DJH: 113, “Revolution”, Apr 12, 1987

This is it, guys. The first season finale. This is possibly the tamest Degrassi season finale ever. Most of the other ones have people graduating, fires at the school dance, stabbings, shootings, characters going crazy after taking drugs… I mean The Next Generation does have some pretty tame season finales as well. That reminds me, I wonder why no one has yet come across this blog after searching for other shows that end in “The Next Generation”. I’m pretty sure there have been a handful of people who got here after searching for Bayerische Motoren Werke – aka BMW the vehicle company rather than BMW the abbreviation for Boy Meets World. I may or may not have intended for that to happen.

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After telling Snake about band rehearsal, Joey rushes after Stephanie to be totally charming or whatever. Stef’s a bit annoyed at him, and tells him to leave her alone – not in a “get away from me, creep!” tone, but more in an exasperated teenage girl tone. I feel it is important to make this distinction. Steph also mentions to the twins that Joey’s the kind of guy she would never go out with in a million years. Huh… so back in the first episode when she was campaigning to be school president, was she just using Joey and his obvious affection for her?

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So exams are coming up. The 7th graders are quizzing each other. Arthur asks Yick where the Zambezi river is. Yick’s got this – it’s in Africa. Easy. Kathleen however points out that the entire test is about Africa, so that answer probably won’t cut it on the test.

Hey you know one really great thing about adulthood? No final exams. I mean, preparing for job interviews, doing taxes, and balancing your budget are pretty sucky, but at least you don’t have to cram for a biology exam. I always hated biology. There’s so much stuff to remember, plus my biology teachers would always treat you like you were an idiot if you were having trouble understanding something. The only good thing about my second biology teacher is that part of our grade was doing this workbook thing, but she never checked it herself and just had us grade it. So you could get away with not ever doing it at all and she’d never know. You’d do poorly on the tests since the workbook was supposed to help teach you, though.

That biology teacher also once shared a “fact” that Calico cats are always male. I don’t know if she was trying to test us or if the biology teacher just got an incredibly basic fact wrong, because it’s the females that are always Calico (apparently rarely some males are Calico, but they’re usually sterile and “generally have impaired vitality”.)

Wow, so, back to the episode:

Arthur tells Stephanie as she walks by to tell mom he’ll be home later on Saturday or something. When did it suddenly become well-known that Arthur and Stephanie are siblings? Last time it came up, Stephanie still didn’t want anyone to know.

Kathleen makes a comment about Stephanie always changing clothes at school. Kathleen’s always making comments about other people at school, so… okay. Also Stephanie still likes Wheels. Plus Melanie’s wearing that awesome sheep sweater again.

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Joey wants to call the band “Joey and the Jet-sets”. Wheels and Snake think that’s dumb. Also all three of them are wearing the same clothes they had on in the last episode. Is this the same day?

Snake and Wheels want to call the band “The Zit Remedy”, anyway. There it is, guys. That’s the name.

Steph asks Wheels if he wants to go out on Friday or whenever. Wheels can’t, he has to study. What a lame-o. Raditch comes in and says he hopes everyone has been studying, especially Joey, because he doesn’t want to see Joey in his class again next year. A couple things: 1) It’s only December, so they’re just doing mid-terms. Obviously they should try to do well on them, but would doing poorly on the mid-term really mean they have to repeat their grade next year? 2) Joey does end up having to repeat 8th grade, so Mr. Raditch freaking jinxed it.

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There’s an opening for a new Sports Rep at school. Suzie, Kathleen, and Melanie tell Yick he should go out for Sports Rep. Sports Rep is always a 7th grader, and Yick is in 7th grade! It’s a match! Plus Yick played basketball in that one episode.

Yick tries to talk to Steph about being Sports Rep, but she tells him she’s busy and they’ll talk next term. The grade 7s will not stand for this.

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And now, 7 minutes into the 13th episode of the 1st season of Degrassi, we have the first appearance of that famous Zit Remedy song “Everybody Wants Something.” It’s a dumb song, but extremely catchy. It’s been stuck in my head for 8 years.

