“Bottled Up” February 15, 1988
Kathleen is excited because she “made the team!” But her mom is passed out on the couch.
Kathleen’s mom is a drunk. Her dad calls right then and Kathleen tells him she made the team for “Quest for the Best” and they’ll be taping the show in two days. But her dad can’t come. For some reason. Viewers of Degrassi: TNG may remember that Ellie had an alcoholic mother and an absent father as well. And of course there was a rather important plot line related to a school quiz show, but this episode’s quiz show isn’t nearly as dramatic as that one.
So it turns out Caitlin, Nancy, and Black Kid Whose Name I Don’t Know are all also on the team. Nancy quizzes Kathleen: “What is J. D. Salinger’s best-known book?” What kind of question is that? I mean, most of his works aren’t all that well-known, but that’s just not a good question because it can pretty subjective. I mean, what if the question was “What is the most well-known chicken breed?” You could answer anything.
Well anyway, Ms. Avery gave Nancy packets of practice questions to hand out to the other kids in the group even though Caitlin and Kathleen were just in Ms. Avery’s class. They talk about how their parents are coing and are going to be embarrassing. Kathleen says her mom is going to buy her a new outfit for the show. Caitlin, annoyed, points out no one will see it under her school sweater.
Sort of like how people have to get dressed up when they graduate even though no one will see their outfit under the
black trashbags graduation gowns.
Scooter and some kid are discussing Dungeons and Dragons. Arthur and Yick have the nerve to call them nerds. Scooter and the other kid are rightly offended, because if a nerd thinks you’re being too nerdy, well, that’s it, then. They see Rick and resolve to be cool like he is. I would start by wearing longer shorts. Seriously even Stephanie would call those white shorts TOO short. Also I could see the outline of his underwear as he was walking away. His underwear, as you can imagine, is very small as well.
The quiz bowl nerds are quizzing each other in the library. It’s Nancy’s turn to answer a question but Kathleen knows the answer. Nancy still answers, then it’s Kathleen’s turn. Her question is “Is alcohol a stimulant or a depressant?” This hits close to home, so Kathleen answers correctly that it’s a depressant. Black Kid says alcohol sure stimulates his parents sometimes, IF YA KNOW WHAT I MEAN, and Nancy says her parents are the same.
Kathleen says drinking is stupid and she’ll never drink. The other kids just roll their eyes at Kathleen being so… Kathleen.
Later/meanwhile, Scooter and Short Shorts realize that Rick smokes. They decide to smoke too, although Scooter says smoking is bad for you.
Meanwhiler, Ms. Avery hands the Quiz Bowl nerds a tape of last years whatever event it actually is. But the school’s VCR is broken, Black Kid and Nancy don’t have VCRs, and Caitlin’s family has company over. Kathleen tells them they can’t watch it at her house either, claiming that her mom isn’t feeling well. Caitlin tells her they’ll be quiet so it’s not a big deal. So, like, if they’re going to be quiet anyway, why can’t they just watch it at Caitlin’s place? I’m sure her company would understand. Plus I think if someone in my group was protesting that much against people coming to her house, I would be suspicious that something was up that she just didn’t want to talk about.
But they decide to go to her house in the end. Sure hope her drunken mom doesn’t embarrass everyone!
Later, Scooter and Short Shorts – who I know is wearing long jeans but his nickname is Short Shorts forever now – go into a pizza parlor to buy cigarettes out of a vending machine while the employees have their backs turned. The machine eats Short Short’s money and the racket he makes alerts one of the employees that there’s two minors trying to purchase smokes. They run away.
Quiz Nerds get to Kathleen’s house. Black Kid comments that the place is a big mess, and Nancy snidely remarks that it must be the maid’s week off. Like, wow, okay, that’s super rude. I mean Kathleen didn’t know she’d be having company, and she did say her mom isn’t feeling well – which is what she tells the nerds again.
Then her mom comes down the stairs, drink in hand. Kathleen tells her mom that they’re studying for the Quest for the Best thing and asks her to please go back upstairs and rest. But no, she wants to socialize. “If they’re so smart,” she says, “why don’t they say anything?!”
The nerds look around awkwardly, perhaps realizing why it was Kathleen didn’t want them over at her house. Kathleen’s mom goes on to say that she used to be smart like them, but then she got married. Kathleen begs her mom to leave, but Kathleen’s mom – who incidentally sounds a like like Lily Tomlin – just keeps saying she wants to stay and talk. The other three kids jump up and are like “Actually, we better just go. Bye, Kathleen.”
Kathleen’s mom asks her to turn down the tv because she’s got a headache, but instead Kathleen runs upstairs to cry.
The next day, Short Shorts it turns out bummed two cigarettes from his dad. Scooter and Shorts try to smoke the cigarettes in the boy’s bathroom after school. There’s a lot of coughing and regret.
Caitlin asks Kathleen straight out if her mom is an alcoholic, reminding her that they learned in Family Health class that there’s some center kids can call that helps deal with alcoholic parents. Kathleen still says her mom isn’t an alcoholic and tells Caitlin to butt out.
