DJH: 209, “Dog Days” and 210, “Censored”

209, “Dog Days”; February 29, 1988

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We start with a hazy scene of Stephanie standing on top of a bridge. Oh no she took acid and now she’s gonna – wait that reference won’t make sense until Degrassi High, never mind.

She throws a scarf off the bridge for some reason – LITTERER –  and her alarm goes off. Her mom is somewhere in the house, asking Arthur to come over after school, because she has something important to talk to him about.

Mrs. Kaye comes in to announce to Stephanie what she probably just overheard anyway, and is mildly annoyed to find Steph is still in bed even though her alarm just went off a few seconds ago. Steph doesn’t feel like going to school, and her mom’s just like “What’s wrong with you these days?” She leaves, and Steph says “I wish I was dead.”

Pro tip for parents or parents-to-be: If your child doesn’t want to go to school, talk to them about it. A lot of kids don’t want to go to school because they’d rather just sit at home on the computer than do busywork, but plenty of other kids don’t want to go to school because they feel embarrassed or left out, or they struggle really badly with their schoolwork, or they really hate all their teachers, and so on. I’m afraid I don’t have any advice on how to follow-up with someone once they’ve revealed why they don’t want to go to school, I’d just like to make sure more people know that some kids have real reasons for wanting to stay home beyond laziness.

Okay, so, Arthur tries asking Steph if she knows why their mom wants him to come over that night. Steph tries blowing him off because she doesn’t know and doesn’t care, but Arthur makes her wait because he has something to show her.

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A PUPPY!!

Steph scolds him for bringing a dog to school, because, you know, it’s a school, and tells him he’s only 12 so he can’t take care of the dog anyway.

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The twins, continuing their new trend of wearing only black and white, besides the plaid skirt, ask Steph how the movie was. Steph didn’t go, because her mom went out with Jerry instead. She declares that her life is such a  mess, she might as well just kill herself. One of the twins tells her to not even joke about that kind of thing, to which Stephanie replies, “Who’s joking?”

Well if that’s not a cry for help, I don’t know what is.

Raditch and Avery are starting to prepare for Final Exams. While Avery’s talking, Arthur’s dog starts whimpering. Arthur tries to cover it up by coughing, but Avery isn’t fooled. She sends him to the principal’s office.

The principal tells him to never bring a dog on campus again, and makes the receptionist take care of the dog for the rest of the day. On the one hand that’s nice that he didn’t send Arthur home for the day, but on the other hand I’m sure this kind of thing isn’t in Doris’s job description.

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I feel really bad for thinking this, but since Stephanie’s a fictional character who’s not a real person experiencing thoughts of suicide, I’m gonna say it: she’s starting to sport a rather noticeable monobrow in this episode.

Raditch asks her if there’s anything going on, because he’s noticed her being disinterested in everything, and her schoolwork is slipping or whatever. Steph says there’s nothing wrong, so Raditch is like “Okay, then there’s no reason for you to be acting this way.”

After this, the twins invite Stephanie to a movie, but she doesn’t want to go, or do anything. Twin 1 wonders if she was serious about suicide, and Twin 2 is like “Well maybe, I mean have you seen the way she’s been dressing lately?” Twin 1 is scandalized, and I’m once again left rather confused because she’s actually dressed quite nicely. Maybe that’s what Twin 2 meant?

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Arthur brings the puppy – whose name is Phil – to his mom’s house, because has a backyard. She thinks he’s adorable but won’t let him stay in the house because he stinks – er, Phil, not Arthur.

At dinner, Ms. Kaye scolds Stephanie for only eating a mouthful of lasagna. Stephanie says she’s on a diet, and her mom is all “You’re a growing girl! You need to eat!” Stephanie replies that it’s her body and she’ll do with it what she wants to. The two start arguing over each other and Arthur speaks up really loudly “So is this a special occasion?”

