Discussion for Episode 7: Why Jordan Can't Read

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
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TomSpeed
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 26th 2003, 10:32 am

I need to expand a little more on one of my points about The Bicycle Thief -- how long ago did Angela and Brian see it? I think that if they saw it a long time ago, Brian would not be so upset that Angela wants to take Jordan to see it. Seeing the movie seems to be a significant event that they recently shared.
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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?
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Who Can't Read?

Post by Summoned » Feb 26th 2003, 11:44 am

Just something that occurred to me is that while the episode may be titled "Why Jordan Can't Read," Angela has some issues as well, if we consider that Angela misreads "Red." And, in her headlong rush to realize her vision of Jordan in her life, she extends the misreading into the delusion that is inviting Jordan to meet her parents, not to mention asking him to go see The Bicycle Thief, which is the perfect means of illustrating their personalities and future relationship. If Angela and Jordan were to go to see the film, Jordan, as someone pointed out earlier, would be unable to follow the subtitles, and would have to rely on what he could see and hear, never fully engaged with what was going on around him, while Angela would be focused on the subtitles, the abstraction of what is going on in the film, the words that belong not to the person speaking them, but the person writing for the speaker. Sorry to allude to what is to come in this post, but I don't know that it would fit as well later on.

And, just one other passing thought, that the use of letters gone awry and letters misread seems like a terribly traditional convention, but I am impressed with how the writers of "Why Jordan Can't Read" managed to reinvent it, and use what they did here to set up what is to come.
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Post by likelife » Feb 26th 2003, 6:01 pm

pressure to have a boyfriend?

i agree that there is a lot of societal pressure to be attached, especially for women. i also think that there is this odd dichotomy in which, if you consider yourself a strong, independent woman, you are almost afraid of admitting that you might want to be in a relationship. double edged sword and all of that.
i do see angela suffering from the notion that she ought to have a boyfriend in order to measure up, but i think the show does a pretty good job of showing us that societal pressure without condoning it. if mscl were of the opinion that girls needed boyfriends in order to be whole people, then how could angela be the main character? true, she obsesses about boys for the whole show, but all of her growing and changing and maturing is done on her own. she obsesses about relationships because she is at the age when sexuality begins to blossom and everyone becomes painfully aware of the opposite sex. it IS normal to think about sez and relationships when you are a teenager, it's just tragic when people start measuring their worth by their relationship status,experience.
also, the mainstream heterosexual relationships we do see are not all that pretty: sharon and kyle, abyssinia and her boy, amber and rusty, bob and bernice, vic and his estranged wife, vivian and chuck, hallie and brad.... in fact, i'd argue that the three successful relationships portrayed are katimsky and his partner, patty and graham, and camille and andy. and three out of many does not send a message that to be with someone is good no matter what.

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Post by likelife » Feb 26th 2003, 6:12 pm

why the bicycle thief?

i always assumed that angela had seen this movie in class or with a group of friends, or maybe even her parents. i did not assume that she and brian had necessarily watched it together, but that they had talked about it after the fact.
i think that angela picks this movie more because of what she thinks it says about her than because she actually thinks that jordan will enjoy watching it. if you think about it, jordan has just shown her his art. she's seen him sing and she knows that he has an innate talent. i'd imagine that she'd feel dumb if she invited him to see the latest romantic comedy, and like she was fishing for a cheesy date if she picked a horror movie or action movie or something like that. she picks the bicycle thief because it makes her look mature and interesting and intellectual. in a way, it's a blessing that they never got to go on that date!

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Post by likelife » Feb 26th 2003, 6:18 pm

how did angela get permission to go to band practice?

i think that several things are going on here. one, patty and graham are distracted by their potential pregnancy. two, angela's parents are not ridiculously rigid. i think that they let her do what she wants as long as there is a rational discussion beforehand. most of the "going out privileges" fights have happened because they were last minute and patty was already stressed out. and three, patty now knows rayanne and rickie a little, and knows that angela's friends are not going toturn angela into a bad kid (contrary to what she originally believed). i'd argue that the chases are putting a lot more trust in her than they did even a few months ago. just to talk about another episode for one sec... in other people;s mothers, patty makes it clear that she DOES trust angela.

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Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Feb 26th 2003, 8:14 pm

likelife wrote:how did angela get permission to go to band practice?angela's parents are not ridiculously rigid. i think that they let her do what she wants as long as there is a rational discussion beforehand.
I was referring to Angela's statement to Graham in the pilot: "I know mom says no going out on school nights." Even in Dancing in the Dark, Patty considered not letting her go across the street to Brian's house to work on their extra credit biology project - the only reason Patty relented was so that she and Graham could go ballroom dancing.
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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 26th 2003, 9:11 pm

I don't think Brian and Angela saw The Bicycle Thief as a dating couple. However, I think they might have seen the movie as friends. Besides, how many friends have you been able to drag to a foreign movie? I don't really think they went with a group of friends. Besides, friends who are not dating see movies together. To complicate things, though, I could see Brian confusing seeing a movie with Angela as some kind of fake date. Anyway, that's how I see things. I'm probably reading way too much into this incident though.
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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?
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Post by Nostradamus » Feb 26th 2003, 9:19 pm

Kristin wrote:
TomSpeed wrote:Angela and Brian are on the same wavelength in many ways. He overanalyzes things, so does she. She thinks with her heart just as he does. Even when they cut each other down, like people who have passion for each other, they share a mutual respect.
I know this is a discussion for Why Jordan Can't Read, but Camille says something in the last episode in this vein. If people can fight like that there must be some passion involved? I swear every time I watch the scene with Brian and Angela fighting about Jordan and the Bicycle Thief, right at the end where they stare at each other for a second, I have to yell "KISS HER!" Too bad they don't, because there is so much passion between the two of them. Hot hot hot!
Exactly! When I watch that scene I think of Maggie and Joel from Northern Exposure: screaming at each other one minute, rolling in the hay the next...

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Post by likelife » Feb 28th 2003, 4:00 pm

a few of you mentioned in the episode 6 discussion thread that you were happy to see angela so lucid and on the ball in "the substitute," but that "whay jordan can't read" saw her back to hear old dreamy self. i agree, but i do not think it is as simple as the fact that angela the characters has not grown up as much as we thought she had last episode.
now i am going to cheat and talk about last week's topic for a minute....
people are made up of many different psychological and social components. i'd argue that what we saw in "the substitute" was angela's poltical and moral/ethical self maturing. she was beginning to form opinions on things that did not necessarily go right along with what she'd been taught all of her life. even though she begins to emulate vic, she does so with a grain of salt. by the end of the episode she has been able to assert what she believes to be right, meanwhile recognizing how the rest of the world reacts/disagrees.
now to episode seven -
here we see angela's sexual and emotional self. this part of her is not quite up to par with her more intellectual/ethical maturity. she swoons easily, gets swept away by trivial conversations, writes long (and probably melodramatic) letters to someone who will never read them, interprets events to fit the scenario that she would like to have happen, etc. but i;d argue that she's right on time with this. how many 15 yr. olds are capable of completely mature interactions with the opposite sex? certainly none of angela's aquaintances are. i'd argue that almost no one is. haven't you all seen a perfectly mature 30 year old go completely batty over a phone call or a romantic date? i know i have. i think it makes sense for angela to get caught up in the romance of this episode. i would. and remember, it is not only she who assumes that "red" refers to a person... ricky does as well. rayanne certainly does not contradict the notion.
and on that note, a question: do you think angela ever finds out what jordan tells rickie about the song (namely, that it;s about a car)? i sort of assumed that rickie did not have the heart to tell her.

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Post by TomSpeed » Feb 28th 2003, 5:42 pm

I don't think Rickie tells Angela the song "Red" is about Jordan's car. It might come up in a conversation between Jordan and Angela. Jordan being Jordan, he probably would not think twice about saying the song is about his car.
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 28th 2003, 5:59 pm

I agree that intellectual and romantic development patterns do not occur at the same pace. I don't see anything wrong with Angela. However, the exploration of big ideas seems lacking in "Why Jordan Can't Read." Angela seems less able to use her intellect to analyze things. Of course, her heart could be shadowing her brain. Although, this development is probably normal, too.
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 K-man » Mar 3rd 2003, 2:39 pm

Just a couple more thoughts. I love the music by Snuffy in this ep. I think this one and Dancing in the Dark are his best efforts. Much debate has been made here over Angela's 'maturity level' or that of the average 15 year old. I noticed one example of Angela's maturity in her reaction to Jordan standing her up at her folks house. In the beginning of the ep. at the museum and also in the ladies room at school the next day Angela very bubbly explains to RayAnne on both occasions how "things have totally changed" and she has somehow 'connected' with Jordan on this amazing level. (OK I'm paraphrasing here) In her mind, she is all inside his head. Then.....after he has no-showed to meet the 'rents, she is very quick to hate him eternally. She doesn't know his reasons, or excuses nor does she ever want to. "I never want to see him again." She seems to go from very hot to very cold on Jordan in the blink of an eye. Am I off here or is that a telltale sign of lack of maturity in a dating scenario?
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Post by TomSpeed » Mar 3rd 2003, 3:44 pm

k-man -- I think you hit it on the head. Young people look at love in a black and white way. As long as you are doing what a young person wants, he or she loves you. If you disappoint or don't do what they want you to do, they hate you. There's usually little room for middle ground.
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 Guest » Dec 27th 2003, 5:27 am

Patty : Yeah, well. Neither was I. But I guess...we are. I guess she's
pretty serious about him. Listen, I think you'd better prepare
yourself. I get the definite feeling...that this kid is very good
looking.
Graham : So? What, do you think I can't handle that?

Yeah,why does Patty thinks Graham can't handle this kid being "very good looking."?

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Post by Jody Barsch* » Dec 27th 2003, 3:09 pm

candygirl wrote: the only reason Patty relented was so that she and Graham could go ballroom dancing.
Actually, letting Angela go across the street to Brian's didn't enable the Chases to go ballroom dancing, it would have been easier if she had stayed home to watch Danielle (they talked about having Brian bring the mouse to their house). In the end they let her go because they realize she needs privacy (although not for the reason they imagine) andhave to get Neal to babysit. Not that any of this really matters. (And I am just realizing this is off the episode topic :oops: )
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