Later, the Brain Quest thing is about to start. But Kathleen forgot her sweater! But it’s okay, she says she’ll just call her mom and ask her to bring it when she comes to the show’s taping. While she’s using the office phone – since this is 1988 and only Frasier Crane and Zach Morris had cell phones at this point – Rick and some other kid, who look like huge nerds in their school sweaters, try to buy tickets to the show. But it’s sold out. Rick is bummed, since he was going to take Caitlin out for a cheeseburger after the show. Luckily, Scooter and Shorts feel really ill after smoking, so they give their tickets to Rick and the other kid.
At the actual taping, Kathleen’s mom still hasn’t shown up, but the show’s about to start. So Rick, surprisingly, gives her his sweater so they won’t look so foolish.
They end up winning, and no one got paint dumped on them, angering them enough to bring a gun to school! Small victories! Oh I just made myself sad, there have been so many school shootings this year.
Well anyway, Kathleen’s mom STILL isn’t there, and Rick offers to walk her home, since it’s late, and apparently Kathleen can’t just ask Ms. Avery or someone to give her a ride home and I guess Rick doesn’t care about his date.
Kathleen is a full head taller than Rick.
Rick asks about Kathleen’s relationship with her mom. She says they get along great. Rick asks, “Even though she’s an alcoholic?” This enrages Kathleen. She asks where Rick heard such a vicious rumor. Rick flares up back at her – “Nobody’s parents are perfect!” Remember, his dad beat him pretty good, so he knows what he’s talking about. He tells Kathleen as much and asks if she’s considered getting help.
Kathleen’s mom forgot the taping was that night, because she was just so tired. She’ll be there the next time, she says. Kathleen snaps and says, “No you won’t!” Kathleen really goes off on her mom, about how she never takes care of Kathleen even though she’s just 13, and she’s a drunk. Kathleen’s mom says SHE’S not the one who just walked in, causing problems. Kathleen is like “I’m not the one who’s causing the problems!” Kathleen’s mom slaps Kathleen. Kathleen goes upstairs to cry.
At school the next day, Caitlin apologizes to Rick for her dumb parents. I guess they wouldn’t let her go out with him. Kathleen gives Rick his sweater back and thanks him for walking her home. Caitlin’s like “???” and Kathleen gets all smug. Then she says she’s looking into getting help for dealing with her mom. It’s not much, but it’s a start, she says.
I wonder if Rick hadn’t just disappeared without a trace on this show if Caitlin and Kathleen would’ve grown to have a rivalry for his affections.
And haha I just realized Degrassi Junior High’s and Degrassi The Next Generation’s quiz show episodes both involve Rick saving the day in some way. Although in DTNG Rick also sort of ruined things in the end, but we’ll get to that later. Probably.
“Sealed with a Kiss” February 22, 1988
There’s some dance coming up that’s being held with some other school. One of the twins is excited to dance with some fresh boys. The other twin calls her a sex maniac. The short-haired twin goes to the office to get something, and Doris, the receptionist, scolds her for not turning in her late slip. Whichever twin is like “No I didn’t, I’m never late.” Doris scolds her again for pulling the old “twin switcheroo”. Apparently both of them actually have short hair now, so my initial argument of “But their hair isn’t even the same length!” doesn’t work anymore. The one twin’s hair is like one inch longer, though.
After class, the twins gossip about Alexa and Simon. Shorter-haired twin wonders if they’ve like REALLY kissed, and the other twin thinks kissing is gross because of all the diseases and stuff. They find Stephanie in the bathroom and ask her if she’s going to the dance. Steph’s just like “No,” and when they point out her shirt is untucked in the back she just shrugs sadly. The twins then gossip about Stephanie’s home life, and point out she’s been acting really weird lately.
Erika, who’s the shorter-haired twin I’ve finally found out, is picking out a dress for the dance. Then Heather, the other twin comes in.
They have the same dress.
Joey, Snake, and Wheels – who doesn’t need tutoring anymore apparently – are really annoyed that all the Degrassi girls are getting picked up by the boys from the other school.
Erika goes off into the stairwell with Some Boy, and complains about being a twin. Boy I’m sure there’s a lot of 14 year old boys who really care about the woes of some girl he just met at a dance. I’m pretty sure this particular boy doesn’t because he’s just like “You know what? You’re beautiful” and they start making out.
Alexa and Heather spot them and Heather, the prudish twin, is scandalized.
That night, Erika’s gushing about the night. They French kissed. They’re going to start dating. Heather’s just like “Ewwwww” and Erika’s all “You’ll understand when you’re older.” Heather points out that Erika’s only 6 minutes older, but Erika says it still makes a difference. She’s mature, and romantic, while Heather is dull and boring. Heather retorts, “At least I’m not easy.” This angers Erika, who yells at Heather and throws a pillow at her. Then their dad yells at them to go to sleep through his very thick Canadian accent.
At school, Joey tells the other Zits about this awesome dream he had where they were playing their one song in front of a fanatical audience. Snake and Wheels don’t react much and walk away. Joey picks up on their lack of enthusiasm, but Snake says there’s nothing wrong.
