“Great Expectations,” January 1988
You have no idea the trouble I’ve had writing the correct year on the three recaps I did today. Just now the date went from 2988 to 1998 to 21919 before I managed to get the year right.
There’s a new student, Liz. She hates Degrassi because everyone is a prep. Liz is actually Ebony from the Harry Potter fanfiction “My Immortal”, only without the ridiculous hair or the vampirism. Also Liz appeared uncredited in episode 101 and a few other season 1 episodes but we aren’t supposed to remember that. Joey asks Liz out on a date, and then opening credits play. Voula is still in the opening despite not being on the show anymore.
The Zit Remedy complain that Simon wanted to play soccer instead of playing bass for the band while Wheels is grounded from playing until his grades go up. “What a narbo” indeed.
Then they discuss Liz. Wheels and Snake think she’s weird because she’s quiet and never talks to anyone. She’s a new kid, of course she never talks to anyone. Joey asks if they think she, you know, does it. Then he asks if they think about sex. 14 year old boys don’t think about sex, Joey, that’s ridiculous! Who ever heard of a teenage boy thinking about sex? Just ask Shane! Oh wait.
Arthur tells Yick he’s been having wet dreams. Once a week even! He fears he’s turning into a sex maniac. Fun fact: During his marriage to Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII claimed to still be having wet dreams, and he used this to support his claims that Anne simply wasn’t attractive enough for him in the bedroom, and that was the reason their marriage went unconsummated and it totally wasn’t because he was old and fat and had gout and a festering leg wound that made life difficult and smelly for everyone. Anne of Cleves got out of the marriage the best of any of the wives. She actually outlived Henry and wife #6 Catherine Parr, who gets the “survived” at the end of “Divorced, beheaded, and died.” Errr I better stop here, I could go on for ages about Henry VIII (he’s actually a really interesting and complex historical figure!)
Stephanie’s gone back to dressing like a lady of the night (Alexa’s mom said it first) so she can win Simon over from Alexa. Spike’s looking at herself in the mirror because she thinks she’s getting fat. Steph hasn’t noticed. Then a toilet flushes and it turns out Liz was in there the whole time.
Steph and Spike just stare at her as she washes her hands, and Steph continues watching her as she heads towards the door. Liz is finally like “Why are you staring at me?” Steph says in a mock-sweet voice “I just love your hair, you must tell me who does it.”
Liz says, “Yeah well at least I don’t get dressed in the washroom so my mom won’t know how I dress.” As Liz leaves, Steph says “…Good comeback!” If anyone ever yells “Good comeback!” at you, here’s what you should say: “Yeah, it was almost as good a comeback as ‘Good comeback!'”
Steph is critical of how Liz dresses, and theorizes that Liz probably does it. She says this with disgust in her voice, and Spike glares at her. Steph backpedals and is like “Well not like you, you made a mistake…” I just like that the girl wearing skinny pants and a halter top thinks the girl wearing jeans and two tanks tops must be a slut. That’s a case of the pot calling the kettle a whore.
Steph says she heard that Liz had to leave her old school because of something sex-related. Spike wonders why everyone who looks different always has stories made up about them. Steph still thinks she dresses “very provocatively.”
Some project for Raditch, they have to pair up for. Joey asks Liz if she wants to be his partner. She looks mildly surprised, but agrees.
Alex tries to talk to Stephanie about fund-raising ideas. She just wants him to leave because of some plan to win over Simon. Simon shows up and she dumps her books on the floor, saying “Whoops!” Simon just stares at her and walks away with a kid wearing a Max Headroom shirt. Alex picks up her books while continuing to talk about fundraising. Also Stephanie’s standing in front of one of those “doors of wherever” posters that are still really common today.
Arthur and Yick continue to discuss wet dreams. Yick suggests Arthur talk to his dad, but Arthur is afraid his dad will think he’s a pervert. This is why having the internet is great, you can look up stuff about wet dreams and no one will know as long as you use your own computer or utilize private browsing or incognito mode.
Meanwhile, Spike spots Liz eating yogurt alone. She should get together with Snake, they’re both teenagers who are satisfied by eating only yogurt for lunch. Spike goes over to her and asks if she can sit down. Liz is all “it’s a free country.” Spike asks her how she’s liking Degrassi so far, and Liz says everyone is really snobby. All those snobby intercity kids in a really dilapidated area of Toronto.
Liz asks if Spike is really pregnant, and when she says she is, Liz says she’ll never get pregnant. Spike is like “Maybe you’ll want to someday,” but Liz is like “No, never, and I hate it here, and I miss my old school with all my old friends, and as soon as I turn 16 I’m moving back.” Geez, Liz, no one’s gonna like you much if you keep acting that way.
