DJH: 201, “Eggbert” and 202, “A Helping Hand”

Ah, season 2 of Degrassi Junior High. Even the more mundane issues are about to get upped a notch. I mean on the first disc alone, we’ve got Teen Pregnancy x 2, a different kind of child abuse than we saw in season 1, and wet dreams. The wet dreams aren’t in either of these episodes, unfortunately or fortunately. This season also features a bunch of new characters – or a lot of old characters who just never said or did anything in season 1. Hooray…?

“Eggbert”, January 4, 1988

Season 1 started airing in January, too. I guess this means all the kids this season are like a year older than they were in season 1, even though this season takes place in the same school year. Huh.

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Spike’s at a support group for pregnant women. One woman talks about how angry she is at the father for not telling his parents. He doesn’t want to be embarrassed or in trouble or whatever. Surely this same issue will not also be relevant to Spike.

They reach the end of the session, and the group leader says that since so many of the girls are still debating whether to keep the baby or do adoption, she has an experiment for them. She makes all of them take an egg, and they have to take care of the egg like it’s a baby. I’d like to know what all the girls were thinking during the group session with that carton of eggs just sitting on the table the whole time.

Spike asks what she’s supposed to do about the egg when she’s at school, and the group leader says she either has to arrange daycare for the egg or take it with her. This experiment is kind of dumb. Taking care of an egg is different from taking care of a baby. You can just leave an egg at home alone all day and the worst that’ll happen is that it will spoil, and if it does, you just throw it out. It’s generally illegal to throw out spoiled children. And who’s she supposed to arrange daycare with? Like, call up a babysitter to watch the egg? Man, I’d love that job.

So the school term has started up. Everyone’s dressed for mid-Spring even though it’s supposed to be January in Canada. Kathleen sees Shane and wonders if he knocked up any other girls over the winter break. Kathleen is cold.

Spike talks to the twins, saying she’s finally through with morning sickness but its starting to get fat. She’s not looking forward to that at all, because people will stare at her more than they already do.

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Kathleen says pregnant girls shouldn’t be allowed at Degrassi. They should send her to some home somewhere. Caitlin thinks she’s ridiculous and says they should send Shane to a home as well. Kathleen thinks that’s ridiculous since Shane isn’t the one who’s pregnant.

Shane meets up with Wheels and Joey in, where else, the bathroom. Shane’s upset because Spike won’t talk to her. Shane says something about how he hasn’t told his parents about the baby because he’s afraid they’ll send him to private school, like they did his brothers. Seriously why does everyone on this show have brothers? Arthur is the only person who has a sister, and like 80% of the characters have brothers. What’s up with that? Did Canada just have a problem in the 80s wit men way outnumbering women? Or do all the women live in Vancouver?

Also Wheels’s and Joey’s voices have changed, as part of the benefit of there being a real-time year between seasons. I think Wheels is a bit taller as well. Joey’s not.

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Stephanie is throwing out all her old clothes, as part of her resolution to be true to herself or whatever. I have no idea why she had that many clothes in her school locker, and if she had all that in there, why did she keep wearing other clothes underneath her baggy clothes?

Anyway, Alexa asks if she can have some of Steph’s clothes if she was just going to throw them out anyway. Steph’s cool with that.

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There’s a little kid looking for class 7C – Avery’s homeroom. He’s a new student even though he looks about 3 years too young.

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The girls in Raditch’s homeroom are giggling about the egg. Alexa draws a face on it and says now it needs a name. Lucy thinks that’s dumb, since it’s just an egg, but Alexa says “No it’s not, it’s a baby!” One of the twins suggests Eggbert as the name. Ha, because it’s an egg.

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Their class also has a new student, Simon Dexter. Alexa is immediately smitten with him. Stephanie is as well, and believes she recognizes him from some commercial campaign.

Meanwhile, the 7th graders are welcoming Scott Webster to the class. He’s the little kid from a couple screenshots ago. He’s skipped a grade or two because he’s smart. He also goes by Scooter. I wish I had a friend I could call Scooter.

