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The Winnie & Claire Show: The Delights of the 'Self-Esteem' Commentary

In which we're invited to a very special screening of what are, in essence, home movies


After nearly 5 years, 40 interviews, and recent deep rewatches of the previous 11 episodes, I thought I had a reasonably good handle on My So-Called Life. And then I listened to this commentary.


It's somewhere around the scene in "Self-Esteem" where Rickie and Rayanne are scarfing down Chinese food that I stopped the episode commentary and took a breath. And realized that what I'd really been listening to was a mother and daughter rewatching home movies. The warm sharing of memories. The self-effacing comments. The giggling fits. The intimacy here is breathtaking, and likely the pixie dust that made this show feel as real as it did.


And then there are the revelations. Among them:


Claire Danes had her own "Tino" growing up. Literally. "In nursery school there was a boy who was Hawaiian called Tino and our nursery school was right next to Washington Square Park... and a trail of girls... we were all married to Tino, would chase him up and down the hills. And it was the first word I ever spelled because we would scream 'T-I-N-O Tino!' So he was always a mystical creature."


Danton Stone (who played Graham's brother, Neil) is Winnie Holzman's cousin.


Bess Armstrong organized a reading of "Our Town" with the MSCL cast a few Thanksgivings before the commentary.


Lisa Waltz (Hallie Lowenthal) was a close friend of Margaret Nagle (Ms. Chavatal).


Winnie actually revealed her plan to break up Patty and Graham – and to have Patty fall into a deep depression – back when this commentary was recorded. (Though I'm not clear on when exactly that was.)


If you haven't screened this one for a while, you really do owe it to yourself to do so when you get some time. It's like hanging out with old friends you never really knew you had.



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

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