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My So-Called Life (ABC 1994-1995, Claire Danes, Jared Leto)

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Jordan Catalano, we hardly knew ye. That was one of the main sources of angst for Angela Chase (Claire Danes), as she moped, fretted and endlessly daydreamed about hooking up with the elusive rebel, Mr. Catalano (Jared Leto).

‘I’m in love. His name is Jordan Catalano. He was left back, twice. Once I almost touched his shoulder in the middle of a pop quiz. He’s always closing his eyes, like it hurts to look at things,’ said Angela. The quote summed up the show’s ability to get inside the head of the average, non-glammed, pre-WB teenage girl.

Fifteen-year-old Angela–whose friends included the equally realistic Rayanne, a wild child who Angela’s parents thought was a bad influence; Brian, the geeky neighbor with an unrequited crush on Angela; and Ricky, the sweet, sensitive, gay best friend and protector of Angela and Rayanne–was, unfortunately, just a little ahead of her time.

While a show like MSCL would most likely thrive among the glut of introspective, Kevin Williamson-esque teen dramas on the air today, the best it could muster during its stunted, 19-episode run was critical praise and a fiercely loyal but small-ish following among the teen set.

One gem that fans can hold on to: In one of the more memorable scenes in teen TV history, Jordan walks hand in hand with Angela down the hallway–a bold PDA on the part of the ultracool bad boy.

production details
USA | ABC | x48 minutes | Broadcast August 25, 1994 – January 26, 1995

Creator: Winnie Holzman

cast
Claire Danes as Angela Chase
Mary Kay Place as Bianca Lawson as Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano
Devon Gummersall as Brian Krakow
A. J. Langer as Rayanne Graff
Wilson Cruz as Enrique Vasquez
Bess Armstrong as Patty Chase
Devon Odessa as Sharon Cherski
Tom Irwin as Graham Chase
Lisa Wilhoit as Danielle Chase