Title: My So-Called Life S1.E07 “Why Jordan Can’t Read”
Released: 1994

Drinking Game Tally: 24 drinks, 2 shots, 2 chugs
‘90s Fashion Award: Rayanne
My So-Called Winner: Patty
My So-Called Loser: Angela
Brian Krakow vs. Jordan Catalano: Tie

OMG!!!!!! Did you guys know that Jordan Catalano can’t read?!!!!!!! I can’t believe it!!!! This is the worst news ever!!!!! Because, I mean, if a kid can finish high school without being able to read, they might grow up to be in a terrible band and wear too much eyeliner and hide their gorgeousness in other sad ways!!!!! And also, you know, not succeed in life.

But WHY can’t Jordan Catalano read?!!! That is the question, and thankfully, Angela Chase is about to enlighten us in this next segment of My So-Called Life Lessons. I’m expecting there’s going to be a lot of leaning going on down here.

What Happened

It’s almost impossible for me to say the name of this episode without adding a ‘good’ to the end of it. Anyhoo, Angela ponders love in a way that only a teenaged girl who has never fallen in love can. Patty and Graham discuss Patty’s weight and aging, as per usual, but this time, Patty consults a calendar and we all recognize the look on her face that says, “Oh shit. I might be pregnant.”

On a school field trip, Angela shows Rayanne a letter she wrote, describing everything she feels about Jordan Catalano, and Rayanne asks if she’s going to give it to him to read (which we know from the title, he can’t.). But Angela says that the letter actually purged her feelings, and that she is totally and absolutely no longer obsessed with him. Sure, Angela. Whatever you say. Rayanne asks if she can read it, and I think that’s a bad idea. Angela acquiesces, making Rayanne promise not to show it to anyone else, and we here the gong of doom sounding in the background. Or maybe that’s just my mind.

Brian Krakow is creepily spying on Angela from behind a statue (Stalker Point -1), and Angela makes accidental eye contact with Jordan.

There’s lots of people looking at art, and a couple making out, blah, blah. Going to museums is a lot more fun than watching other people go to them. Except for Rickie. Seeing his sweet face in awe at everything he spies melts my aged heart. Rayanne sips from a flask, and proceeds to flirt with the security guard before walking away. The camera pans back, revealing Angela’s letter to Jordan lying open on a glass case. D’oh! RAYANNE!!! Sometimes I wonder why we’re friends.

Jordan joins Angela while humming a little tune. Then mentions that he’s had it stuck in his head all day, and Angela is embarrassingly awkward. But then we see that Jordan is a teenager, too! The song he was humming was one he was writing! For the band he’s in now! Frozen Embryos! With Tino! And I’m a little dizzy from the consecutive drinking.

Rayanne confesses about losing the letter, and Angela takes it rather well, choosing to be angry at Jordan for suddenly speaking to her, instead of at Rayanne, for being, like, the WORST FRIEND EVER.

In class, Brian tries to converse with Anglea, and, as per usual, she dismisses him and he acts like a git. Then Jordan gives Angela the letter she wrote about him, saying he found it at the museum!!! OH SHIT. Angela spirals into word vomit hell before Jordan tells her he didn’t read it. Well, okay, he read parts of it. Angela is dubious. Jordan tries to tell her that it just didn’t hold his interest, and tries to get away from her, but BOY, was that the wrong thing to say! Angela is PO’d, and tears him a new one before realizing that our boy couldn’t, in fact, read the whole thing. They share a tender moment before the awkward circus comes back to town, during which Angela sort of invites herself to band practice.

In the bathroom, Angela tells Rayanne that she now understands Jordan Catalano in a way that she never knew was possible. And that this. changes. everything.

Sharon’s mom is out to lunch with Patty, and suggests that hey, she might not be pregnant at all! It might be menopause! They are disgruntled. Later, Patty and Graham are discussing the baby possibility only to find Brian Krakow in their house, overhearing their discussion! Under the pretense of needing a book that Angela had borrowed! (Stalker Point -2)

Danielle tries to get Brian’s attention and it looks like somebody has a crush. How does it feel now, Brian?

At band practice, everybody is waiting for Tino to show up, and Angela is being ignored… until Jordan asks her if she wants to hear that song he was talking about. Then he plays the guitar and sings for her!!!! And the chorus says that he’ called her red’!!!! It must be Angela!!!! Angela is SO happy. If I weren’t old and didn’t have good taste in music, I might be swooning right now.

