My So-Called Life

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

7
Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Aug 25, 1994 on ABC
9.3
out of 10
User Rating
109 votes
5

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Episode Summary

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The pilot episode of My So-Called Life introduces viewers to series heroine Angela Chase (Claire Danes), a 15-year-old who is contemplating breaking out of the mold she has always occupied as a well-behaved daughter and straight-A student. When she begins to break away from her longtime best friend, Sharon (Devon Odessa), in favor of the company of wild child Rayanne (A.J. Langer) and dyes her hair crimson, Angela's baby boomer parents are alarmed, fearing they have a textbook case of adolescent rebellion on their hands.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • one of the best pilots of all time

    10
    I watched the first episode of My So-Called Life yesterday, and it was every bit as amazing as I'd found it 20 years ago. Claire Danes is absolutely riveting as the angsty Angela, and the script beautifully creates characters in a stupendously real way. The show is sad, funny and charming. And while I recall finding the parents annoying during the series, I did not feel that way rewatching the pilot.



    Very few television episodes have ever been as good as this one.moreless
  • I loved this show so much in High School, I was so sad to see it go.

    10
    In the Pilot episode of My So called Life we meet Angela, her family, her old friends, and her new friends.

    Angela dyes her hair, and goes out to a club with some of her new friends and things get a little out of hand and the police are called. Angela and Ray Anne are escorted home by one of the officers. When they get to Angela's house the officer doesn't take her to the door, or talk to her parents instead he leaves her in the care of Brian her across the street neighbor, who is so in love with her, and is one of her old friends.

    This is a great show that ended way too soon. I loved watching this when I was in High School. It was great having a show on with Teens who talked and acted similar to you and your friends.moreless
  • Go now . . . Go

    10
    My So Called Life will always hold a special place for me that is irreplaceable.



    I think the reason why I am hooked, line and sinker is that this reminds me of how High School was like. The show was original, marched to its own beat and left you wanting more . . and more and more. It was hearbreaking when this was cancelled which in some ways could be good because it would have been even worse if they had gotten a second season and then go downhill fast, that would have been an even worse tragedy.



    So I will hold on to my grainy tapes and rewatch them into eternity.moreless
  • This show takes me back to jounior high and high school, tring to find that one thing, so that boy will notice you.

    10
    It was very age approperate the show dealt with every day school stuff. Like when that boy first noticed you exisited, the melt detector, losing old friend and gaining new ones. Weather or not you were the geek, the pretty one, or one that was just tring to fit in. I loved this show it was great. I still watch it in the morings on noggin.
  • The Best Television Pilot

    10
    In the pilot episode of "My So-Called Life" we meet our star Angela Chase, played beautifully by Claire Danes. We meet her parents, her younger sister, her former best friend, her current best friend, her bisexual friend who just might simply be gay, and the boy of her dreams Jordan Catalano.

    Not only this but we get a simple story of rebelling against your parents and the consequences that can come with that. And despite having so much to cover, and only having less than an hour to do it, not only does "My So-Called Life" do this, but it gets you to feel emotionally for these characters you know so little about. Correction: these characters who it seems you know so little about, but perhaps actually you are already excited to be a part of their family. This pilot opens simply and in a fun way and builds up to the special moments that have been etched in the memory of fans around the world. It is a pilot full of emotional honesty. "My So-Called Life" is a great series, possibly the best television series, and this episode is the best of that great series. Welcome to the world of Angela Chase and the world of "My So-Called Life".moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (40)

    • Rayanne: Mr. Policeman. Oh, perfect! 'Cause we need a ride.

    • Angela: I thought you were on my side.
      Graham: I'm not on anyone's side.
      Patty: Graham. Grow up. Choose a side.

    • Graham: Is this girl's mother going to be there?
      Angela: No. No, Rayanne lives by her wits. In an alley.

    • Angela (voice over): My mother's adopted. For a while, she was looking for her real parents. I guess that's what everyone's looking for.

    • Guy #1: How old are you guys? You guys wanna go somewhere?
      Rayanne: (To Angela) Do you?
      Angela: I dunno.
      Guy #2: There's really young, isn't that like kidnapping or something?

    • Angela: Look how thin yours are.
      Rickie: Tino, where are you?
      Rayanne: But yours are really little.
      Angela: But they're fat, they're like fatter.
      Rayanne: Rickie loves cuter feet!
      Rickie: Me?
      Rayanne: Let's trade shoes.

