DJH: 109, “What a Night”, and 110, “Smokescreen”

“What a Night”, March 15, 1987

Lucy is a shoplifter.

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Man Lucy hasn’t been in an episode in forever. Like not even in the background.

Raditch is giving another spelling lesson. I don’t know what the theme is, because he mentions balcony, nocturnal, tangerine, and quiche. What do those words have in common? They’re in the class’ weekly reading assignment I guess. The words “thief, deciduous, funeral, pledge, and breathe” are also on the board. Thief and deciduous seem like an awful jump in difficulty.

Raditch wants to talk to Lucy after class. Lucy tells Voula that Raditch is a fascist. I love it when teenagers call adults fascists like that. Haha.

Anyway he tells her she’s been slacking off and needs to work harder.

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Meanwhile in study period, Stephanie, Heather,Erika, and a lot of the other kids are watching a soap opera because their study hall supervisor isn’t there.

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Steph says she’s going to meet the soap opera star guy later at some autograph signing. Then the lookout says that their teacher is coming so they quickly turn the tv off. The most awesome part of this scene is when the teacher comes in and says “I didn’t hear the tv on, did I?” everyone in the class looks at her all puzzled and says “No.” That’s always one of the best things about being in school. Even if you’ve got the kids who are really annoyed by the shenanigans and don’t participate because they don’t want to get in trouble, you never snitch on your classmates because you don’t want to be a ratfink. Heh.

Um also Voula offers to tutor Lucy for the spelling test.

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Lucy’s mom calls, saying she’ll still be longer at the office. Lucy tells her that her dad is also going to be late. Then Lucy decides to take a break and also lets Voula try on her clothes.

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Steph and the twins have a fun little fantasy about the soap opera guy saying that he knew they were meant for each other from the moment they met, and the age difference doesn’t matter since they’re really in love. Teenage girls have the best fantasy life. That’s why an overwhelming majority of fanfiction writers are female.

Check out what Voula’s wearing now:

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Voula asks Lucy about her parents. It turns out her parents are rarely home, but Lucy says she’s self-sufficient and totally not lonely or acting out because of this or anything.

Lucy tells Voula she can stay for supper if she wants. Voula has to go home, though. Lucy lets her take the scarf she stole earlier, saying she’s got lots of others, and it’s pretty tame so Voula’s parents shouldn’t mind.

Then Lucy’s mom calls and says she’ll actually be back even later than she said earlier. Lucy’s sad. When TNG did a similar story, it followed it up with the Lucy equivalent calling the pizza place and being like “Yeah, it’s Jimmy again. The usual,” so it made it like even sadder.

Raditch reads out words for the spelling test. Words including are receive, paralysis, corroborate, and hierarchy. What a weird assortment. With thief, receive, and hierarchy they could’ve had an “ie/ei” theme, but then there’s funeral, quiche, and corroborate to consider.

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Steph and the twins head to the book signing. Steph’s like “Oh I didn’t buy a book because I forgot my money at home” and asks if he’ll sign a newspaper article about himself. He asks how old she is and she says she’s 16. The soap opera guy’s like “Sweet 16” and kisses her on the cheek, saying he kisses all his fans. What a creeper. Also he wrote his phone number down when he signed the paper. Was the age of consent in Canada in 1987 age 16? Either way that guy’s gotta be at least 10 years older than her.

Umm Lucy did well on her test, and wants to thank Voula by taking her shopping. Voula doesn’t know if she should, because her dad’s all scary and stuff, but Lucy won’t take no for an answer. Also when Raditch is passing back the tests, when he gives Joey his he says “I didn’t realize you knew Swahili.” I mention this for no reason other than to say this actually is a bit of foreshadowing/character development for a later episode.

Steph arranges a date with soap opera guy. The twins are like “Okay it was cool to fantasize about it, but if your mom finds out you’re dating an older guy she’ll kill you.” They have a point.

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At the mall, Lucy shoves some jewelry in her bag. Voula’s not that into shopping, but finds a hideous sweater that she likes. It’s too expensive, though, but Lucy just asks what size she is and then she stuffs the sweater into her bag. [Voula is a “petite”, by the way, despite that not being an actual size. I mean, maybe it was in Canada in the 80s, but these days you typically have the regular clothing sizes with Petite in front of them – Petite Small, Petite Large, etc. Ah, and this is something a lot of people get wrong – petite doesn’t mean “small”, it actually means “short”. I usually have to get petite pants in stores like Macy’s. The different between petites and regulars is basically the proportion is different. I mean women’s clothing has a huge problem where the designers basically just enlarge the clothes for larger sizes instead of making them proportionally larger, so you end up with monstrously huge arm holes in the larger sizes. Typically when women need to buy the larger sizes, though, it’s not because their arms have suddenly widened to a 30 inch circumference, so that tends to be a problem. ]

Anyway Voula doesn’t want to steal, but Lucy thinks it’s no big deal (unintentional rhyme!) Some lady overhears them and pulls out this awesome walkie-talkie

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Look how long the antenna on that thing is!

