18 August 2009

From the Vault: Catalano vs. Krakow

My So-Called Life was a most excellent show that aired in the early/mid-90s, about a girl, Angela Chase, and the burden that is being a teenager. While I was already in college when this first aired, a freshman, I believe, I totally related to Angela. I think it was because, in the very first show I watched, Angela & her mom got into a fight EXACTLY like the ones my mom & I frequently got in -- Patty, the mom, was getting ready for a party, stressed out, and yelling at Angela, who wanted to do what her mom was asking on her own terms and in her own time (is there any other kind of fight between mother/daughter?). This show definitely had its own sense of perfection...and I hadn't thought about it in a while, until I saw this NPR post.

So, because these are the type of things I spend my time pondering upon, I started thinking about Angela's two "love" interests -- Brian Krakow, the guy who was really interested in loving Angela, and Jordan Catalano, the guy who Angela was really interested in loving. While these two characters were total stereotypes, the nerd and the hottie bad boy, they were written so well and deeply that they felt like more than that.

Jordan Catalano, played by a young Jared Leto pre-makeup/anorexia/weirdness, was the guy every high school girl dreams of, even when they say they don't. He was a bad boy who would break you by looking at you, turn you into a puddle by acknowledging your presence, twist your tongue the minute he said hi to you. To you, he was complex, tortured, and in need of someone who would listen. You could change him, you could show in the way.

Brian Krakow, played by a wild-haired Devon Gummersall, was the geek. He was the boy who pined after you, but who you only used for help with your homework (or, in desperation, to DO your homework for you). He was only as complex, you thought, as the plaid shirt he wore, and he would do anything for you. Because of this, you wanted nothing to do with him, because, what high school girl wants someone who is good for them?

This made total sense to my teenage mind. Who WOULDN'T want Jordan Catalano (and, yes, you always have to say his FULL name. a.l.w.a.y.s.)? And Krakow, he wasn't even cute, though I felt bad when Angela totally dissed him on his bike to go off in the car (swoon) with Jordan Catalano.

Looking back through slightly more "adult" eyes, I can do more than imagine what these two boys are like. Jordan Catalano, while still hot, has turned into the quasi-loser who never went far, selling high-end electronics...impressing you long enough for a session of smooching at the class reunion with the thought that, HA, even though he notices you now, you are so much better than him. While Krakow, he has turned into the one you want. The slightly awkward teen who's turned into a slightly less-awkward adult, still a little shy, but way more successful than even he thought he'd be, and way funnier and more endearing you remember.

Does the bad boy love ever truly fade? Not entirely. There is always that desire to save someone, to take care. But I do think you realize everyone maybe has that bad boy side, even Krakow, and that sometimes the good needs to outweigh the bad.


Anonymous said...

Krakow was Deelia Fisher's bad boy after he blew her off at the dance. Sure, parents liked him, but that doesn't mean he was a nice guy. Insecurity does not breed niceness; it leads to passive-aggressiveness - very unattractive. Insecure guys are just as much trouble as drugged-out stoners.

Anonymous said...

*legitimate, self-assured grown-up(not to mention professionally secure and financially stable), capable of maintaining a mature loving relationship than Catalano could ever turn out to be as an adult.

Anonymous said...

Then again, Krakow, like the rest of the young characters, was just an immature kid then. I'd say Krakow would have more propensity to become a legitimate, self-assured grown-up (not to mention professionally secure and financially stable), capable of maintaining a mature loving relationship than Catalano could ever turn out to be as an adult.