
the guiding voice of MSCL, went undercover at high schools and wrote
make-believe diary entries.  Holzman wrote the pilot in addition to
some of the following episodes, and is credited as both creator and
co-executive producer.

The other co-executive producer, Scott Winant, was brought in to
direct the pilot episode.  Another alumnus of "thirtysomething",
Winant had served as that show's sole producer during its four year

Reviews have noted many similarities between "thirtysomething" and
MSCL.  Both present believable characters with real problems they
often have no clue how to solve.  Both center on identity crises at
life's major turning points.  Perhaps _Newsweek_ best summed up the
likeness between the two series:

"Like 'thirtysomething' this hour-long series charts a troubled
 passage through a generational time zone, heavy on self-absorption
 and self-doubt, packed with those small, seemingly mundane moments
 that reveal complex emotional truths."



The songs featured in MSCL are more like supporting characters than
just background fillers.  The lyrics often fit the moment perfectly,
and the music usually complements the atmosphere of the scene.

These are songs that have been used in MSCL.  Where possible, the
scenes you can hear the songs in have been indicated, along with the
episode number.  This has been compiled with much help from the MSCL
list and MSCL Music Guru Misty Jones.

 1.1    Some song by Animalbag [band at Tino's party]
 1.1    "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls [on the TV Jordan watches]
 1.1    "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. [Angela returns from the rave]
 1.2    "Cruel Swing" by Jawbox [in Jordan's car]
 1.3    "Dreams" by the Cranberries [in Angela's room]
 1.4    "Althea" by the Grateful Dead [Graham repairs the roof]
 1.4    "Palomine" by Bettie Serveert [In Ang's bedroom]
 1.5    "Return to Innocence" by Enigma [the fashion show]
 1.6    "What About Your Friends?" by TLC [just before Vic shows up]
 1.7    "Red" by W.G. Snuffy Walden/Winnie Holzman [Jordan's song]
 1.7    "Sodajerk" by Buffalo Tom [Sharon and Kyle in the hall]
 1.9    "Johnny Angel" by Shelley Fabares (?) [in the gym]
 1.9    "Blue Moon" by Elvis Presley [with Nicky, and hummed by
 1.10  "Fall Down" by Toad the Wet Sprocket [parking lot scene]
 1.10  "Spin the Bottle" by Juliana Hatfield Trio [before the party]
 1.10  "Down About It" by the Lemonheads [at the party]
 1.10  "Dame With a Rod" by Juliana Hatfield Trio [at the party]
 1.11  "South Carolina" by Archers of Loaf [Jordan's car radio]
 1.11  "Dawn Can't Decide" by the Lemonheads [at the school dance]
 1.11  "Dropout" by Urge Overkill [at the dance]
 1.11  "Pressure" by Sunscreem [at the dance]
 1.11  "What is Love?" by Haddaway [Rickie and Delia's dance]
 1.11  "Try" by Billy Pilgrim [last song at the dance]
 1.12  "Soda Jerk" by Buffalo Tom [performed live]
 1.12  "Late at Night" by Buffalo Tom [performed live and closing
 1.12  "Fountain and Fairfax" by Afghan Wigs [Vertigo Club]
 1.14  "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones [sung by the Frozen
 1.14  "Sesame Street Theme Song" [sung by Rayanne]
 1.15  "Make It Home" by Juliana Hatfield [sung by J.H. as the angel]
 1.15  "I Feel Like Going Home" by ? [sung by the Inner Voices church]
 1.17 "Blister in the Sun" - Violent Femmes (Ang's bedroom dance)
 1.17 "Genetic" - Sonic Youth (Rayanne and Jordan at "Louie's")*
 1.18 "The Book Song" - Frente! (in Ang's bedroom)*
 1.18 "I Alone" - Live (in Patty and Graham's bedroom)

The MSCL soundtrack "Music from the TV Series 'My So-Called Life'" was
released on 1/24/95 by Atlantic/Mammoth Records.  The song list is:

 "Make it Home" -- Juliana Hatfield
 "Soda Jerk" -- Buffalo Tom
 "Genetic" -- Sonic Youth
 "Petty Core" -- Further
 "Drop A Bomb" -- Madder Rose
 "Fountain and Fairfax" -- Afghan Wigs
 "South Carolina" -- Archers of Loaf
 "Dawn Can't Decide" -- The Lemonheads
 "The Book Song" -- Frente
 "Come See Me Tonight" -- Daniel Johnston
 "My So-Called Life" theme song -- W.G. Snuffy Walden



Miscellaneous questions and answers.

What possible "in-jokes" have the MSCL crew used on the show? The two
names frequently listed as assistants to the co-exec producers are
Jenifer Catalano and Diane Driscoll.  Two characters have shared last
names with them: Jordan Catalano and Nicky Driscoll (dead kid from
"Halloween").  Similarly, Mr. Katimski's name could be a play on story
editor Jason Katims' name.  One of the recurring "in-jokes" can be
found in most of the Bathroom.

  Scenes.  If you look closely at the graffiti, you might see among
  the various scrawl, "A.J. + Chris" in any of various forms,
  including "A.J.L. + C.F.S." [1.3] which leaves little doubt that
  this is some reference to A.J. and some real-life honey of hers.
  (See episodes 3, 5,  6, 8, and 10.)

  In "The Zit", Brooke Kennedy is listed on the Sophomore hot sheet as
  having the best laugh.  Brooke Kennedy is one of the show's

  Nepotism or coincidence?  In "Strangers in the House" the doctor is
  played by Bruce Winant, who may or may not be related to
  co-executive producer Scott Winant.  Also, the sergeant in
  "So-Called Angels" was  played by Bob Katims, possibly a relation to
  story editor and episode co-writer Jason Katims?  And of course,
  Chuck is played by character actor Paul Dooley, who is married to
  creator Winnie Holzman; Shane Leto is probably related to Jared.

  In "Self-Esteem", look carefully at the names on the Drama Club
  signup sheet when Enrique signs it.  Two of the names above his are
  Nancy Jacobs (first assistant director) and Diane Kelly (Diane
  Durant-Kelley is the script supervisor).  [Who are Ron Ripplemeyer
  and June Rogers?!]

The following works have been referred to, quoted, or featured:

   The Diary of Anne Frank (Anne Frank)
   The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Malcolm X)
   The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka)
   Sonnet 130 (William Shakespeare)
   Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
   As You Like It (William Shakspeare)
   Cat's Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

What's all this talk about cats, basements, and sweaters?

  At least two episodes have made reference to a Chase family cat...
  but we have yet to see said feline.  Dennis suggested the cat is off
  somewhere hanging with Tino and Brian's parents.

  In "The Substitute," Patty and Graham wonder if Angela could have
  possibly written the (in)famous "Haiku For Him" poem.  Patty
  dismisses the idea, saying, "We don't even _have_ a basement."  Fast
  forward to "Life of Brian," and the opening scenes in the Chase
  home, where  Graham goes searching for wallpaper.  Says Patty, "I
  can't do braids  in a basement."

  There appears to be a glitch in the editing of "Self-Esteem"; watch
  Angela's clothes carefully in the scene after Jordan tells her to
  keep their meetings a secret.  She goes from wearing one sweater to
  another top.  Peculiar.

"We had a time"

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM