the contradiction that we call Jordan

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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the contradiction that we call Jordan

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 10th 2003, 11:10 pm

In the grand tradition of the contradiction that we call Rayanne, here is a thread where we can discuss the conflicted character Jordan. I love that no MSCL characters are black vs. white - they are all three-dimensional with positive and negative aspects.

I find Jordan to be an interesting contradiction - on one hand, he seems to abhor rules and commitments (he rarely shows up to class and when he does he doesn't bother to bring any books, paper or pen, he doesn't like to make plans because it makes things seem unnatural or forced, it's acceptable to break into an abandoned house) yet he also conforms to particular social values (it isn't right for Angela to do his homework since they aren't a couple - he doesn't want to use her) as well as being suppressed by social pressure (his desire to keep his makeout sessions with Angela anonymous partly because Shane thinks she's "weird").

He DOES follow his own set of rules, most of them based upon polite manners (he goes to the track on Halloween out of a sense of obligation even though he thinks it's stupid, he shows up to band rehearsal which does count as "making plans," returns Angela's bike after their big fight, doesn't initially offer Angela rides in his car when she is still an acquaintance but offers to take Rickie somewhere when he sees him standing on the street and also shows him a place to stay).
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 10th 2003, 11:22 pm

Candygirl, you tempt me to keep posting. I have checks to write and bills to pay.

Anyway, Jordan gets a bad rap because he is good looking and not intellectually at the top of his game. As a high school man/fellow student, I would be attracted to him (in a kind of I want to be like him way) and repulsed by him (I bet he gets all the girls). Most of it is projection. I can't get girls to look at me. But, I don't do anything to get them to notice me. Since I can't get girls, I revel in my seeming smarter than him. Am I really smarter than him?

I had a Jordan-type guy in my high school. He was a friend. Yet, he wasn't my friend. It was a kind of a keep your friends close and your enemies closer kind of thing. But, deep down, I would have given 10 IQ points to be able to ask for a girl's phone number. How sick is that?
TomSpeed

Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by JPP13 » Feb 10th 2003, 11:27 pm

Back when the show first aired, my thought on Jordan was that he was a typical jerk that I see too often.

As time as passed, and I have read the various analyses of his character, I tempered that view, or at least suspended it.

Now, as I slowly absorb the series on dvd, I'm forming my own opinion again. That he's a jerk. lol

I know, I know I'll be flamed for saying that. Simplistic, yes. But nonetheless accurate (to me). And a brilliant characterization by the MSCL writers, no doubt.


- JPP (who won't deny he has a secret agenda about this - too many girls lost to guys like him :) ).

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 10th 2003, 11:31 pm

JPP13 wrote:Back when the show first aired, my thought on Jordan was that he was a typical jerk that I see too often.

As time as passed, and I have read the various analyses of his character, I tempered that view, or at least suspended it.

Now, as I slowly absorb the series on dvd, I'm forming my own opinion again. That he's a jerk. lol

I know, I know I'll be flamed for saying that. Simplistic, yes. But nonetheless accurate (to me). And a brilliant characterization by the MSCL writers, no doubt.


- JPP (who won't deny he has a secret agenda about this - too many girls lost to guys like him :) ).
You will not be flamed. So let it be written. So let it be done.

OK. I've gone looppy if I'm quoting Pharoh. Nite all!
TomSpeed

Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by missmarmalade » Feb 11th 2003, 12:35 am

I find that Jordan doesn't like authority...he doesn't like being TOLD what to do...but at the same time, he seems to care very much what his peers think about him, which is something I can very much relate too.

I think he is very insecure, and of course at his age, hasn't figured out exactly who he is or what his place is socially as of yet. He to some degree knows that he is desirable, because it appears he has several girls 'keen' on him from his past experiences, however he appears to stare at his feet a lot or stare up, or simply look shy which one would assume means he either doesn't quite want to be noticed or thinks he doesn't deserve to be noticed.

In some respects, people would state that he and Angela are exact opposites, but I think they are extremely alike...except their gender and what goes along with that sets them apart. Girls are prodded to gossip, hang around in packs, chat in the bathroom, whereas guys could sit in a group together and not say a word and that's absolutely acceptable and in some cases, the norm. They both feel emotionally isolated from their peers, most likely believing/thinking that no one else in the world could ever relate to them.