    • Rickie: Where is Tino?
      Rayanne: He'll be here, okay? Haven't you ever waiting for anything?
      Rickie: Yeah, for my life to start.

    • Brian: Hey Chase.
      Angela: Get out of here, Krakow.
      Brian: Um, you're breaking like 14 different laws. You looked better before.
      Angela: Like I'm devastated.
      Brian: Like I am. Oh, look at me, I'm way cool. I'm off with my way cool friends to sniff floor wax. That's right, cover that zit.
      Angela: Want me to do yours?
      Brian: Oh, that hurt.

    • Danielle: So, there's this movie on tonight, I really wanna watch. It's
      about this girl. She gets these obscene phone calls. It's like her job.

    • Sharon: So, um, so tell me what I did, Angela. I mean, I mean, I would really like to know.
      Angela: Nothing. It's not something that you--
      Sharon: So you just drop your oldest friend for no reason? I mean, just tell me what I did.
      Angela: I can't. It's not like one thing, it's not like that.
      Sharon: Okay, great. So, just, never speak to me again. Real mature Angela.
      Angela: No, I want to speak to you. I never wanted--
      Sharon: No, forget it!... God, you and your hair. Did Patty, like, hemorrhage first time she saw it?
      Angela: In a sense.
      Sharon: Well, I have to say... I hate it.

    • Rayanne: So there's this rave tonight, okay, at that club, Let's Bolt. Tino can get us in. Guaranteed, Jordan Catalano will be there.
      Angela: Rayanne.
      Rayanne: What? It's perfect, and you don't even have to think of anything to say to him because no one can hear anybody. I think lard's my favorite food group.

    • Angela: You should see what they call chili con carne at school. First of
      all, it's just beans.
      Graham: Well that's not chili con carne.
      Angela: I know.
      Graham: Con carne. With meat.
      Angela: I know.
      Graham: I think it's the lack of meat that's destroying America.

    • Angela: It just seems like, you agree to have a certain personality or
      something. For no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when
      you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you? And, I mean, this whole thing with yearbook it's, like, everybody's in this big hurry to make
      this book, to supposedly remember what happened, but it's not even what
      really happened, it's what everyone thinks was supposed to happen. Because
      if you made a book of what really happened, it'd be a really upsetting
      book.

    • Ms. Mayhew: So how would you describe Anne Frank?
      Angela: Lucky.
      Ms. Mayhew: Is that supposed to be funny, Angela? How on earth could you make a statement like that? Anne Frank perished in a concentration camp. Anne Frank
      is a tragic figure. How could Anne Frank be lucky?
      Angela: I don't know. 'Cause she was trapped in an attic for three years
      with this guy she really liked?

    • Rayanne: So Rickie, Angela's in love with Jordan Catalano. We have to help her.
      Angela: Rayanne!
      Rayanne: Oh, come on, I can tell Rickie. You gotta come to Tino's tonight. He'll be there.
      Angela: He doesn't even know me. Am I making a fool of myself?
      Rayanne: I don't know. Rickie, give us the male's perspective.
      Rickie: Don't you love how he leans?

    • Danielle: (About Sharon's book) I found it. Well don't thank me or anything.
      Angela: Get out of my room.

    • Rayanne: You want to have sex with him.
      Angela: Who?
      Rayanne: Who? Jordan... Catalano. Come on! I'm not gonna tell anyone, just admit it.
      Angela: I just like how he's always leaning against stuff. He leans great. Well, either sex or a conversation. Ideally both.

    • Angela (thinking): I'm in love. His name is Jordan Catalano. He was held back... twice. Once I almost touched his shoulder in the middle of a pop quiz. He's always closing his eyes, like it hurts to look at things.

    • Graham: (About Angela) Patty, it could be a lot worse.
      Patty: I know.
      Graham: I mean she could be cutting class, doing drugs, having sex... like we did.
      Patty: I never cut class. And you never had sex in high school.

    • Graham: (About Angela) Tell her not to walk around in a towel. Okay?
      Patty: You can tell her.
      Graham: No, I can't. If I could tell her, I would tell her. You tell her. Or get her a bigger towel.

    • Patty: (To Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie) So... okay. I'm leaving now. Uh, well, not the house, the room.

