Title: My So-Called Life S1.E12 “Self Esteem”
Released: 1994

Drinking Game Tally: 11 drinks, 1 shot, 1 chug
‘90s Fashion Award: Rayanne
My So-Called Winners: Angela and Jordan
My So-Called Losers: Angela and Jordan
Brian Krakow vs. Jordan Catalano: Jordan

It’s back!!!! My So-Called Life Lessons is finally here again, and I don’t know about you, but I have missed watching this show, which is STILL available on Netflix Instant Watch. Huzzah!

Need a refresher on the drinking game rules? Shazam!

Now with this episode “Self Esteem”, I was really impressed, once again, by how ahead of its time this freakin’ show was!!!! And then it crushed me to realize that it was canceled after ONE season, because the TV producers didn’t think America could HANDLE THE TRUTH bombs that were being dropped on them with every episode! UGH!!!!! I am SO ready to follow Angela Chase through the rest of high school and college, and there is no footage!!!!!! Let’s all have a moment of silence to pay homage…

What Happened

Angela is expounding about social boundaries that are formed in high school that no one crosses, except that she has totally crossed one, because now she knows about the boiler room! Because now she is making out with Jordan Catalano!!! I simultaneously want to squee and am a little bit grossed out, but nevertheless impressed with this show’s commitment to accurately portraying teenagers, because they are kind of eating each other’s faces.

There’s finally a new English teacher! Remember back when the Sheriff of Rottingham was the English teacher? I liked him. Anyway, the new English teacher looks like a bloated cross between a bloated James Spader and a bloated William Shatner, which is kind of funny, since they are/were (?) on a show together at a time when they both kind of look bloated. Anyway, we’ll call him Spadner. Ahem. The lady teachers, however, apparently don’t agree with me, because they go all squeally over the guy. I guess it’s hard out there for a single lady teacher. We also are reminded that Angela is now skipping Geometry review for face-eating sessions in the boiler room/stairwell.

Then Spadner seems to be suffering from Alzheimer’s (or is maybe just taking a Shatner pause) in class. He also calls on Rickie by his full name, Enrique. Rickie doesn’t like this, and demonstrates why he wants to transfer out of the class, by imitating Spadner to Rayanne. Embarrassingly, Spadner is RIGHT THERE and sees him, but just suggests Rickie join drama club.

Over Chinese takeout, Rickie expresses his delight in Angela’s face-eating sessions with Jordan Catalano, but Rayanne isn’t very optimistic.

Patty comes home to find Danielle and Graham studying. Graham is nervous about the cooking class he’s taking tomorrow. Angela comes home from face-eating, and is super lovey and happy, which, rightly, concerns her parents.

Angela means to go to her Geometry review class, but the face-eating sessions are just so intense, you guys! They hardly talk, so when they do, it’s super meaningful! Because they talk about how Jordan Catalano has a leaf in glorious — but probably unwashed and smelly — hair, and then one of their stomachs growl, and they’re so caught up in each other that they don’t know whose stomach it was!!!! There’s also talk of cuticles, but then Jordan has to ruin the moment by telling her to keep their face-eating sessions a secret, basically because he doesn’t want his friends to know about it. (Dumb Point -1)

Angela is, understandably, bummed. Hopefully she has enough SELF ESTEEM to call him on that shit. Anyway, she’s dividing her life into kissing and non-kissing categories, and also notes that boys aren’t as afraid to make mistakes as girls are. Then we see a girl classmate act dumb for a boy classmate.

Rayanne tries to tell Angela that she’s letting Jordan Catalano control her, because uh, Angela is totally on board with letting Jordan pretty much control her.

Patty has an argument with her dad about Graham’s employment and cooking class, and meanwhile, Graham is waiting for the class to start, and getting flirted with by Lisa Waltz, who has been in every tv show ever made, ever. Also, she’s really annoying with her trying to rally the class to get to know each other. When he gets home, Patty suggests they hire a head hunter to help him find a job, instead of sending Graham to a cooking class… which is exactly what her dad suggested. Oh Patty. Also, the class had to be rescheduled on account of the fact that the cooking instructor got food poisoning.

