episode titles

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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Natasha (candygirl)
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Re: thoughts' on Why Jordan Can't Read

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Jan 16th 2003, 4:46 pm

Welcome to the forum Jess!
dougjess wrote:I've always personally felt that Jordan has some kinda of learning disablity and it is not merely a case of him slipping throught the cracks. I believe that this is partly because I view Jordan as an intelligent character. Jordan's intelligents displayed throughout the series: Vic Racine (sp?) calls him highly intelligent, he immediately understands and relates to Shakespeare's sonnet when it is read in class, and he also seems to be very quick learner with the Brian (ex: the word irony: Jordan immediately adds the word to his vocabular, which considering the trouble a lot of people have with the word -- for example: Alanis Morissette wrote an entire song w/o once using the term correctly).
I'm still not sure which way to go in the learning disability vs. slipping through the cracks debate. The fact that Vic recognizes Jordan's intelligence could be a sign of either. The fact that Jordan has problems reading does not necessarily indicate that he is stupid, lazy, or a student with a learning disability. I have tutored kids with very poor reading skills (without disabilities) who were just frustrated because they didn't understand or couldn't keep up. Whatever the cause of their reading problems, most people to respond positively when they are given assistance and feel that they are making progress. The kids who were flunking reading quizzes became the kids who asked their moms to buy the fourth Harry Potter book.
There are things that support the dyslexia theory (ex: the Brain vs. Brian) and then there are also other things that support a theory that Jordan has ADHD (ex: his constent distraction and zoning out. Also people with ADHD tend to self medicate with caffine or other substances, so it's possible that Jordan's coffee habits are related to this.).
Just to play devil's advocate, it's possible that Jordan sees the "br" at the beginning and the "n" at the end and comes to the conclusion that the words is "brain" - a lot of kids with poor reading skills guess the words based on context, sort of like the reading equivalent of estimation in math. (Another tv example of this is in the second season of Oz - when Kenny tries to read "McManus" he looks at the "Mc" and comes up with "McDonald's.") Kids who are either really behind or really far past what is going on in class tend to zone out, obviously for different reasons, but if Jordan simply can't read well, he zones out for the same reason that most of us would zone out if we went to graduate level course on particle physics. Yawn...blah blah blah.
I think the title "Why Jordan Can't Read" is one of those very cool, typically MSCL things. Like Tino seems to be involved with everything, but never present. It seems that the creators like set up expectations, and then never really give us what we expect so we're always wanting more and also wondering about it.
I agree - the only thing we know for sure is that Jordan can read, "just not that good," but we never learn why, possibly because the important part is that Jordan has a problem that he never told anyone about - one more piece in the Jordan puzzle that Angela is putting together. Of course she interprets this as something that brings them closer. True? Maybe. For the reason that she believes (that he trusts her)? Perhaps.

This was a development that humanized Jordan and took away little bit of the fantasy. Just as we later learn that his father used to hit him, his reading skills show us that Jordan is a product of what he has been through. As the So-Called Angel said, another toss of the dice and he could be in someone else's shoes. Imagine Jordan growing up in a loving household with parents like Patty and Graham. Would they go through life never knowing that he couldn't read well? Not likely. And with their well meaning support, would he have grown up differently and become a different person? Everyone has potential, but not everyone has the same opportunities to let their potential blossom. Jordan is concerned with survival, similar to Rayanne and Rickie, while Brian, Sharon, and Angela don't have to worry about being woken in the middle of the night by shouting, fighting, or violence. They have very different priorities. Kinda reminds me of Bender and Claire in Breakfast Club - Jordan isn't as bitter or violent, but when Angela says, "There's this dividing line, between girls who've had sex, and girls who haven't, and all of a sudden, we realized that we were looking at each other across it," I think that the line she doesn't realize she's looking across is the one with her at home with her parents and food on the table and love and a sense of security on one side and Jordan on the other side without any of that.
Natasha aka candygirl :: MSCL.com

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You could have sex with me if you really want to help...I guess that's a "no"?


Post by seedman » Feb 1st 2003, 9:41 pm

There has been a lot of discussion about the title "Why Jordan Can't Read". The first post in this thread refers to the title as "lame", but I beg to differ.

If you haven't read the Angela's World analysis I suggest you check out his explaination of this episode. I must admit that I didn't pick up the things he talks about, but in light of his explanation, I believe this is the most cleverly titled episode in the entire series.

The problem is that we are all taking the title too literally.

Another reason why we continue to love this show.

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Post by nkatsa » Mar 22nd 2003, 4:02 pm

"Start with the basics. Even if it seems to basic, start with that." He delivers that line so perfectly. Very cute.
awww. loved that line. i'm sorry, it's years later, i really should be over my little crush on jordan, but i just can't help it! :lol: when i watch this show i just see everything through angela's eyes, especially her rose-colored infatuation with jordan. ;)

Anyway, I always thought that line and his outburst when Mr. Racine left showed how much he was willing to learn (and i like to think that he was trying to be a better person, especially since getting to know Angela, the kind of person who could live out those dreams where he "knew exactly what to say"), but he had just never really been instilled with the value in learning it. Why can't he read? I think Mr. Racine put it well when he said that nobody (including jordan) ever really bothered.
I bet you can actually die of embarrassment. I bet it's been medically proven.

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Post by Jody Barsch* » Sep 2nd 2004, 12:05 am

Like others said in this thread, before I got the VHS tapes and read the titles on this site, I titled the episodes myself on the tapes I recorded... I got the three obvious ones right, I don't remember what I called the pilot...

Dancing in the Dark -- ID
Guns and Gossip -- The Gun
Father Figures -- Grateful Dead
The Zit -- The Zit
The Substitute -- The Substitute
Why Jordan Can't Read -- Field Trip
Strangers in the House -- Sharon's Dad's Heart Attack
Halloween -- Halloween
Other People's Mother's -- The Overdose
Life of Brian -- World Happiness Dance
Self-Esteem -- Boiler Room
Pressure -- Break Up
On the Wagon -- Band Breaks Up
So-Called Angels -- Christmas
Resolutions -- New Years
Betrayal -- Rayanne and Jordan
Weekend -- Handcuffs
In Dreams Begin Responsibilities -- the Letter
Sometimes I write a little MSCL fanfiction: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/1039807/Jody-Barsch
Also, after multiple V. Mars reiterations, and finally a Deadwood movie, still wishing for some continuation of The Riches !

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The Great Dyslexic Debate

Post by Lizka » Oct 7th 2004, 2:03 pm

Personally, I think that Jordan just fell through the cracks. He just didn't learn how to read, and that's that. Besides, if he was dyslexic, wouldn't Brian, as the smarty-pants tutor, have figured that out? If you look for the signs, they're fairly obvious, and since Brian was helping him with his english, he would have noticed that Jordan was mixing up his b's and d's and p's and q's.

It's really too bad, since I've always thought Jordan to be intelligent, but prone to constantly zoning out. He knew what an adjective was. I know people in University who still can't tell the difference between an adjective and an adverb. Dumbasses.

- Liz

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