The Characters That Defined Me.
{... and a little announcement}

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today I was thinking about my favorite television shows. More than that, I was thinking about my all time favorite television characters. You know, the ones you identified with, the ones that made you feel somehow less alone just by their presence on your screen. As if somewhere, someone understood the experience of being you.

So, here they are. The 3 characters that defined me (and probably you if you're anywhere near my age). This post is a little heavy on the quotes, so feel free to skip ahead if that's not your thing.

1. Angela Chase



Angela perfectly personified all gawky, more beautiful than they realized, smart, melancholy teenage girls. (That was pretty much all of us, right?) That hair. Those flannels. Summed up the experience of every girl I knew in 1994. I remember watching the show once with my mom and she said something about Angela being a brat. I thought to myself, "You have no idea." And that pretty much is the essence of the show... and of the teenage girl experience. Oh, and Jordan Catalano? An entire post devoted to him and his beautiful hair may be in the future.

* Favorite Angela quotes:

School is a battlefield... for your heart. So when Rayanne Graff told me my hair was holding me back, I had to listen. 'Cause she wasn't just talking about my hair. She was talking about my life.

It just seems like, you agree to have a certain personality or something. For no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you? And, I mean, this whole thing with yearbook - it's like, everybody's in this big hurry to make this book, to supposedly remember what happened. Because if you made a book of what really happened, it'd be a really upsetting book.

If only there were a button somewhere that I could push to force me to stop talking.

Sometimes someone says something really small... and it just fits into this empty place in your heart.

My mother's adopted. So for a while, she was looking for her real parents. I guess that's just what everyone's looking for.

People always say you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster or something. Like you can know what it is even. But every so often I'll have like, a moment, when just being myself in my life, right where I am, is like, enough.

2. Felicity Porter



Awww, Felicity. How I love thee. So insightful and sometimes lonely and a little crazy. Like all of us. She followed the boy she liked across the country to college and found... herself. And eventually, of course, the boy. (Scott Speedman, btw, is the celebrity love of my life. I can guarantee he'll be mentioned again on just a small town girl. Put your money on it, folks.) She was a hopeless romantic and a great friend with a great head of hair (except for that second season when she chopped off those beautiful locks). Through the ups and downs of her love life, she always stayed true to herself. When she embarrassed herself, it embarrassed us because, well, we had been there.

* Favorite Felicity (and Sally - wasn't she the greatest?) quotes:

Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.

They say crash victims --people who lose a limb-- that they can still feel their missing arm or leg, even after it's gone. It's called phantom pain, right? Well, suddenly, I had this horrible thought. What if high school went away but the feeling of it didn't? I mean I didn't feel joy... or sorrow... or anticipation. Things were going so well, but all I could feel was.... was dread.

Sally: The hardest part about moving forward is not looking back.

Sally: I guess I'm learning, little by little, that we decide what our lives are going to be. Things happen to us, but it is our reactions that matter.

Sally: I guess when your heart gets broken, you sort of start to see the cracks in everything. I'm convinced that tragedy wants to harden us, and that our mission is to never let it.

3. Carrie Bradshaw


This one is a no-brainer. I could argue the merits of Sex and The City and what it meant for women for hours (and, eventually, I probably will). This, however, is not the time or place. What I will say is the character of Carrie Bradshaw showed us all that women can be sexy and stylish and youthful well into their thirties and forties. The women on this show, and especially Carrie, gave us a new template for the single woman and, for once, it wasn't a sad Cathy comic caricature with too many cats. Big. Aidan. Berger. Petrovsky. Throughout the six seasons of every woman's favorite show, the loves of Carrie's life remained her best friends.

* Favorite Carrie quotes:

As we speed along this endless road to the destination called who we hope to be, I can't help but whine, "Are we there yet?"

Think about it. If you are single, after graduation there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you. Hallmark doesn't make a "congratulations, you didn't marry the wrong guy" card. And where's the flatware for going on vacation alone?

Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.

Uh huh. Most women aren't angry, irrational psychos. We just want an ending to a relationship that... That is thoughtful and decent and honors what we had together. So my point, Billy, is this; There is a good way to break-up with someone, and it doesn't include a post-it.

Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course, we wouldn't fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. After all, seasons change. So do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it's comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you're very lucky, a plane ride away.

Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.
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My Little Announcement:

Only because I pretty much adore pop culture more than almost anything else, I'm planning to start a new series on my blog called "I Heart Pop Culture Tuesdays." It's safe to assume I'll be digging up some guilty pleasures from our pasts - ala Jessie Spano and Teen Witch - but I'd also love to hear any ideas you might have. So, if you have any suggestions or would like to contribute at some point - or just want to say hi! - please email me at kathleenparker.b@gmail.com

So, stay tuned for next Tuesday!

