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'Hallie Lowenthal' in the 21st Century

In which we ask if it's finally time to re-evaluate 'the other woman'

One of the most enlightening conversations about My So-Called Life I've had was with Lisa Waltz on the subject of her role as Graham's potential love interest. For years she and Patty have been castigated by many fans for being "annoying" – something the actress herself wasn't really aware of until we discussed it.

Waltz's take on this was both good-natured and keenly perceptive:

"Hallie does happen to talk a lot and she did kind of dominate the conversation sometimes and she was in your face a bit, but I just never found that to be annoying. I thought that to be great.

"If you want to dig into the Hallie psyche – if I look back on it and think about it, I just think Hallie was funny and confident and creative. I think that her Achilles heel probably was that guys just didn’t know how to deal with her. I think maybe that’s what happened to her fiancée. "The fact that Graham kind of took her the way she came was such a lovely breath of fresh air that she didn’t have to compartmentalize herself or tone herself down – I think that was the attraction for Hallie to Graham.

"Sadly, I think a lot of women edit who they are to make others happy. In the Graham/Hallie story line, Hallie was free to be herself with Graham.

"She didn’t have to apologize for who she was. In a lot of these – and no offense to the men writers in the world – you see a strong female character in a script but she’s got some weird addiction or some crazy thing that happened in her past that explains her boldness or quirkiness. We then spend time trying to make her 'likable.' Why? Hallie wasn’t pissy to anybody, she just wasn’t apologizing for who she was."

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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