    • Rickie: You're Angela's mom?
      Patty: Yes, I am. That's true.
      Rickie: I like your house.
      Patty: Thank you. Who are you?

    • Angela: See this guy, like...
      Rayanne: Robbed our bus... tickets. And um... You know my sister and I, we're twins.
      Angela: No, were not the kind of twins that look alike.
      Rayanne: We just finish each other's--
      Angela: Sentences.
      Rayanne: (To Angela) That was cool.
      Both: How did we do that?

    • Angela: Okay, so maybe he's bi. Who cares? His cousin can still drive.

    • Angela: So I started hanging out with Rayanne Graff. Just for fun. Just 'cause it seemed like if I didn't, I would die or something. Things were getting to me. Just how people are. How they always expect you to be a certain way, even your best friend... Like with boys, how they got it so easy. How you have to pretend... you don't notice them... noticing you.

    • Graham: (To Angela) Wait, don't tell me... there's something different.
      Danielle: I would never dye my hair red.
      Angela: It's not red, it's crimson glow.
      Graham: Oh. Well, I can see it now. The social world, wild parties, Axel Rose...
      Angela: (Thinking) My dad thinks every person in the world is having more fun than him. Which could be true.

    • Rickie: If you were about to do it, okay, what would you want the other person to say, like, right before?
      Rayanne: This won't take long.
      Rickie: No, seriously.
      Rayanne: Do I know you?
      Rickie: No, for real. Like, romantic.
      Angela: You're so beautiful, it hurts to look at you.
      Rayanne: "It hurts to look at you?"
      Rickie: How'd you think of that?
      Rayanne: Where would it hurt?
      Rickie: I really like that.
      Rayanne: Well I'm gonna tell Jordan.

    • Angela: (Thinking) My parents keep asking how school was. It's like saying, "How was that drive-by shooting?" You don't care how it was, you're lucky to get out alive.

    • Graham: I mean it's her hair.
      Patty: Exactly. (To Angela) And we'll always be able to spot you... in a crowd.
      Angela: (Thinking) Lately I can't even look at my mother without wanting to stab her... repeatedly.

    • Angela: (Thinking) I cannot bring myself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of my mother. It just means too much to her. I mean, if you stop to think about, like, chewing... what it really is? How people just do it, like, in public.

    • Patty: So it is you.
      Angela: I had my hair dyed.
      Patty: Oh, you had it dyed. I thought it had died of natural causes.

    • Brian: You're not stupid, don't act like it. It's a stupid act.
      Angela: (To Brian) Everybody's an act. Including you.

    • Angela: (Thinking) My dad and I used to be pretty tight.
      Graham: Um, how's school?
      Angela: I'm starting to like Anne Frank.
      Graham: Is she a sophomore too?
      Angela: No, she's dead.
      Graham: Oh, right.
      Angela: Anne Frank Dad.
      Graham: Oh, right! I meant, I mean... Okay, uh, don't stay up too late.
      Angela: (Thinking) The sad truth is, my breasts have come between us.

    • Angela: Cafeteria is the embarrassment capital of the world. It's like a prison movie.

    • Angela: Seeing a teacher's actual lunch is, like, so depressing. Not to mention, her bra strap.

    • Angela: Like cheerleaders...Can't people just cheer on their own?...Like to themselves?...

    • Angela: School is a battlefield for your heart. So when Rayanne Graff told me my hair was holding me back, I had to listen. 'Cause she wasn't just talking about my hair. She was talking about my life.

    • Girl: Rayanne, you are so full of it!
      Rayanne: Oh, please! Ask Rickie, it was wicked. It was-- Hey girlfriend!
      Rickie: Hey Angela!
      Rayanne: Ask Angela, she was there. Angela, tell her...
      Rickie: We hung out. And these guys, they tried to pick them up.
      Rayanne: It was totally wicked, am I right?
      Rickie: And the cops came.
      Rayanne: I am telling you, we had a time. Didn't we? Didn't we have a time?
      Angela: (Smiling) We did. We had a time.

    • 1st bathroom girl: Wait, so what's fat-free?
      2nd bathroom girl: When something's, like, free. Of fat.
      3rd bathroom girl: Well, what's the difference between fat-free and, like, nonfat?