Erika has a sore throat so she’s wearing a silk scarf, since silk is good for a sore throat. I don’t know about that, but apparently wearing a scarf is actually a decent remedy for a sore throat – you know, on top of medicine and soothing beverages.
Also I think this episode is the official start of “Heather and Erika only ever wear black and white clothing.” It’s something I noticed around the third time I watched Degrassi, and they seriously pretty much only wear black and white clothing for almost the entire series. It’s weird.
Erika gushes to Alexa about how awesome that boy was. Apparently he’s super rich and his family has four cars. Man, Jimmy on DTNG didn’t even have that many.
Raditch is lecturing on diabetes. What class is this?? Well, before everyone leaves at the end of class, he says not everyone has a partner for the health project, so he pairs up Heather and Erika, and Alexa and Stephanie. How did it happen that 4 people weren’t assigned partners or a topic, and ONLY four people?
Well, Erika doesn’t want to be with her twin right now and says she’ll take Alexa, and Heather agrees to take Stephanie. Raditch is like “…Okay…” and asks them who wants smoking and who wants mononucleosis. Alexa says they’ll take mono, saying “I love diseases.” Raditch then says, “Okay. Now everyone has a disease.”
I swear, they actually said those things. I didn’t make those last two quotes up.
Heather complains about Erika while Steph tries to work on the project. Steph’s like “Okay I don’t care, let’s work on the project.” Heather apologizes, then Stephanie apologizes. Stephanie looks like a Yorkshire Terrier.
Meanwhile, Alexa reads out the symptoms of mono. Erika then complains about being really hot and she realizes she’s got lumps in her throat. Alexa then realizes that Erika has mono.
But at least he didn’t give Erika AIDs, says Alexa. That’s a good point, I guess. Erika doesn’t know what she’s going to tell her parents. Well, even though it’s called “the kissing disease”, mono can spread through mucus as well as saliva – and tears, oddly enough – so Erika could always lie and say someone with mono sneezed on her or something. And apparently it takes 4 to 6 weeks for the symptoms of mono to become active, so it probably wasn’t that guy that gave her mono in the first place unless that dance was seriously a month ago.
Snake’s too tall.
They finish playing “Everybody Wants Something” and Snake says he has to leave. Joey’s all “How are we ever gonna get famous if we don’t practice?” Snake says, “Famous? Tch.” Wheels suggests they go get a burger or something, since they can’t practice with just the two of them. They totally could, but whatever. Joey complains that they finally get Wheels back and now Snake doesn’t want anything to do with the band.
Erika’s boyfriend, whose name is Eric for crying out loud, shows up, wanting to give Erika a ride in his dad’s convertible. Erika’s sick and is really angry at Eric for giving her mono, so she tells Heather to brush him off. When Heather goes to tell Eric this, Eric’s like “Well, why don’t you come? It’s basically the same as taking Erika since you’re twins.” Heather isn’t sure about it, but when Eric’s like “Erika told me you were a prude” she decides to go with him.
They drive off to the middle of nowhere and Eric lowers the top. He asks her what she thinks of being a twin. She doesn’t mind it. Eric’s like “I bet people think you’re interchangeable.” Considering he mistook Heather for Erika twice and invited her to go on a ride with him because “it’s basically the same” as taking Erika, he’s sure one to talk about people thinking they’re interchangeable.
That seagull on the right side cracked me up way harder than it should have. It just walked into shot, disappeared for a bit behind Heather’s head, then showed up again on the other side. “YES HELLO I AM SEAGULL AND I WOULD LIKE TO STAR IN YOUR DEGRASSI SHOW.”
Eric tries to pull Heather in for a kiss, but Heather doesn’t think they should. But then they kiss anyway.
Snake finds Joey and Wheels at the burger joint. He confesses that his mom has been making him take classical guitar lessons twice a week after school. He likes the lessons, but Joey and Wheels are upset. When will the Zit Remedy practice?! Apparently the 5 other days in the week are unavailable for them to practice.
By the way, Snake means classical guitar as in Classical Music, not as in Jimi Hendrix.
Eric drops Heather off at home, and Heather storms out. He says maybe he’ll call her sometime, then follows this with “Maybe all three of us can go out!” Haha gross. Heather calls him a creep.
Erika’s all mad at Heather, and Heather confesses that Eric kissed her. She didn’t want to kiss him, but still says she’s sore-y. Erika tells her she’ll be a lot more sore-y, since he’s been spreading mono.
It turns out Erika actually only has tonsillitis. Heather tells her to look on the bright side, if she gets her tonsils out, they’ll finally be really different. They were pretty different when only one had short hair, but whatever.
Also apparently that guy’s name was Aaron, not Eric. I thought that was weird, that they’d have someone named Eric dating Erika and no one commented on it. But it really sounded like they called him Eric earlier. Oh well.
But anyway, Erika only having Tonsillitis explains why she got the symptoms so soon after kissing Aaron. Stephanie’s plot line is still mysterious and unresolved. AND WHAT GRADE DID EVERYONE GET ON THEIR HEALTH PROJECTS???