Adam Is The New Jordan Catalano and Other Parallels Between ‘Girls' and ‘My So-Called Life'

He’s not the blue-eyed dream boat that brought Angela Chase running face first into her sexuality, but the character of Adam (Adam Driver)  in the much-talked about HBO show Girls does things to Hannah (Lena Dunham) that echo that same frustration and confusion by which most of us are still haunted all these years later after watching 19 episodes of My So-Called Life. As if we haven’t talked about or referenced that show enough times on this site.

“Welcome to Bushwick/The Crackcident” (Spoiler Alert)

In the most recent episode, there is a scene where Adam calls out to Hannah and she pretends to not hear him. Hearing Adam call out to her reminded me of the same excitement I felt when Jordan called out to Angela in the hallway at school. It was a public demonstration that they knew each other and it confirmed a little something about their relationship that we had all be anticipating. In both shows, the relationship only ever happened behind closed doors until finally the guy made a move to acknowledge, in front of everyone, that they had something to do with each other.

Not Conventionally Handsome

Naturally, I tweeted about this realization and said, “Adam on Girls is the new Jordan Catalano.” As expected, some of my girl friends disagreed! But I totally understand why. Adam just isn’t 30 Seconds to FINE like our good buddy here who is aging like really good wine.

Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano

Jordan was the mostly unattainable crush. Handsome, tall, hair falling gently over his romantic eyes, and driving Angela wild with intrigue,  Jordan had a secret that, once revealed to her, made him that much more endearing. This too happened in this recent episode when Hannah learns from Tako (a friend of Adam’s) that he’s in AA and that it’s the “one defining thing” about his personality. Remember when Angela learned that Jordan was illiterate?

Parallel Situations

It wasn’t until this last episode that I realized some similarities between the characters in My So-Called Life and Girls. It’s all too obvious for me to suggest that Rayanne Graff and Jessa Johansson have a lot in common. They’re the eccentric women whose adventurous natures are closely examined by the audience since they are the most sexually charged characters. Rickie Vasquez and Shoshanna Shapiro at first glance have nothing in common until you consider that they each have something that sets them apart from their respective groups. For Rickie, it’s that he’s gay and it makes him feel alienated from his family. For Shoshanna, it’s her virginity, which sets her apart from the rest of the ladies. Sharon Cherski and Marnie Michaels are the ones who reluctantly remain in their relationships even though they clearly don’t enjoy sex with their boyfriends. In the first episode, we see that Marnie isn’t a huge fan of Rayanne. Similarly, it took Sharon some time before warming up to Rayanne.

Hannah is not as innocent as Angela Chase but she is very much on a similar journey. Like Angela had to with Jordan, Hannah is realizing that she has a lot to learn about Adam, especially after realizing that she’s never taken the time to show an interest in his personal endeavors. It seems to me that for Adam to yell at her that she never tried asking him anything personal was exactly what she wanted from him. She was begging for a revelation, something that would give her the confidence to comfortably see him as more than just a sexual partner.

Well, That’s One Way To Ask

“Do you want me to be your effing boyfriend?” he screamed more than once. Hannah stood there holding back a huge smile that she finally released on the cab ride home sitting between him and Marnie. We didn’t even need to hear her say yes. Just as with My So-Called Life, we know exactly what the leading female wants and how terrified she is to ask for it.

He’s Still No Jordan, But…

I’m willing to give Adam the same amount of flexibility I gave Jordan Catalano. Lest we forget, he DID sleep with Rayanne and basically broke Angela’s heart to smithereens. Jordan may have been handsome, but that doesn’t excuse his behavior. Adam has been pretty upfront with Hannah, and while he may not be smooth, charismatic, or conventionally handsome, he’s a virile character and as we have learned, a lover of literature who is contagiously playful. He may live in squalor, but he is very comfortable with Hannah’s body and it’s doing us some good to see a man who isn’t afraid to get his hands on a little extra flesh.

Featured Image via Girls Facebook Fan Page

  • Diane Morales-Elias

    I never looked at it this way. Good read. Made me hate Adam a little less now.

    • Marianna

      At first, I didn’t want to like him. Then, the more closely I looked at Hannah’s choices, the more I realized that it’s all really up to her and she’s got more control in that relationship than she realizes. For example, the sexual vulnerabilities. Remember how she walked away with $100? That was not only hilarious, but sort of a hint at things she would soon learn about the dynamic between them.

  • Elias Taru Sofsky

    omg. this is so accurate.

  • Natasha Simmonds

    Adam is probably my favorite character on Girls right now!

  • Allison Anderson

    I think Hannah could do better then Adam because she is a lot smarter and whittier then he is. I could see her being with someone else in an actual mature relationship and Adam will become jealous and want grow up. The viewers only see Adam half naked hanging out in a his apartment doing nothing; i wish we saw him doing more. This last episode helped his character a little but, just because he’s an AA doesn’t give him an excuse to do nothing.

    • Marianna

      That’s the thing though, we only see Adam through Hannah’s perception of him. As a viewer, you’re aware that there could possibly be more to him, but we are limited by Hannah’s curred idea of who he is in her life, which is why he’s always half dressed. In fact, he called her out on it, saying she only talks to him when she wants to have sex. That last episode really showed us a lot about the other side of that relationship. We got to know him, again, through Hannah’s eyes when Tako revealed that private side of him.

  • Alicia McElhaney

    I love both of these shows, therefore I’m crying with excitement. Let’s hope Girls has a longer run than So-Called Life!

  • Marianna Tabares

    That should have said “Current Idea” and i have no idea how i messed up that spelling or why i suddenly can’t use a shift key.

  • Pammy Strassanator

    Now that I’m caught up on Girls via a friend with HBO On Demand, I love this article. So interesting. And now it makes me want to go re watch My So Called Life again.

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