Ms. Kaye then announces that she and Jerry are getting married. Steph and Arthur don’t like this, especially when Ms. Kaye brings up again that she wants full custody of both kids. Arthur says his dad is doing fine raising him, he’s even learning how to cook, but Ms. Kaye says it’ll be much better if Arthur’s brought up in a normal home. That’s one of those statements that’s perhaps technically true but also very offensive. I mean there are plenty of people who come from abnormal or broken homes that were raised fine, but also plenty of people in that situation who grew up to… not be fine. I think it’s entirely based on the quality of the parent or parents and the kid’s personality, rather than explicitly being a “two parents = good home, one divorced parent = bad” kind of thing. In this particular case, Arthur seems to be doing really well despite living with his single dad and having a “weekend mom.” He has a good friend, he does pretty well in school, doesn’t get into trouble, gets along pretty well with everyone. I don’t know about Stephanie, though.

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The twins even have black-and-white scarves.

Arthur brought Phil to school again because he never managed to ask his mom about leaving the dog at her house. He decides the smart thing to d this time would be to tie up the dog in the school’s basement. At one point he goes down to check on Phil, to find only his leash and waterbowl. He escaped, but the maintenance/janitor lady found him. So once again Arthur, and Yick for some reason, are in trouble.

Arthur gets sent home early this time, and has detention all next week. He can’t go to his dad’s house with the dog, and doesn’t want to talk to his mom quite yet, and he doesn’t want to just get rid of Phil, so he decides to take Phil to the park to figure out what to do. He finds Stephanie at the park.

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Steph skipped school because she didn’t want to go again. Arthur asks if their mom knows, and Stephanie says even if her mom knew, she wouldn’t care. “I could kill myself and she wouldn’t care,” she says. Arthur scolds her for saying such a thing.

Arthur switches gears and asks Steph if he’ll like Jerry, since he’s coming over for dinner that night and he’s marrying their mom and all. Stephanie’s all “I don’t care, I have my own problems!” Arthur’s like “Fine, don’t be helpful” and he and Phil head home.

Ms. Kaye and Jerry are home laughing on the couch even though it’s the middle of the day. Ms. Kaye scolds Arthur for bringing stinky Phil in the house, but Jerry’s super nice and offers to help Arthur wash him in the backyard.

Stephanie comes home really soon after that and Ms. Kaye makes her help with dinner. I was under the impression it was still the middle of the school day but Ms Kaye is totally cool with her kids both being home so early.

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Jerry gives Arthur some dog advice, says hello to Stephanie, and tells Ms. Kaye that the backyard hose is falling apart. Jerry starts talking about his childhood dog and Stephanie says “Who cares?!” Ms. Kaye scolds her for this and Stephanie says she just might kill herself. Ms. Kaye is like “oh please,” and Arthur tries to defend Steph, saying things are hard on them as kids too. Stephanie tells him to stay out of this, and Arthur snaps and tells her that she’s not the only one with problems, she’s not the one who has to move and get a new bedroom and everything.

Ms. Kaye apologizes to Jerry for the madness, and Jerry – who is very accommodating and friendly – says that’s okay. Stephanie mocks him, and Arthur gets upset and leaves with Phil while Steph and Ms. Kaye are fighting. Jerry offers to go look for Arthur, but Steph’s all “He’s MY brother, I’ll go find him.”

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Arthur, in the park from earlier, tells Phil he might just run away. The only trouble is that dog food is expensive and he won’t get an allowance if he runs away. Stephanie finds him and, surprise!, apologizes for her behavior. Arthur and Steph both thought things would be easier after the divorce, but alas, no. Arthur laments that he’ll probably have to get rid of Phil, but Stephanie bets if she cleans up her act a bit, then their mom will be cool with keeping him. Especially, she figures, if they talk to her together.

…Okay…

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I guess all you need to cure depression is a stinky puppy.

This was weird. There were a lot of episodes where Stephanie was showing signs of depression, and it was great to see it finally come to a head… But then she gets over her depression by just resolving to not be depressed so Arthur can keep a puppy?

…Okay…

 

210, “Censored”; March 7, 1988

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Caitlin asks Spike how the baby is. The baby’s doing well, and Spike compliments Caitlin’s hair.

