Thursday, October 22, 2009

S01 E11 – It's Late!

Finally, as the episode title suggests, we have come to the infamous Teen Pregnancy Plotline. Anyone who was even marginally aware of Degrassi back in the day knew that some chick got knocked up in it. The story won the show something called an International Emmy and was a big part of why it became so famous. More importantly, it also features some of the most ham-handed foreshadowing and attempts at being educational in Degrassi history. Which means it's time for another Degrassi drinking game! Grab some Canadian booze and get ready to get as drunk as Stephanie Kaye at the big school dance.

We start at Lucy's place, where a party is winding down. You can tell it was a wild party, though, because there's popcorn strewn over every available surface. Nothing says "fun" like popcorn-flinging! And it seems everyone's getting lucky tonight. The first thing we see is Shane and Spike making out in the hallway. In the living room, people are slow-dancing; Heather is dancing with Tim, Snake is dancing with (and kissing) some extra in a lumberjack shirt, and Erika is dancing with Wai Lee. As Lucy's going up the stairs, she meets Joey coming down, and he's followed by… Wheels. Ok, some of the kids are getting luckier than others.

They congratulate her on what a great party it was. "My parents would never let me have a party if they weren't around," remarks Wheels. "Lucy's are never around," Joey whispers to him. What, even Joey knows about her abandonment? Obviously Voula told everyone, possibly in revenge for Lucy getting her arrested.

Joey and Wheels go down the hallway, where they find Shane kissing Spike. In an incredibly creepy move, they both start stroking Spike's shoulder, and when she tells them to go away, Joey asks, "What's the matter? Can't we all share?" AAAAAUGH MENTAL IMAGES.

Oddly enough, Spike is not all that keen for a foursome, and Shane leads her into a convenient nearby bedroom, shutting the door behind them. (Wait, if Lucy's bedroom is in the basement, and her parents' is on the ground floor, what the hell is upstairs?) Joey laughs and says to Wheels, "Let's go over [to the kitchen] and pick up some – " either "chicks" or "chips", I can't tell which he says, but I can tell which he's more likely to get. (The sound and lighting for this whole scene are awful; it's hard to hear, and impossible to see anyone's face properly.)

Spike sits down on the bed. Shane smirks (I think?) and sits down next to her, and they lie down. The whole thing looks incredibly awkward.

Back in the living room, Heather comes over to Erika and taps her on the shoulder, saying it's time to go. "Now?" asks Erika in dismay, then says a regretful goodbye to Wai Lee. I mean… Wai Lee? Is he that much of a catch? He's wearing a tan sweatshirt to a make-out party, for Chrissakes! (Although Snake seems to be wearing something pastel pink and sort of lacy, and has totally scored, so I don't really know what to think.)

The twins start looking for Spike, and Joey directs them to the bedroom, adding in an insinuating tone that Shane's in there too. The girls roll their eyes as if he'd suggested something totally ridiculous. What do they think is going on in there? "Spike!" yells Erika at the bedroom door. "Heather and me are leaving – are you going to come?" Isn't that kind of a personal question?

Erika realises that the door is locked, and wants to know what the "big idea" is. "Come on!" she yells. "What are you doing in there?" Wait, isn't she the streetwise twin? How has she not figured out what's going on?

And the scene just ends there, with the twins shouting at the locked door and everyone else staring at them. So… I have no idea how that whole thing ends. I mean, other than the fact that Spike and Shane totally do it. Duh.

Anyway, after the credits, it's morning, presumably somewhat more than two weeks later. Spike's being dropped off at school by her mother, who's lecturing her: "Christine, you know, when you're late [drink!] and I have to drive you to school, then that makes me late… What's the matter with you these days? [drink!] You do nothing around the house – you're thoroughly unpleasant to live with." Spike snaps back, "Well, maybe if you stopped treating me like a little baby – " Drink! "Stop acting like one!" shouts her mother. "Listen, it isn't easy raising you by myself [drink!] – a little co-operation from you would make things a lot better!" Spike gets out of the car and storms off to school. She's wearing yet another pair of fugly trousers, by the way: grey, very baggy, very tapered, and two inches too short. They are most certainly not punk.

