My So-Called Life can easily be called one of the most criminally short-lived series in television history.
The show centered on the emotional issues of several teenagers living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It premiered on ABC in August 1994 and aired until January 1995. The final episode ended as a cliffhanger with the expectation that it would be given a second season but was officially canceled in May of that year.
Several of the show’s cast became A-list stars in the years to come, including Claire Danes and Jared Leto. The same can also be said for Wilson Cruz, who played openly gay teenager Enrique “Rickie” Vasquez on the still beloved show.
The role of Rickie was groundbreaking for audiences to witness. He was a gay 15-year-old being raised by his uncle who consistently physically and emotionally abused him. Rickie stood out by wearing eyeliner and bright clothing and hanging in the girls bathroom with his friends Rayanne (A.J. Langer) and Angela (Danes). His uncle eventually kicked him out of the house where he becomes fostered not once but twice.
He ended up being fostered by gay English teacher Richard Katimski (Jeff Perry) who became his mentor. Rickie’s storyline was one of many from the show that was lauded by critics and fans alike.
Not much has changed in terms of its popularity all these years later. It has a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.4 rating on IMDb.
So does this mean My So-Called Life will get a reboot later on this year to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary? I asked Wilson this on the red carpet of the 2019 GLSEN Respect Awards, which took place at Cipriani’s 42nd Street in New York City on Monday, May 20.
Held annually in Los Angeles and New York, the award show honors the work of student leaders, educators, community organizers, influencers, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
Are you excited about tonight?
I am excited about tonight! I love this event. I love it because it helps us imagine what the future is going to be like. Right? It’s going to be in so much better hands than the ones that it’s in right now. This generation gives me so much hope. They are so brave, they are so willing to have difficult conversations about race, about sexual harassment, about gun control. They call the administration to task on issues every day and so I want to be around to see the world they create.
It’s been 25 years since My So Called Life premiered. Are you guys doing anything for the anniversary?
Umm… we’re working on it. That’s all I can say. People want to do something!
Did you guys feel jipped that it was a one season show even though there was so much acclaim?
Sure. We were devastated. We were very, very close, we’re close to this day. The fact that it was canceled meant that we may not be around each other anymore and we were so connected to that show and to the work and what we were doing with it. So we were devastated.
But you know now we’re older and we get to look back at it and go “maybe it was perfect exactly how it was,” because then you get to hand over what happened to those people to the imaginations of the people that were watching it. I wonder if we could’ve created anything as interesting as what was created and the imaginations of the audience once it was canceled.