Dear Angela: Remembering My So-Called Life

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Dear Angela includes fourteen critical essays that examine the short-lived but landmark television series My So-Called Life (1994-1995). Though certainly not the first young woman to be the center of a television series, Angela Chase and the show about her life were doing something new on television and influenced many of the shows about young people that followed Michele Byers and David Lavery bring together enthusiastic and engaging voices that bear on a series that continues to be hailed as a breakthrough moment in television, even though more than a decade has passed since its cancellation. Tackling a broad range of topics-from identity politics to music, infidelity, and death-each essay builds upon a belief that My So-Called Life is a particulary rich text worth studying for the clues it offers about a particular moment in cultural and television history. Dear Angela offers a sophisticated analysis of the show's legacy and cultural relevance that will appeal to media studies scholars and fans alike.
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Editorial Reviews

Rhonda V. Wilcox
We have waited too many years for a first-rate book on My So-Called Life. Dear Angela has made the wait worthwhile. Editors Michele Byers and David Lavery have gathered an excellent set of essayists who write on topics ranging from Barbara Bell’s brilliant work on language to Kelli Maloy’s piece on music to Jes Battis’s “My So-Called Queer.” And of course Byers’ and Lavery’s own essays are lucid and moving. This book fills an important place in television scholarship; furthermore, fans of the show are sure to enjoy the thoughtful attention these writers pay to a worthy work of television.
Sherrie A. Inness
Dear Angela is a lively and vivid work that is sure to fascinate any reader interested in thinking about My So-Called Life and its long-lasting cultural impact, which continues today. Anyone curious about teens and television will find this book to be absorbing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739116920
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 8/31/2007
  • Series: Critical Studies in Television Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Michele Byers is an associate professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. David Lavery holds a chair in film and television at Brunel University in London.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction   Michele Byers     1
Gender/Sexuality/Desire: Subversion of Difference and Construction of Loss in the Adolescent Drama of My So-Called Life   Michele Byers     13
Saving Our So-Called Lives: Girl Fandom, Adolescent Subjectivity, and My So-Called Life   Susan Murray     35
Timing Is Everything: The Success of Dawson's Creek and the Failure of My So-Called Life   Andrew Coomes     51
Their So-Called Scene: Uses of Popular Music in My So-Called Life   Kelli Maloy     57
Characters and Themes
My So-Called Queer: Rickie Vasquez and the Performance of Teen Exile   Jes Battis     71
Jordan Catalano/Brian Krakow: Masculinity, the "Alternative" 90s, and My So-Called Life   Nicholas Birns     91
Passing Notes and Passing Crushes: Writing Desire and Sexuality in My So-Called Life   Jolie Braun     107
"Whatever Happens Happens": Infidelity in My So-Called Life   Deidre Dowling Price     121
My So-Called Magical Life: Magical Realism Joins the Chase(s)   Chris Brooks     131
Holden Caulfield in Doc Martens: The Catcher in the Rye and My So-Called Life   Barbara Bell     143
One of Those Fights Where It Feels Like theFight's Having You: The "Patty Reading" of My So-Called Life   Bill Kte'pi     157
"It Only Got Teenage Girls": Narrative Strategies and the Teenage Perspective of My So-Called Life   Caryn Murphy     165
My So-Called Life in the Balance: Metaphors of Mortality and Uncertainty in a Short-Lived Television Series   David Scott Diffrient     181
Afterword. My So-Called Life Meets The X-Files: Winnie Holzman's Influence on Joss Whedon   David Lavery     211
Character List     218
Episode Guide     219
Selected Bibliography     220
Contributors     233
Index     237
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