What The Characters From My So Called Life Are Doing Now
Mr. Katimski. The kind teacher who lets Ricky stay with him when Ricky is abandoned by his family, who runs the drama club and who is presumed to sustain special empathy for Ricky because he is also gay. Mr. Katimski has retired from teaching, but continues to coach the drama club in his free time. However, he finds he becomes increasingly bitter and frustrated by the ever-narrowing attention spans, cell phone dependency and soulless party-pop music of today’s teenagers. He loves the TV show ‘Fringe’.
Hallie Lowenthal. The aggressive woman who founded a restaurant with Angela Chase’s father, Graham, and who appeared to enjoy some sexual tension with him. The restaurant enjoyed a five-year run of business until the mounting stress of operating a restaurant began to wear on the partnership. Hallie confessed her long-repressed feelings to Graham as he divested himself from the business at Patty’s insistence. Hallie has not taken the failure of the restaurant well, and now invents reasons to call Graham, such as fictional repairs to her apartment (where she lies on purpose) or made-up ailments (where she believes she is actually ill and freaks out). She and Patty enjoy a terse politesse whenever Patty answers the phone, which Patty now always makes sure to do.
Delia Fisher. The drama club girl who developed a crush on Ricky even while knowing he could not reciprocate, preferring a crush that is ‘safe.’ After experimenting with gothic fashion, light drugs and self-harm at college, Delia experienced a personal revival and moved to New York City in order to become a full-time ‘fag hag’. People believe she is promiscuous despite the fact that she has only had a few occasions of awkward sex with unattractive and vaguely creepy individuals. She appears to be quite happy, however, hosting a local drag night and participating in a DIY independent (read: sad) burlesque revue.
Neil Chase Graham’s creepy younger brother, who is defined by his ‘free spirit’ and enjoyment of alcohol and trashy women. Neil was proud to eventually land a stable job as an accounting clerk in a nondescript company where he ultimately lucked into a sales position. For a number of years he experienced inordinate pride in his ability to earn money and gain the kind of women who prefer men who earn money, buying fairly traditional status items such as cell phones and a motor boat. Developed an unattractive perpetual tan and married a blonde woman whom he accessorized with breast augmentation. When his new wife’s breast augmentation went poorly and caused scarring, he actually fell in love with the office manager from his company. He keeps the affair secret from everyone except for Graham, who thinks it is okay because Neil is really in love.
Kyle Vinnovich. Sharon Chersky’s jock boyfriend. Kicked out of ivy league school in his third year after a female student brought allegations against his fraternity for an ‘alleged incident’ at which Kyle may or may not have been present, depending on how much beer he has drank when you ask him.
Amber Vallone. Rayanne Graff’s trashy mom. Still Rayanne Graff’s trashy mom, only hoarser and more leathery.
Graham Chase. After his restaurant went bankrupt and he struggled with his desire to launch an affair with Hallie Lowenthal – exacerbated by his own brother Neil’s visible affair – Graham turned to the bottle. It was very melodramatic but it only lasted one week before Patty insisted the couple attend counseling. Graham’s crisis of confidence in the wake of his restaurant failure continued to test their marriage, yielding numerous stirring life lessons about the meaning of partnership and the endurance of love into late life. He remains woefully oblivious to the fact his daughters require any kind of relationship with him and mostly continues to putter around pursuing various personal initiatives, most recently a fledgling woodshop in the family’s basement.
Patty Chase. Angela’s mother continues to become more shrewish, insecure and risk-averse once her daughters leave the house. She is a doomed harpy and will not allow Graham to purchase an iPad.
Danielle Chase. Angela’s younger sister turned out startlingly well-adjusted for being largely ignored as an adolescent. As is often the case with the younger child, Danielle’s teens were much less turbulent than Angela’s and she was given more latitude, thus decreasing the likelihood for rebellion. Now a student of sociology, she is dating a young basketball coach, but she wisely knows she is unprepared to commit and is largely enjoying her youth. She maintains a sheaf of small artifacts pertaining to Brian Krakow despite having grown out of her crush; however, whenever Brian returns to the neighborhood for a visit she still feels a wistful fondness toward him.