In the classroom, Mr Raditch is talking to his class. "This morning I'd like to talk to you a little about a decision that you're going to have to make in the very near future." Drink! Just then, Spike comes in, and Raditch complains that "being late [drink!] is becoming a habit. It's disappointing when such a student sets such a bad example." Drink! I wasn't kidding about the foreshadowing.

Anyway, Raditch rambles on about how they're going to be choosing courses for high school soon. Spike looks over at Shane, but when he smiles at her, she turns away and stares at her desk. He looks frustrated.

After class, everyone's leaving, and Voula's wearing a sweater vest over her peasant blouse. It's a whole new level of ugly. Also, Alexa is wearing Caitlin's badly handmade pink sweater from last episode. Anyway, one of the twins asks Spike what she wants to be when she grows up, but Spike snaps that she doesn't want to talk about "careers and stuff". The twins are offended.

Just then, Shane pervs over to tell her, "Lucy's having another party like the one last month." Like the one where we had sex! We could have sex again! Please can we have sex again? Spike angrily tells him that she doesn't want to go, then flounces off.

Joey, the king of tact and timing, immediately corners Shane and demands to know what really happened at Lucy's party. "Wouldn't you like to know?" Shane smugs. Um… acting like that is probably not the best way to convince a girl to sleep with you again, Shaney boy.

"I bet they were just kissing," Wheels mutters to Joey. What's it to them, anyway?

Well, time for a light-relief subplot, and thankfully it's not an Arthur and Yick one this time. Melanie is reading her horoscope to Kathleen. Unfortunately, her diction is kind of bad, so I can't hear the exact wording, but the word "romance" is in there somewhere. "I could do with a good romance," says Melanie brightly. "Course, what I'd really like is a hickey."

Kathleen, predictably, says that hickeys are gross. "They're not gross!" says Melanie. "They're romantic. If you've got one, it means you've got a boyfriend. If you've got a boyfriend, you can go out on dates!" Ah, Melanie logic. I've missed Melanie. And speaking of dates, Snake the Man-God walks by. Melanie says hi, he says hi back, then walks off. As always.

"I give up," she sighs. "I'll never have a boyfriend." Kathleen points out that she's still only 12. "Twelve and three-quarters, actually," Melanie argues. "That's old." Bless. Just then, they pass Arthur and Yick… oh, I spoke too soon. Feck. Melanie says hi to Arthur, but ignores Yick, who stares after her wistfully.

"You like Melanie?" asks Arthur. Yick says yeah, but he's too scared to ask her out because she might say no. "She might says yes," Arthur tells him. "You never know till you try." Um, all of Arthur's experience with girls comes from once having nearly watched Swamp Sex Robots, which presumably had some girls in it, but we'll never even know that for sure. I wouldn't set great store by his advice.

Oh man, Joey and Wheels are peeing again. Why, Degrassi, why? Joey is rambling about how cool Lucy's parties are, because her parents are loose and don't love her. "Would your mom and dad leave you alone for a party?" he asks. "My mom won't even let me turn the lights off," Wheels admits. Wait, like, as in shutting up the house last thing at night, or she actually won't let him operate the light switches? Canadian parents are strict, you guys.

"No way Shane and Spike would have gotten into the bedroom at my house," Joey remarks. "Do you think they really did it?" asks Wheels. Bearing in mind the party was several weeks ago, I think this is developing into an unhealthy fixation. Just then, Shane comes in, and Joey immediately asks him, "If you really did it… tell us what it was like."

Shane looks at them very seriously and asks, "Why, you guys never had sex?" "Yeah, of course I've had sex," Joey says quickly. "Yah, me too!" Wheels chips in. "Lots of times!" They are both very bad liars. As all the guys stand in front of the mirror and comb their ridiculously flowing '80s locks, Joey again asks Shane what happened, and Shane tells him it's none of his business.

Wheels, who has slightly more brains than Joey, asks a rather more pertinent question: "How come Spike won't talk to you any more?" Shane is surprisingly unbothered by this particular bit of nosiness, and says she's just in a bad mood. "Probably her period or something," laughs Joey. Drink! Joey and Wheels walk off, chuckling merrily at the thought of Spike's period. Guys are weird.

