Like a lot of girls around my age, My So-Called Life was one of my favorite shows growing up. I was eleven when its first and only season aired. I may have been four years younger than Angela, but I was still beyond obsessed. I would watch episodes over and over again (mostly The Zit and Self-Esteem) and write down my favorite lines. I wanted to be Angela. She said all the things I was thinking and did all the things I wished I could do.
I recently re-watched all 19 episodes with a friend who had never seen the show. It was even better than I had remembered. While watching again at 28, it made me seriously start to think about what these beloved characters, who had such a huge impact on me, would be up to these days. This also begged the question: just because a movie or a book or a TV show ends does that mean the story has to stop as well? I don’t think that’s the case.
Here’s what I think the characters from My So-Called Life are doing in 2011:
Angela Chase is 32 years old and lives in New York. Probably somewhere downtown. She just moved into a spacious (for NYC) one bedroom apartment after spending three miserable years in a tiny studio. Before that, she lived with roommates in various apartments around the city. Angela works in publishing as an art director, a job she really loves. She oversees the design of book covers. Some of the books she’s worked on have become bestsellers. Angela’s currently single and not that happy about it. She did have a very serious boyfriend named Jeff. They met senior year at NYU. Angela broke up with him four years into their relationship because she wanted more, something better. Or rather, someone better. Now that she’s still single she kind of regrets it.
Angela has quite a few close friends in New York. Most are married but some are also single. When Angela and her friends talk about their love lives, she often brings up the boy she sort of dated in high school, Jordan Catalano. She recounts to them how he was the hottest guy she’s ever seen in real life. To this day she’s never seen someone so attractive. Jordan was perfect. He had gorgeous eyes, gorgeous hair, gorgeous everything! “We know, we know! You tell us all the time, Angela!” her friends yell at her. But like who wouldn’t brag about sort of dating Jordan Catalano? “Did I mention I used to skip class to make out with him in the boiler room at my high school?” Angela chimes in. “Yes! We’ve heard about that a million times!” her friends chastise her. But Angela doesn’t care. Making out with Jordan Catalano was perhaps a highlight of her life. She talks all about it in the semi-autobiographical novel she wrote from 2004-2006. A printed out copy of the manuscript is sitting in a box at the bottom of her closet in her apartment. She’ll do something with it one day.
Every now and then when she’s drunk, Angela Googles Jordan. There’s not much on the internet about him. Obviously, Jordan Catalano’s not on Facebook. As far as she can decipher, he still lives in the Pittsburgh area and he’s not married. In 2007, Angela found Jordan’s band’s website (not Frozen Embryos, a new one). It was a badly designed site that was made on Geocities. Angela noticed the band was playing a gig at a bar the day after Christmas in Pittsburgh. Since she was home visiting her family, she went. The bar was nearly empty. It was kind of sad. When the band took the stage, Angela was surprised by what she saw. Jordan didn’t look as hot as he used to, nor did his voice sound as good. She immediately left in order to keep alive the almost mystical idea of Jordan Catalano. Angela assumes the band broke up since their site hasn’t been updated in almost two years. She figures Jordan probably started a new one. He really did only ever love his music. And his car.
Angela still talks to Sharon Cherski. Or more accurately, follows her life as a wife and mother on Facebook. Occasionally she comments on Sharon’s photos of her two kids with a “They look just like you!” or “too cute!” Angela sent gifts when both babies were born. She and the whole Chase family went to Sharon’s wedding in 2005. Sharon married some guy she met while at Penn State. He’s not Kyle, but he might as well be.
Patty, Angela’s mom, constantly asks her when she’s going to give her grandchildren like Sharon gave her mother, Camille. Angela usually hangs up the phone when her mom says things like that. Two minutes later, Graham, Angela’s dad, calls back and says Patty was just being Patty. They love Angela and are proud of everything she’s accomplished as an adult. Then he gives her a pep talk. Angela should keep working hard at her job, doing the things she loves to do. She’ll find the right guy eventually and he’ll be wonderful. But really, there’s no rush to settle down and start a family of her own just yet. Let it take its course naturally. Although in their minds, Patty and Graham think that if that never happens for Angela, they fortunately have Danielle. She’s 28 now and has been dating the same guy for five years. They’re probably going to get engaged soon. Possibly this holiday season. Angela is dreading that day.
Rickie Vasquez has been a constant in Angela’s life since the 10th grade. They both moved to New York for college and even lived with one another in Williamsburg right after graduation. Rickie followed his mentor Mr. Katimski’s footsteps and became a high school English teacher in the Bronx. He’s amazing at his job and is currently the academic advisor for the drama club and the photography club. This past summer, Rickie married his longtime partner, James, in a small ceremony in upstate New York. Angela gave a speech. She talked about how much she’s learned from Rickie over the course of their 16 year friendship and how extremely important he is to her. Angela was truly happy for her best friend. However, in the back of her head was also like, “Ugh. Another one bites the dust. Why am I still single?”
Brian Krakow is a cardiologist in Chicago. He went to Northwestern for both undergrad and med school. If Angela had wanted him to, he would have gone to Columbia or somewhere else in New York. But each time, Angela told him not to do that. Brian needed to go to where he wanted to go and should not make any decisions just for her. Whenever they’re in the same place, Angela and Brian hang out. They’ve had sex on a few drunken occasions. Mostly when they’re together they just cuddle. It’s familiar. Often after disastrous dates, Angela will go on Gchat to see if Brian’s online. If he is, she IMs him. They chat. After a few minutes of talking, Angela realizes that Brian would be a great husband. Probably just an okay father. At this point, it’s like, whatever. But then Brian always says something annoying and Angela grows agitated with him. Ew, how could she ever think of making a life with Brian Krakow? She’s not that desperate. Gross. Brian makes a lot of money and dates here and there. But the truth is, work is all he really has time for. Undoubtedly, Brian would move to New York the second Angela said the magic word.
Rayanne Graff went MIA after high school. Rickie’s Facebook friends with her. Angela, on the other hand, won’t request her and Rayanne’s never added her either. However, it doesn’t really matter because she never updates anyway. From what they can gather from her vague profile, Rayanne’s moved around a lot. She’s had stints in New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville and Philadelphia. Currently she’s living on a houseboat in South Florida. What Angela and Rickie don’t know is that Rayanne’s been clean for four years, her longest stretch ever, and has recently started singing again at open mic nights. She thinks about her old friends a lot. Rayanne saw the pictures from Rickie’s wedding on Facebook and was sad she wasn’t there. Many times she’s considered sending Angela a message but has never gone through with it.
As for Tino, no one’s heard from him in years.
Feature image via ingenueperspective.blogspot.com