It's just sprayed on, not dyed.
It’s just sprayed on, not dyed.

Spike suggests next time she go all-out and do it like Spike’s or Liz’s. Aww, besties.

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These are Degrassi writers Kathryn Ellis and Kit Hood, by the way.

Caitlin goes to the office for some reason and hears the tail-end of a conversation between two adults and the principal. The adults object to some girl being allowed to stay in school, saying a pregnant girl sets a bad example. They’re talking about Spike!

Caitlin tells Suzie what she overheard, and Suzie says that’s crazy – seeing Spike makes her not want to have sex and get pregnant. Predictably, Kathleen holds the opposite view – she feels Spike is a bad example. Kathleen hates everything, so no one cares.

Nancy tells Caitlin to make sure she has her article done. Caitlin tells Suzie that Nancy doesn’t care what the article says, as long as it meets the word count. This will be important later.

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Joey has pictures of booby ladies in his locker. L.D. is offended by this, and asks Joey and the boys how they’d like be ogled and treated like sex objects. Snake grins and replies “Oh yes, please treat me like a sex object.” Alexa’s not overly upset by the sexism, but is appalled at how huge the breasts are on many of the women, commenting that they can’t possibly be real.

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At newspaper club, some characters I don’t know the names of despite the number of times I’ve watched this show all the way through are pitching ideas. Nancy, who’s in charge, tells everyone she doesn’t think their ideas have enough meat for a full story. Caitlin comes in and pitches her idea, which is about people trying to throw Spike out of school for being pregnant. Nancy thinks that’s a touchy subject, but Caitlin keeps fighting for the article, not listening when Nancy says “okay” several times. Finally Nancy gets through to her and tells her as long as she gets the article in by the next day and is 200 words long, she’s fine with it.

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LD and Alexa want to complain to the principal about Joey’s locker. They tell Doris about it since the principal is busy and she’s leaving and won’t let them wait there. Doris says she’ll totally pass along the message to the principal, but LD doesn’t believe her.

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Outside, Snake, Joey, and Wheels make fun of the girls because they’re stupid boys.

Caitlin heads home, and her mom tells her to take the liver out of the freezer because they’re going to dispose of the evidence tonight because the dad/husband won’t be eating with them that night and he hates liver. Caitlin says “I hate liver” under her breath, but denies saying anything when her mom asks.

Caitlin asks her mom if she’s going to stick up for Spike at the PTA meeting. Caitlin’s mom actually thinks it’s best for Spike to be somewhere where there’s “more people like her,” saying she’ll be more comfortable and whatever. Caitlin thinks that’s dumb – everyone already knows Spike is pregnant anyway so hiding her away isn’t going to do anything, and Spike wants to stay at Degrassi. Caitlin’s mom says that Spike needs all the comfort and support she can get, and Caitlin basically argues that leaving her where she wants to stay would be comforting and supporting her. She also declares out loud that she hates liver. She runs upstairs to start typing up her article.

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She has a better computer than Doogie Howser did, I think.

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LD decides to enact revenge on Joey by putting up pin-ups of oily, sun-tanned Adonises in her locker. Joey doesn’t care much even when LD and Alexa say he’s lame compared to them. Bonus: Alexa got the pictures from her sister. She’s one of very few Degrassi characters who has a sister rather than a brother (and most of the ones with sisters, the sister is also on the show).

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Raditch won’t allow Caitlin’s article on Spike to appear in the school paper. Degrassi once again breaking ground by showing a school club that actually has a faculty advisor. I think this may be the only tv show I’ve ever seen where the school newspaper had an adult supervisor.

Caitlin declares this is censorship, and gets the idea from Suzie later to start her own paper where she can publish her article.

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Doris shows up during Raditch’s class to get Joey to open his locker, due to a complaint about him having pornography. She tells Joey to take the pictures down to the principal’s office. Joey protests that LD also has that kind of stuff in her locker. He was really offended, he says. Doris rolls her eyes but calls LD out of class because she has to or something. She tells LD to also go to the principal with her images.

