episode titles

General discussion about the nineteen episodes of "My So-Called Life". Note: Our episode guide can be found here.
chosephine
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episode titles

Post by chosephine » Jan 29th 2002, 1:48 am

Am I the only one who thinks that the official titles for the episodes are pretty lame? I mean, "Why Jordan Can't Read"? (That brings to mind images of Tori Amos in leather and big hair.) Before I knew that they actually had titles, I just made up my own. For instance, instead of "Guns and Gossip" I always called that episode "Angela Gets a Better Backpack".

You would think that for a show with such insightful dialogue, someone could have come up with better titles.

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Re: titles

Post by NIGHTJESSI » Jan 29th 2002, 4:15 am

Maybe that's why we never saw the titles come up with the opening credits, chosephine. Seriously though, I actually liked most of the titles, especially In Dreams Begin Responsibilities. I'm curious to see what other people thought of the titles, so who wants to add their two cents?

"When you drink from the cup of life, chug." ~ Citibank billboard

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Re: titles

Post by Jack » Jan 29th 2002, 4:48 am

It's interesting that Chosephine brought up the title, "Why Jordan Can't Read", because that episode reveals only that he can't read. It in no way tells us 'why'.

Jack

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Re: titles

Post by Guest » Jan 29th 2002, 10:06 am

Yo Jack,
Maybe I am reading into things too much but didn't Jordan have dyslexia.?. I thought that was implied in his conversation with Angela in his car. In "The Substitute" Mr. Racine tells Graham "Nobody ever noticed he (Jordan) never learned to read.". Did Jordan just fall through the cracks his entire school life, or did he have a disability? Was it both? I actually like the titles of the episodes.

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Re: titles

Post by K-man » Jan 29th 2002, 10:14 am

Jack,
That post above was from me. I wasn't logged in.

k-man

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Re: titles

Post by Jack » Jan 29th 2002, 12:32 pm

It's been a long time since I've seen the episode, but I thought Angela suggested that Jordan had dyslexia, to which Jordan responded with wrinkled brow, "That backwards thing?" If my memory's correct, I think he would have confirmed that he did indeed suffer from 'that backwards thing' if he did.

Jack

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Re: titles

Post by K-man » Jan 29th 2002, 2:23 pm

Jack,
I think you are right on in your recollection. Angela mentioned, I think, that her father's brother has dyslexia (would that be Neil?) and Jordan asks if they can stop talking about it. Maybe I drew my own conclusion. I guess I thought Jordan had dyslexia but didn't realize it. Maybe this would have been all cleared up in season #2.

k-man

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Sascha (sab)
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Re: titles

Post by Sascha (sab) » Jan 30th 2002, 6:46 am

Some episode titles were references to other book titles, movie titles etc.

"Why Jordan can't read" was a reference to a famous educational book called "Why Johnny can't read". It was a recommended literature for parents teaching their children with learning problems at home.

"In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" is a book by Delmore Schwartz from the late 1930's. There are countless books entitled "Dancing in the Dark". "Strangers in the House" is a book by Joan Lingard from the 1980s.

"Life of Brian", well, you know that Monty Python Movie, don't you? :-)


Sascha.

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Re: titles

Post by NIGHTJESSI » Jan 31st 2002, 2:21 pm

Sascha, thanx for the enlightenment on the episode titles mirroring book titles. It just shows once again that there was such an intelligent level of writing behind the show.

As for why Jordan can't read, K-man and Jack, I was never really sure what the reason was. It's true that he might have confirmed the "backwards thing" if that was indeed his problem, but then again, he might have shyed away from talking about it because he was ashamed. I do find it believable, though, that he fell through the cracks because there are unfortunately a number of kids who get lost in the system. Given his penchant for skipping class and being a bad boy, it's easy to see why teachers might have just looked at him as a student who didn't care and gave up on him.