Voula keeps freaking out as they make for the exit, and Lucy says if she’s that worried she can just put the sweater back. Voula can’t do that, though, because what if someone sees?! What’s the issue there? If you’re putting it back, then they can’t bust you for shoplifting since you never left with the thing.

Then the girls see a security guy at the top of the escalator.

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They turn to go down the escalator to escape, but nope.

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They’re caught.

The security lady gives the girls a lecture about how stealing is wrong and drives the prices in the store up. Which it does. So, yeah. The security lady also says the police are coming. Voula’s worried, but Lucy says as long as they admit they did it and won’t do it again, the police will just let them go. Voula’s like “How do you know? Have you done this before??” A police officer shows up just then and says “Well, well. You again.” Lucy’s got a record! Uh-oh!

Meanwhile, soap opera guy picks up Stephanie and says “Let’s you and me have some fun.” CREEPER.

Soap opera guy drives to a motel parking lot and rubs her knee and Stephanie starts panicking and says she wants to go home. She runs out of the car and the soap opera guy follows her. He tells her to be quiet, and she’s like “I’m not really 16! I’m 14!” The guy starts backing away and she continues with “And I told all my friends I was going out with you!” The guy drives away, leaving her in the parking lot. Man, he’s lucky Steph doesn’t take this to the press. As if the rest of the story wasn’t so bad, he didn’t even call a cab for her or anything?

She calls her mom from the motel lobby’s phone and asks her to pick her up.

Meanwhile Voula and Lucy actually get taken to the police station. Voula’s mad wishes she’d never helped Lucy. Lucy better watch out, Voula can hold a grudge like no one’s business. The police officer comes over and says they’re having trouble getting in contact with Lucy’s parents, and they’re going to have to charge Lucy this time instead of just letting her off. Ouch.

The next day, Steph and the twins discuss what a creep the soap opera guy was. Indeed he was, but maybe Stephanie now realizes that lying about your age and arranging dates with creepy older guys you don’t actually know is not the best idea.

What a hideous vest.
What a hideous vest. I hope Lucy stole that and didn’t pay for it.

ANYWAY Voula’s not allowed to talk to Lucy anymore. Lucy still talks to Voula, though, and says she has to go to court over the shoplifting thing. Her mother also called her a brat who was ungrateful for everything she’s been given. Also she and her parents are supposed to have family counseling, but Lucy reckons her parents are never going to be able to find the time to go.

Voula offers to help Lucy study for spelling or math or whatever. Lucy’s confused, because Voula’s not supposed to talk to Lucy anymore. Voula thinks her parents will understand, once they stop being so mad, and again asks Lucy if she wants help. Lucy smiles.

I don’t know what we were supposed to learn from this episode.



“Smokescreen”, March 22, 1987

“Smokescreen” sounds like a terrible 80s movie about a spy who has sex with werewolves or something.

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No one will sign the petition to save the environment. Except Rick. Suzie thinks maybe Rick likes Caitlin. Kathleen thinks that’s gross because Rick is the school criminal. Caitlin suggests all he needs is friends or something. I didn’t realize this until a few months ago, but Kathleen and Catilin are actually the same name. Caitlin’s an Irish spelling, Kathleen is an anglicized version. I don’t really have a point here, it’s just funny.

Ms. Avery’s 7th grade class is doing presentations on their family history. We see the end of Suzie’s, where she talks about her police officer dad who was a part of NASA or something and gave her a cool badge and freed Tibet and saved the whales and ended world hunger.

Yick’s supposed to do his presentation the next week. He doesn’t want to do his presentation, because everyone else’s family is exciting and he figures no one wants to hear about him being poor and living in a small house full of relatives. Yick raises a good point. I hate these kinds of things, because there’s always a large number of students whose families were all spectacular and like punched Hitler in the face and their great-aunt is the ruler of Morocco or something, and while that’s interesting, you have the other kids who can’t trace their family history, or it’s like “Well my family came here on a non-famous ship in the 1700s and we’ve been poor farmers ever since.” Makes you feel kind of inadequate.

Rick shows up to the Environmental Action Committee meeting. Kathleen’s all “What do you know about the environment?” Rick replies, “I live in it.” Caitlin decrees that since Rick signed their petition earlier, it proves he cares about the environment, and thus is allowed to join the club.

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The first topic for the meeting is choosing a new name for the club.

After the meeting lets out, some of the kids say they disagree with letting Rick join the club. Kathleen says he’s no good and she heard even his own father disowned him. Suzie, or possibly Caitlin, ask where Kathleen always gets these crazy stories. Kathleen ignores this and points out that they do know Rick flunked his previous year of school, and also she heard that the reason he was always covered in bruises was because he got into fights all the time. Caitlin’s had enough and tells her just because he’s poor and disadvantaged doesn’t mean he’s a criminal. Melanie is the only person who remotely likes Kathleen, I think.

