Once there was a girl. She slept in a lovely cottage made of gingerbread and candy. She was always asleep. One morning, she woke up.
My So-Called Life – The Substitute
An extraordinary substitute English teacher enthralls the students and frightens their parents.
Man, this theme song is practically making me cry just hearing it (much like the Friday Night Lights theme). I am such a pushover! The ep opens with Angela pontificating on teachers' private lives. Cut to a wild classroom with no teacher. In walks a (relatively) young, hip-looking teacher who proceeds to act as though he could care less what the students are doing. He tells them to continue wasting their lives.
Yeah, it's very Dead Poets Society. Or something. Anyway, the teacher somehow gets through to Jordan, like, instantly. And keeps on pushing him as the ep continues. And eventually realizes that "it seems that nobody ever bothered to notice that he never quite learned how to read!" But seriously, he's a very inspiring teacher. Notice, in the lower left corner of the above photo, Jordan's expression of orgasmic delight at being taught. It's a beautiful thing.
Brian tells the sub that one thing they're supposed to do this semester is publish an edition of the literary journal. So the sub reads their work and says it's boring and uninspired, and tells them all to re-write their stuff, anonymously. And someone writes a sexy poem and it causes this whole censorship issue. Patty's company is printing the lit mag, and she and Graham aren't sure they should print the poem … but after talking to the sub they realize it's not their place to censor. However it is the principal's place, and he collects all issues of the lit mag.
There is the strong suggestion that the poem is Rayanne's, but eventually we discover that Sharon wrote it. This is the first ep where my theory of Sharon & Rayanne being the external manifestation of each other's inner desires is explored. Neither of them can really talk to Angela about sex, so they turn to each other. Rayanne wishes she had written the poem, and she and Sharon totally bond over it.
Eventually, the sub quits, and Angela learns that he actually kind of sucks. He abandoned his family and is wanted for not paying child support. Angela takes a stand against censorship, which unfortunately has no effect but to get her suspended from school, and that's pretty much the end.