Steph shows up at rehearsal and asks Joey if he wants to be Sports Rep. Wheels protests, since Joey isn’t a 7th grader, and isn’t on a sports team, and doesn’t even like sports. Still, Steph insists, since she’s using the Sports Rep thing to get back at Wheels… somehow.

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Yick finds out about Joey being the new Sports Rep, and tells the other 7th graders about it. They all find this extremely unjust, not only because the position is traditionally supposed to be filled by a 7th grader, but because now the student council has four 8th graders and only two 7th graders, and there’s supposed to be an actual election for the Sports Rep position, rather than the president just appointing someone.

The 7th graders start making anti-Stephanie posters in protest. There’s a brief montage of other students discussing the protest. Yick and Suzie say Steph is a terrible president and only got elected because she let boys kiss her. Voula points out that she does go to student council meetings but LD argues that’s not enough, and that she can’t just give Joey the Sports Rep job because she likes him. Alex (Alex is not the same person as Alexa) recalls how Steph was drunk at the school dance, Nancy (who I’ve never mentioned before because she’s barely done anything) also remembers all the promises Steph made but she hasn’t made good on any of them. Rick encourages people to sign a petition to impeach Stephanie. It’s not every day there’s a school-wide protest to impeach the student council president.

Because if that did happen every day, that would be ridiculous.

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The Zit Remedy rehearses, but Wheels has to leave so he can study. Joey rags on him about how Steph likes him (Joey) now and Wheels is jealous or whatever. Wheels calls him an idiot.

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The 7th graders are planning to jump Stephanie in the alleyway or something.

Wheels is browsing the French section of the library. I mean all the books are in French. Everyone on this show is fluent in French. Or Quebecoise or whatever.

Anyway he overhears the twins talking about him. One twin thinks it’s super crappy of Stephanie to be using Joey like that to make Wheels jealous. The other twin accuses her of liking Wheels. She loudly denies it. No one says “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”, which incidentally is not exactly how that line goes (the “methinks” is supposed to go at the end, but I’ve never heard anyone say it at the end), but I certainly think…s the lady doth protest too much, and certainly not because I’ve seen all the other episodes.

Mr. Raditch appears to have lost the tests. Now who’s Mr. Yu the Disorganized??

Wheels tells Joey that Stephanie is just using him. Joey tells him he’s just jealous and is trying to mess him up before the exam.

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Raditch is looking for a copy of his test in the office when Lucy shows up. She needs a copy of her attendance record to give to her social worker. Her court date for the shoplifting incidence isn’t until spring, but she needs the attendance now, I guess. Also she has a Kansas University¬† sweater for some reason. That reminds me of a terrible show called “Too Close for Comfort” where the main character always had a different college sweater on every episode, because he wore a few in the early episodes and people started sending more to the production company. I oughtta do a review of that show some day.

Also while the receptionist and Lucy are talking, Raditch is just throwing papers all over the place, which is hilarious. It’s cool seeing Raditch so ruffled for once.

After a while, Raditch, breathless and limping, returns to his classroom, and writes all the test questions on the board. Then there’s like a minute of footage that’s just of people taking tests. Joey’s obviously struggling with his own test.

After the test, Joey asks the twins if Stephanie’s just using him. One says yes, the other says no, but then they’re both like “Yeah…” Joey’s conscience kicks in right then. He’s off to make things right.

Meanwhile, the 7th graders decide to wait for Stephanie at the girl’s washroom since she always goes there after school. They all chant “Out of the Way with Stephanie Kaye!” outside the bathroom. Suzie, the school vice-president, issues a formal grievance with Stephanie about Joey being appointed Sports Rep.

Joey, who is still wearing the denim jacket Rick sold him, shows up just then. He tells Stephanie that he quits, he doesn’t want to be Sports Rep anymore. The 7th graders cheer. Stephanie storms into the bathroom and puts her clothes on angrily. “I just wanted everybody to like me,” she says. She has a flashback to the first episode where she told Arthur she was too cool to hang out with him since she’s in 8th grade, he’s in 7th, and to her election campaign. She starts crying in real time as she rubs her makeup off.

