The first time I watched My So-Called Life, one of the great one-and-done shows of all-time, was in the summer of 2005. I had just graduated from college and was broke, and because the only job I could get was folding jeans at Hollister from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., I was living with my friend in his grandmother’s house. His dead grandmother’s house. In the Bronx. And the only way you could get to her house from the subway was to either wait for a bus that never came, or walk past a cemetery. Oh, and did I mention that I was sleeping in the dead grandmother’s bed, and that there was Holy Water EVERYWHERE?
I was an angsty, melodramatic (not dead-grand)motherf*cker, so My So-Called Life was exactly what I needed. They were high school students, I was a college graduate, but we both hated everyone, especially ourselves. I know the phrase “before its time” has been used and overused, so let’s say So-Called was REALLY ahead of its time (the show scheduled after it on ABC Thursdays: MAATTTLOOCCCCKK).
The teen drama that launched the careers of Claire Danes and Jared Leto premiered exactly 20 years ago today, so let’s see what the main cast is up to these days. Go now, go.
Angela Chase — Claire Danes
If you haven’t already, listen to Marc Maron’s recent WTF with Danes. She shows a side of her personality we don’t typicall see — Temple Grandin, Igby Goes Down, Terminator 3, and the Emmy-winning Homeland don’t exactly allow her to be funny, but she is. Also, obsessive and the kind of person who goes “ME ME ME” when answering a question in class, but we knew that already.
Rayanne Graff — A.J. Langer
The original Jessa from Girls, A.J. Langer has worked sporadically over the last decade, including a stint on Private Practice, but did you know that in 2009, she married Charles Courtenay, Lord Courtenay, the heir of the 18th Earl of Devon, meaning she’s now “Lady Courtenay”? Their meet-cute was adorable: “We met in a bar in Vegas. He didn’t know I was an actress. I didn’t know he had a castle.”
Jordan Catalano — Jared Leto
Even though he’s a creepy alien, Jared Leto has had the most successful post-So-Called career. He’s halfway to an EGOT, having won an Oscar for his work in Dallas Buyers Club (he’s much better in Requiem for a Dream, IMHO) and a Grammy for the Hot Topic of bands, Thirty Seconds to Mars. Someone should write a musical about Jordan Catalano learning to read so he can win that elusive Tony. One song’s already done.
Brian Krakow — Devon Gummersall
We all wanted to be Jordan Catalano. We all actually were Brian Krakow, who fortunately turned into a handsome fella (ditching the springy poodle look will do wonders for your self-confidence). Devon Gummersall, who had a part in Independence Day that I do NOT remember, continues to act, and according to his online bio, his “feature directorial debut, Low Fidelity, was released in 2013.”
Enrique “Rickie” Vasquez — Wilson Cruz
Wilson Cruz masterfully pulled off a character that could have been campy at best, offensive at worst — he was a gay, emotionally abused Latino teenager — so I’m happy to report that he’s still finding work. The most stylish dresser at Liberty High School will appear in Fox’s upcoming Red Band Society, about a group of teens patients in a hospital’s pediatric ward, and he appeared in Grey’s Anatomy and Pushing Daisies. Cruz is also a spokesperson for GLAAD.
Patty, Danielle, and Graham Chase — Bess Armstrong, Lisa Wilhoit, and Tom Irwin
Bess Armstrong has popped up in dozens of shows over the years, including recent gigs on Mad Man (she played a therapist in the episode where Roger and Jane take LSD) and House of Lies, while her on-screen husband, Tom Irwin, has recurring roles on ABC Family’s Chasing Life and Lifetime’s Devious Maids. As for Angela’s younger sister, Lisa Wilhoit, you might not recognize her…
..but you probably know her voice: she plays Connie D’Amico on Family Guy.