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105, “The Great Race”; Feb 15, 1987
Melanie’s checking to see if she has boobs. Her mom won’t let her get a bra until she gets them. Oh also Melanie’s on the school swim team.
Um, right, so, boobs. Amiright? Remember how when you were like 12 you couldn’t wait to get boobs, and then you finally got them, and then you discovered they were more nuisance than they’re worth, especially if you got them even though you’re a man? Right.
Anyway I guess the swim team wins their meet. They have terrible form on the crawl stroke, you aren’t supposed to breathe on every stroke, you’re supposed to do three and then breathe.
L.D. asks Stephanie if she’s going to announce that the swim team won. Stephanie, who clearly doesn’t like L.D. very much (whenever she talks about sports or whatever Steph’s really sarcastic towards her), says it’s not her job as school president to announce it, it’s the sports rep’s job. Good thing there aren’t any adults in charge of making these kinds of announcements, eh?
Melanie is staring at Snake. Snake notices, so Melanie pretends like she wasn’t just staring at him. L.D. appears from nowhere and says “So you like Snake, eh?” Who wouldn’t? Snake is super cute, especially with hair. Plus he’s nice. That’s good.
Jason Cox, the sports rep, only announces an upcoming soccer game, and never mentions the swim team won.
Meanwhile, Arthur and Yick are sad that they’re short, so decided to stalk Snake to see what he eats, hoping if they eat like he does, they’ll grow tall too. That’s something that makes sense if you don’t think about it too hard, especially if you know that the average height of humans started increasing when people started eating better, not just eating gruel and stale bread all the time.
LD finds Jason and the soccer team and asks what the heck is up with the not announcing the swim team won? Jason says there wasn’t enough time, LD counters with the fact that it wouldn’t have taken 10 seconds to say. Jason says that no one cares about girl’s sports, citing the fact that all the sports programs are all men’s sports. Man, I love it how a show from 1987 covers an issue that’s still a problem almost 30 years later. Ha.
Here’s a point to ponder: Why is it that no one cares about women’s sports? Seems like women who like watching sports would want to watch women’s sports. And I don’t know, I feel like heterosexual men should like it too, if it’s combining their two favorite things – sports and women. As for me, I hate sports and am not fond of women any more than I need to be. I must now reveal that not only am I woman, I was also actually on a swim team for four years. Man, I used to have decent-sized biceps back then. Pff.
Jason goes on to say that swimming is lame anyway, and soccer is hard. If they had to swim against a bunch of girls, that’d be super easy to win! So LD is like “Fine, then we challenge you to a swim meet!” and Jason agrees.
Later, Melanie wonders if Snake thinks she’s just a little kid. Her mother thinks she is, since she won’t let her get a bra. You know, at the very least she ought to have a training bra. Speaking of – there’s this dumb joke that goes around where people are like “Training bra? What are you training them to do?” A training bra is to train the WEARER about proper bra-wearing procedures. They’re usually really thin and lightweight material and don’t provide the padding or support that real bras do, so you can get used to the feel of hooks and straps on your bosom before you really need to.
So anyway LD takes Melanie bra shopping. Melanie worries what her mom will say, and LD tells her to just change at school, like Stephanie does.
They’re being ridiculous in the store, and this faintly British lady comes over. LD tells the lady Melanie wants a bra, so she measures Melanie and finds her a little bra. Lady tells her to try it on, and Melanie is SHOCKED. Try it on, right there in the store? LD clarifies that she should get changed in the fitting room. Melanie’s hilarious sometimes, and rarely intentionally on her part.
LD finds Steph the next day in the bathroom, and asks her to officiate at the match between the swim team and soccer team. Steph agrees because all she has to do is say “Swimmers, on your mark, go”, and she’s looking forward to showing off her new “wet look” bikini. Apparently a “wet look” swimsuit means the fabric is shiny and it’s a somewhat tighter fit. That’s kind of weird, do most swimsuits get shiny when they’re wet? I can’t remember, it’s been like 6 years since I was somewhere where people wear bathing suits. Pretty much no one wears suits to the beach here since the water is always so cold.
Speaking of showing off:
Melanie tries to impress everyone in the hallway, and Joey and Jason make fun of her, implying she stuffed her bra with tissues. She denies stuffing. Maybe she just grew two cup sizes overnight. That seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation, it does.
