Theme Song Thursday: ‘My So-Called Life’s’ so-called theme

Claire Danes. Before “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” Before “The Mod Squad” and even “Romeo + Juliet,” there was “My So-Called Life.” Maroon-haired Angela Chase battles angst and adolescence in the suburbs.

Cast sans Tino, who didn't make the shoot.

“My So-Called Life” debuted on ABC in 1994, and in many ways, it was one of the first shows of its kind. It was a teen drama that dealt with drug use, alcoholism, school violence, homophobia, adultery, censorship and even illiteracy. And these themes were ongoing. Conflict didn’t find a quick and easy resolution at the end of the episode. This was also B.D.C. (Before “Dawson’s Creek”) and pre-tween networks UPN or The WB. It only ran one season but ranked on Time magazine’s 100 Best TV Shows of all-TIME in 2007.

“My So-Called Life” featured music from R.E.M., The Ramones, Sonic Youth and Daniel Johnston, but the most memorable scene showcased music from Buffalo Tom. Their song, “Late At Night,” closes an episode at the height of its emotion. Jordan Catalano publicly owns up to his relationship with Angela Chase before all the disapproving, disbelieving eyes. It sounds kinda lame, but to be immersed in the plot at the right time, age and decade, it makes for a joyful couple of seconds.

Buffalo Tom’s song “Soda Jerk” is No. 3 on the soundtrack for “My So-Called Life.” Why “Late At Night” didn’t make the cut, I don’t know. For those of us who grew up watching, we’ll always associate this band and this song with this show. Because of that, I’m deeming it the show’s official theme.

For those who want a look-back at the “historic” scene, here ya go. It’s a two-parter.

Theme Song Thursday is a weekly look back at memorable, not-so-influential, nostalgia-inducing theme songs by the Herald’s Melinda Lavine and Ryan Johnson. Click here to view previous posts and feel free to share!