With the news coming down this week that MTV is adapting the UK's teen sensation Skins for American audiences, it became obvious which show I was going to do next for this column. The thing about Skins that works so well is that it rings of authenticity, which is rare in teen programming. It also features teenagers who are truly acting their age; no old dudes with male pattern baldness pretending to be high school sophomores.
We've seen all this before. A long time ago, before The WB and UPN built programming models for teen audiences, there was a little show on ABC that nobody really knew what to do with. My So-Called Life tackled teen issues, not in "a very special episode" way, but in a raw, unfiltered way. It was wonderful.
My roommates and I were obsessed with this show when it was on in 1990. We were all living in the same condo, all of them in college and me...not. We'd spend our time playing tennis, eating subs and Chinese, and watching Star Trek: TNG, MacGyver, reruns of Spenser: For Hire, and this show.
Married People was a short-lived sitcom on ABC. It was about the lives of several married couples who all lived in the same building in New York City. The star of the show was Jay Thomas, who was married to Bess Armstrong (they were the "middle" couple). The "older" couple (also the landlords in the building) was played by Ray Aranha and Barbara Montgomery, and the "younger" couple was played by Chris Young (from Max Headroom) and Megan Gallivan. Several episodes were directed by veteran director Asaad Kelada.
(S04E11) "Denny Crane. Denny Crane. Denny Crane. Denny Crane." - Taken from the legal briefs of Denny Crane
Is it 1989 or was that Bess Armstrong I saw in the opening scene? All jokes aside, William Shatner, once again, makes me jealous of his life by squeezing the butt that I have longed for ever since I saw The Four Seasons. I was very excited when Denny insisted on trying the case by himself. I have long wondered if he still has what it takes to keep his perfect record and this is where my question gets answered.
Say what you will about My So-Called Life: It was a pivotal show in American TV History. Although it was canceled after only two years and 19 episodes, when MTV picked it up and began showing it round the clock, it acquired a cult following that keeps it resonant even today.
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