Meanwhile, Spike goes into the girls' bathroom. She stares at her face in the mirror, the way people on TV always do when they're worried about something, and people in real life never do, unless it's acne they're worried about. The twins follow her into the bathroom and demand to know what's up.

After some angsty staring at the far wall, Spike turns around and announces, "My period's way late – it's always been on time before. I think I'm pregnant." The twins look horrified, and there's a long pause, during which we can hear the crappy plumbing making weird noises.

"But you can't be pregnant unless you've had sex!" says Heather. Uh, yeah… about that. Spike hangs her head. "You did it?" asks Heather. "With Shane?" asks Erika. Why are they so surprised? They were listening at the door! Spike continues to look tortured; the plumbing continues to be distracting.

Out in the corridor, Yick tries to say hi to Melanie but she ignores him again. "It looks to me like you need some serious help. From me," says Arthur. "What do you know about girls?" asks Yick. It's a legitimate question. "When you've got a sister like mine, you learn fast," replies Arthur, which is a statement that becomes more unsavoury the more you think about it, so please let's not think about it.

Back in the girls' bathroom, Spike and the twins are still talking. "If it's the first time, you're ok!" says Erika. "You can't get pregnant the first time." "I don't know if that's true," Heather meebles. "Of course it is," Erika insists. "Everyone knows that." Everyone except for scientists and doctors, that is. But Erika's suddenly decided she's the fount of all reproductive knowledge, and insists that Spike's period is just randomly irregular all of a sudden and EVERYTHING WILL BE JUST FINE. Spike stares into the sink and the twins awkwardly hug her.

Later, Spike walks into her mother's hair salon, and… look, you might as well just start drinking now and not stop until this scene is over. Spike's mom is styling some woman's hair, and the woman is telling her that someone they know is pregnant – "Again!" Spike's mom is delighted. Spike says hi, and her mother apologises for being cranky that morning. The client keeps talking. "Six kids and another one on the way. She seems very happy – she certainly must enjoy being a mother!" Spike, who's sweeping the floor, looks increasingly uncomfortable.

"Mom," asks Spike, "some friends and I were talking and someone said you couldn't get pregnant the first time you had sex…" "Wanna bet?" asks her mother. "They say one in five girls gets pregnant the first time." Wait, what? That's just a spectacular lie! What the hell, Degrassi writers?

Not content with repeating made-up statistics, Spike's mother proceeds to give Spike, and the viewers, a quick run-down on pregnancy myths. "It's amazing what some people believe, like you can't get pregnant if you stand up immediately afterwards – not true." "Or, you can't get pregnant if you keep your eyes closed," adds her client helpfully. Is everyone taking notes? As Spike goes behind a convenient partition to angst in private, her mother keeps talking. "All these myths! I wish someone had told me the facts. I was seventeen when I had this one. I was dreaming of going to university, but I had to leave school and go to work." "Well, Christine's a good girl," says the client. "You can be sure she's going to university…" OK OK OK, being a teen mother is hard! We get it!

Back at school, Arthur the Date Doctor is coaching Yick on how to ask Melanie out. "She can't say no after a compliment," he says, and this is clearly the day for sweeping, wholly unfounded statements. They stop halfway up the stairs for Yick to practise complimenting. He gazes into Arthur's eyes and breathes, "Your eyes are so blue, they remind me of swimming pools." However, Snake and Tim overhear this, and Snake looks deeply, deeply weirded out by it. And who could blame him? Not the gay thing, I mean; it's just that Arthur has brown eyes (and, in fact, so does Melanie).

Anyway, since that went so well, the guys go up to find Melanie, who is still rambling at Kathleen about horoscopes. Yick stares up at her (she's about a foot taller than him) and tells her, "Your eyes are so blue they seem like pimming swools." The girls burst out laughing and mock him mercilessly until he runs off, pausing only to call Arthur a broomhead.

After lunch, Spike's in the library with the twins. Heather's nagging her to get a pregnancy test, but Spike says it's too embarrassing. "I heard it's easy!" expositions Heather. "You can buy a test and do it at home, or go to the clinic and they'll do it. They won't tell your mom." I hope everyone's taking notes. Or at least another drink. Spike insists she's not going to the clinic, but the twins helpfully/nosily offer to go with her, and Heather points out that if she is pregnant, she'll have to see a doctor anyway.

