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If the logo below isn't lined up, try experimenting with a different font... or something. __ __ |\ /| __ __ | \ / | \ / _|_ \ _|_ \/ so- ___ ___|_ called | | ____ ____ | | | | | | _|__| _|_ |-| |-| _|_ _|__| 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: ftp://ftp.nutecnet.com/pub/wilson/mscl/ * homepage: http://www.umn.edu/nlhome/g564/lask0008/mscl.html 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, alt.tv.my-s-c-life, 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 themselves. Keeping hope alive, Harold Wexler ______________________________________________________________________ 1. THE SO-CALLED HISTORY. 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 premiere. 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. ______________________________________________________________________ 2. THE SO-CALLED EPISODES. 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. ______________________________________________________________________ 3. THE SO-CALLED CAST. 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 Leiter." 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 classics. * 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 Weird_. * 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 Scott!" * 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 Hobbit." 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 Paradise." TV credits as story editor and writer for "thirtysomething." Guest-role as Ms. Krzyzanowski in "My So-Called Life." ______________________________________________________________________ 4. THE SO-CALLED CHARACTERS. ANGELA CHASE: 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. PATRICIA (PATTY) WOOD CHASE: 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. GRAHAM CHASE: 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. DANIELLE CHASE: 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. SHARON CHERSKI: 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. RAYANNE MARIE GRAFF: 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. BRIAN KRAKOW: 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. ENRIQUE (RICKIE) VASQUEZ: 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. JORDAN CATALANO: 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 *** CAMILLE CHERSKI: 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. AMBER VALLONE: 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. KYLE VINNOVICH: Football jock and ex-boyfriend of Sharon. Dates girls for their smiles, not their hooters. Currently a sophomore at Liberty High. CHUCK WOOD: 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. VIVIAN WOOD: Mother of Patty, a.k.a. "The Empress". Likes oregano, and seems to enjoy being a nuisance to Patty and Graham. HALLIE LOWENTHAL: 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. THE CHASE FAMILY CAT: Of the variety felis invisibilus, the cat has been mentioned but never actually seen. TINO: _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 ** MR. RICHARD KATIMSKI: 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. MS. CATHY KRZYZANOWSKI: 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]. MS. RENEE LERNER: 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.") MR. FOSTER: Principal of Liberty High. Not a man to be trifled with. MR. DEMITRI: Social studies teacher. Teaches U.S. History. According to Angela, he's incredibly boring. MS. MARIAN CHAVATAL: The biology teacher. She's the one in the lab coat. MR. RINALDI: Spanish teacher who substituted for English class in "The Zit" [1.5]. Read Kafka's _The Metamorphosis_ to the class. MS. MAYHEW: 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. ______________________________________________________________________ 5. THE SO-CALLED LEGACY. 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 years. 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 run. 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." ______________________________________________________________________ 6. THE SO-CALLED MUSIC. 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 Rickie] 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 scene] 1.12 "Fountain and Fairfax" by Afghan Wigs [Vertigo Club] 1.14 "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones [sung by the Frozen Embryos] 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 ______________________________________________________________________ 7. THE SO-CALLED TRIVIA. 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 producers. 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"