Next scene, Melanie is still some girl about how the length of the menstrual cycle averages 28 days, but can vary from 20 to 35, especially when you’re still growing. Kathleen’s like “wtf are talking about” and Melanie says she heard it from Dr. Sally, who is a radio sex and health advice expert person. Yick thinks Arthur should call.
Liz and Joey work on their project in the school library. Joey says several times that he likes Liz’s hair. She giggles and tells him to stop it.
The study period ends, and Liz realizes they didn’t get much work done. The school closes at 4 so they can’t work after school, and Joey’s grandparents are over at his house so it’s a real pain. Liz says her mom works evenings so her house will be empty. Apparently Toronto doesn’t have a public library.
Joey brags to his buds that he’s been invited to Liz’s house to study. Because she obviously meant that as a metaphor for sex and not that she wanted to work on their project that was due.
Stephanie decides to just ask Simon… something. She begins asking, but then Alex shows up and reminds him he needs to get dressed for the soccer game that’s starting in a few minutes. He apologizes to Steph and runs off. Alex smiles at her but then backs away slowly when he notices she is very unhappy with him. This is possibly the best Alex-related episode ever. Is he trying to mess up her flirting with Simon on purpose, or is it all just a coincidence?
Liz asks Spike what she thinks of Joey. Spike says he’s kind of a jerk, but can be nice sometimes. Liz says she likes him.
Meanwhile, Joey asks Wheels about the time he bought condoms last year, and if he can come with Joey to buy more condoms. Wheels kind of implies he thinks Joey’s overreacting and overthinking things. Joey’s argument basically amounts to “What do you know?!”
Liz tells her mom, who’s going to work as a 19th century German barmaid, that a guy is coming over. It’s just for schoolwork, but her mom still doesn’t like having boys over at the house. Liz is all “Look it’s hard enough making friends at this crummy school already, mom.”
Meanwhile, Joey goes to buy some condoms. He picks up a lot of other healthcare things first, like a bottle of something and Colgate toothpaste. And toilet paper. Then he hops into the family planning aisle and picks up a box of Sheiks. He notices an old guy looking at him and he scoots down the row and randomly picks something else up.
He decides to just check out, but the cashier stops him, because he’s pretty sure the condoms are on sale but they aren’t ringing up right or something. He calls one of his coworkers to check, and Joey’s just like “Please I’ll just pay the full price.”
Meanwhile the old guy and his wife are behind him in line, judging him with their old people eyes as several shelves full of Nabisco products sit in the background. The packaging for Ritz crackers hasn’t really changed much since 1988. It seems to even be using the same font. The Tampax box was pretty similar to today’s design, too. Hm.
Finally Joey heads to Liz’s house. They work on the project for a while, until Joey stops her, saying hey, they both want sex, they should just do it. Liz gets mad and tells him to leave and to not touch her or whatever. Then she lays down on the couch and the camera zooms in on the book on the table for some reason.
Maybe the War of 1812 was all a misunderstanding where the U.S. thought Britain wanted to have sex but it turned out Britain didn’t after all. I should make a book of all the historical and scientific assumptions I’ve made and shared on this blog.
Yick and Arthur tune in to Dr. Sally’s show from a phone booth so their families don’t know about this. They call in, and then Arthur chickens out – what if someone recognizes his voice? Melanie and some of the other kids listen to the show. Yick then talks for him – “I have a friend who’s 12 years old and gets a lot of wet dreams, is he a pervert?” Arthur hangs up the phone and tells Yick he’s not a pervert. Dr. Sally, on the radio, echoes this sentiment, saying that wet dreams are perfectly normal. Indeed, dear readers, although maybe the frequency of Arthur’s wet dreams is a little on the unusual side, some guys only get wet dreams once or twice a month, some get them several times a week, and some guys don’t get them at all. Yay, learning.
In the final scene, Joey and Wheels discuss the events that transpired. Joey figures Liz is really mad, and says the worst thing is that he really did like her. Too bad Joey’s such an idiot, eh?
So, this episode marked the first appearance of Dr. Sally, who actually is the same Dr. Sally who we see in person in two episodes of Degrassi: TNG. And as it turns out, her actress, Sue Johnason, is a sex doctor as well! Er, not a sex doctor, but basically does like Dr. Sally does – talks about sex and whatnot. You can visit her website!
“Dinner and a Show”, January 25, 1988
Carl got a promotion. Who’s Carl??
I think Carl is probably one of Shane’s older brothers. Shane’s dad tells Carl that they’re very disappointed in Shane and are sending him to private school and also Mrs. McKay can’t even face her bridge club because it’s so shameful and embarrassing. What if Carl isn’t Shane’s older brother and doesn’t actually know who Shane is? Ha.
