Today, the most simultaneously overrated and underrated film in recent memory, Juno, arrives on DVD. I hate to be all Spike Lee and say, skip that, watch this, but uh, skip that and watch this*.
See, although I don't even hate Juno (despite everything, I enjoyed it, contrary to how I may have come off...twice), but I finally figured out exactly why I couldn't connect with its snotty-assed namesake: Juno MacGuff is the antithesis of My So-Called Life's Angela Chase, who's quite possibly my favorite teenage girl of all time (real or fiction). Juno is a know-it-all; Angela is a think-it-all. Juno is extroverted enough to be exempt from real self-consciousness (i.e. she has no idea how obnoxious she is); Angela is a painful self-examiner (however wrong her observations about herself are). Juno's an emotional superhero; Angela's ready to self-destruct at the tiniest shard of visceral kryptonite. Juno's intellect is lightning-fast and infallible (even if she doesn't know Greek from Roman mythology); Angela's musings, even when spot-on, are worded goofily enough to feel perpetually stumbled upon.
It's this last point that I feel is most important: while Juno is essentially the extension of Diabo Cody's considerable ego, Angela Chase is a warts-and-all portrait of a well-rounded human. She's whiny, annoying, selfish, clever, insightful, beautiful. And hilarious! Rewatching MSCL via last year's DVD release reminded me how awesome Angela's dialogue is, especially her narration. I haven't seen any sort of clip reel that collects her greatest hits, so I made one. The wisdom of Angela Chase follows in all of its endearingly laughable splendor:
I don't want to video you out, so below is a transcript of Angela's musings. I think they might be even funnier in print:
"It's like sometimes, people fill their minds with all these stupid things, you know? To keep themselves from thinking about, y'know, what's really important."
"When someone compliments your parents, there's, like nothing to say. It's like a stun-gun to your brain."
"Sometimes I think if my mother wasn't so good at pretending to be happy, she'd be better at actually being happy."
"The sad truth is, my breasts have come between us."
"Hatred can become like food. It gives you this energy. You can, like, live off it."
"I cannot bring myself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of my mother. It just means too much to her. I mean, if you stop to think about, like, chewing. What it really is. How people just do it. Like, in public."
Mom: "Angela, orange juice doesn't grow on trees."
Angela: "It sort of does."
"Maybe teachers have a hidden life where they're actually, like, human. Where they have, I don't know, dignity. Or maybe not."
"It's so weird that teachers actually, like, live places."
"Field trips are so intense. It's like everybody's been let out of their cages or something. And we're all roaming around. Loose."
"There's something about Sunday night that really makes you wanna kill yourself. Especially if you've just been totally made a fool of by the only person you'll ever love and you have a Geometry midterm on Monday, which you still haven't studied for because you can't because Brian Krakow has your textbook and you're too embarrassed to even deal with it. And your little sister's completely finished with her homework, which is just, like, so simple and mindless a child could do it. And that creepy 60 Minutes watch that sounds like your whole life ticking away."
"When someone dies young it's like they stay that way. Forever. Like a vampire."
"You know how sometimes the last sentence you said, like, echoes in your brain and it just keeps sounding stupider? And you have to say something else just to make it stop?"
"It's so weird when you see someone you just dreamed about. Like it's gonna show."
"When you call someone's name, like, kind of loud and they don't hear you, it makes you feel really lonely."
"Walking into someone's house for the first time is like entering another country. Not that I've ever been to another country."
"Like cheerleaders. Can't people just cheer on their own? Like, to themselves?"
"You know the karma in this house is, like, ridiculous...Yeah, it's really low. Or dark. Or whatever it is that happens to karma."
"I thought at least by age 15, I would have a love life. But I don't even have a like life."
"I couldn't stop thinking about it. The, like, fact of it. That people had sex. That they just had it. That sex was this thing that people had. Like a rash. Or a rottweiler. Everything started to seem, like, pornographic or something. Like, Miss Krysanowski has sex. So does Mr. Katimsky. They both have sex. They could have sex together, like, right now. I am, like, the sickest person."
"The thought that I might be seeing Jordan Catalano in a few hours was, like, impossible to comprehend. Like when they first tell you about infinity."
"Because it is a big deal. I mean, sex made your whole life start and if you think about life as, like, a circle or something, then sex and death are the same...Look, I'm not saying they're the same. I mean, I've thought about having sex with you, and, god, I've never seriously thought about killing you."
Mom: "You know what you really should do? Soak a washcloth in some steaming hot water. Apply it very gently to your chin, make sure you have a swab handy..."
Mom: "What? I'm trying to help. What is wrong?"
Angela: "Just the word 'swab.'"
"School is a battlefield for your heart. So when Rayanne Graff told me my hair was holding me back, I had to listen. 'Cause she wasn't just talking about my hair; she was talking about my life."
"It had become the focus of everything. It was all I could feel, all I could think about. It blotted out the rest of my face. The rest of my life. Like the zit had become the truth about me."
"It just seems like you agree to have a certain personality or something. For no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know if it's even you?"
"I just think people wanna believe things about people, and so they decide certain things are true. And they don't even ask. And it's not fair! 'Cause you have to live with it anyway."
"People always say how you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing. Like a toaster, or something. Like you can know what it is, even. But every so often, I'll have, like, a moment, when just being myself in my life, right where I am, is, like, enough."
"What I was thinking as, like, a New Year's resolution is to stop getting so caught up in my own thoughts. 'Cause I'm, like, way too introspective. I think."
"But what if not thinking turns me into this really shallow person? I better rethink this becoming less introspective thing."
*I don't really think you should skip Juno, or anything for that matter. You should experience any and every bit of pop culture for yourself. So rent Juno. See if I care. But just know that Angela is cooler.