Sharon Chersky. Angela’s childhood friend and good-girl tutor and dance team queen entered an inevitable slut phase when she became powerful in her college sorority. High on her own popularity, she experimented in the established ‘reckless’ fashion with alcohol and drugs, and began to develop her mother’s penchant for kinky sex behaviors. Dropped out of school when she became pregnant, but found a quiet peace and resolution as a wiser and more compassionate single mother.
Brian Krakow. Hesitantly dated a mostly unsatisfying high school senior post-graduation and lost his virginity, but had to break up with her to pursue his rigorous and immediate program of higher education. During school he wrote numerous letters to Angela that he didn’t send. Plagued over the years by the consequences of having a mostly passive, self-sacrificing demeanor, the compound of double-major stress and work as a library aid coupled with the empowerment of purchasing a used car finally bought Brian some measure of freedom. After receiving his Master’s and widely-publishing a thesis, Krakow is a young writing professor widely-desired by attractive grad students and who has begun work on his novel. On a recent visit to his home neighborhood he realized suddenly that Angela is not particularly smart, interesting nor good enough for him.
Enrique Vasquez. Ricky continued to live with Mr. Katimski after high school, who provided him mentorship and support, and he studied social work via a series of part-time classes at a community college also attended by Delia, who became his dearest friend after the others left town. The pair eventually become roommates in New York City, where Ricky largely manages to avoid the drug culture – however, habituated to a pattern of being the one people lean on, he falls desperately in love with a troubled musician named Frank, a relationship his friends all attempt to discourage. However, when he becomes a youth outreach counselor, he develops a romance with a married teacher, Peter, whose wife doesn’t know he is gay – until the two reveal their love to her and, despite her pain, she gives her support.
Rayanne Graff. Never knowing that Angela planned to use graduation as an opportunity to reconcile, and knowing only that her mom, in the hospital to have a pre-cancerous mole removed, would be unable to attend, Rayanne skipped the event in a haze of drunk impulsiveness. She and Tino decided to take a road trip to Los Angeles to look for opportunities, but they found inertia and resentment instead, although Rayanne enjoyed a wild party lifestyle and made numerous friends as a Hollywood waitress with eventual aspirations of becoming an actress. When Tino was jailed on cocaine possession, Rayanne moved in with a low-budget film director who promised to make her a star but was only able to get her a job singing in a nightclub in a dangerous part of town, where her life spiraled out of control. In an act of instinct toward her daughter, Amber pretended to be dying of cancer so that Rayanne would come home. Touched by the plight of her lonely, alcoholic mother, however, Rayanne breaks down and decides to stay in town with her. She attends a program of rehab and AA, and receives a burst of self-esteem when her old school counselor encounters her by chance at the pharmacy and invites her to give talks for kids at school about staying away from drugs and alcohol. This inspires her at last to attend nursing school and feel mostly accomplished as a medical technician. She talks to people about her friends from high school, Ricky and Angela, as if she had only the best of memories and as if time were the only thing that had estranged them.
Jordan Catalano. Jordan ultimately graduated high school two years late; Tino helped him to find a job as an auto mechanic, but his inability to articulate goals for his future nor meaningfully express himself to Angela rapidly lost its luster and she did not stay in touch with him when she left for school. Presiding in a dull state of arrested development while still maintaining abstract dreams of becoming a rock musician, Jordan remained inert for years, working on cars by day and playing low-level coffee house shows and drinking at night. His stunning good looks rapidly ebbed away as he gained beer weight primarily around his midsection, cut his hair for convenience’s sake and let a beard come in because all of the other guys at the workshop were lazy about shaving. He listlessly dates and ultimately marries a desperate woman five years older than he is; they now have a prefab house and two children and figure they have ‘made it.’
Angela Chase. At last stopped fighting her utter normalcy. Got a liberal arts education, and now does layouts for magazines. Feels stupid about having been an angsty teen.
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The apartment you lived in your first year out of school, the walk-up with a view of the street.
I wanted to quit my job. I hated my boss.
His eyes widened, he became angry, and backed off of me. I told him he could leave now. Now. He said “With you being a good Christian girl, and me studying to be a priest, I think it’s important we not tell anyone what we did.”
In a fallen world, hope, like faith, is often the hardest thing to hold onto especially when you need it the most.