LD and Joey argue while waiting for the principal. Joey says LD started it, LD was just getting back and Joey, and anyway his pictures are sexist and degrading. Joey says he didn’t force her to look at them, and anyway since when are the things in his locker anyone else’s business? I have to say Joey is making more points than LD, but I think he’d still be wrong on the grounds that this is a school so oh well.

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This is a terribly-written article. I mean it sounds like one of my posts. Er… I mean, I know she’s only in 7th grade, but it’s just not well-written for being anything other than a journal entry or a rant/tangent over here at thatsavvy.wordpress.com

I get the points she’s making in the article, but they’re not very professionally put together. Like I keep just imagining someone reading it while shrugging in a comedically exaggerated manner.

George Carlin

Caitlin has Suzie help hand out her article to random passersby, and by “random” I mean 15 member of the cast that we see all the time. Caitlin does a voiceover of part of the article while various other people read and react to the article.

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Jeezus how long have those kinds of pencil sharpeners been around? I remember most of my classes had one of those until I got to college a few years ago.

Umm so Raditch gives an article to Doris, saying that she should show it to the principal. Caitlin gets called to the office, to the chagrin of LD and Joey who have been waiting there for several hours and missed lunch.

Caitlin gets loads of detention and will be suspended if she does anything like this again. All the kids in class totally liked her article, except Kathleen who, as I mentioned already, hates everything.

This scene is hilarious because it’s like the script just said “everyone loves Caitlin’s article” because everyone just keeps saying “Great article Caitlin” or “I loved your article” – or in one person’s case, both – and it actually starts sounding like it’s the same 4 people saying it over and over again.

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Turns out Spike actually didn’t like the article. Caitlin was just trying to help, but Spike is angry that Caitlin didn’t bother talking to her before writing the article, and accuses Caitlin of turning her into her “cause of the week.” Spike does want to stay at Degrassi, but I guess is just mainly insulted that Caitlin wrote an article on her without asking her or consulting her, and now she has the embarrassment of everybody reading about her in addition to seeing her all the time. CAITLIN YA DUN GOOFED UP. Spike ends their conversation by saying “I’m a person, not public property” which I think is a great saying which could be applied to anybody, perhaps especially celebrities, or even more especially, CHILDREN of celebrities. I mean it’s one thing to hound movie stars all the time, they knew what they were getting into when they decided to get into acting, but the kids sure didn’t have any choice in anything.

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Joey is picking on LD in detention until this lady we’ve never seen before yells at him. She’s the math teacher, it turns out. Or at least, they’re in the math classroom, since there’s equations on the board and a big “MATH QUIZ” sign in the back.

I like that it also just says “add” and “multiplication” on the board, like they couldn’t make it seem math-y enough so they were like “Quick, what are some math terms?!” Or maybe this is remedial math and the kids are too stupid to remember what adding is.

In the schoolyard the next day, Joey chases LD down to show her his binders full of women.

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Of course I finally get an opportunity to make that joke nearly 2 years after it first became relevant. I mean you can’t see it very well, but he literally has a three-ring binder full of cutouts of women.

Caitlin’s next brilliant idea for an article for the paper is one on sexism, inspired by LD’s troubles with Joey. Nancy obviously does not like the idea much but as long as it’s 20o words, she’ll publish it.

And also the PTA meeting to determine what to do about Spike is that night. Dun dun dunnnn.

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Why is there a whole PTA meeting about it? Seems like it ought to be a small meeting with Spike, Spike’s mom, the principal, and Spike’s teachers, perhaps with Spike’s doctor being able to weigh in as necessary. I mean, Spike has every right to get an education. She’s apparently an exemplary student, although she isn’t in any extracurricular activities, seems to be fairly quiet and mostly polite and pleasant to be around, so I don’t think there’d be any call to cast her out of school unless there was a health issue or maybe if a huge number of parents complained.

Plus I don’t think the “she’s a bad influence!” argument holds any water since, well, no one else in the school is pregnant, and it doesn’t seem like the level of teenage debauchery has increased at all.

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