In which the author shares a secret he's been dying to share for nearly a year...
I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be able to share with you the subject of my next book. It will be called So Beautiful it Hurts: The Making of ‘My So-Called Life'.
As most fans will know, the book's title comes from a brief exchange in the pilot episode – Angela’s idea of what a lover should say before they sleep together: "You're so beautiful, it hurts to look at you." So Beautiful it Hurts was the first title to occur to me when I first thought about writing this book nearly a year ago, and I still can’t think of another that better sums up My So-Called Life.
I’ve been privileged to write about a number of films and TV shows over the years, but in my estimation My So-Called Life is probably the best television show ever produced. It’s certainly the one that’s touched me the most. I suspect I’m not alone in that. Though it’s too early to announce a publication date at the moment, it’s my hope that once it is published, you will find So Beautiful it Hurts equally touching for a different reason.
My goal for this book has always been to share the thoughts and feelings of the people so instrumental to the program’s creation, and by doing so, demonstrate how each and every one contributed to that landmark series.
I actually started the interviewing process way back in June 2018, but couldn’t quite bring myself to tell anyone about it until I finally managed to speak with the heart of My So-Called Life – creator Winnie Holzman. There is an empathy that courses through all her work, certainly, but it was in this series that it became something truly unique. By giving voice to all the little insecurities and contradictions that baffle so many of us, both as children and adults, she made us feel that maybe we all have more in common than we thought. (What can I say, it was a gentler time then.)
Much of this was down to the safe harbor that producers Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz provided her with, lending their years of experience and enormous clout with ABC to the production, enabling Winnie to focus on the creative aspects of the show.
Inspired by the strength of her writing and the producers’ support, the episodes' directors felt free to try out new ideas, and an already strong cast dug deeper and pushed themselves harder, relishing the opportunity to explore the show’s multi-layered characters. Two brilliant cinematographers and dozens of wardrobe, hair and makeup people, set designers, camera ops, and other essential personnel all brought their own special skills and life experiences to the mix.
This is the story I hope to tell, in its entirety, for the first time.
In the meantime, I hope you'll join me on this adventure. Please feel free to get in touch with me – and hopefully other MSCL fans – abut the show. You can do that in a couple of different places:
• Share your My So-Called Life memories and more on the Facebook page
I'm really looking forward to sharing this journey with you – it's gonna be 'Beautiful.'
'So Beautiful it Hurts' 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."