The Importance of Having a Jordan

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Bacchante
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The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by Bacchante » Aug 21st 2011, 4:46 pm

I was thinking about why "Team Brian" seems to have more members than "Team Jordan", and I was discussing this with my boyfriend, who has been wonderful enough to start watching MSCL with me. I must also note that he thinks we can't just take Brian and Jordan as symbols, and I agree, but for the time being I will treat them as such. I have to say I didn't come up with an answer to my question, but I came to another conclusion.

I came to the conclusion that regardless of who you end up with, it is *very important* that you had a Jordan at some time in your life. So it was crucial for Angela to be with Jordan, for her own good. While this might sound strange (or maybe not), here is my reasoning.

Maybe I'm not fully understanding Brian and his relationship with Angela, but to me, a Brian-Angela relationship is NOT the kind of relationship that lets people grow. Sure, Brian respects her and every now and then understands Angela, but he wouldn't let her *explore* things, he wouldn't let her walk on the edge between good and evil, which to me is a very important thing to be allowed to do, especially when you're a teenager. I'm not talking about *doing* evil things, I'm talking about mentally exploring this border between good and evil, so that you can make a choice. That's part of growing up, and with Brian, Angela couldn't experience the process of growing up and learning things, because she would already *have* grown up.

Apart from that, Jordan and Angela are different enough that they can help each other change. They can help each other become better people, or at least *richer* people. I've heard this phrase that "truth is born out of arguments", and while Angela can have arguments with Brian, the arguments she might have with Jordan are, to me, more likely to lead to the core of "truth".

I don't dislike Brian, I just somehow think he would restrict Angela's potential for change and development. I think it's ok if she ended up with Brian after she was maybe 30. But as far as I'm concerned, I'd like to have a little bit of "Jordan" in my "Brian" at all times-- otherwise I'm afraid I'd get old too fast.
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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by RCBS » Aug 21st 2011, 8:58 pm

Kung pow.
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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by Bacchante » Aug 21st 2011, 10:33 pm

I've been in Brian's shoes too of course, and I've been hurt by Jordan-like males a lot, but honestly, I don't regret it at all. I'm glad I was their Angela for a while (meaning that despite how generally sulky and moody and distant they were to most people, they did open up to me every now and then, and I knew how special I was to them), and I'm glad that through the pain they "let" me experience, I was able to grow. I'm also glad that my boyfriend had at least one Rayanne before he met me, since I'm not Rayanne-ish enough :)

I don't know, I guess I'm weird like that, but I think we need more than nice boys/girls in our lives, at a certain point in our development.
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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by Bacchante » Aug 21st 2011, 10:37 pm

Oh and for the record, this "Jordan" your Angela chose seems much worse than Jordan. I really don't think neither Jordan nor Brian would have left Angela a single mother by 18. Despite their various flaws, I think they're both ultimately good people. (Of course I don't know the situation-- maybe it wasn't a matter of being a "good person", I don't know.)
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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by Jody Barsch* » Aug 22nd 2011, 12:17 pm

Interesting discussion. So far no one’s allowed for the idea that a person does not need a love interest to grow, and change, and explore. This can happen on one’s own, or with friends -- I don’t know that Angela needed Jordan for that (she was on that path already without him). More than that, I think the assertion that dating Brian would age a person does him a disservice. For one thing, it excludes the very likely possibility that with a little more time, Brian will loosen up, take some chances, and become a little mildly wild himself. He just needs time to get there, and to get a little more comfortable with himself and in the world. Brian was compared to Sharon, but it’s important to bear In mind that while Sharon did represent Angela’s old, maybe tamed, life, she also surpasses Angela in a lot of ways and is then able to hang with Rayanne on her own terms, not in such a leader-follower way as the early Angela-Rayanne dynamic. In terms of the arguments Angela may have had with either Brian or Jordan, she may have grown more through those with Brian as he too has so much growing and maturing to do. (I hope that didn't seem to just counter my own argument) I do think Jordan would be good for Angela because her relationship with him may be the most direct way for her to realize the contrast between fantasy and reality, although again, she doesn’t need a boy for this, take what happens in the Let’s Bolt parking lot, at Rayanne’s party, and her father’s relationship with women. Anyway, any relationship forces growth, exploration, and new understanding; it comes from sharing a life with someone and the clash of perspectives. I’m not a fan of Angela and Brian ending up together, but I don’t know that I buy that Angela "needs" Jordan. It might also be doing the show a disservice if what we continually take away from it is the reduction of two rounded characters to archetypes presenting a false dichotomy of male hood. These characters are complex, and have as much in common as they different, and as many qualities as they share with real life men, or boys, they exclude so very many others.
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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by Superjesus » Aug 26th 2011, 8:11 am

Interesting topic for sure. Being a man and more inclined towards Jordan than Brian in terms of how I interact with others - especially in relationships - I don't really think I can add much here.

