Title: My So-Called Life S1.E02 “Dancing in the Dark”
Released: 1994

Drinking Game Tally: 17 drinks, 1 shot, 1 chug
’90s Fashion Award: Rickie
My So-Called Winner: Patty
My So-Called Loser: Jordan

Who’s ready for a long weekend?!!! This lady! So I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the anniversary of our country’s declaration of independence than by enjoying my freedom to partake of adult beverages while watching tv shows frought with teen anxiety! Huzzah!

In our second installment of My So-Called Life Lessons, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at high school, fashion and the 1990’s through the lens of Claire Dane’s Angela Chase. What does she have to teach us this week?

What Happened

In which Angela’s hair is suddenly shorter, while Jordan Catalano’s is longer. Angela reminisces about the 3 kisses she has had in her whole life. Rayanne arranges for Angela to get a fake i.d. from Jordan Catalano, telling him that Angela is French –a lie that doesn’t in any way come back to cause any of them problems.

Sharon acts like a complete beotch to Brian about Angela skipping out on Biology –seems she wants to punish Angela for not being her friend anymore. Guess what, miss teased bangs, I wouldn’t want to be your friend either, with you acting that way. There is a lot of time spent in the girl’s bathroom, and Brian shows his jealousy by guilting Angela into helping him with a project involving a mouse.

But that’s okay, because Angela then uses her time studying at Brian’s house as a cover to meet Jordan Catalano and get her new fake i.d. Just before going out to meet Jordan Catalano, however, Angela has a moment of clarity in which she thinks that maybe the idea of something is sometimes better than the actuality (which in this case, is probably true). Rickie, in a hug-worthy moment, completely agrees, but Rayanne does not.

Angela’s mom gets a seriously 90’s haircut to try to be exciting, and we get to feel a little bad for her, because she’s just trying to feel like a person other than ‘mom’. She also decides that she and Graham need to take a ballroom dancing class to bring the ‘romance’ back into their marriage. It is as disastrous as that statement is vomit-inducing.

And we meet Angela’s uncle. Who is a loser. Also, Graham realizes he loves Angela’s mom –for all her bitchiness– and decides NOT to have an affair after all. Unfortunately, Angela hears him on the phone calling it off, and jumps to the worst conclusion.

This is also where I feel Claire Danes really makes a leap in acting ability. Where I found some of her facial expressions in the pilot to feel like ‘acting’, in this episode, she really embodies a 15-year old –I believed every dorky comment and adorable squint.

Drinking Game Tally: 17 drinks, 1 shot, 1 chug

’90s Fashion Award: Rickie

The ‘Is it Aztec/Is it floral’ shirt and brick colored vest with pleated khakis is one of the best/worst representations of 90’s fashion I’d like to forget.

Lessons I Learned About High School

  • There is apparently lots of time to hang out in the hallways by your locker.

  • It is very easy to leave class during class, without asking.

  • Biology teachers are annoying.

My So-Called Winner

Mom! Because even though she was still a bitch, you at least got an understanding of WHY. Plus, she breaks her Cinderella figurine that she’s had since she was 11, and while I find myself kind of grossed out that she still had it on her dresser, I still feel bad.

My So-Called Loser

Jordan Catalano. Even with all of Brian’s whining and manipulation, Jordan loses this episode. He was super hot in his car, but when he tries to force-kiss Angela not once, but TWICE, then insults her by saying that she seems younger than she is and that she talks a lot? (Which she does, but still!) And THEN, acts all mysterious loner dudey, and just when she WANTS him to kiss her, he kicks her out of the car! Bad form, Jordan Catalano. Bad form.

Life Lessons Learned

  • It’s no fair that we girls have to spend all of our time analyzing every thing about the boy we like in microscopic detail, while they get to have other things on their mind.

  • Always look at the birthdate on your fake i.d. before you pay for it.

  • Roller blades were never cool.

  • Just because you’ve been with someone for a really long time doesn’t mean you’ll be good dancers together. But when you’re doing the horizontal tango, it doesn’t matter. And that counts for something.

  • When your dad warms up food for you, it just tastes better. And the advice that comes with it is really sweet.

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.