"If I am pregnant, my mum'll kill me!" says Spike, then stares over at Shane, who's been sitting conveniently within her line of sight the whole time. He smiles tentatively at her, and is rewarded with death stares from all three girls. He hastily goes back to his book.

Once the bell goes, he grabs her by the arm on the way out, but she shakes him off. He follows her anyway. "Wait up! I thought we were going steady; why are you treating me like this?" Wait, going steady? Um, it's 1987, not 1957.

"You really want to know?" asks Spike. She drags him from the corner of the hallway where they're standing to… another corner, which isn't any less private. I suppose they needed to stretch out the scene a bit. "Remember Lucy's party?" she asks. Shane smiles sleazily. "Yeah," he tells her. His tone is wonderfully inappropriate for this moment. "I think I'm going to have a baby," Spike announces. Shane asks if she's joking, and when she says no, he just backs away. Literally, like, without a word, just backs away and is outta there. Shane is one classy, classy guy.

After the break, it's the next day. Voula's proudly showing off photos of a baby. Drink! When Spike and Shane comes in, Alexa calls them over: "Come and see the pictures of Voula's sister's new baby!" Um, either he's not that new, or I feel awfully sorry for Voula's sister, because he's the size of a two-year-old.

"I can't wait till I have a baby," Alexa announces. Take a big drink now. "Are you kidding?" asks Lucy. "Babies pee twelve times a day, so you're always changing diapers." Spike looks horrified at this newsflash. "Oh, but just imagine how great it'd be," Alexa sighs. "Someone to love you for the rest of your life." Spike looks up at Shane, who looks hastily away. Still classy. "Yeah, really great," says Lucy, "especially when they wake up in the middle of the night, so you don't get any sleep." Spike looks startled at this, too. Wait, babies wake in the night? She exchanges another awkward look with Shane, but just then Mr Raditch comes in, so everyone has to sit down.

Raditch announces that he has "a bit of a treat" for them: the Victorian Romantic poets. Par-tay! He starts to read out a love poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Spike tries to make soulful eye contact with Shane, but he pointedly stares out the window until she gets the message. Ouch. Joey notices something's going on between them, and the twins exchange looks that say, "This really isn't going well."

Later, Shane comes into the boys' bathroom, and engages in some half-hearted cubicle-door-punching, but he doesn't get too into it, because he's quite middle-class. Joey and Wheels, who apparently have nothing better to do, follow him in. Joey, at this point, is a man possessed, and instantly demands to know, "At Lucy's party – did you or didn't you?" Why the hell is he so invested in this?

Shane starts to go, then turns to the others. "What would you guys do if you got someone pregnant?" "Spike's gonna have a baby?" asks Joey. "No!" says Shane. "It's just a question, that's all. I mean, it wouldn't be the guy's problem, right?" Shane McKay, ladies and gentleman: always classy. "It'd sort of be his baby too," Joey points out. Shane looks like he was really hoping that wasn't the answer, and shuffles away. Look, Shane, if Joey Jeremiah is less of an irresponsible douchebag than you, you should just give up now.

"You think Spike's pregnant?" asks Wheels. "Nah, they never really did it," says Joey. "He's bluffing so we'd think they did. Right?" "Right," Wheels agrees. Um, right.

Later, as the Grade Sevens are leaving their classroom (hey, they were being taught by the elusive Ms Baxter!), Melanie reads Kathleen her horoscope. Apparently she's due to get a surprise gift. Arthur and Yick overhear this, and Arthur promptly runs off to steal a vase of flowers from Ms Baxter's desk. He tells Yick, "She's got to talk to you if you give her flowers. Girls like to get flowers. They think it's romantic or something." I think Arthur hasn't quite understood the bit where girls don't like to be given stolen property, or patronised by porn-watching geek kids. Yick complains that he feels like a broomhead, and Arthur sensibly doesn't deny this, just tells him to hurry up and give Melanie the flowers already.

Unfortunately, because Yick is a broomhead, he shoves the flowers right in Melanie's face. As only happens on TV, she instantly starts sneezing (and throwing all her papers up in the air, wtf?). "She's got allergies! Flowers make her sneeze!" Kathleen unnecessarily expositions. Yick runs off, blaming Arthur as he goes.

