For a show that only managed one season — and not even a full season, at that — My So-Called Life sure has managed to become a mainstay of Gen X culture. Even now, younger audiences are discovering the mid-'90s series in all its teen angst glory and learning about its brilliance first-hand. At the center of the show was a young Claire Danes in her breakout role as Angela Chase, a suburban 15-year-old trying to navigate the experience of figuring out life and all it entails: parents, shady friends, (unrequited) love, etc. It was amazing, and pretty much everyone growing up alongside My So Called Life 's Angela Chase related to her experience way too much.
As a character, Angela Chase was painfully, awkwardly, perfectly real. Who among us wasn't an absolute mess during our teen years? Who didn't have a crush on a guy who seemed out of our league? Who didn't have friends who betrayed us and talked about us behind our backs? Who didn't want to just be happy with who we were, against all odds? And the crazy thing is, despite the fact that MSCL was on the air over 20 years ago, Angela remains as relevant as ever and is someone pretty much all girls her age can relate to.
Here are 8 reasons Angela Chase speaks to us all.
She's really, REALLY awkward
Being awkward isn't just a teenage thing — some of us stay like this well into adulthood. Angela put her foot in her mouth, saying the wrong thing pretty often. Sometimes she didn't know what to say at all and laughed instead, like when she found out Jordan Catalano couldn't read. Yikes. She always meant well, but sometimes she made me cringe, and I think we can all relate to that.
She's hopelessly in love with the hot guy
Oh man, who hasn't been there? He's hot, he's mysterious, he's... totally out of my league. And yet, I find myself still trying to spend all my time getting close to him whenever possible. Unrequited love is some of the toughest to deal with, but it's a universal experience, for sure.
She's definitely not a pushover
When she finally did get a chance to get with Jordan Catalano, Angela could have immediately compromised everything she believed him to get her to like her, but she didn't. Sure, Angela wanted Jordan, but she wanted to maintain her self-respect more, and I absolutely love her for it.
She lives in denial to avoid getting super depressed
It's easier to tell yourself that things are totally fine and under control than it is to deal with what you're feeling — I know that one, for sure. Angela tried the "fake it 'til you make it" method of getting over Jordan, but we all know how that one played out. Doesn't mean I don't try it myself, though, even to this day.
Sometimes she just needs a little comfort
Even though I'm grown now, I still wish sometimes I could crawl into bed with my mom, let it all out with a good cry and have her tell me that everything's going to be okay. Angela was going through her whole "I'm an ADULT now, MOM!" phase during the series, but she was still vulnerable sometimes, and that's totally okay. (Remember that!)
She doesn't really "get" guys
I mean, who does? They're like a completely different species sometimes. Of course, Angela was probably too young to realize that she'd NEVER understand what possesses men to do the things they do and that it doesn't get any less confusing. Ah, well. Ignorance is bliss!
She could be a bad judge of character
I don't know about you, but especially when I was younger, I sometimes put my time and energy into people who didn't offer me the same. The word "friend" is used too loosely these days, and Angela found out the hard way just how much loyalty Rayanne didn't have for her and what a bad influence she could be. Sad, but something we've all been through — and if we're smart, something we all learn from.
At the end of the day, she just wants to be happy
Being a teenager is rough. Your emotions (and hormones!) are all over the place, the world is a really scary and messed up place and nothing makes sense. Things do get a little bit better, I can promise, but Angela really just wanted what all of us want in life: to figure out who we are and be happy with it. Word.
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