"When you drink from the cup of life, chug." ~ Citibank billboard

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Re: titles

Post by Guest » Jan 31st 2002, 5:23 pm

Sascha,
Thanks for the info on the some of the titles, have any others you would like to share explanations of? I think that some of the titles are quite fitting, but there is one that I am confused about: why is episode 10 sometimes called "Other People's Mothers" and other times called "Other People's Daughters"? Well obviously it could be either one, either title would fit, but which is the "correct" title? And if it isn't really "Other People's Mothers" why does it say that on the VHS? Sorry I am doing this anonymously, I can never get the create username thing to work for me.

Schnur

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Re: titles

Post by Jack » Jan 31st 2002, 8:25 pm

My guess would be the title on the VHS box set is the wrong one, because there is another inaccuracy; they refer to the high school as Lincoln High, and we all know it's Liberty High.

Jack

chosephine
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Re: titles

Post by chosephine » Feb 2nd 2002, 11:02 am

Thanks for the info Sascha. Somehow, knowing that the titles are actually obscure literary references makes me like them a lot more!

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Re: titles 'The.......'

Post by Joanna » Feb 2nd 2002, 7:45 pm

When I originally taped the series from TV I wasn't aware (until I came here 7 years later!) that the episodes actually had names and so I went by what was in them....for example 'The Hug' or 'The Song'....those being the one where Angela is upset about being lonely, having no friends and being a terrible person and Jordan hugs her and the one where Jordan sings Red (supposedly about his car...yeah right!!). That way I knew instantly which episode was which (and that was before 'Friends' came along with their epsiode titles all starting with 'The one where.....'). Of course we all know that the actual show's name came from the film 'It's a Wonderful Life'!!!!!....which leads me on to say I like the title 'So-called Angels' is one of the better titles I think....what is everyone's favourite title?? I think 'The Zit' would have been better called 'Self-Esteem' (seeing as that it was it is about) and then self-esteem could have had a better name!


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Re: titles

Post by Bubba » Dec 3rd 2002, 3:20 am

My first post!
sab wrote:Some episode titles were references to other book titles, movie titles etc.

...

"In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" is a book by Delmore Schwartz from the late 1930's. There are countless books entitled "Dancing in the Dark". "Strangers in the House" is a book by Joan Lingard from the 1980s.
Sascha, unless this has been confirmed by the good people at Bedford Falls, I would like to put forth my own theory about a few of the episode titles: rock music connections.

- "Dancing in the Dark" could be a reference to any number of songs, the obvious being from Bruce Springsteen's 1984 album, Born in the U.S.A.

- "The Substitute" could be a reference to The Who's 1966 single, "Substitute."

- "Pressure" could reference Billy Joel's 1982 song of the same name.

- And "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" could be a sly reference to U2's "Acrobat," from the 1991 album Achtung Baby.

And I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And you can find
Your own way out
You can build
And I can will
And you can call
I can't wait until
You can stash
And you can seize
In dreams begin
Responsibilities

And I can love
And I can love
And I know that the tide is turning 'round
So don't let the bastards grind you down


(As a side note, a Google search on "In dreams begin responsibilities" produces a lot of references to Yeats, but I'm not certain of the connection.)

All four artists are among rock's elite. The first three songs are easily found in "greatest hits" collections and are thus part of rock's canon of well known music; the fourth was found in one of U2's more recent albums, a critical and commercial succes. My point is, it's not too unreasonable to guess that the baby boomers who created MSCL derived a few episode titles from a rock song or two.

Bubba
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Re: titles

Post by Natasha (candygirl) » Dec 3rd 2002, 5:20 am

Bubba wrote:(As a side note, a Google search on "In dreams begin responsibilities" produces a lot of references to Yeats, but I'm not certain of the connection.)
W.B. Yeats prefaces Responsibilities with two quotes, one of which is an old Irish folk saying "In dreams begin responsibilities" which he attributes simply to an "Old Play." As a result, many people have (incorrectly) attributed the quote to Yeats.

The second quote is "How am I fallen from myself, for a long time now I have not seen the Prince of Chang in my dreams" (Khoung Fou Tseu).

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