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She comes out of the school and asks Arthur if he wants to walk home with her. Arthur tells her he doesn’t think that junior high is so bad after all, and he’s looking forward to next semester. Stephanie is as well. She’s planning on being herself next term. Arthur asks if that means he’s allowed to talk to her in school again. When she says yes, he asks if that means they can also watch the tv shows he wants to watch once in a while. “Sometimes,” she says. Then he asks if he can borrow her stereo, and she tells him to push his luck, then flips his scarf up.

So I think this episode was about how if you try to make someone jealous, the entire 7th grade will hate you. Good to know.

This season was pretty tame, really. I mean, there was child abuse and teen pregnancy and the fear of a parent dying, but most of it was about being hated by the teacher, being embarrassed about being flat-chested, being afraid of snakes, shoplifting, and choosing names for your band. Degrassi maintains a long tradition of having pretty tame problems mixed in with the 100% intense stuff like suicide and gonorrhea.

I’m going back and forth right now as to if I want to keep doing 4 episodes of DJH each weekend, or 2 DJH and 2 Degrassi:TNG. On the one hand, there’s SO many TNG episodes to get through so I kind of want to start now. On the other hand, that will mean I’m putting up four shows every week, 5 when Girl Meets World starts airing regularly in July. Now THAT is 100% intense.

There’s a few things in TNG that would be spoilers for DJH and Degrassi High, but not a huge number of them. Maybe every other week could have TNG posts or something. I’ll think about it.

Bonus!

Degrassi Talks… On Sex

They obviously included this episode on this disc because of the whole pregnancy thing. Once again, I’ll be doing the highlights rather than a full recap.

Spike's hair deflated!
Spike’s hair deflated!
  • I still can’t understand most of the words to the theme song.
  • Wouldn’t the title s of the episodes make more sense as “…about [topic]” so it’s “Degrassi Talks… About Sex” rather than “On Sex”?
  • One woman, Vicky, was pressured into sex by her long-time boyfriend and got pregnant on her first time when she was just 13. Her mom hadn’t really explained birth control because she thought 13 was young enough she didn’t have to worry about it.
  • Some women share crazy contraceptive things – like you can’t have sex if you take a cold shower right afterwards, or if you splash your lady-parts with Coca Cola.
  • One girl got pregnant even though the guy used a condom. She decided to get an abortion, but regrets it now. She feels like she shouldn’t have to explain herself to anyone, but mentions that she’d at least glad she didn’t bring an unwanted child into the world, because there’s so many unwanted children already. She acknowledges that her feelings are complicated on the issue.
  • Vicky is featured again, as they talk about how much work a baby is and how she doesn’t ave any time for friends or anything else. She says she doesn’t like the baby’s dad at all, because all he does is buy the kid toys sometimes and never does anything else. Vicky is clearly very angry about her life. If she were on 16 and Pregnant she for sure would be one of the girls who ends the episode crying and wishing she’d never had sex in the first place.
  • One guy says he thinks other guys get really freaked out about having to raise babies and that’s why the bail.
  • The Degrassi crew actually finds a teen father who’s helping take care of the baby. It was difficult finding a teen father, which supports the statistics they give that 79% of teen mothers are single.
  • One 17 year old woman never uses a condom when she has sex. She’s had so many STDs that she’s now infertile. She’s sad that she can never have any children. Also to note, she doesn’t look gross at all. She looks totally normal, just really sad.
  • One guy who was in the sexuality episode is shown giving a talk on condoms and stuff, including the very true fact that Vaseline is a terrible lubricant because it can cause condoms to break really easily. He talks about how he was diagnosed HiV-positive two year prior.
  • Another guy says he doesn’t use condoms but if the girl wants to, that’s up to her and he doesn’t mind. The actress who plays Spike (Amanda Stepto) asks “What about disease?” He answers “What disease?”
  • One girl says schools ought to have condom dispensers because it can be super embarrassing to go buy them at the store, and if people are too embarrassed they might not buy them.
  • The actor who played Joey (Pat Mastroianni) holds the baby of the one teen father. She immediately cries in his arms. The teen father talks about how it’s really hard because the mother can’t get a job quite yet (because the baby’s only like a month or two old), and it’s just difficult in general for a teenager to get a job that will make enough money to support a family.
  • They talk to one couple who has an active, healthy sex life that employs protection. The woman in the couple says her mother was really open about sex, and told her to come talk to her whenever she was ready to start having sex. The woman says she also “just knew” she was ready for sex, and wasn’t pressured into it.

