Jordan Catalano is a high school junior who was held back two years. After getting to know him more, Angela theorizes his lack of scholastic achievement is because he may be dyslexic. He is later diagnosed as a rudimentary reader with low literacy skills, partly because Angela signed him up for peer tutoring. As a result of his learning disability, Jordan ditches virtually every class but PE and shop, and, for half the season, English.
− He is part Italian. He really loves his car. He can get you a fake ID. He smokes cigarettes and often puts Visine in his eyes. Angela is fond of the way he leans. He used to get a beating from his father before he fought back and threw a chair at him.
− Jordan is a friend of Tino.
Jordan sings, plays guitar, and writes songs for The Frozen Embryos. He really loves his car. He can get you a fake ID. He smokes cigarettes, often puts Visine in his eyes, and leans with his eyes closed as if he's trying not to look at things. Angela is fond of the way he leans. Jordan is also a victim of domestic violence as he was beat by his father as a child.
Character Traits and Description
Jordan Catalano is seemingly shy and tends to not talk a lot. He is often made uncomfortable by deep conversation and English homework. He is intrigued by Angela, although he feels that she talks way too much and wants to make too many plans.
Jordan is easily irritated by lying and although what he says might hurt someone's feelings, he is very honest and trustworthy.
Physically, Jordan is of an average build with long brown hair and light blue eyes. He often wears oversized striped or flannel shirts, loose fitting jeans, and black boots. Jordan's signature accessory is a black choker necklace which is present in every episode.
Jordan's learning disability is first hinted at in "Dancing in the Dark" when Brian notices the birth date on Angela's fake ID is backwards. In "The Zit," Jordan says to Brian that if he doesn't start turning in homework, he'll get put back in remedial English. He asks Brian for help claiming that he sick of being treated like dirt in remedial classes. The disabilities fully come into light in "The Substitute," after the substitute English teacher, Mr. Racine, catches onto the fact that Jordan has difficulty reading and plays dumb just so people will not know about his reading problems.
Angela hypothesizes that Jordan is dyslexic in "Why Jordan Can't Read" after she discovers he couldn't read a love letter she wrote about him. She tries to help Jordan because her Uncle Neil is also dyslexic. In "Resolutions," Angela signs him up for peer tutoring after he refuses to keep allowing her to do his homework for him. While being tutored by Brian, he is finally diagnosed as a rudimentary reader with low literacy skills.
Jordan is very intelligent but is embarrassed by his learning disabilities. Instead of admitting to his teachers and peers that he has difficulty, he projects an attitude that he doesn't care about his lack of achievement or how others feel, specifically Angela.
Jordan often expresses that he's rather annoyed and discontent with the repetitive nature of his life. He explains to Rickie in "Halloween" that he continues to include himself so he doesn't miss out if anything exciting ever does happen. Jordan's attitude evolves throughout the season as he spends more time with Angela and he becomes more willing to try new things. He also starts trying harder with his schoolwork and goes to class more after receiving encouragement and help from Angela and his tutor, Brian.
Jordan begins rehearsing with his band, The Frozen Embryos, in "Why Jordan Can't Read." He unintentionally leads Angela to believe his song, "Red," is about her despite being about his car. The band suffers a big blow when Tino quits the band in "On the Wagon" and briefly hires Rayanne as lead singer against Jordan's wishes. After Rayanne chokes during an open-mic performance, Jordan steps in as lead vocalist and the group eventually changes their name to Residue.
Jordan bonds with Rickie in "So-Called Angels" after running into him on the street. Jordan notices that Rickie has been beaten up and after offering him a ride and not getting a clear answer on where to go, he reveals that his father used to beat him. Jordan claims his father doesn't do it anymore because he's scared to after having thrown a chair at him in self defense. Rickie tells Jordan that he will light a candle and pray for him on Christmas Eve. He takes Rickie to an abandoned warehouse which is inhabited by the homeless. He also brings Angela to the warehouse after noticing how concerned she is about Rickie's whereabouts.
Jordan Catalano is the main love interest of Angela Chase throughout all 19 episodes. Although he was aware how Angela felt about him, and was always gravitating towards her, the two only officially dated for one episode.
