I always love to find out that a celebrity is a fan of a television show. I’m not sure why I have always assumed that my favorite celebrities are too busy or too cool to enjoy television, but I guess maybe it’s because I also assume that all celebrities know each other intimately, and how uninteresting it would be to have to watch your next door neighbor engage in zany high jinx with your ex-boyfriend and your sister-in-law instead of actually just hanging out with them and hoping someone gets accidentally locked in a walk in freezer, or becomes the victim of mistaken identity.
Anywaaay, while on my recent My So-Called Life kick, I remembered a bit that Janeane Garofalo performed in a stand-up special she did in 1997 in which she made a reference to Jordan Catalano, Angela Chase and Brian Krakow. (Around 2:00)
Then, while perusing the “booklet” that came inside the box set of MSCL I noticed a piece that Garofalo had written about the show, that the creators were kind enough to include. I’m not sure if it’s because of the bit, or because both Janeane Garofalo and MSCL completely embody the early 1990’s for me, but it makes sense and me happy that she was such a fan of the show, and not just mocking it in a routine. I imagine that on Thursday nights in 1994, Janeane turned down the Soundgarden, kicked off her Doc Martins and snuggled down on the couch in her baggiest flannel to enjoy the latest happenings at Liberty High School. Here’s what she had to say about the show:
The Limbic Appeal
I’m not interested in any of those other ‘tween or teen dramadies currently airing on the N, the WB or Fox. No way, Jose. My pen hits this paper in praise of one very special hour of uncharacteristic quality in the form of a network television show. I’m write-talking about My So-Called Life or MSCL for those in the know. (I just used that abridgment for the first time, just now. So don’t feel like a latecomer to “the know.”) So deep and profound is my love for MSCL, I have memorized each episode: I can mute the sound, play all the parts and cry every goddamn time Rayanne does the scen from Our Town or Rickie shows up at Mr. Katimsky’s house, or when Patty and Danielle grace the stage at the Mother-Daughter Fashion Show! Oh yes, we are all beautiful. Claire/Angela. Possibly even me/you.
Each episode is tucked away in a section of my brain known as the limbic region. The limbic brain is often referred to as the seat of our emtion, neurologically speaking. The limbic filing system is reserved for the things we are most fond or afraid of. In my case: Clive Owen (fond) and gas attack (personal or political) while I’m sleeping (afeared). I bring this limbic business up because I believe there is an emotional and visceral connection between this so-called “teenage” region of the brain and the devotion that fans have for My So Called Life. (I mean the above as a compliment.) The show never once insulted the viewers’ intelligence, and I thank the creators, writers, cast, crew and music director for that.
Claire Danes Embodies a certain early-Nineties Clinton/Nirvana forward-thinking “Riotgrrrl” Pacific Northwest vibe. A vibe that was brutally ravaged by the Rebulican revolution of ’94 and the Media Consolidation Act o ’96, but don’t get me started in on those Washington boneheads. Do let me get finished by allowing me to commend all the lovely people involved with My So-Called Life, as well as all the enchanting creatures at Shout! Factory who have the presence of mind to give this wonderful show another opportunity to enter the limbic brain of a grateful nation.