Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My So Called Life Episode Recap: Why Jordan Can't Read

I'm officially renaming this episode from the above to "Why Jordan is a Jackass".

It all starts with a note written by Angela that Rayanne loses - and Jordan finds. Lucky for Angela, her confession of undying love for the hottie is still a secret because even though all the notes had his name at the top, Jordan didn't read them. Not because he's an honest guy, but because he couldn't. He doesn't know how.

This revelation astonishes me. I don't get how someone makes it through high school without knowing how to read. I understand a kid skating through and not having much reading comprehension, but to not be able to read a note is mind boggling to me. Any teachers reading this - please feel free to weigh in and explain how this could happen. Has this changed since the '90s?

Assuming Jordan can read, Angela confronts him and makes up a lame story about a boyfriend who died. Thank god for Jordan's friend who interrupts them. Before the scene is over, Jordan invites Angela to see Frozen Embryos practice. And everyone is jealous when Jordan sings a song named "Red" and it's totally about Angela. Except it isn't. Jordan is just in love with a car.

That's not even the best part of the whole thing, though. The best is when Angela asks him out on a date and he stands her up. The reason? He just didn't feel like going. And people think this guy is a heart throb? I really hope Angela comes to her senses and gets over this guy fast. Even Krakow would be better at this point. Writers of the show - prove me wrong! Make me change my mind! I'd like to love Jordan just as hard as all the people who've recommended this show to me.

Angela: If only there were a button somewhere that I could push to force me to stop talking. (I totally know the feeling, Angela!)

  • I still don't care about the parents.
  • Of all the movies Angela could ask Jordan to see, why does she pick one with subtitles?
  • I think I want Angela to stand up for herself because I spent a disproportionate amount of my sophomore through senior years of high school pining over a guy who I see today and realize was totally not worth it.


  1. I must defend Jordan!

    But first, a few things.
    1) The guy that interrupts Jordan and Angela in the classroom is Jared's real life brother, Shannon. Just thought I'd share that tidbit.

    2) As for Jordan not being able to read, I think it's more that he has a learning disability, which I believe becomes clear in later episodes. It's more like Dyslexia. Remember also that Jordan has been left back. Twice. I think a lot of his lack of reading issues have been blamed on his bad behavior, and that's why teachers overlooked it. Don't worry, this will be shown further in one of my fave episodes, THE SUBSTITUTE.

    Okay, now as to Jordan being an asshole. Yes, he does some jerky things here. But that's only how they are on the surface. You have to look deeper at what's really going on with Jordan to understand what he's doing.

    First, the song. You can't blame him for this. This was Angela's screw up for letting herself think the song was about her. Jordan made no indication of that. He simply asked if she wanted to hear a song he was working on. In his mind, this was the song he wrote and he wanted to play it for her. He probably considered it a nice gesture, maybe even flirting.

    re: standing her up. Remember that this girl--the girl who rejected his kiss in episode 2, the girl he seems to be drawn to but he doesn't know why, the girl who is not like any of the other girls he's dated--she just found out his deepest secret. It's something no one else knows about him, not even his teachers.

    He's embarrassed.

    I think what's going inside him is a struggle that is explored further in later episodes. He wants to be with Angela. He wants to open up to her and have her understand him. But at the same time, she's so different from him. He doesn't even understand why he likes her, so it's almost could she possibly understand him? She's a good student, he's not. She's wholesome, he's not.

    Not only can't Jordan read books, but he can't read Angela. Or understand why she likes him when he's...broken.

    And she made SUCH a big deal about the date. It obviously scared him off, but more because going on the date would mean he would have to face his problems. Not just his reading issues, but the fact that he likes this girl that none of his friends would understand. Going on the date with her WOULD mean a lot and I think he wasn't ready to handle it. He knows she would support him, and maybe he's not ready for that either.

    I mean--there's that great kiss in this episode! He clearly likes her, and that scares him. He likes her more than he's used to, more than he thinks he should. So he messes it up.

    I think it's very telling in the scene where he's playing the guitar and his friend asks if he's coming and he says he can't because there's something he said he would do. (I think, correct me if I'm messing up the episodes.) You can see that Jordan's trying to decide, and his decision is cowardice. He doesn't try. Not with reading, not with her.

    This theme is definitely explored further. Particularly in SELF ESTEEM (best episode ever!!!!)

  2. Shana - thanks for the in depth commentary! I'm clearly not watching this with a critical eye. I'll blame it on the month long hiatus I took from it.

    I'm still not on the Jordan-lovin' train yet, though.

    I don't blame him for the song thing. That was classic Angela to make such a big deal about it. I just thought it was funny that she immediately jumped to that conclusion.