Later, Jason, Wheels, and Asian-kid-who-isn’t-Yick discuss the upcoming race against the girls. Wheels is having second thoughts, since the girls have made it to the city finals so clearly know at least a bit more about swimming than they do. Jason suggests they get Snake to participate. Wheels and Other Kid point out Snake isn’t on the soccer team, and was actually cut because he was terrible. But apparently he’s a pretty good swimmer.
Snake looks like the kid who played Alfalfa in The Little Rascals movie.
Jason tells Snake if he agrees to swim for the team, he’ll talk with the soccer coach about getting him on the team, since Snake loves playing soccer although he’s terrible. Snake agrees to the terms.
Then Snake feasts upon his lunch, only to notice Arthur and Yick. He’s having a problem with 7th graders staring at him this week. Anyway they confirm that Snake is eating yogurt, and leave. Yick protests that eating yogurt doesn’t make you tall, and Arthur supposes it must be what Snake eats after school. Honestly I’m surprised a teenage boy that tall only had yogurt in his sack lunch. Also I’m very pleased to see a tv show that has a character eating from a sack lunch that isn’t part of a plot about how they’re poor. I can’t remember if I brought this up in an earlier Boy Meets World review, but like every single tv show that has kids seems to have a plot where one character is poor, so they start bringing a lunch from home to show that they’re poor, because apparently only very poor people bring their own lunch. Nobody has special dietary needs or food preferences, no, if you bring lunch from home, you’re a dirty poor person.
That same day, Raditch is reading lines from a play. There’s a line with the word “breast” in it, and all the boys giggle, and what I love is that Caitlin and a couple other girls give them totally disgusted looks which is exactly what happens in real life.
The Greek guy behind Melanie pulls on her bra band – not the strap, the part that goes around the stomach/ribs/whatever. What a dickopolous.
LD is annoyed because a bunch of the girls on the swim team are refusing to participate, because they don’t want the boys to see them in their swim suits, or they’re on their period, or whatever. There’s four of them left, at least, which is enough for a relay. But Melanie doesn’t want to participate either, because everyone’s making fun of her already, and she figures it’ll only get worse when she puts on her bathing suit and it becomes clear that she does not in fact have boobs. She also mentions that her bra isn’t stuffed, it’s just a shaper – meaning it’s got some padding in it already and is meant to lift the boobage that’s already there so as to make it appear there is more boobage than there really is. I guess.
Snake’s officially on the soccer team. He is still terrible.
Arthur and Yick are still stalking him. He comes out of a convenience store having just bought a “Super Crunch Delight”. So they go in and buy 20 Super Crunch Delights. I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a candy bar, because it sounds like one, but it looks like a granola bar or a power bar.
JD accuses Jason of stacking the team by recruiting a very tall person. She’s not wrong.
Snake feels guilty.
Time for the big game… meet… match… race. Jason walks into the locker room and asks if Snake is there. Wheels says “Sure he is, he’s just so thin, you missed him.” This episode has a decent number of funny one-liners. Ha. Well, then, Jason goes looking for Snake.
The girls, meanwhile, wish Melanie would change her mind and decide to swim. LD says it’s not big deal, one of the three of them can just swim twice. They don’t look thrilled at this idea, even though that’s exactly what happens at a real swim meet if your relay team is missing people.
Melanie leaves school, and spots Snake, eating granola bars on the stoop. They both wonder why the other one isn’t swimming. Snake explains that the boys just wanted him because he could swim, even though they said they wanted him on the soccer team. He knows they were just trying to bring in a ringer against the girls, and felt that was wrong. Snake and his morals, tch. Snake also mentions that he used to be good at soccer, but ever since he got tall, it’s been hard for him to control his feet properly.
He asks Melanie why she isn’t swimming, and she starts to explain about the bra, but stops because why would you say that to an 8th grade boy. She instead says it’s because Joey and the others keep laughing at her. Snake thinks that’s a dumb excuse. Joey gives him a hard time too, but what’s he supposed to do, hide? Snake’s like two feet taller than Joey, he could just throw him over a fence and no one would know.
So Melanie decides to swim after all, even though it’ll be super embarrassing. Joey yells at her “You’re so flat, the walls are jealous!” Then LD throws him into the pool. Short, skinny kids should not piss off female athletes.