Meanwhile, Yick bought a vase from a thrift store for $4.99. He shows it to Arthur the next day. Yick claims the vase is a family heirloom, which is isn’t. Arthur wonders which dynasty this clearly antique vase is from, and Yick says it’s from the Ming Dynasty, or maybe the Manchu. Maybe even both! Haha, that doesn’t make sense. Arthur offers to have the vase appraised because he dad knows a guy, and Yick’s all “No, that’s okay.”

Later, Arthur accidentally breaks the vase.

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Rick and Caitlin meet up so Rick can help Caitlin work on her announcement about their campaign  for the next day, and discuss air pollution on their way to Caitlin’s house. Rick thinks Caitlin’s rich, but Caitlin doesn’t think so. Both her parents are teachers, actually her mom is a vice-principal. Rick thinks this is bizarre and unbelievable. Also Rick decides they should do a rap over the PA system.

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It works. Apparently terrible Canadian rap is the way to the people’s hearts. Also the Canadian pronunciation of “about” [“aboat”] is hilarious in rap form.

The environmental club meets up again that day. First order of business: their name. Caitlin’s like “What? Let’s discuss the petition, not the stupid name!” Kathleen thinks the petition thing is stupid. Who’s gonna listen to a bunch of kids with a petition? I mean she has a point. There’s not that many kids in the school and the only signatures they have are from those few kids. Like the company CEO is going to care about a bunch of environmentally-minded 13 year olds with a piece of paper?

Well anyway they think Kathleen is stupid, and Rick encourages Caitlin and Suzie to come with him to drop off the petition at the big air polluter business.

They sit down with some nerdy representative of the company. Caitlin just says “Um we’re from Degrassi Junior High and we’d like you to stop polluting the air.” Yeah. That’s what she says. Just stop polluting. Like it’s that easy.

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The representative says they test all their emissions and find they aren’t toxic or anything. Suzie points out that the newspaper said otherwise. The representative guy doesn’t care, though. Rick starts getting mad and the representative tells the kids to leave, and he’ll totally be sure to give their petition to the company president.

So they leave. Rick hangs out in front of a store and smokes. Kathleen sees, and disapproves.

At the club’s meeting later that same day (this is the second meeting they’ve had that day, or else Caitlin wore the same outfit two days in a row), their first order of business is deciding on a new name. They never get anything done, just tweak around with pointless thing no one cares about, just like many business and organizations in real life.

Kathleen actually would rather discuss Rick, explaining that she doesn’t think anyone who smokes, thereby polluting the air and his own lungs, should be allowed in the environmental club.

Rick calls them an Inaction Committee and leaves. Then Kathleen lords it over Caitlin, all “See? I told you he was no good.” Then they go back to discussing the club’s name.

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Rick waits for Caitlin. Caitlin’s mad at Rick, though, saying he made her look foolish, after she went through all the effort of helping him. I don’t know if I missed something or I’m misremembering, but I don’t recall Caitlin helping Rick at all in this episode? He actually helped her out more than once.

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Arthur reveals that he broke Yick’s vase and didn’t want to tell him because he knew Yick would be mad. Since it wasn’t really an antique heirloom, Yick doesn’t care that much, but now he doesn’t have a prop for his fabricated story. Arthur manages to convince him to tell his real story to the class, and Yick does.

Yick’s story is about how he and his entire family escaped the Old Country on a boat. They spent days and days at sea. It was scary, because sometimes they’d see another ship and have to hide in case it was a pirate ship. Eventually the boat made it to land, and he and some of his family were lucky because they survived the journey. All they made it out of the country with were the clothes on their backs, and that’s why he doesn’t have anything cool to show the class about his family.

After the story, everyone in the class flocks over to him to tell him how cool that story was to ask more questions.

Caitlin’s still sad about Rick. Kathleen says he was a loser anyway, but has good news because she came up with a new name. It’s a super long, terrible name, and Caitlin responds just by calling Kathleen a jerk and then walking away.

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Caitlin finds Rick outside and thanks him for helping her. She complains about how the company totally ignored their petition and wishes there was something she could do about it.

Rick has a plan, though. He suggests they call up the paper and tell them how a bunch of junior high kids tried standing up to a big pollution-spewing company and were totally ignored. Caitlin kisses him on the cheek and tells him he’s brilliant. Rick puts his finger to his lips and says “Sssh, don’t tell anyone. I have a reputation.”


They never do say where Yick is from, although the vase thing suggests he’s Chinese. But since it’s not really an heirloom vase and Yick’s actor is Laotian, I remember I decided Yick probably was Laotian as well, a few reviews ago. Laos appears to be a country that’s had a lot of problems over the years, so it certainly is conceivable that Yick’s family fled Laos to seek a better life in Toronto, Canada.

Next episode is where things FINALLY start getting really good.


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