Something my hubby pointed out the other night that I had never quite realized is that he seems to want to push Angela away with insults....I mean, I had always gathered that he was pulling her in and sometimes pushing her away, but I never realized how blatantly it was portrayed with words throughout the series. The biggest example I saw was during "Guns and gossip" when he tells her on the stairwell that he is sorry for implying that they should just have sex since everyone thinks they already have. He tells her he isn't interested in her, which initially I thought he was just being rude, but I now realize that he doesn't want his heart to be broken first, so he feels he needs to break hers first...I guess I was a little slow to not pick up on this!

Whew...that was a mouthfull! Sorry!

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 11th 2003, 12:53 am

Strega at TWOP described Conner (on Angel) and it reminded me of Jordan and countless high school crushes:
My inner teenager is all over this kid. He's exactly the sort you have a crush on because he's so gloomy and cynical, and you can just tell that he's really a very sweet boy who's just sad and lonely, so you pine over him for awhile and then after about six months you discover, no, he's just a moody jerk who can get away with things because he's cute. And that's why it's important to remember that your inner teenager is not very bright.
It doesn't completely apply to my perception of Jordan, but the sentiment is correct - falling for someone and thinking he is one thing only to find he is nothing like you thought because you were too busy projecting your fantasies upon him to notice what was or was not really there.
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Post by Lindsay » Feb 11th 2003, 1:48 pm

Ohhh.... this is where I'm completley torn!
Is Jordon a jerk, or not???
I mean, he's done tons of jerkish things to Angela, and really blown it, but at the same time, he HAS done lot of really sweet things- and how much should we really expect for a teenage boy?? How much should we expect from males in general? hahaa....
I know while I was watching the episodes again, I thought of bailing on Jordon as being worthy of Angela, but how can you? During the entire show we are shown numerous times that Jordon does REALLY care about Angela, and not because its convient for him. It goes against his character.... the very last scence, when he's talking to Patty at Angela's, and explaining everything to her.... that always gets me! I absolutley LOVE that part. ahh....

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Post by SanDeE* » Feb 11th 2003, 2:08 pm

I have an attitude (that took me a while to develop, believe me) about guys. I feel like Jordan had his chance, he blew it, and it's his loss. Yeah, Angela is disappointed, but it always upset me that she went back to him. I wouldn't. I wish Angela could see that it's Jordan's loss, not hers. And you know what - we CAN expect more from a teenage boy. Brian would be so good to Angela - everyone can see that. He may have a little trouble to start out, but he'd quickly catch on to how to be for Angela.

For example, there is a guy I like right now. He's conflicted about his feelings for me. I think that he's sure he likes me, but he doesn't want to get too attached because of our age difference and the distance between us geographically. Right now, I'm in no position to date anyone seriously, but when I am, if this guy still has issues with the age thing, that'll be that. It'll be his loss. Sure I'd be disappointed, but if it's not there mutually, it's just not there. But I wouldn't feel like it's my loss. I think more women need to adopt this attitude. It makes you feel like you are worth something and in charge of your own life. Complete rush!
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Post by Megs » Feb 11th 2003, 2:09 pm

Lindsay wrote:I mean, he's done tons of jerkish things to Angela, and really blown it, but at the same time, he HAS done lot of really sweet things- and how much should we really expect for a teenage boy?? How much should we expect from males in general? hahaa....
Wow. I'm bitter about men today. Don't know where this is coming from. Hmmm.... not PMS'ing. Not mad at the husband. Weird.

[rant]I am so sick of the fact that we can't "expect much" from men. That it is just assumed that they will mess up and break our hearts and act like jerks. Of course they will, if that is what is expected of them. Why can't we expect them to be MEN? How hard is it to "learn how to be a man"? People never say that it is hard to figure out how to be a woman. Seriously, I would really like to know. That men/boys have an excuse for "not always knowing how to be what (we) want them to be." Well, why not? If we never expect anything, then how can we expect them to act like men? I think that we need to give men (and teenage boys) a little more credit. Who knows, they might just end up surprising us. [\rant]

Sorry 'bout that. :roll:
"I have all these dreams where I know exactly what to say. And you tell me, you know, that you forgive me."

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Post by Megs » Feb 11th 2003, 2:17 pm

And Lindsay, I know that you were joking. My venom is in no way directed at you or your post.