So they swim and it’s thrilling because it’s neck-and-neck the whole way. The girls win even though they were all swimming kind of slow. And then it ends. I guess we all learned an important lesson about… not wearing bras that make you look bigger than you are when you’re on a swim team.
Degrassi The Next Gen has a boys versus girls episode a bit like this, with the twist being that all the girls quit due to poor management rather than because they’re embarrassed. Girls vs Boys sports episodes are always hard to deal with, because on the one hand, girls in sports don’t get any respect, and you want to show that they deserve respect and funding and they’re just as good as the boys. On the other hand, it seems like nearly all Girls vs Boys episodes end in the girl(s) winning, which seems to say more than girls are better than boys, rather than equal. And it’s just science that boys tend to be larger than girls, and the center of gravity and weight distribution is different between the sexes, but then it’s not fair to say that just because you’re a boy, you deserve the funding because you’re automatically better at some sport than a girl.
But they threw Joey into a pool, he for sure deserved that.
Oh and the Arthur/Yick want to get tall plot never really resolved itself either. Arthur and Yick try stretching to force themselves to grow, but of course that doesn’t work. They never learn about puberty or genetics or why Snake doesn’t seem to eat much. Oh well.
Bonus round: I was trying to take a screenshot of Snake catching Arthur and Yick staring at him, and…
106, “Rumor Has It”; Feb 22, 1987
Little known fact that Adele based her hit single ‘Rumour Has It” on this episode of Degrassi.
Actually that is not true at all, please don’t take that seriously.
The description for this episode is hilarious, whether intentionally or not – the episode is about questioning one’s sexuality and the description begins with “Sometimes it’s tough to get a straight answer.” Did they mean it to come off that way? It’s awesome either way.
The episode begins with Ms. Avery talking about women in history. Caitlin mentions to Suzie that Ms. Avery is the best teacher she’s ever had. Then Avery calls Caitlin up and…
A little touchy-feely, there. Avery compliments Caitlin on the wonderful essay she wrote. Then Kathleen just randomly says “Ms. Avery’s a lesbian, you know.” Ms. Avery tells Caitlin “We don’t care what they think, do we?” Then everyone starts saying she’s a lesbian, all talking over each other.
Turns out this was all a dream. A weird dream. A very weird one.
In waking life, Kathleen wonders if Ms. Avery is a lesbian. The girl sitting next to her doesn’t think so, but Kathleen has never seen Avery with any men. That’s not a hugely convincing argument. A lot of my teachers were married and I never saw their spouses. Doesn’t mean they weren’t actually married (although I had my doubts about at least one teacher).
Catilin and Suzie are working in the school’s darkroom. This is the most well-funded school in North America. Anyway Caitlin mentions she had a weird dream, and Suzie’s all “ooooh, you know they say dreams are supposed to reveal your deepest, darkest desires.” That is not what Caitlin wanted to hear. And anyway, that’s not strictly true. Some dreams can be about stuff you really want, sometimes they’re just things you’ve been thinking about. Like I know if I marathon a single tv show or read a lot of manga in one sitting, I usually have dreams about whatever show or manga it was, just because it’s fresh in my head.
In the hallway, one girl says it would be sweet if Avery and Raditch were secretly dating, but Kathleen’s still all “Avery’s a total lesbian”. Melanie tells them to shut up, so Kathleen asks if Melanie’s a lesbian too. Melanie isn’t, but she’s also not prejudiced against gay people. OOOOOH.
Arthur and Yick do a presentation on neighborhood watches. At the end of class, Avery calls Caitlin up and compliments her on the wonderful essay she wrote.
This is actually happening this time, and it freaks Caitlin out. Maybe Caitlin’s epilepsy that she hasn’t been diagnosed with yet is giving her the power to foretell the future in her dreams. I totally read that’s a thing that can happen, epilepsy giving people superpowers. For sure.
Yick can’t find the $20 his dad gave him to buy sneakers. Arthur decides someone stole it. They’re going to investigate.
Caitlin’s hosting a sleepover. Brunette girl who isn’t Melanie is prank calling Raditch. Some lady answered the phone and they think it’s hilarious that Raditch has a girlfriend – or wife, Catilin points out not all married people wear rings. Not-Melanie says into the phone “Hello, is this Mr. Raditch on the line? Then you better get off, there’s a train coming!” That was terrible.
