The series finale of "My So-Called Life" aired 20 years ago today, and we do not intend for the above headline to come off as hyperbole. This one episode of television -- called "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities," a nod to Delmore Schwartz's 1937 short story by the same name -- features everything fans loved about the cult classic: crushes, betrayal, confusion, #realtalk, stolen glances and so much Jordan Catalano.
It also gave us ... The Letter.
Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto) spends most of the episode trying to find the right words to apologize to Angela Chase (Claire Danes) for ignoring her over and over, sleeping with her best friend and being an overall boob. He uses those big dopey eyes to persuade Brian Krakow (Devon Gummersall), who secretly loves Angela, to write him a note to give her. Through a voiceover and a montage, the letter travels from Brian's head to Jordan's hand to Angela's heart, and we are gifted the Best Teenage Love Letter Of All Time:
I know in the past I've caused you pain and I'm sorry. I'll always be sorry till the day I die. I hate this pen I'm holding because I should be holding you. I hate this paper under my hand because it isn't you. I even hate this letter because it's not the whole truth, because the whole truth is so much more than a letter can even say. If you want to hate me go ahead. If you want to burn this letter go ahead, do it. You could burn the whole world down. You could tell me to go to hell. I'd go if you wanted me to. I'd send you a letter from there.
Sincerely, Jordan Catalano
It's the kind of corny sentiment that is seems as important as a Death Cab For Cutie lyric, and as secret as a diary. When Brian asks Angela about it later, she says it's too personal to share. This one piece of paper, she thinks, is the only key she needs to get inside Jordan's brain. It isn't, of course.
The last few minutes of the show are a perfect example of why "My So-Called Life" has endured for 20 years. Angela finds out Brian wrote the note and is pissed. She confronts him about it, but leaves with Jordan after having this beautiful, simple exchange:
Brian: You liked it though, right? It made you, like, happy?
Brian: That's probably all that, you know, matters.
Angela: To who?
Brian: To, you know, the person who wrote it.
The series ends with Angela sitting in Jordan's car, choosing what she wants over someone who wants her. It wasn't intended to be the series finale, but the cliffhanger lets us sit with Angela's poor decision for eternity. However dumb it seems to ride off into the suburbs with Jordan Catalano, it's Angela's mistake to make, and that's the beauty of being 15. Relive The Letter below: