My So-Called Life was a beautiful, woefully short-lived show that portrayed the reality of teenage life in a way no televised program had done before. It was honest and real and deeply reflective of actual teen existence.
Also one time there was a ghost angel played by Juliana Hatfield.
Do not mistake me: this is one of the most heart-destroying episodes of the series. If we didn't have the musical supernatural, it might have done us all in. Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz) is kicked out of his home for being gay and beaten by his abusive uncle, then left homeless after attempting to stay at Angela's (Claire Danes) house until her parents go full white-nonsense and say no.
Enter the musical ghost angel as portrayed by singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield. She teaches Angela's mom Patty (Bess Armstrong) about empathy towards homeless youths and that she essentially could have sent Rickie to his frozen death because she was weird about a gay teen boy staying at their house. She teaches Angela to see beyond her own privileged perspective at the pain other people experience when they don't have families like hers.
Angela's dad Graham remains useless.
Patty figures out Juliana Hatfield is dead and asks how she died. Which, this ghost-angelness has been foreshadowed the entire episode, but it could have been a really awkward moment if she actually wasn't dead. "How did you die?" "...Sorry, ma'am, there's not a ton of blush options on the streets to liven up my face, EXCUSE ME."
Anyway, watch this episode and cry a bunch. Deeply, deeply unmerry Christmas to you.