After school, the twins are lying in wait for Spike. "We're coming to the clinic with you," announces Erika. "I don't want to go to the clinic!" Spike hisses. The twins decide that they'll buy her a test instead, because "you'll go crazy if you don't find out". That, or they'll go crazy from unsatisfied curiosity.

Yick is feeling dejected at his terminal lack of game. "I'll have lots more ideas tomorrow," Arthur reassures him. Yick snaps, "I don't think I want to try any more of your ideas. They don't work so good." So he decides to just man up and ask her out… which was actually Arthur's original idea.

He runs after Melanie and asks her to go skating with him. How delightfully Canadian! "You mean a date?" she asks eagerly. She turns to grin at Kathleen, who makes herself scarce, in possibly the only recorded incident of Kathleen behaving tactfully. (Arthur's standing about six inches behind Yick, because tact is not his strong point.) "How about Saturday morning?" says Yick. Yeah, nothing is more romantic than getting up early on a Saturday morning.

Melanie asks Yick what star sign he is, and he says Aquarius. "I'm Cancer," she replies. "I don't think we're supposed to get along. But you are a boy, and it is a date. Okay!" That acceptance was so lukewarm, it was worse than a refusal.

At the chemist's, the girls are stealthily wandering around the aisles. At least they've had the good sense to stay away from Mama Kaye's shop. Erika pulls down a test and loudly reads the instructions. "Collect sample after first urine in the morning. Test takes two hours before results can be read." OMG, two hours? Heather looks at another one. "This one only takes an hour. Do you think one's better?" "Probably both are good, as long as you use them properly," says Erika for the benefit of the audience (so drink up!). I hope you're all taking notes, girls: '80s pregnancy tests are really, really, really crap.

Test safely purchased, the girls leave the shop, and the twins wish Spike good luck and promise to call tomorrow. Off she goes, and we hear some super-gritty, angsty synth music playing over a montage of her walking home. This is soon to become the Spike 'n Shane theme tune, and it plays every damn time they have a dramatic moment together. Which will be often.

Once she gets home, she says hello to her mother, and rather idiotically she's carrying the test in her hand, rather than hiding it in her bag. Her mother offers her dinner, but she says she's not hungry, and is going straight to bed, and there's nothing suspicious about that, no siree Bob. Her mother insists she needs to eat, and then sees the bag from the chemist's, and asks what's in it. Spike insists there's nothing in it, and then tries to hide it behind her back, and then just bolts and runs up to her room and lies on her bed in a rage. She is pretty terrible at acting casual.

Her mother follows her up to her room, and demands to know what's going on. Spike throws a full-scale teenage hissy fit. "I want to go live somewhere else! You don't care about me! You don't care how I think or feel! You know nothing what it's like to be fourteen!" Her mother starts to flounce out of the room, but then Spike calls her back and throws the pregnancy test at her. Um, way to keep a secret, Spike.

Her mother takes out the test, which is some kind of freakish contraption that looks like a cross between an hourglass and a Glade plug-in. "Oh no," she whispers, "you didn't." Spike lies face down on the bed and cries. The tense drama of the moment is slightly undermined by the rustling of the actresses' clothes/the carpet/Spike's blankets, which is for some reason much too loud, and why is the sound so terrible on this show?

Just then the phone rings, and Spike's mother actually goes to answer it. It's Shane calling for Spike, and she says Spike will call back, and look, I know she's stressed and all, but she has the weirdest, most robotic telephone manner ever.

And then they bond, and so on, and the Spike 'n Shane Theme Tune plays in the background, and the point is, the mother clearly isn't as angry as Spike had feared she would be. So the moral is, if you get pregnant, your mother will be totally OK with it. Yay!

Next morning, Spike and her mother are in the car outside a clinic. Spike sensibly points out that she could have just done the test at home, but her mother says that she likes the doctor, and if Spike's pregnant she'll need to see the doctor anyway, and anyway they really need to pad the episode out by adding in this extra scene. So that's that. "I'm sorry," says Spike. "It just happened. I wanted him to like me." "The number of us who've said that!" laughs her mother. "I didn't like it much," Spike admits. So… I suppose that answers Erika's question at the start of the episode?