Degrassi Talks… On Drugs

This is the Degrassi Talks episode I forgot about that’s on the first disc of the set, probably due to that one episode where Joey becomes a fake drug dealer by giving Melanie and Kathleen vitamin pills under the name of “New Zealand Zappers” or whatever. The drug problems in this Degrassi Talks are a bit more intense.

Camera man filming Spike who is filming the camera man.
Camera man filming Amanda who is filming the camera man.
  • Maybe teenagers take drugs because they aren’t supposed to, theorizes one young lady
  • One girl talks pretty casually about doing drugs because older, cool people were doing them, and says they did cocaine but they were only injecting it and not snorting it so I guess that makes it okay.
  • The general consensus is that drugs make you feel good and it’s fun. A few people mention drugs are also addictive, but it seems like most people didn’t mention that.
  • One girl’s mom told her if she ever started doing drugs, the mom wanted to be there, and the she pulled out crack or something and made the girl take it right then. What in the actual heck.
  • One guy mentions a list of side effects of huffing glue. They include “loss of memory and memory loss.” I’m not even kidding.
  • This show always has parts where the actors are like “My character on the show experienced something similar, how was it for you?” This is especially ridiculous in this episode, where the one actress talks about her character taking caffeine pills to the guy who talked about taking like every other drug on the market. He mentions he took Ritalin, though, despite not needing it, so it made him all crazy. Jimmy on Degrassi: TNG also took Ritalin pills when he didn’t need to. He broke Sean’s leg, but Sean was better by the next episode, which means either Jimmy is really weak or Sean is immortal.
  • The girl whose mom made her do crack or whatever, it turns out is a crack baby as well. The mom thought she was going into labor, the doctor said she wasn’t due for a few weeks, so the mom went home, shot up some crack, then that made her go into labor so the girl was born addicted to crack.
  • One guy they were talking to about drugs asks the actor who played Yick why he smokes, since cigarettes are addictive and also a kind of drug or whatever. Yick’s actor says that kind of startled him to be asked that, and he says he doesn’t know why he smokes. He knows smoking is bad, but he just does it anyway. He advises us not to start if we are non-smokers.
  • Fewer kids are doing drugs these days (1992) than in the past, so it means kids are finder better, safer ways to get high. They interview a bunch of people who say bike riding/video games/talking to mom are ways they get high. Looking at butts is my way to get high.
  • They end with one guy who hopes once he gets out of jail or rehab he won’t go back to doing drugs.

This episode was lame. I know drugs are bad, pretty much everyone watching this probably knew that already. They didn’t interview anyone who was like “Oh yeah I did drugs and then while I was high I drove and I killed someone,” or interviewed a total meth-head who was all scabby and shaking or whatever. THAT would be way more interesting and effective than “Yeah, I do drugs. It’s fun.”

Bonus 2

The DVD set comes with a 28-page PDF of educational supplements to the episodes. They all have a synopsis, class questions, activities, and suggested reading. Some of the activities are great, like “Have the students write a poem about what it’s like being a teenager” and “have kids role-play a scene in which Shane is pressuring Spike to have sex.” It also says “Joey wants to be seen as a cool dude”, which I can only read in the voice of the school secretary/receptionist from Ferris Bueller.

Gosh, finding the Ferris Bueller tv show online would be great. Definitely, if I ever find them, I’ll do at least one post on the Ferris Bueller tv show , and the Little Shop of Horrors and Teen Wolf cartoons.

Edit: You can read a recap of the first episode of the Ferris Bueller tv show here!

I should talk some about how they made Degrassi, but I’ll save that for 201 and 202.

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