Kathleen and Melanie are on the steps of the school. When Shane walks by, Kathleen says “Hi, Daddy!” Melanie doesn’t think that was very nice. Kathleen doesn’t care. Then Spike’s mom drives up with Spike, and Kathleen says “And there’s Mommy.” Gawd, Kathleen.
Spike says having a baby inside feels weird. Her mom says that’s normal, and also scolds her for not eating.
Melanie wants to go to Kathleen’s house for a project or something. Kathleen says they can’t, because her mom is busy. Melanie complains that her mom is always busy. Then Yick asks Melanie if she wants to go on another date.
He wants to see “Revenge of the Reptiles,” but Melanie is still afraid of reptiles even though she thought that snake was pretty cute, so she suggests “Crying in the Wind” instead. Degrassi has a long history of having absolutely fantastic names for their fictional media, like the “Clown Academy” franchise, “Elimination Round 3”, and the “Fortnight” vampire series, plus The Gourmet Scum which may or may not have been a real band in 1988.
So Yick leaves, and Melanie says that even though she agreed to date Yick, she wants an older man. Snake walks by and they hi to each other. Joey and Wheels are like “She totally likes you, man!” and Snake’s all “What, really?” They make fun of him because Melanie’s so little and if they went on a date they could play jump rope or something. She’s only a year younger but he’s also like 5 feet taller than her.
Shane wants Spike to ask her mom again about having them meet up with him and his parents for dinner. Spike says she’ll ask but her mom is just going to say no again. Shane gets a little angry, pointing out that it was Spike’s idea for him to tell his parents to begin with, so of course now that they know they want to meet with the mother of their grandchild.
Also check out this drawing Spike has in her locker.
Is that supposed to be a drawing of her, or a drawing of someone who she’s basing her hair off of?
Edit: I have been informed that is apparently a drawing of Billy Idol.
Joey invites the other guys to go play video games, but Wheels is still getting tutoring from Ms. Avery. And Snake has “something to do” so he skips out as well. He asks Melanie out to see a movie. He suggests “Revenge of the Reptiles,” and Melanie grits her teeth and agrees to see it. Snake asks if that Friday is okay, and Melanie says it is, even though that’s when her date with Yick is.
Snake is so cute, I don’t know how half the school doesn’t have a crush on him.
Melanie calls Yick to cancel their date, and Kathleen oddly turns into a voice of reason by saying it’s really not fair, since Yick asked Melanie out first and all.
Spike gets to her mom’s salon to sweep the floor like she always does. Spike’s mom says she got a call from Shane’s dad inviting them to dinner. She’s agreed to it, and tells Spike to just postpone her plans with Liz when Spike protests. Spike’s mom also says that Shane’s dad mentioned they had tried inviting Spike and Spike’s mom before, by sending a message “through the boy.” She asks if Spike heard anything about that. Spike denies it, even though earlier she said her mom had just been refusing to go to the dinner. Spike’s mom says that’s just typical of men, wanting to get out of everything scot-free. Also Shane’s dad wanted them to have dinner at Shane’s house, but Spike’s mom wanted to have it in neutral territory, at a restaurant, where she will be paying for herself and Spike thankyouverymuch.
Shane doesn’t want to go to private school. His dad says Shane’s two brothers did well there. When Shane says he’s not like them, Shane’s dad is all “Maybe you ought to start trying to be like them.” OHHHH.
But Shane wants to stay at Degrassi and help out when the baby’s born. Shane’s dad says when the baby’s born, it’s going straight up for adoption, and Shane won’t even get to see it. WOW this guy isn’t even the father of the baby and he’s deciding what Spike should do without letting her have any input. What a jerk. Shane asks what about if the baby doesn’t go up for adoption, and his parents are like “whaaaaaaaaaat.”
So at school the next day, Arthur asks Yick if he wants to see Revenge of the Reptiles with him since his date with Melanie got cancelled. Uh-oh wanna bet they end up at the same showing as Snake and Melanie?
Wheels tells Snake he’s ridiculous for taking Melanie to a gory guy’s movie. Snake points out that she did agree to go see it. And then Joey and Wheels decide to crash Snake’s date.
Shane finds Spike and asks her what she’d think about keeping the baby. Spike thinks that’s ridiculous. She’s just a kid, not somebody’s mother. He then scolds her for drinking orange soda, since it’s bad for the baby. Spike gets mad at him for telling her what to do. Man, Shane just can’t win. If he stays out of everything, Spike gets mad at him because it’s his baby too and he ought to be involved, but then when he tries to be involved she tells him to keep his nose out of her baby business.
Melanie says she likes to sit in the back of the movie theater, but Snake likes to sit in the front, so Melanie says she also likes to sit in the front. Snake is like 6 feet tall so that’s really rude of him to sit in the front.
Joey, Wheels, and Godzilla are jerks.
