It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since the still-popular TV show My So-Called Life, a heartfelt portrayal of the struggles of mid-1990s teenagers and their families, debuted on ABC.
While the show only lasted for 19 episodes, from August 25, 1994, until January 26, 1995, My So-Called Life left a permanent mark on pop culture history.
Here are 10 facts about the show to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its premiere.
1. Alicia Silverstone was almost in the mix
1990’s “It Girl” Alicia Silverstone almost played the lead role of Angela Chase, which eventually went to Claire Danes. Silverstone was deemed to be “too pretty” by Marshall Herskovitz, one of the executive producers of the show. He felt the character of Angela was too confused and awkward and Silverstone wasn’t the perfect fit for the role.
2. A big first
The character of Rickie Vasquez (played by Wilson Cruz) was the first openly gay teenager on American network television.
3. A different Jordan?
Jared Leto almost turned down the role of Jordan Catalano. The character was only supposed to appear in the pilot episode, but the producers realized they had something special with Leto and decided to make him a continuing character.
At the time, however, Leto was considering going to art school instead of acting, so he almost turned down the role. Good move.
4. Where’s Tino?
There is a running joke in the series about a character named Tino, who is mentioned over and over again, but is never seen.
5. A real school
Although the show takes place in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the show was actually shot at a real high school in Los Angeles: University High School
Only two episodes in the series didn’t feature voiceovers by Angela Chase, played by Claire Danes. They were “Weekend,” which Danielle Chase narrated, and “Life of Brian,” which Brian Krakow narrated.
7. Save the show!
Fans were so rabid about My So-Called Life that they teamed up to try to save the show from being canceled. Operation Life Support was the first online fan campaign launched to try to save a TV show. ABC received thousands of letters from fans, but the show was ultimately canceled after 19 episodes.
8. Award winner
Claire Danes won a Golden Globe award for her role as Angela Chase for Best Actress in a Drama Television Series. She was only 15 years old at the time.
9. Best Dad Ever
Graham Chase (played by Tom Irwin) was named one of TV Guide’s “Top 50 TV Dads of All Time.” Not too shabby.
10. Tough competition
My So-Called Life was praised by critics, but the low ratings the show received ultimately sank the whole thing. Part of the issue was the competitive time slot the show was placed in – it aired on Thursday nights at 8pm EST, up against Friends, Mad About You, and Martin.