It’s Caitlin’s turn to prank call someone, and she gets Avery. Of course. Avery’s not home, and some lady asks to take a message. Kathleen decides the woman on the phone must be Ms. Avery’s lover. Caitlin still insists Avery isn’t gay, but Kathleen believes the facts are undeniable proof – Avery isn’t married, and she’s always hanging out with some woman, even holding hands with her!
The next day, maybe, Rick give Kathleen and Not Melanie some Not Twizzlers. Avery is dropped off by her lady-friend, and they kiss on the cheek. Kathleen again asserts that Avery is a lesbian.
Rick continues passing out licorice to everyone in school. He says he won $100 in the lottery. Arthur isn’t so sure that’s true, though. If Rick was still living with his dad, he probably would’ve been beaten to a pulp for wasting good money on licorice that he’s just handing out to everyone in school.
Kathleen is STILL going on about Avery being a lesbian. Maybe Kathleen’s a lesbian. She asks in class if Avery has a boyfriend. She says she has hundreds, but wonders what that has to do with class.
Suzie wonders what lesbians do, exactly. It’s 1987 so Suzie can’t just look this up on the internet.
Caitlin still says Avery’s not a lesbian, because lots of people like to touch other people and that doesn’t make all of them gay
Later that night, Caitlin has the dream again where everyone in class call her a lesbian.
And now Kathleen thinks Caitlin is a lesbian, because she and Avery are always hanging out together and because she doesn’t like to change in front of other people for gym class. Kathleen tells Suzie she better be careful, I guess basically because if Caitlin’s a lesbian she’s going to jump Suzie and spread her lesbian germs on her. This gets to Suzie, and she says their photo project is pretty much done anyway so they don’t need to work together anymore. Caitlin’s like “come on” so Suzie agrees to finish up with her.
There’s an announcement over the PA about how all notices and posters must be cleared with the front office before being put up. There are no exceptions, including the “no posters here” notice, and the “no notices to be posted here” poster. It’s not relevant, just funny.
Arthur and Yick are stalking Rick to find proof of him stealing. They’re being weird, and Rick notices.
In the dark room again, Suzie just keeps talking so Caitlin can’t have a chance to go all lesbian on her or whatever. Caitlin notices and asks what’s going on, and Suzie asks her if she’s a lesbian. This makes Caitlin angry and she storms out.
Later she has a heart-to-heart with her stuffed bear about whether or not she’s a lesbian, and if she is, what then? Will she lose all her friends?
The next day, Caitlin gets asked to stay behind after Avery’s class ends. This is all the proof Kathleen needs that either Caitlin or Ms. Avery is a lesbian.
Actually Avery just noticed something was bugging Caitlin, and asks her what’s going on. Caitlin explains that it’s because people are calling Ms. Avery a lesbian because she’s not married and kisses her friend a lot. She says she and that other woman are housemates, because that’s cheaper than living alone, and that she kisses most of her women-friends, and also that Kathleen must’ve imagined her holding hands with whoever. She doesn’t deny being a lesbian or confirm being straight. And I think that’s part of the point – Avery’s just trying to say that just because someone’s single and kisses their friends, it doesn’t mean they’re gay. And it doesn’t matter if Ms. Avery’s gay anyway.
Caitlin also confesses that people are saying she’s gay too, and she wonders if it’s true because she keeps having weird dreams. Avery tells her that it’s perfectly normal for girls her age to be having weird sexual dreams like that, and it’s nothing to be concerned about. For any youngsters out there reading this who need guidance and are consulting Degrassi rather than a website, what Ms. Avery says is indeed the truth. I know it’s startling when you have a really weird sex dream (or even a normal one, sometimes), but it’s nothing to worry yourself over. It’s definitely worth some consideration if you find you keep having the same sorts of weird sexual dreams all the time, but having a few dreams here or there where in the dream you’re gay or into bondage or a unicorn or something is nothing to get worked up over if you thought for sure you were straight, not into kinky stuff, and a human.
Meanwhile, Rick is tired of Arthur and Yick following him all over the place and demands an explanation. They explain, and Rick says they’re crazy for thinking he stole money. Then Yick finds the money stuck in his locker.
What a broomhead!