    • Jordan: This doesn't seem like a Friday.
      Angela: It's Thursday.
      Jordan: Oh. Are you sure?
      Angela: Well, yesterday was Wednesday, so...
      Jordan: Oh... right.
      Angela: So, that's how I know.

  • NOTES (14)

    • Scott Winant was nominated for the 1995 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Drama Series" for this episode.
      Winnie Holzman was nominated for the 1995 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing for a Drama Series" for this episode.

    • Early in the production, Claire broke a blood vessel in her eye. It was digitally color corrected frame-by-frame at considerable expense.

    • This is the only episode that used a real house in Los Angeles to film the scenes at the Chase house. The rest of the episodes were shot at a sound stage in Los Angeles.

    • Premiered in Germany on Sunday February 18th, 1996 at 6pm CET on RTL2.
      Premiered in Australia on Monday July 27th, 1998 at 7:30pm on FOX8.

    • Original episode title: "My So-Called Life"
      German episode title: "Im Disco-Fieber" (Disco Fever)
      French episode title: "Ma nouvelle Amie" (My New friend)

    • Early series titles included "The Real Me", "Someone Like Me" and "These Days".

    • A.J. Langer originally auditioned for the role of Angela, but didn't get the part.

    • Fourteen year old Alicia Silverstone auditioned for the role of Angela Chase.

    • Angela's crush, Jordan Catalano, is named after Jennifer Catalano, an assistant to the co-exec producers. Another assistant to the co-exec producers was Diane Driscoll, who Nicky Driscoll was named after in the episode "Halloween".

    • This is the only episode in which a high school in San Pedro, California served as the backdrop for Angela's classes. Starting with episode two until the series finale, a University High School in West Los Angeles was used instead. However, the series kept using San Pedro's school mascot, the pirate, found on images throughout the school in every episode.

    • Music: "Everybody" by Animalbag; "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.

    • For the seventeen months this episode remained unaired, the crew called it "The Greatest Pilot Never Sold".

    • In this episode, reference is made for the first time to Tino, an oft-mentioned character who's never actually seen, although over the course of the show, each of the main teenage characters refers to him at least once.

    • This episode was shot more than 17 months before its first airing, in March 1993 in Los Angeles.

      Ages during the filming of the pilot
      Lisa Wilhoit (Danielle) was 11 years old.
      Claire Danes (Angela) was 13 years old.
      Devon Gummersall (Brian) was 14 years old.
      A.J. Langer (Rayanne) was 18 years old.
      Devon Odessa (Sharon) was 19 years old.
      Wilson Cruz (Rickie) was 19 years old.
      Jared Leto (Jordan) was 23 years old.

  • ALLUSIONS (5)

    • Graham: Oh. Well, I can see it now. The social world, wild parties, Axl Rose...

      Axl Rose was the frontman for Guns 'N Roses, a famous American rock band.

    • The movie playing in Patty's bedroom as Angela comes in at the end of the episode is the black-and-white "It's a Wonderful Life" directed by Frank Capra and released in 1946. The scene shown on the TV set is the passage where Zuzu, daughter of the hero George Bailey, gives her father a flower before he puts her to bed.

    • Playing on the TV Jordan watches during Tino's party is the music video for the hit single "I Touch Myself", released in 1991 by the Australian rock band "Divinyls".

    • Patty: God, Chelsea Clinton. Will you look at this? No freedom, no privacy, constant surveillance, Secret Service men... That's what we need.

      The only child of former President Bill Clinton and United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton spent her teenage years growing up in the White House. When the pilot episode was first aired in 1994, Chelsea's father was in his first time in office and Chelsea herself was fourteen years old, about Angela's age. Patty therefore deadpans in this quote that she would like the same close watch to be kept on her daughter as on Chelsea so she could stop worrying incessantly about Angela.

    • Several references are made in this episode to The Diaries of Anne Frank, a German Jewish girl persecuted during World War II. Also known as "The Diary of a Young Girl", the book Angela studies in literature class was first published in 1947 and is a record of Anne Frank's hiding during the Nazi occupation. Angela relates to the moving life testimony of this girl who was approximately her age when she kept the diary (especially when it comes to Anne Frank's romance with Peter van Pels, the teenage boy who shared her confinement), and sees the book as a metaphor for coming of age and freedom versus subjection, both literally and figuratively.

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