Riese’s Team Pick: My So-Called Life on Your Teevee

My So-Called Life premieres tonight on the Sundance Channel, which, if you think about it? Is really like, retro or something. They haven’t a made new episodes? But there’s all these old ones around. I guess it’s… comforting, maybe?

“We love My So-Called Life because it’s both substantive and engaging,” Sarah Barnett, Sundance general manager and executive vp, said in a statement. We’re delighted to bring back the series for the passionate audience that adored the show when it first premiered and we’re thrilled to introduce it to a whole new audience that can enjoy it for the first time. The timeless stories hold up brilliantly.”

My So-Called Life is the story of my early adolescence and the various trials and tribulations and insecurities and crushes I felt at that time. My So-Called Life doesn’t claim to be about me, it claims to be about this girl named Angela Chase and HER friends and HER feelings and HER insecurities and HER crushes, but really that’s just a technicality.

You’ve probably already seen My So-Called Life and want to see it again but if you haven’t and you have a teevee that gets The Sundance Channel, then you can start now.

If you’ve ever wondered who “Jordan Catalano” is in the essay “Why Shane is the New Jordan Catalano,” then you will find your answer in My So-Called Life.

If you’ve wondered “what did Lisa the Male Lesbian do before he did Alice Piesecki in The L Word?” you will find your answer in My So-Called Life.

If you’ve wondered “where did gay actor Wilson Cruz get his start,” you will find your answer in My So-Called Life.

My So-Called Life was on the air in 1995 and was cancelled, because life is unfair and full of sadness. It was syndicated on MTV for a few years after that, which enabled adolescents such as myself to watch every episode 500 times each and memorize all of it.

Go, now. Go.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


  1. I definitely started watching this to actually understand billions of Jordan Catalano references I’ve encountered in my life, but have definitely found that I relate to it so hard.

    Also I really want to bring back Angela’s style in a bad way.

  2. IFC recently re-aired “freaks and geeks” episodes. but i definitely prefer MSCL. i’ll probably dvr it & it will join the current “tv shows i really need to watch but always forget to” dvr list.

  3. somewhat relevant factoid: Winnie Holzman (MSCL creator & writer / also executive producer & writer for Once & Again [ EVAN RACHEL WOOD BISEXUAL] ) has a gay daughter, with whom she wrote the ABC Family show Huge.

  4. I had my very own Rayanne Graff at school (minus the sexing of my one true love). This is definitely one of my favourite shows made.

  5. I discovered MSCL during my freshman year of college (I was four when it first aired) and it was fantastic and amazing and kind of got me through a period of depression, even when viewed in grainy low quality on youtube. Everyone should watch it. Also, there is clearly some queeritude up in the whole Rayanne-Angela-Sharon triangle of friendship. And it has a lot of feminist underlying themes… and it accelerated the ruination of my grammar and programed me to be quite excited about flannel starting it’s come-back…

    This is not in my humble opinion. This is in my bossy surety: watch MSCL now, all you people who haven’t before.

    • No doubt about the queeritude. Remember in the first episode, when Rickie asks what they would want someone to say before having sex, Angela says “you’re so beautiful, it hurts to look at you” and then later that night drunkface Rayanne tells Angela “with your hair like that…it hurts to look at you.”

    • Oh yeah. And there’s this little exchange between Angela’s mom and Rayanne’s mom in the third episode:

      [Outside the school with the meeting letting out, Patty
      and Amber walk down some steps.]

      Patty: Hey, you know, I really liked what you said in
      Amber[laughing]: Oh God.
      Patty: I wish I could be that–
      Amber: What? Loud? Obnoxious?
      Patty[laughing]: Forceful___I’m Patty Chase.
      Amber: Hi.
      Patty: Angela’s mom?
      Amber: Ah, wow. *Angela*. Oh, Rayanne talks about
      her all the time. She’s in love with her. She wants
      to be Angela.
      Patty: Really. Gosh they-they seem so different.
      Amber: Oh, you know kids. They find one person and
      they just can’t get enough of them. Like being in
      love only they re not allowed to have sex.
      Patty[laughing]: Right.

      [Amber sits on a wall and lights a cigarette.]

      Amber: No, don’t you remember there would be like this
      one person who had like perfect hair, or perfect
      breasts, or they were just so funny, and-and you
      just wanted to eat them up. Just-just live in their
      bed. Just be them. Like everybody else was in
      black and white and that person was in color.
      Well, Rayanne thinks Angela is in color. Major

  6. In the second season that went on in my head Rayanne and Angela totally hooked up on a drunken night.
    I’m grateful for this show, MSCL’s Ricky helped me cope with my early gay feelings…

    • i f*cking love this show, and rayanne is totally queer, and everyone should watch it, and lots of feelings

  7. anytime I need cheering up I watch “The Life of Brian” episode just to see Ricki bust a move at the World Happiness Dance.