Last - but not least - a special happy, happy birthday tomorrow (Wednesday the 17th) to everybody's favorite twins, Liz and Gabby! Love you, ladies. Can't wait to see you this weekend!

{images via Google images}

50 comments:

  1. I love this post - AND your fantastic new series. I used to identify with Angela ALL OF THE FLIPPIN' TIME. I loved her and her love affair with Jordan Catalano. She helped me realize that everyone is awkward! :)

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  2. Your blog is simply adorable! :) Keep it up.

    Xoxo- Emily

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  3. Wow I actually remember this episode! Saved by the Bell was the favorite part of my Saturday mornings.

    I'm also reminded of the time Carrie Bradshaw had a single girl registry to replace her Manolos. Brilliant!

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  4. Most excellent! I look forward to this series and reliving all the flashbacks, good or bad.

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  5. OMG I loooove this post...all the quotes. I think I am 1/3 Felicity and 2/3 Carrie B! WOOT.

    Yay for your new series how funnnn...bug bug bug!

    Thank you for the birthday love, I love you TFFS!

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  6. If you liked My So-Called Life, PLEASE tell me you are watching "My Life as Liz" on MTV... I know it's for 16 year old, DON'T JUDGE ME!!!

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  7. What a great post. I was definitely Angela!! and oh man. Jared Leto has not aged. He still looks THAT HOT!

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  8. Love this post (especially the quotes). Angela chase...I totally agree. I never really watched felicity though!

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  9. I love you, I love you, I love you.

    http://oughtasay.blogspot.com/2009/12/its-all-jordan-catalanos-fault.html

    I have MSCL on DVD and every season of Felicity. Any day spent on the couch watching Jordan Catalano sing "Red" or Scott Speedman whisper in bed is a day well spent.

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  10. I heart your blog. Just stumpled upon it and saw first, the title from Journey, which I love, then you post about Angela Chase! Wow, amazing. I never watched Felicity but I completely agree and relate to your Angela and Carrie references. I blame al of my bad relationship choices on my childhood affinity for Jordan Catalano. Also, as a fellow pop-culture junkie, I am looking very forward to your upcoming Tuesday posts. Keep up the great work!

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  11. I love this post! My best friend and I mooned over Jordan Catalano and wanted to die our hair red like Angela, I obsessed over Felicity, and I wish I had half the spunk (and shoe wardrobe) of Carrie Bradshaw. I can't wait for your pop culture series!

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  12. I really need to re-watch MSCL and Felicity over again..now that I'm oh so much older. :) I loved Felicity so much.

    Thanks for the birthday wishes! xo

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  13. Yes. Yes. And yes.

    Although, I think Felicity Porter will forever have a special place in my heart. Her hair. If only...

    :)

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  14. Felicity has the best hair ever. Before she cut it, that is. I LOVE her curls!

    Your blog is so lovely! XO.

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  15. I love the quotes you picked!! looking forward to tuesdays!

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  16. carrie is my single girl idol haha I can't wait to follow your new series such a great idea

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  17. Check, check aaaand check!

    Personally, I must add a little Joey Potter into the mix. Sigh...how I adore DC...

    And you! Not too soon. It's the damn truth, J-Span.

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  18. i adored my so called life! loved loved that show! and her friend, can't remember his name- he recently had a part in the movie"he's just not that into you" anyways, i loved him as well.
    xoxo

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  19. We are soul mates. Seriously enjoyed reading this post. I might have read it twice!

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  20. Angela Chase, how I love you! Ms. Chase my little flannel-wearing, 90s self's hero, and Claire Danes holds a special place in my heart to this day.

    I love the pop culture idea! I'll try and think of something cool to contribute...

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  21. Felicity and Carrie...I can't even begin to describe how big a part they were and still are in my life!

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  22. Loved this post! How fun. I'm trying to think of which characters I resemble now...

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  23. YES!! To all three of those lovely ladies! So influential to my growth as a young woman.

    And I actually said "Woo-Hoo!" out loud when I read about Pop Culture Tuesdays!

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  24. This is great! Joey from Dawson's Creek would totally be on my list.

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  25. jordan and ben were like my ultimate boyfriends

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  26. Carrie Bradshaw = <3

    I'm currently on a SATC rerun, watching as much as I can (Watched my entire series 3 last Saturday) and loving it!

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  27. oh this takes me back....i was right along side you in loving and relating to these characters...
    it's always sad when these shows go off the air...it's like saying goodbye to an old friend!
    fun post!
    cheers
    k

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  28. I love all of those shows except I have never seen Felicity if you can believe it! I just added it to my Netflix queue. My mom used to watch it but I never did for some reason.

    teatoastblog.blogspot.com

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  29. i don't know what i would do without you! bringing back the memory of one of my first true loves: Jordan Cstalano... my heart broke when that show ended :(

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