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Shane stops Spike in the hall, asking why she won’t talk to him anymore, why they can’t be friends like they used to be, etc. This is like the 5th time they’ve had this conversation. Shane follows up with a new point, though, and says he just wants to help. Spike tells him to take care of Eggbert until Monday. Shane’s like “How am I supposed to explain this to my parents?” Spike just tells him to figure it out on his own. The obvious solution for him is to tell his parents that his health class at school is making everyone take care of eggs like they’re babies. It’s a weird lesson, but not unheard of in television. Obviously.

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So Shane heads home. His parents are old. I mean his parents can’t be any younger than 55 (an obituary that seems to be a match for the actor who plays Shane’s dad indicates he was indeed 55 give or take a year when he was on this show). Shane is only 14, so the huge age difference between him and his parents would definitely be an added layer to his reluctance to tell them about the baby. On top of that, his dad’s a reverend. An old reverend.

That explains a lot.

Rev. McKay was on the phone with someone when Shane walked in. When he hangs up, he says “Shane, does anyone at your school do drugs?” Ha. Shane’s just like “No, I don’t think so.” HA.

To be fair, this is only junior high, so probably there’s only a small handful of kids who do drugs. The school is small enough that surely if there were a lot of kids doing drugs, everyone would’ve heard of it. So Shane might actually be telling the truth. Especially since he only ever hangs out with Wheels and Joey who are the types of guys who would lie about doing drugs but never actually do any themselves.

Rev. McKay asks if Shane’s ever heard of something called “crank” (or else “crack”, but I think it was “crank”). Shane says he has heard of it. Rev. McKay disapproves of children doing drugs, but appreciates what a fine young man Shane is because he doesn’t do drugs. Haha, jokes on him because Shane is going to be a father soon!

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Shane walks to school and everyone makes chicken noises at him.

Stephanie tells the twins she’s positive Simon is the guy from the commercial, because she paid really close attention when the commercial came on the last night. They’re all too scared to ask him about it, though.

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The Zit Remedy makes a series of egg- and chicken-related puns at Shane. Sidenote: Snake’s voice has also deepened. Maybe Zit Remedy’s one song won’t suck so much now.

Lucy announces she’s throwing another party that night because her parents are going out of town. Everybody celebrates, including Spike, even though the last time she went to one of Lucy’s parties, things kind of ended badly for her.

Alexa, wearing some of Stephanie’s old clothes, is chatting with Simon. Stephanie and the twins plot to ask him to the party. They’re too late, though. Alexa asks him out first.

Shane asks Spike to watch Eggbert so he can go to the party. Spike’s like “no, I’m going, you watch him.” Shane’s like “it’s just an egg, why can’t we just both go?” Spike tells him he could ask his parents to watch Eggbert if he really wants to go.

The Zit Remedy show up again and Zoey tells Shane he’s totally lucky because they have to go to the party but he gets to stay home and babysit an egg! Then they make chicken noises and leave. Teenagers are literally the worst.

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Shane quietly does homework while his parents play Gin Rummy. Their house doesn’t have enough lights on.

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Lucy’s party kind of sucks because one of the tapes got wrecked in the cassette player. Man, next time any of you complain about your Mp3s not working, be glad at least you don’t have to worry about your tape getting eaten and unwound. That’s the pits.

Shane showed up the party. And it turns out he brought Eggbert with him. Then everyone starts playing catch with Eggbert. This scene becomes horrifying if you mentally replace Eggbert with an actual baby. Also a little hilarious, especially if you imagine the baby as clearly not being real.

Spike storms out, and Shane goes after her. He complains that it’s been embarrassing, carrying around Eggbert. Spike’s just like “don’t even play that card with me, I’m the one who’s really pregnant and is gonna get fat and everyone’s gonna stare at me.” Shane’s just like “it’s just a stupid egg, what’s the big deal?” Spike says “The stupid egg’s not the point!” and smashes poor Eggbert to the ground.