Just then, Shane arrives, looking shifty. "I don't know why you told him," Spike's mom mutters. "If I am pregnant, it's his baby too, right?" asks Spike. Her mother looks at her watch and says the doctor should have the results by now. What, was the doctor injecting a rabbit or something? She offers to go in, but Spike says she and Shane will go together. Her mother acts supportive, then cries when Spike is gone. More gritty music. Because this is a gritty show!

Spike joins Shane out in the car park. "I'm glad you came," she tells him. But wait, isn't that what got them into this situation in the first place? Ok, ok, I'll stop now. They go into the clinic, leaving Spike's mother to freak out in peace.

Then we cut to a montage of Yick and Melanie ice-skating. They laugh a great deal. They skate. They have lots of wholesome fun. Ice-skating: better than inept, pregnancy-causing sex.

Some time later, Spike and Shane come out of the clinic. They walk towards the car, very slowly. Spike's mother gets out and walks towards them, very slowly. Everyone stares at each other for a bit. "Mum," says Spike, "I'm pregnant." Absolutely nobody is surprised, because otherwise this episode would have been a massive waste of time. Spike and her mother hug, sad music plays, and Shane watches them from a safe distance.

Next day, Spike's sitting alone in a stairwell at school. Some girl asks if she's ok, and Spike insists she is. Then continues to sit in the semi-darkness, staring at her hands. The girl, who is gullible, leaves her alone.

Then Shane turns up, and sits next to her. Because the episode needs some kind of wrap-up, they proceed to have a staged debate on the whole issue; they bicker about whose fault this is, then wonder what to do next. "You don't want me to marry you, do you?" asks Shane, still keepin' it classy. Spike just gives him a withering look. Obviously she's already figured out that being married to Shane would be the only thing worse than being pregnant by him.

Next she suggests having the baby and giving it up for adoption, then adds, "But I don't want to get big and stuff!" Actually, this show consistently presents weight gain as one of the major reasons why teen pregnancy sucks. I don't know why they didn't also have a special episode on how hard it is to find fashionable maternity clothes.

Then she suggests having an abortion. Shane is all anti, and there's a lot of obligatory "It's got rights!" "But what about my rights?" etc. They both agree on one thing: this whole situation is kind of a downer.

"Why is this happening?" asks Spike. "It was just a little mistake." "Sort of a big mistake," mumbles Shane. The closing credits start up and we freeze on Spike's face, as she realises just how much of a douchebag she's dealing with.

Dubious lessons of the week: Underage sex on TV always leads to pregnancy. Your mother will be fine about the whole thing, but the guy will be a total asshole. And pregnancy will make you fat. Go ice-skating instead.


Carlanime Bligh said...

"When you've got a sister like mine, you learn fast," replies Arthur, which is a statement that becomes more unsavoury the more you think about it, so please let's not think about it.

LOL. Oh dear, I don't think I want to dwell on that.
I remember the Spike-is-pregnant episode so well. Although I had, blessedly, forgotten the clothes.

Amy said...

*Love* this episode. Especially when Spike chucks the pregnancy test at her mother.

Ms Avery said...

@Carlanime: Spike being pregnant is literally the only thing I remember from when Degrassi was on TV here. My friends and I were completely scandalised by it.

@Amy: Spike certainly has a flair for the dramatic.

Anonymous said...

Actually the test is in a bag. Her mother even says, "what's in the bag"

Ms Avery said...

What I meant was, it's just in a little paper bag so her mother can see she bought SOMETHING from the chemist. If she'd put it in her schoolbag she could have kept it hidden.

Kraft1963 said...

Why do you have two different avatars? Can't you make up your mind whether you prefer to be a maple leaf or a junior high teacher?

Also, do you know which scene and episode that pic of Ms. Avery is from?

Don said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms Avery said...

I have two different avatars for twice the Canadianness.

And I actually have no idea which episode it's from. Sorry!

Kraft1963 said...

Wait a minute! You haven't posted anything in, like, forever, and suddenly you post something 3 minutes after a deleted comment from someone named "Don" ??? Are you really "Don"? Did you mistakenly use your real name before deleting the comment? I think we should start a whole new series of rumors about this.

Ms Avery said...

Since this blog elsewhere mentions the fact that I got pregnant and gave birth, I think we can safely conclude that I'm not Don.