Angela demonstrates how she is, in fact, letting Jordan Catalano rule her life by totally falling for his line about how he’s really glad she’s down there in the boiler room, waiting for him, but he, uh, still wants to keep this whole thing, uh, a secret.

In the girls’ bathroom, Rayanne and Sharon discuss how Angela could really get hurt by Jordan, and try to hold a bathroom intervention, by telling her to have a little SELF ESTEEM! angela lies to them by saying that Jordan invited her to a Buffalo Tom show.

Which brings us to the single lady teacher who is trying SO hard to connect with Spadner, who, in turn tries again to get Rickie to join drama club. Rickie goes outside to hang out with his new buddy Brian Krakow, and they have simultaneous monologues — Rickie about Spadner and Brian about (who else?) Angela. Apparently, Angela wants to use Brian to help her pass Geometry, and while Brian will complain about it a lot, he’ll probably let her use him, because the boy has no SELF ESTEEM. Then when he shows up, she’s at the stupid Buffalo Tom show.

Angela is afraid to approach Jordan at the Buffalo Tom show, because “he’s busy” playing pool, but she does it anyway, only to have him tell her that she’s crowding him. Oh Angela. Rayanne goes and tells Jordan that he better straighten up and fly right with Angela, which is awesome.

Angela gets Brian to come over to help her study, but he just freaks out and berates her on how much pressure he’s under, so she studies by herself. As Brian’s leaving, Graham comes home from his class, and it turns out he got asked to teach the class! The teacher is unreliable, and Graham is awesome, so yay! Patty is surprised, which kind of bums Graham out.

Angela finds a note in her locker from Jordan, asking her to meet him in the boiler room, and she goes. Uh, Angela, your lack of SELF ESTEEM is showing. But then she confronts him! That’s right, Jordan Catalano! ANGELLA isn’t going to let you eat her face in private and ignore her in public any more!

Then in English, Jordan has an epiphany and both he and Brian answer a question about one of Shakespeare’s ladies, except we all know they’re both talking about Angela… who, as it turns out, gets help from the earlier smart girl who pretended to be dumb! And she learns enough in a few minutes to help her pass Geometry! But then Sharon comes in with news!!! The copy machine ate the geometry test! It’s postponed until tomorrow!

Spadner has an inspiring conversation with Rickie again, in which he asks him to live up to his potential. So Rickie signs up for drama club.

Then Jordan Catalano sees Angela across the hall, and they both lean against their lockers, but then, in the best slo-mo down-the-hall-walk EVER, Jordan walks up to Angela IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, and asks her out! And they leave HOLDING HANDS!!!!

Drinking Game Tally: 11 drinks, 1 shot, 1 chug

’90s Fashion Award

I can’t believe Rayanne is beating Rickie in this category! It’s all that plaid flannel duster’s fault! This episode, she paired it with a green floral top, blue patterned vest and geometric patterned skirt.

Lessons I Learned About High School

  • That there are certain places that certain people just don’t go.

  • Also, you can skip classes and hang out in another part of the school, like the boiler room for making out, or the girls’ bathroom for studying.

My So-Called Winner

It’s a tie! Angela for standing up for herself, and building her own SELF ESTEEM! And Jordan, for waking up to the fact that he really likes Angela, and it doesn’t matter what his stupid-ass friends think.

My So-Called Loser

It’s a tie! Jordan for being a stupid high school boy and trying to keep his feelings for Angela a secret so he can get his jollies and keep his cool. And Angela for letting him, at first.

Brian Krakow vs. Jordan Catalano

Even though he got a stupid boy -1 point, Jordan wins this time, because he woke up and went public with Angela, while Brian continued to moon over her and not act on it.

Life Lessons Learned

  • That standing up for yourself and having SELF ESTEEM is ALWAYS the right thing to do.

  • If your husband/boyfriend surprises you by telling you he got chosen to do something, (like teach a cooking class, for example) tell him you’re not surprised. Not surprised at all.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.