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She tells him that even though he keeps saying he wants to help, all he really wants to do is stop feeling guilty, he doesn’t really want to help at all. She storms off into the darkness.

Then Shane goes home. His mother is knitting and his father is taking notes out of a book. They still only have one light on. They’re surprised that Shane is home so early. Shane swallows and says he has to tell them something. The show freeze-frames and ends there.

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I feel bad for Shane. I mean, I feel bad for Spike as well, but obviously this whole pregnancy thing isn’t easy on either of them. But I think Shane having older brothers who went to private school, and having much older parents one of whom is a reverend really does add some layers to his character. Like on Degrassi: TNG , we have Sean, who has a much older brother, and when we eventually see his parents, they’re clearly pretty old. So you have to wonder if part of his anger stems from him likely being an unwanted, accidental pregnancy. I guess we’ll never know.

 

“A Helping Hand”, January 14, 1988. Huh, that’s weird. Why did this air 10days after the last episode? And the next episode aired on January 18, which is only 4 days.

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Joey got some guy to agree to have the Zit Remedy play for him or something. Snake doesn’t believe it, since they only have two songs. Joey says hey, two songs, that’s an LP! I’m not old enough to remember LPs with fond annoyance like I remember cassette tapes.

Also there’s a substitute filling in for Raditch. He’s supposed to be handsome but he looks like 5 of the former Doctor Who actors got together and had a baby. By that I mean he looks like a weird, middle-aged English man.

But everybody likes him.

Stephanie’s angry that Simon’s into Alexa, saying it’s only like that because she’s wearing all of Steph’s old clothes. If Steph was still wearing them, he’d be all over her. Something to note: Alexa doesn’t look nearly as ridiculous as Steph did in those clothes. I think it’s because she doesn’t go overboard with the 80s makeup that makes it look like she escaped from the Jem cartoon, and her hair looks brushed.

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Wheels is getting extra tutoring from Avery. Also he has an eye appointment for the next day. He thinks glasses are dumb and he doesn’t need them, but Avery thinks the reason he’s been having trouble with headaches and not focusing, is because he needs glasses. What a thrilling plotline.

In the bathroom – of course – LD complains how no boys ever notice her. Lucy offers to give her a makeover. Now, on the one hand, LD shouldn’t change who she is just to impress a boy blahblahblahtumblrsocialjustice. On the other hand, she does dress like a slob a lot of the time. I mean if she didn’t talk, I don’t think you’d be out of line for thinking she was a boy sometimes. She sure doesn’t need to go full-on Stephanie or Alexa, but there’s a line between being comfortable as yourself and dressing like you’ve slept in the same outfit for a week.

She’s only 14, though, AND a fictional character, so it’s not a huge issue, I think. Actually, I related to LD. I dress pretty frumpily sometimes, and sure I’d like guys to notice me, but I like dressing comfortably more, I guess.

Meanwhile, Shane tells Spike he told his parents about the baby. Spike – who has a picture of herself in her locker – is shocked and impressed. Shane says they were pretty upset, but they’re not going to kick him out or anything. Huh… Degrassi has actually never done a plotline with a teen pregnancy where someone gets kicked out. Manny got kicked out because her Very Traditional Father was fed up with how wild and loose she was being, but no one has ever gotten kicked out because they were pregnant or got someone else pregnant. The closest thing was when one pair of characters decided they were going to live together and raise the baby and their parents were like “You’re only 16, wtf,” but they never got kicked out. They decided to move out on their own. Glee actually did the “pregnant girl gets kicked out” storyline, but did not cover it very successfully, I think.

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Substitute teacher wants to congratulate Lucy for that excellent report on native people… Wait, no, that’s from the “Ms Avery is gay” episode. She wrote an essay on the pain of when a friend moves away. Apparently Voula moved somewhere out of the school district, but is close enough that she and Lucy are going to see a movie on Saturday.