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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by BuffaloLawnmower » Aug 27th 2011, 6:44 am

I've had an extreme Jordan in my life (i.e., one who is FAR worse than Jordan Catalano) as well as an extreme Brian (one who didn't have as many of Brian Krakow's good points while still having his negative traits). From the extreme Jordan, I learned how I should never be treated and what behavior I should never tolerate from another person. I learned that sometimes the people that you idolize really are not good people and that they sometimes hide a really hideous self under a charismatic mask. I learned how to recognize people like that and how to avoid them, and ultimately I learned that it's all right for me to stand up for myself and to let people know when their actions simply aren't acceptable, and not to feel guilty about that. From the extreme Brian, I learned that niceness/being 'good' isn't enough to really build a friendship or have a sustainable connection. There are other factors that come into consideration. There have to be common interests (at least a few; not saying that people have to have the exact same interests), viewpoints that are either compatible (not identical, but ones that can work well together) or at the very least opposing viewpoints that help both people grow and evolve in a good direction. You have to feel really connected to someone in order to be real friends with them and not just acquaintances who pass time together; you have to really be able to feel like you're with someone and not just next to that person.

Likewise, I think that Angela could learn from both Brian and Jordan (I also think that Jody Barsch had a lot of good things to say on this point). Brian and Jordan could also learn from Angela. I don't think that either one of them is right for her, though--at least not as they are now. I don't know that she is right for them, either. I do like Brian much better than Jordan, but I kind of think that Angela would be best matched with someone in-between Brian and Jordan--someone who was a bit of both. I also think that Brian would need someone who respected him and appreciated him more, but who still challenged him intellectually and captured his interest. I kind of wanted him to end up with Rayanne, actually. I think that they kind of needed each other.

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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by Jody Barsch* » Aug 27th 2011, 12:48 pm

BuffaloLawnmower wrote:Brian and Jordan could also learn from Angela. I don't think that either one of them is right for her, though--at least not as they are now. I don't know that she is right for them, either.
Those are totally good points. While in my mind J & A do stay together, at least for a bit, I definitely don't think it has to be that way, and I do see Angela being happier with someone else entirely. Out of curiosity, what do you think would be good for Jordan? I agree that Brian needs someone who actually likes him, and not someone who sees him only because he sees her (did that come off? it made sense to me). I liked the girl from Guns and Gossip.
BuffaloLawnmower wrote:I also think that Brian would need someone who respected him and appreciated him more, but who still challenged him intellectually and captured his interest. I kind of wanted him to end up with Rayanne, actually. I think that they kind of needed each other.
I like their dynamic too. (I'm not sure I see anything lasting between them, but I like what it would be for both of them.)
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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by BuffaloLawnmower » Aug 27th 2011, 4:01 pm

Jody Barsch* wrote:Out of curiosity, what do you think would be good for Jordan?


Honestly, I'm not entirely sure. I don't think that Rayanne is right for him. They have some similarities--being the "bad girl" (I use the term loosely; I really don't think that Rayanne is a "bad" person) and the "bad boy" (again, loose usage), drinking, promiscuous, etc. However, I just can't see them together. Maybe, as some think that Brian and Angela are too similar/are "too close" (in the sense of being childhood neighbors and knowing each other for many years, not in the sense of being emotionally close), Jordan and Rayanne are also too much alike and have too much in common to really work; they wouldn't balance each other out or complement each other. I'm not saying that people should be total opposites in a relationship; just that people who are too much alike would likely have both the same strengths and the same faults, which could work in some cases, but it would be a difficult relationship because there might be less growth and evolution (for the better) involved. It seems to me that a relationship in which two people are too much alike would be a bit stagnant, or at least could be, if the couple didn't realize this and didn't work on it. At the same time, if someone is too different, then that is also a difficult situation. I would say that Jordan would need someone similar enough to be compatible but different enough to help him grow. While Angela fits part of that description (in that she could help him grow as a person), I don't really know that Jordan can help her to grow, nor would he really be a stable partner or a good bet for long-term fidelity. He's also not really (and probably never will be--not out of stupidity, but because it's just not who he is) articulate or able to really communicate well with her. I think that Jordan might do well with someone that would be intuitive enough to understand non-verbal communication--someone who would be able to understand what Jordan was saying when he couldn't really speak for himself. At the point where the show ends, I don't think that Angela can be that person. She's pretty much either oblivious (or chooses to ignore) people's feelings, as seen in how she treats Brian for 99% of the show, how she treats Rayanne after Rayanne's overdose (especially in the episode "On the Wagon"), and how she treats Rickie in "Betrayal".

Rayanne and Delia are both perceptive and can pick up non-verbal signals, but, as I said, I can't see Jordan with Rayanne. If he were to be with Delia (and I don't know that he would ever be interested in her, nor does he seem like Delia's type--she tends to prefer people, as seen in Brian and Rickie, who are more reliable), he would definitely have to step it up. She is a woman who doesn't forgive and doesn't put up with someone's crap (as seen in how she acts toward Brian). Maybe that woman that he said that would sleep with Brian? :-p Not that we know much about her--not even her name--but if she would give Jordan her number, who knows ;-)

As for Brian and Rayanne, I don't know how long they would last either, but however long it was, I think that such a relationship would have a profound impact on both of them. It would be something that neither could forget.

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Re: The Importance of Having a Jordan

Post by Superjesus » Aug 28th 2011, 10:05 am

Being chronically guilty of relating the show (and, to be fair, all things I watch on TV) to my own life - I would totally buy into Bri and Rayanne together cause I have seen such relationships happen. How do they work? Like a meteorite, generally - burst out of nowhere, have a few moments of brilliance then just blow out. In that regard, I would agree with BuffaloLawnmower - it would be short, fiery, plenty of passion (from both sides) and we'd see a whole new side of Krakow. Whether it would last? God knows.

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