At the restaurant, Shane’s mom complains that they had to go to a restaurant because she cooked a perfectly fine meal at home. Even though Spike’s mom said yesterday that they would eat at a restaurant so Shane’s mom shouldn’t have cooked anything for dinner today.
Shane’s dad says, as a reverend, he has experience dealing with things like this. …Weird.
Yick and Arthur show up and decide to sit in the front instead of in the empty seats in the back. Melanie tries hiding but eventually Yick spots her. How embarrassing!
Back at the most awkward dinner ever, Rev. McKay says he knows of a lot of fine homes they can send Spike to until the pregnancy’s over. Spike doesn’t want to go away, and Spike’s mom doesn’t want to send her away either. Rev. McKay says they’ll be sending Shane to private school, but Shane says no, they aren’t. They never listen to Shane, and Shane’s really mad that they just want to shuffle him out of the way so they don’t have to be so embarrassed by him. Shane’s sorry he’s not as perfect as Carl, and his dad is like “We never said anything like that!” and Shane’s all “But you were thinking it!” He asks if he can keep the baby, to prove himself as being responsible or whatever.
Monday, before school, Kathleen asks how the date went, and Melanie says she hates herself.
Spike and Shane meet up. Shane apologizes for the awful dinner, but says his parents aren’t bugging him so much about private school anymore. Spike asks if he was serious about wanting to keep the baby, and Shane confirms he is. He ends the episode by saying it’s not as easy being the guy as everyone thinks. That’s what I’ve been saying! Kind of.
So now our “end of disc” bonus, Degrassi Talks… On Abuse
Of course this episode was included on this disc because of the creepy substitute teacher from episode 202, but Degrassi has a lot of abuse. There was Rick in season one, and some relationship-related abuse later on (very notable on Degrassi: TNG, with… Rick. A different one.)
As always, just the highlights. Er, if you can say “highlights” in reference to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
- They talk to one guy who is in jail and was in the drugs episode. He talks about his step-father who would whip his behind until it was black and blue. He doesn’t (or didn’t) necessarily think of it as abuse, just physical punishment, but he says if he his step-father hit him again today (1992 today), he’d probably hurt the guy really badly. He says he started using drugs to escape the problems he had with the physical abuse.
- One woman got pregnant at 16 and had a miscarriage about three months later. After that, her boyfriend started beating her up. Her next few boyfriends also beat her up, and she thought that was just how things are supposed to be. She still figures that’s just life in the Yukon, getting beaten up by your boyfriend.
- One woman who has cerebral palsy talks about how her parents always tried to shut her away. They made her stay in her room for 8 months and wouldn’t let her out of the house, not even to go to school.
- Another woman, who is clearly very nervous and uncomfortable, talks about how her boyfriend came over one day and started moving too fast and forced himself on her. I feel bad, because her body language suggests she’s uncomfortable talking about it, or just talking on camera, but she’s still sharing her story so it can be heard. I guess that’s the first step or something.
- Siluck asks one guy if he thinks men can be abused by women. The guy definitely thinks they can, and talks about how this one girl he knows will hit him pretty much any time he says anything she doesn’t like.
- Another guy shares a story about how he was raped by another woman. He remembers he wasn’t aroused at all and didn’t really know what was going on.
- Yet another guy talks about being sexually abused by his father. He drops a mega truth bomb about double standards and weird things people say – like people asked if he was gay when they found out he was molested by another man, or else they say “only girls get sexually abused!” He also talks about how when girls are victims of domestic abuse, people will say stuff like “Oh, you should’ve taken advantage of it!”
- One man, whose identity is obscured, talks about being abused as a kid, and how he now abuses other people. This is sadly not a unique occurrence.
- At the end, they start addressing what people do when they’re victims of abuse. One girl made a list of her feelings, and a pros/cons list for committing suicide. The guy who was abused by his father eventually told what was going on, and he and his parents started going to family counseling and group therapy. He liked going to group therapy because he learned there are other male victims, and basically that he shouldn’t feel like he did something wrong. The girl whose boyfriend raped her talked to her mom and her friend about it, and the friend said she had also been abused. Rebecca Haines, the actress who played Kathleen, then reveals that talking to that woman helped give her the courage to share that she was also date-raped.
- A few months later, that same girl is in a happy relationship with a guy who doesn’t abuse her, and they’re actually engaged. The girl with cerebral palsy is also doing well, feels a lot better about herself.
I’m not the greatest dispenser of advice, but just by going off what was said in this episode, it seems like just telling someone, anyone about being abused can help a lot. Here’s a quick Google search I did for support groups, many of which I imagine are online forums where you don’t even have to meet up with anyone in-person if you’d rather not. You’re welcome to share your story here if you’d like. I’m no therapist, but I can listen pretty well.