I came across My So-Called Life episodes when I was in 8th grade when it debuted and knew I needed to see the show. After catching commercials, I knew that seeing an introspective teenage girl on TV was mold-breaking and spoke to my need to see smart women reflected, well, anywhere. So whiIe I desperately tried to sneak watching snippets of My So-Called Life episodes (it wasn't allowed in the religious family I lived with), I never actually got the chance to watch more than a few dramatic scenes...until I bought the DVD collection in 2007.
Speaking of the collection, can we just talk about how fucking cool it is that not only were they able to release the series with the original music* but the love and attention that was put into the packaging and design to make it a collector's item? I mean, the DVD box itself is set to look like a book with it's built-in bookmark, the episode guide looks like a kick-ass plaid composition book (complete with Janeane Garafaolo and Joss Whedon waxing poetic about how much the show meant to them), photos taken from the show, and the almost DIY/zine-reminiscent drawings on top of each DVD that tease about the theme of a pivotal scene on each DVD. It's fucking spectacular (yes, a lot of swears have been dropped, but I believe they're warranted due to the all-around awesomeness of the show and packaging involved...in my humble opinion ;P). All hail Shout! Factory for releasing this short-lived but dense series.
So in honor of that back to school excitement and My So-Called Life's recent 20th anniversary, I've decided to do a series rewatch and think about what the show meant for me then, what it means to me now, and other random observations. Let's take a trip down memory lane with a show that was a prototype for other angsty teen shows to come, while no other show I can think of came close to touching it with enough heart, introspection, and politics while capturing the anxiety and earnestness of being a teenager since (and yes, I can hear you WB fans gasping in disbelief *smile*).
*Music rights seem to be the problem between not releasing amazing shows and letting them gather dust or changing the entire music in the series because it would otherwise be too costly and/or cumbersome to go through the process *cough* Daria without the original music *cough*