Except Voula calls Lucy’s house and says her parents said she can’t see Lucy. She’s just like “So… sorry.” Geez, Voula.

So here’s something to ponder: What if Voula had remained a character on the show? Would she have remained the stick the mud, strictly-raised character? Or would she have gone the route Manny on TNG did, where she gets really tired of always just being someone’s friend and nothing else, so wears low-rise jeans and thongs to school, or whatever the appropriate 1980s equivalent would be? I could totally see Voula staying as the same basic character for another season or two, and she starts being the victim of bullying but doesn’t tell anyone about it, and it just comes out in one episode that she’s being bullied, and she’s also upset about how everyone else is growing up and getting cooler but she’s still little Voula who dresses in weird clothing all the time.

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Oh my God.

Lucy also gives LD a scarf, saying she’s got lots. Good continuity, that’s what she told Voula in that other episode. Because remember, Lucy really likes shoplifting scarves.

At school the next day, the substitute teacher has the class discussing the death penalty. In an English class. Where they study plays and how to spell words. I couldn’t hear what most of the kids were saying, and I’m not opening up a debate on it here.

Anyway, substitute teacher is looking down Lucy’s top.

She doesn't even have any exposed cleavage. What exactly is he trying to look at?
She doesn’t even have any exposed cleavage. What exactly is he trying to look at?

When LD tells Lucy she saw that happen, Lucy says she’s just jealous that a teacher likes her and that she’s too chicken to wear makeup or talk to boys. LD says “Well at least I don’t shoplift!” …Burn?

Wheels isn’t allowed to play in the band until his grades come up. Ugh, lame. And Stephanie demands Alexa give her clothes back. Alexa rightly points out that Steph gave her those clothes, but Steph denies it.

Wheels has giant 80s glasses.

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Joey makes fun of him. “Who ever heard of a rock star who wears glasses?” Wheels replies, “What about John Lennon?” Joey doesn’t know who that is.

Alexa gives Stephanie her clothes back. Her mom found them, and said they make Alexa look like “a lady of the evening,” which means a prostitute to those of you not familiar with the euphemism.

Also it turns out Simon can play bass, which is I guess what Wheels played.

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Substitute tells Lucy he connects with her on a deep personal level, and says people like them need to stick together. Lucy is clearly very uncomfortable, especially when she starts rubbing her shoulders. CREEPY.

Wheels, who is there after school for tutoring, realizes he forgot a book. His locker is apparently right next to the classroom, and he notices the weird massage going on.

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He stands there for a few seconds and then opens the door.

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The substitute is like “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!” Wheels says he just needed a book, and then Lucy runs out of the classroom. Ah, man, you go, Wheels.

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The next day, Steph shows up in one of her old outfits. Simon and Alexa walk by her, holding hands. Steph sticks out her chest and says “Hi, Simon.” I think Simon says “Hi, Quinn” and keeps walking with Alexa. HA Simon liked Alexa for her personality the whole time.

Creepy substitute tells Lucy they can pick up where they left off that afternoon. Lucy says “No. Not in a million years.” Aw yeah, you go, Lucy! Wheels catches up with Lucy a bit later, and tells her he’s there for her if she needs a witness or anything if she reports the guy. Man, first getting flowers for his date with Stephanie, then telling Spike he’s there to help out if she needs it, now this? Wheels is the nicest 14 year old boy ever.

Oh, Lucy and LD made up, also.

The whole “pedophile substitute teacher” thing doesn’t get resolved at all in this or the next episode. But it DOES get resolved later this season. Stay tuned for the EXCITING CONCLUSION a couple weeks from now.

Also technically he’s an hebephile since Lucy is 14. Pedophilia refers to a preference for prepubescent children, hebephilia is for kids 11 to 14 years old, and ephebophilia is 15 to 19, and then for ages 20 and older I don’t know if it gets a name since anyone 20 or older can officially consent to a relationship and it’s not so creepy.

 

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