    But let’s not forget Brian Krakow (Devon Gummersall)being Lisa the the lesbian identified man on season one off The L Word.

  8. This show ruined me for all other teenage shows. It’s sad. And unfair, I know! But I just watch something like Skins and think, aw honey, you’re amazing. But you’re not My So-Called Life.

  9. If you don’t have the Sundance Channel it’s also on instant Netflix. That’s how I’ve been watching it for the past week.

  10. Aw, I loved this show so much back in the day! I kinda miss the 90s. I want to go put on square toed shoes and dark matte lipstick now.

  11. Oh man, this show resonated with me so hard in ways I couldn’t quite sort out. I had a major crush in 8th grade on a guy a lot like Jordan Catalano. It wasn’t til “15 Boys We Have Loved (When They Looked Like Lesbians)” that I finally understood both the crush and my MSCL obsession. Just LOOK at that picture of Jared Leto up there (far left)…

  12. where’s the ricky love WHERE
    watching wilson cruz as ricky vasquez on my so called life was one of the earliest experiences i had realizing i was gay. the episode where he dances at the dance. he does…the.dance.

    • Patty comes on screen and her face seems familiar
      like, ive seen that face
      then in episode 2 Patty gets an alternative lifestyle haircut.

  13. As soon as exams are done, I am watching this. Jared Leto will never be as pretty ever again. Also, Clare Danes = Love.

  14. This life has been a test. If this had been an actual life, you would have received instructions on where to go and what to do.

    I love this show SO MUCH.
    I was a too young when it originally aired, but last year, I took a class that was entirely based on this show. It was fantastic. All we had to buy for the class was the DVDs and all we had to do was write journals on the show and write papers on it and ohmygod it was just so fantastic. Every college course should be like that.

  15. Anne Frank was lucky; she was stuck in an attic for three years with this guy she really liked.

  16. Family Channel (in Canada) aired this in 2004, which was when I first saw it, since I was way young when it was first on. I didn’t actually see the last episode until a few months ago when I marathon watched it on DVD with my roommates.

    So much love for this show.

  17. I was 16 when MSCL originally aired. Every Thursday night that season it was me, my mom, plates of spaghetti and this like, show, that made my heart joyous and light in a really, really heavy way. I had a Rayanne Graff, am still close with her despite wanting to be/consume her. #feelings

    The So-Called Angels episode…with Juliana-effing-Hatfield…more feelings.

    All of the episodes, all of the feelings.

    And reise

  18. Ahem, Riese. Stupid smartphone, submitting when I’m trying to delete and now I look like I can’t spell/read like Jordan Catalano. Anyway, Riese–“go now, go” is in my head like, every single day.

  19. This one time I had a dream that Rickie Vasquez was my best friend. I was so sad when I woke up.

    Also, I ship Rayanne/Sharon.

  20. So, I like totally blame My So-Called Life for my overuse of the word “like” (it DID after all air when I was just learning English, and like, how to bear being a teenager, Angela was just so insightful, and smart, and filled with feelings, and colorful – my hair experienced a fair share of Manic Panic, and I certainly had a Rayanne, complete with the hooking up with of my teen crushes – but I still love her, and I think had she not moved out of town, we might have had a time together, a queer time me and her… yeah)

    I loved this show! I re-watched it all on youtube – the foreigner’s Netflix and sundance channel and whathaveyou

  21. Wilson Cruz is one of my pop culture heroes because of My So Called Life. He is soo brilliant in this show.

    I got to see him in the pride parade in San Francisco a couple of years ago. I had tears in my eyes as he rode by. I love him so much.

    I used to tape this show on Thursdays and then watch it over and over again through out the week until the next episode. So, good….

  22. I graduated high school in 1997. THIS was my SHOW. I recorded almost every episode off MTV when they replayed it after it was cancelled. Although to be fair, the best part about watching those VHSs now are the commercials. Remember when acne commercials used the words “ZITS” and “CRATERS,” and we were subjected to jean shorts commercials? Uh, yeah….

    Oh, and the last time I watched the episode where Angela chooses Rayanne’s party over her grandfather’s 80th birthday party, I found myself siding with her parents (I mean, your grandpa doesn’t turn 80 every day) and then I felt REALLY old.

  23. I love the way MSCL feels so dreamy sometimes, especially when it’s really heavy on inside-Angela’s-head-narration.
    /pretty much have a lot of feelings about “Go now, go!”

    I actually didn’t even watch it until last summer when the whole thing was on hulu for free (now it’s on hulu plus) and I was sick. But it was amazing and Rickie is my favorite always.

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