Rayanne and Rickie leave, and Jordan offers Angela a ride home. Angela asks him if maybe he has dyslexia, and Jordan tells her that he can read, he just can’t read good. There! I got to say it! Then Jordan tells her he wants to make snow for a living. AND THEN THEY KISS. And it’s pretty perfect. Angela dances around on her sidewalk in sheer bliss, and the camera pans back to show the tree, and Brian ISN’T IN IT! Thank God!

Danielle announces that Angela is in love the next morning, and as she sips coffee at the breakfast table, giggling into her cup, it does appear that that’s the case. She asks if she’s allowed to go out on dates. Patty impresses me by saying yes, and laying some ground rules, including that they have to meet the boy first. Angela shows her maturity by taking umbridge with this and then announcing that she takes her coffee… exactly the way Jordan takes his.

Sharon stands up to her boyfriend for Rayanne’s reputation, amid kisses in the hallway. Rickie tells Angela when and where she can accidentally bump into Jordan, and I guess that means that Rickie likes Jordan, too? Then there’s a practice greeting montage! Then they do meet, and the awkwardness is unbearable. Angela not-so-subtley asks him out to the movies, and he reluctantly says yes. Then she tells him that he has to meet her parents. He’s like, ‘whatever’, and my insides cringe.

That night, Patty and Graham are nervous about meeting Jordan, but when the doorbell rings, it’s Brian. While Danielle desperately tries to get her promised saxophone lesson from him, Brian and Angela get into a huge fight over Jordan. I have to admit, while he’s totally out of line, Brian does have a point, in the sense that he shared “The bicycle Thief” with Angela first, and she’s going to use it to show off to Jordan. I at least feel for you here, Brian.

Meanwhile, Jordan is playing the guitar, and doesn’t go to a party with the guys because of ‘this thing he said he would do’, but you guys, he’s really nervous, or something! Angela is sitting on the sofa with her parents waiting and waiting — then making excuses for him not being there — while Jordan huddles in a corner! Maybe he couldn’t read the directions to get to her house?

Overwhelmed, Angela decides to go to bed, and cries on the floor in her closet. The next morning, all dressed in black, Angela wears her depression on her sleeve. (Get it?) In the bathroom, Rayanne and Sharon kind of have a conversation about sex in which I think they might be becoming friends? I’m not sure.

Then, in the hallway, Jordan Catalano approaches, and Angela walks away. Rickie explains that Jordan could have called to let Angela know he was ditching on their date, and Jordan agrees that that makes sense. (Dumb Points -1) Then Rickie brings of THE SONG, and we find out that Jordan wrote it about his car. (Dumb Points -2)

At home that night, Patty finally gets her period, and is super relieved, but in a turn of events, Graham is kind of sad she’s not pregnant. In a surprising moment, Patty comforts him. Then (wow, getting her period really makes Patty nice) she brings a carton of ice cream in to Angela’s room, and cheers Angela up by disclosing her pregnancy scare. Then they go outside and Angela plays catch (no, actual catch, that’s not a metaphor) with Brian Krakow, telling him that they can never talk about Jordan Catalano again. She then tells him that one day he’ll know how it feels. But Angela, he already does.

Drinking Game Tally: 24 drinks, 2 shots, 2 chugs

’90’s Fashion Award

Rayanne wins for her black t-shirt/shades of green western shirt/purple hair bandana with those awful braids/earrings that I cant even tell WHAT they are. Hideous. Simply hideous. Or maybe it should go to her for the orange dress/weird boots/green over-thing/lots of jewelry.

Rickie gets an honorable mention for his overalls.

Lessons I Learned About High School

  • There is very little time spent in class.

My So-Called Winner

Patty! For not having a bun in the oven. And for not being a bitch. She showed some awesome parenting skills as well as being a good partner in this episode.

Also Claire Danes should be a winner in this one, because she took the convincing awkward teen moments thing to NEW-new heights this episode.

My So-Called Loser

I’ve gotta go with Angela on this one. Jordan’s a close second, just for being a dumb boy, but poor Angela really shot herself in the foot. As Jordan said, she makes everything way complicated and too hard. She over thinks things, and everything is a big deal. I feel for you, Angela, I do.

Brian Krakow vs. Jordan Catalano

It’s a tie this week! They each got -2 points!

Life Lessons Learned

  • It’s important for all of us over-thinkers out there to learn that sometimes, we just need to be.

  • If you have a flighty best friend, NEVER entrust her with embarrassing documents about yourself.

  • Ice cream makes everything better.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.