It was just that I have been thinking about that a lot lately, what with a particular conversation I had with a male co-worker yesterday about it being "biologically engrained" in a man to... (and here I cut him off and said, "If you even say, "spread your seed...") and he said, yes! Men are engrained to procreate and keep life going. And it is "really really hard" to committ to one woman. And that it is a "conscious choice" to settle down and have a family. Wow. Yes, I admit, he made a little sense. But, wow. The fact that we have to expect men to sleep around b/c it is in their biological make-up astounds me. That they are expected to make mistakes. I'm sorry, I never made the mistake of cheating trying to "spread my seed" using the excuse that biologically, I needed to. Ever hear of control? Maturity? Whatever. Ok, I'll stop.

I am so lucky I found my husband.
"I have all these dreams where I know exactly what to say. And you tell me, you know, that you forgive me."

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 11th 2003, 3:55 pm

How hard is it to learn to be man?

Graham : [Boys or men] Can sometimes not know how to be what you want them to be. My point is that, it's really hard to figure out how to be a man. Practically every man I know is still working on it.

That's how hard learning to be man is for men. I work on it everyday.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

It feels good to play a Graham card.
TomSpeed

Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 11th 2003, 4:18 pm

Kristin wrote:I feel like Jordan had his chance, he blew it, and it's his loss. Yeah, Angela is disappointed, but it always upset me that she went back to him.
To be fair, we don't know what happens when Angela gets into Jordan's car - maybe Brian's nonconfession has thrown her into a state of shock but once it wears off she will yell at Jordan for deceiving her about The Letter.

I do know what you are saying though - I could almost live with the mess that happened in Pressure, but sleeping with Rayanne crossed the line into the no man's land of not being forgiven. I mean, yes, people do forgive other people for cheating - we see it on Jerry Springer all the time - but ugh, when the wound is that fresh and it's the first time? And the amount of resentment that Angela feels (I wouldn't put out so he had sex with my friend who does)...it's amazing that she could forgive him just because of the letter, but I guess that it was the sign she was looking for that would tell her he was everything she wanted him to be - the conversation she had always longed for from him, the depth and understanding, the ability to communicate his feelings.
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Post by Megs » Feb 11th 2003, 4:43 pm

TomSpeed wrote:How hard is it to learn to be man?

Graham : [Boys or men] Can sometimes not know how to be what you want them to be. My point is that, it's really hard to figure out how to be a man. Practically every man I know is still working on it.

That's how hard learning to be man is for men. I work on it everyday.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

It feels good to play a Graham card.
I was quoting Graham, as well. I want to know WHY it is so hard to figure out how to be a man. What is so hard about that?
"I have all these dreams where I know exactly what to say. And you tell me, you know, that you forgive me."

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 11th 2003, 4:45 pm

I can't defend Jordan for what he does with Rayanne. He breaks the male honor code. He sleeps with an ex-girl friend's best friend. This action is definitely taboo. He should know better and not do it. The fact that he sleeps with Rayanne makes him stupid. I definitely would not do it. He has a choice. He makes the wrong one.
TomSpeed

Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 11th 2003, 4:59 pm

Megs wrote:
TomSpeed wrote:How hard is it to learn to be man?

Graham : [Boys or men] Can sometimes not know how to be what you want them to be. My point is that, it's really hard to figure out how to be a man. Practically every man I know is still working on it.

That's how hard learning to be man is for men. I work on it everyday.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

It feels good to play a Graham card.
I was quoting Graham, as well. I want to know WHY it is so hard to figure out how to be a man. What is so hard about that?
Sorry, I'm posting at work. I'll try to answer that question. Men are trained to act in certain ways. They aren't always the best ways to resolve situations. A man also has to balance his wants and needs with the wants and needs of others. Society places pressures on us. We are expected to act in certain ways. Are we bread winners? Do we hold doors open for women? How do you handle the awesome responsibility to raise a child to be man? The definition of being a man is constantly changing.

I'll try to expand on this subject later. I'm slammed and have a meeting. It's a good topic though.

Sorry I misread your post, Megs.
TomSpeed

Patty: If Rayanne's not seeing you, and we're not seeing you, who is seeing you?
Graham: And how much of you?
Angela: Dad!
Graham: Oh, I'm sorry! I asked a question about your life, didn't I? Woah, what came over me?
http://www.last.fm/user/TomSpeed/

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