"Go, now, go" : liminalities of adolescence, girlhood and mode in My so-called life




Baron, Julia Price, 1979-

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This thesis inspects the ways in which the ABC series My So-Called Life (MSCL, 1994–1995) is liminally constructed. In doing so, I focus on: 1) adolescence as a postmodern human condition, 2) girls’ subjectivities and gendered performances of sexuality, and 3) negotiations between melodramatic and realist modes. Blurring the lines between childhood and adulthood, the series invests in the process of maturation like that within the Entwicklungsroman of Young Adult literature, rather than seeking or proposing maturation as a finalized goal. MSCL initially depicts its three primary girl characters (Angela, Sharon and Rayanne) as falling along a simplistic spectrum of girlhood; however, as the series progresses, these characters socially and privately negotiate multiple aspects of their sexualities, breaking out of dichotomizing models into dialectical structures of girlhood(s). Finally, I explore how melodrama works to generate what Ien Ang calls, “emotional realism,” thereby complicating longstanding contentious assumptions between melodrama and realism. My argument relies upon deconstructing binaries and looks to texts such as My So-Called Life to address and challenge oppositional categorizations.


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