I’ll Stand by You – My Devotion to My So-Called Life

Ed. Note: Our “Love Story” feature encourages writers to tell the story behind their love for their favorite movie, band, or television show. Today, Kat writes about My So-Called Life.

I like, LOVE, My So-Called Life.

If rolling film credits signaled the end of my adolescent years, I know My So-Called Life would have been reported as being a key contributor. In the ‘90s, I shed my cartoonish, energetic and parentally enforced attire from the previous decade and embraced my own unkempt version of a faded slacker sheath. Through my undeveloped lens, MSCL primarily focused on the confusing, volatile and angst framed teenage years, which was something I could relate to. Observing now, I feel strongly that this show is for everyone. I believe adults, pre-teens and adolescents can appreciate and connect with the authentic character relationships and insights imparted on this show.

For me, MSCL was my first full commitment to a fictional show with credible characters confronting meaningful, real life scenarios and subjects including: physical body changes, relationships (romantic and platonic), sexual orientation, addiction, gun violence, and abuse. Personally, the astute wisdom provided in this show steered me through most of my dysfunctional youth, and I especially related to the parts that addressed sexual identity and hormonal impulses. Of course, I wouldn’t be prepared to leap out of the closet or begin throwing myself toward anyone until my cautiously experimental college years. Regardless, I appreciated the advice.


Watching My So-Called Life also helped soften the resentment I chucked toward middle-class families. As part of my understanding and maturation into a compassionate being, I believe it was crucial for me to see a middle-class family dealing with some of the same issues I faced in my household. I needed to see that outwardly immaculate families held fissures of imperfection. And the MSCL creators exposed those fissures with their rendering of Angela Chase’s home environment. Even though the Chase family had their critical needs met, they still experienced relationship turmoil and ordinary human anguish. I realized that no matter the financial circumstances or level of comfort—cohabitation in general has the potential to be a prescription for frustration, annoyance, and hurt feelings as well as moments of uplifting affection. Observably, placing an assortment of personalities into one house is like shoving extra crayons into an already jam-packed box. Eventually that box will burst apart.

My So-Called Life is an old, reliable and loved companion that helped sculpt the person I am today—and I will forever stand by that. With all of the wonderful changes and challenges in life, I desire a few things to remain the same. I expect tofu to always have a texture like unstable memory foam, I anticipate cake will always be delectable and divine – and I would like for My So-Called Life to be an intrinsic and eternal part of me. On occasion, I will reflect and fondly remember—Rickie’s fierce dance moves, Rayanne’s short-sighted choices, Brian’s exceptional hair, Jordan’s charming locker pose, and Angela’s trembling facial expressions.

Like the duration of the series and Jordan and Angela’s relationship, I end this piece here—rather short and abrupt, but a love affair nonetheless. Now, excuse me while I listen to Buffalo Tom, bundle my melancholy and dilapidated essence in weathered flannel apparel, and lament contemplatively into my coffee. I won’t stay here long.


Read more from Kat here and on Twitter.