The First High School Show That Showed Us It Was Okay to Be Different

Long before her Emmy-winning turn as a bipolar CIA officer on Homeland, Claire Danes played typical teenager Angela Chase. In doing so, she showed an entire generation, including me, that high school was not a perfect place, and that was totally fine. My So-Called Life debuted 20 years ago this week.

Especially when you contrast the show with the prevailing high school-focused entertainment of the time period (AHEM BAYSIDE HIGH), you can see that My So-Called Life was special. Instead of the perfectly coiffed and color-coordinated characters on so many sitcoms, My So-Called Life reflected my real-life high school cafeteria. Some of the students dressed in all black. Others dyed their hair. At least a few of them were gay—perhaps the first gay high schooler ever shown on television.

Alas, our dip into most authentic high school experience we'd seen on television yet was cut short when the show was canceled. Only 19 episodes were ever produced. But guess what? You can watch all of them for free, on Hulu. Now that's something that would make even Jordan Catalano smile. Maybe. [Hulu]