LadyGhosts of TV Past

MSCL: This is the End

Well, we’ve sadly reached the end of this too-short series. I have to say that for a series finale that wasn’t intended to be such, it had a decent amount of closure. Ricky says “I’m gay” for the first time in his life. Patty and Chase realize that they both have jealousy issues, and Graham walks away from the chance to kiss what’s-her-name. Angela Chase finally freaking realizes that Brian Krakow’s been in love with her all along. Oh, and Rayanne and Sharon have one last chat in the girls’ bathroom.

That doesn’t make it any less satisfying, though, to watch the series end with a shot of Brian on his bike while Angela drives away in Jordan Catalano’s car. It does, however, give us ample opportunity to guess how things likely turned out for Angela. Did things work out with Jordan in the end? I doubt it. I see them staying together (on-again, off-again, no doubt) for the rest of high school, but breaking up when they realize that they want completely different things out of life. Like, maybe Angela goes off to college and Jordan doesn’t and she falls in love with a philosophical Brian Krakow-type. She probably drives her current SO insane with her constant overanalyzing. She and Sharon Cherski still get together a few times a year, drink too much wine, and bark at each other that they need to hang out more often.

I bet the Chases stay married and continue their soft pattern of strife and reconciliation. If you’re wondering if there’s any doubt that Graham’s restaurant eventually fails, well”¦ don’t. They were never entirely clear about just what their town was: sometimes it seemed like a big city, and sometimes it seemed like the world’s most sheltered suburb. So it’s hard to guess how the locals would have taken Graham’s restaurant. Still, the statistics don’t lie, nor does the camera lie about what a flakey weirdo that Ali person is. So, she’s bad at business and she’s in love with Graham? That’s going to end well!

Ricky, for the record, turns out just fine. In his thirties he participates in the “It Gets Better” project and tells kids about how hard it was in high school, but he made it and is now living in a big city and maybe just working a normal job but doing fun artsy things on the side. He doesn’t talk to anyone he went to high school with anymore, not out of malice but because it’s just easier for him to completely close that chapter of his life. He still, however, spends Christmas with Mr. Katimski and his partner.

I was sad when the series ended, but I was young enough – and my attention span short enough – that I just moved on to the next thing once My So-Called Life was off the air. (Ally McBeal, maybe?) It didn’t leave a huge impression on the TV landscape, although some cursory internet research (the best darn kind of research!) indicates that it’s credited with popularizing the now-standard hour-long “dramedy.” I do remember how strangely realistic the show seemed when I first started watching it, because their house had a normal layout and there wasn’t a laugh track. I mean, really think back to all the three-camera sitcoms that were still super popular at the time. Was it any wonder MSCL never really found an audience?

Not to mention that the balance between the high school stories and the adult stories, while interesting and refreshing to me now, definitely felt weird when I was a high schooler. I wanted to skip over the “Patty and Graham work on their marriage” plotlines and get back to dreaaaaaamy Jordan Catalano. Conversely, I doubt many adults at the time tuned in to a high school show that showed kids doing and saying things they couldn’t relate to – and likely disapproved of.

Still, the show had something special. Not every show that’s cancelled after 19 episodes gets remembered, quoted, and cherished like this show has. And of course some of that has to do with the very fact that it ended before its time. Another few seasons of Chase shenanigans would have been too much for anyone to handle. Maybe just one more season, though, would have been nice.

Anyway, for the five of you who are sad that the MSCL recaps have come to an end, have no fear! I’m keeping this weekly timeslot reserved for me and will be filling it with Nerdy Book Reviews. Next week I’ll be reviewing Ender’s Game and will probably anger a lot of nerds. Should be fun!

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