Jordan first encounters Angela at a house party in the Pilot episode. While watching television in a dark room, he makes short conversation with Angela after she sits next to him on the couch. He sees her again the next night outside of a club as she's being loaded into a police car with Rayanne.
Rayanne attempts playing match maker in "Dancing in the Dark" by telling Jordan exaggerated facts about Angela, like her being from France, and asks if he can get her a fake ID. Jordan arrives at Brian's house to deliver the ID to Angela and attempts to kiss her twice, but he is rejected both times. After a brief conversation, Jordan asks her to leave his car and drives away. He returns shortly after to apologize but upon encountering Brian sitting outside instead of Angela, he claims he is looking for Tino and leaves again.
After attempting to kiss Angela in his car, Jordan becomes a main victim of gossip in "Guns and Gossip" when Brian tells Sharon that Jordan had sex with Angela outside of his house. Jordan approaches Angela with the idea of having sex, since people think they already did it anyway, but is turned down. Feeling guilty for assuming she's that kind of girl, he tells Angela that he's decided to tell people he's not interested in her at all so the rumors will stop.
He shares his first kiss with Angela in "Why Jordan Can't Read," which escalates into secret boiler room make-out sessions in "Self-Esteem." The make-out sessions eventually cause Angela emotional distress after noticing that Jordan ignores her outside of the boiler room. Angela finally confronts Jordan about his behavior which sparks an argument between the two resulting in him telling her to leave. Jordan later realizes while listening to Mr. Katimski read Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 aloud to the class that he is in love with Angela and officially asks her to be his girlfriend.
He and Angela only date for one episode, "Pressure." During their brief relationship, Jordan continuously, and unsuccessfully, pressures Angela into having sex with him; first by letting her drive his car and then by sneaking into her house in the middle of the night while her parents are asleep. Jordan meets Angela's father, Graham, and his future business partner, Hallie, before taking Angela to a house party so they can have sex. Angela gets cold feet and makes up an excuse to leave so she doesn't have to go through with it. The next day, Angela tries to explain herself causing Jordan to feel hurt that she lied to him and continued to reject his advances. He then insults her by claiming she's abnormal for not wanting to have sex with him and the two break up.
Although they broke up, Jordan and Angela remained close friends. A friendship seemed realistic between them until "Betrayal." Angela claimed to be completely over Jordan and began to make him jealous by getting involved with the school play and talking to Corey more. After asking Rayanne if Angela was into Corey more than him, and admitting than Angela confused him, Jordan drunkenly has sex with Rayanne in his car. Brian unintentionally captures it on videotape and after telling Sharon, word quickly spreads about what happened. When Angela found out it was true, it causes an abrupt end to her friendships with both Jordan and Rayanne.
In the series finale, "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities," Jordan seeks the help of his tutor, Brian, to win Angela back. After failed attempts to talk to Angela and apologize, he convinces Brian to write her a love letter. Jordan is forgiven by Angela after she reads the letter and shortly after, he finally meets her mother, Patty. Upon meeting Jordan and hearing his side of what happened between him and Rayanne, Patty gives her blessing for him to date Angela again. The show's finale implies that Angela chooses Jordan over Brian, even though she knows the love letter was actually written by Brian and that he is also in love with her.
Jordan doesn't seem to have many prominent friendships throughout the series. He is friends with random, unnamed male students and his band's drummer, Shane. He is also close with Tino, but he is never actually seen on the show.
Jordan's most loyal friend is Angela. Their friendship develops throughout the course of the series and even after it's abruptly ended, Jordan manages to be forgiven by her.
Behind the Scenes
According to Jared Leto, the experience of the show were probably more special to the viewers than to him. He stated in a 2014 interview with the New York Times, "I was only ever in 17 episodes and I barely talked." He claims he spent more time in his trailer than he ever did actually on the set.
In an early draft for the Pilot Jordan's full name was Jordan Veneziano. The last name Catalano is believed to have been inspired by the last name of the assistant to co-executive producers, Jennifer Catalano. Leto was only supposed to appear as Jordan Catalano in the Pilot episode, but he became a series regular after accepting a more extended contract.
Series creator, Winnie Holzman, has said in interviews since the series ended that if there would have been a second season, Angela would have gotten back together with Jordan Catalano, not Brian Krakow, and that the two would have developed a long-standing relationship.