My So Called Life was all about the construction of identity, and how identity is not given but is
“Everybody’s an act”
chosen (identity is not who you are; it’s how you behave). The clip I used for this noteframe is online:
Identity, Teenhood and My So Called Life
My So Called Life was an American teen drama series broadcast in 1995 on Channel 4. It predates (and influenced) Dawson’s Creek, and all of the other Tasks
1) Watch 30 minutes of the clip, until Angela says
teen dramas that followed (The OC; 90210; Glee). “Everybody’s an act” when she’s just got changed for a
The programme deals with issues of the construction of teen identity. In Episode 1, Angela (the lead character) dyes her hair red in an act that seems to 2) During viewing, make notes in the boxes below.
signify movement from childhood to teenhood, a step towards her taking control of her own life and identity. 3) Find the online book called ‘Dear Angela: Remembering My
So Called Life’ by Michele Byers and David Lavery. Read
Chapter 2 (Box 7 below)
2. How is My So Called Life similar/ different to the programmes/ films 3. How is this about the struggle for self-identity/ semiotic meaning between childhood and adulthood?
1. How does My So Called Life use similar/ different character types to you have been studying? 4. How are teens shown to be asserting their identity in this programme?
other teen dramas you have studied/ seen? How might these 5. What does it say about the importance of family, school and the media on shaping teen identity?
character types help develop audience identification?
7) Type into Google ‘Dear Angela: Remembering My So Called Life’ by Michele Byers and David Lavery. Read Chapter 2. Find 3
quotes where the writer is examining issues of identity and My So Called Life and write these below. Here’s one I found:
6. I would argue that Glee and Skins are about creating a target “Making over oneself has long been a way in which to transform the female identity: to make oneselt anew. In the case of Angela, the
market from the audience. How might My So Called Life be dying of hair appears as an act of self-production and performance… The act destabilises the idea of a fixed identity.”
I recommend dipping in to ‘Dear Angela: Remembering My So Called Life’ by Michele Byers and David Lavery. There are excellent
essays on gender/ sexuality and identity; comparing My So Called Life to Dawson’s Creek; examining the use of music, and loads of
other things. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Kp0LbM_HtiEC&pg=PP1&dq=Dear+Angela:+Remembering+My+So-
Homework: View and analyse one or two older media texts that deal with
the construction of teen identity. Your task is to:
1) Analyse how teenhood is represented in an episode/ extract(use the
same guide questions as you had for last week’s homework)
2) Find an essay online about identity and your chosen text and find
2-3 quotes about the text (use Google Books or Google Scholar
3) Write two paragraphs on this question: How does this text construct
identity in a similar/ different way to the contemporary text(s) you