top of page

Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Adults on the Set of 'My So-Called Life'

No wonder Patty and Graham looked so tired when they were getting ready for bed.

My So-Called Life is often praised for overcoming many challenges throughout its 19 episode run, selling ABC on an hour-long drama featuring an adolescent girl's point of view probably the greatest among them. One aspect that might not be as well known, however, is just how difficult its rigorous shooting schedule was on the working parents in front of and behind the camera.

"The other night I said to [MSCL Creator Winnie Holzman], 'You know something that you and I don’t ever really consider when we’re talking about everything we think we handled well, everything we could’ve handled better,'" Bess Armstrong (Patty) told me. " ' ....What we never really add into the mix is that we were both parenting children while we were doing this every day.' That’s part of an actor’s life if you’re blessed enough to have a partner and have children and try to work at the same time."

So Beautiful it Hurts: The Making of My So-Called Life book

The adults on the show were the last to be filmed (for reasons we'll explore in a future post), which made for some pretty late nights for Armstrong and Tom Irwin (Graham).

"No matter how late I got home, the tyranny of my schedule was that my children were going to be getting up between 6:15 and 6:30 and I needed to make their lunches, pack their lunch boxes, feed them breakfast, make sure they got dressed, and on some days actually run car pool," she recalls. "But it’s just a version of what families are doing in any industry now to a certain extent, right? It’s always that juggling of careers and family. You don’t want to shortchange anybody, but that means that you burn your candle at both ends."


So Beautiful it Hurts’ is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with ABC, The Bedford Falls Co.,or anyone involved with the making or distribution of “My So-Called Life.”


Recent Posts

See All



bottom of page