Author: [log in to unmask] (Jajasoon Tlitteu) at SMTP-LINK Date: 12/10/94 2:42 AM [Editor's Note: This message was originally submitted to SCREEN-L by the "Author" noted above, not Jeremy Butler, SCREEN-L's moderator.] The MSCL thread has ceased for a few days, but it rages onward on my local listserv, so I though I'd pass along my post from there. Here's the some criticism on MSCL from the Isthmus, an alternative weeky in Madison, by Laura Stempel Mumford, their most excellent TV critic: "Although 'My So-Called Life' has broken some important ground by presenting prime-time's first recurring bisexual teenager (Angela's second-best-friend, Ricky), it's a profoundly conservative program in other ways, celebrating the traditional nuclear family as the only reliable source of comfort and security. It's hard to think of two more intensely contrasted domestic situations than Angela's cozy home and the life-endangering disaster over which Rayanne's irresponsible single mother (Patti D'Arbanville-Quinn) presides. That position on family life is no surprise, either, given 'Life's' pedigree. It comes from the same people who created and produced 'thirtysomething,' a series that deserves the prize for the 80's Drama We Most Loved to Hate. More important, though, 'thirtysomething' was one of TV's most insidiously conservative series, and 'My So-Called Life' performs the same tricky sleight-of-hand, offering what appear to be challenges to convention that are inevitably undermined by invocations of traditional social and family structures. Angela may often seem smarter (or at least more alert) than her parents, but when she faces major trouble or tough decisions- about sex, about school and, most dramatically, about Rayanne's problems- she always seems to do what they've taught her. In the end, father and mother still know best." (Isthmus, December 9, 1994, page 54) Bingo! Just a few additional words that LSM above does not address. The thing that also annoys me about this show (and many many others) is the reification of angst. Sure, often life sucks, especially from the perspective of an adolescent girl. But none of the problems presented on this show (or most TV shows) are as significant as the treatment they are given. Contrast this to Roseanne, which deals with some pretty heavy issues (mental illness, child sexual abuse, domestic battering, poverty), but always retains a sense of fun about it. Shit happens: people on Roseanne use their buoyant humor to survive it, while Angela et al attach the ball and chain of angst to sink them deeper into the sewage of their own creation. ******** jajasoon tlitteu ([log in to unmask]) "Academic training was instrumental. You have to understand the language of society before you can start stretching and subverting it and ripping and tearing it and burning it and watching the plastic drip on the ants."