Tuesday, November 24, 2009

S01 E13 – Revolution!

Joey's hanging out in the hallway, just chillin'. He says hi to Snake and reminds him about a band rehearsal tomorrow. So, the guys are still in that terrible band from last week. And he says hi to Spike, to remind us that she still exists and this show is still edgy as fuck. Just then, Steph walks by with the twins, and in a desperate attempt to impress her, Joey does that thing where you run and then fall onto your knees and slide across the floor really fast. Unfortunately he crashes into her and makes her drop all her stuff, so while he's babbling about being "Joey L. Jeremiah, L for Lover", she's irately picking books up off the floor. She tells him to go jump in a lake, and he semi-seriously asks, "Which one?", at which point he crosses a line and is suddenly pitiable rather than annoying.
Desperate to get rid of his last remnants of dignity, Joey (still kneeling on the floor) insists, "I'm a great guy once you get to know me! And I'm your slave! Whatever you want, I will do!" Steph says she wants him to leave her alone, and walks off. "So, see you later?" he calls after her. "Maybe we could go out some time?" I hate the Degrassi writers for temporarily making me feel sorry for him.

"Can you imagine going out with him?" Steph asks the twins. "I thought you liked Joey," says… one of them, I'm not sure which, because they're both dressed identically frumpy today. "He's funny and all," says Steph, "but not the kind of guy I'd go out with." And we go straight into the opening credits. So… Joey fancies Steph, and has no self-respect, and Steph has high, high standards. Got it.

Next day, I guess? Everyone's walking into school, and they're all bundled up in coats and scarves. Erika is freaking out about an upcoming English exam that Mr Raditch is giving. "Just study!" says Heather. "I'm not studying," snaps Steph, sensible as always. "It'll probably be on something like Shakespeare," says Erika, in a voice that suggests she's aiming for comic exaggeration, but you know what? It's an eighth-grade English exam, and we've actually seen them studying "Hamlet". I'd bet it's pretty reasonable to expect that Shakespeare will, in fact, be on the paper. Just sayin'.

So, Steph, she of the high standards, has finally sighted a man good enough for her. He is, of course, Wheels, whose mullet is looking especially mullety today, who plays keyboard in the worst teen band in Canada, and who is wearing a navy reindeer sweater. She fixes him with that praying-mantis mating stare of hers. Erika tells her to "put [your] eyes back in their sockets," and Steph claims, "I can't help it if I'm in love." Bad news, guys: the concept of love has now been irreparably defiled.

Meanwhile, on some staircase somewhere, Yick and Arthur and Melanie and Kathleen are studying. Arthur asks where the Zambezi river is. "Easy, it's in Africa!" says Yick. "The whole test is about Africa," says Kathleen. Heh. I think this episode is the only time we see Kathleen interact with Arthur and Yick, which is sort of a pity, because their general stupid behaviour would probably be a lot more entertaining if she was around to bitch at them.

Just then, Steph and the twins come down the stairs, and Steph stands there and ahems until the kids move out of their way. Arthur tries to say hello, but is ignored, for the thousandth time. The twins grin at her evil behaviour. Even Heather.

"She's not exactly the friendliest sister in the world," says Arthur unnecessarily. Seriously: everyone just saw him getting brutally snubbed, and the dignified thing to do would be not to mention the incident. Kathleen watches Steph and the twins disappear into the Bathroom of Skanky Transformations, and complains, "We have got the worst-dressed school president in the whole country!" I don't know, it is the '80s. I'm sure there's some stiff competition.

Arthur listens meekly as the others tear his sister to shreds. Kathleen complains that ever since former sports rep Jason Cox left, bless his sexist heart, Steph hasn't bothered to find a replacement. Melanie suggests that Yick (who's conveniently messing around with a basketball, in case we'd forgotten that aspect of his character) would be a good sports rep. Kathleen agrees, in possibly the only recorded instance of her being nice and encouraging to a fellow human being.

In the bathroom, Steph is mid-transformation, wearing a pink bustier with the communal diamante belt and a prairie-style red skirt. (By the way, there is snow on the ground. It is not bustier weather. If such a thing exists.) "Do you think I should ask Wheels on another date?" she asks the twins. "I know our other ones have been disasters, but…" she shrugs, as if to say, "I basically don't know when to quit". Which would make her a pretty good match for Joey, in a way.

"What if he said no?" Steph worries. "I'd die of embarrassment." "How could anyone say no to Stephanie Kaye, school president?" asks Erika. As a former head of my school's student council, let me say this: contrary to popular belief, being active in school politics does not actually get you a lot of action. Just then, Steph takes off her long skirt, revealing a pair of tight black leggings. "School bombshell!" says Heather. There's something so very wrong about that phrase.

By the way, Erika is standing under an ornate Art Nouveau poster that reads "Penguin Dreams". Explanations on a postcard, please.

On the way to Mr Raditch's class, Joey and Snake are still arguing about band names. Joey wants to call the group Joey and the Jet Set. Yawn. "We already got a name!" Wheels insists. "The Zit Remedy?" Joey snaps. "You call that a name?" "We like it," says Wheels." Snake says that Joey's "other idea" is stupid, and Joey insists that there are tons of rock bands and they need to stand out. Their terrible music is pretty unique; doesn't that count for anything? "There's no way I'm eating live goldfish on stage," says Snake. As the guys sit down at their desks, Joey tells him to think of it as sushi, and insists that he'd do it himself only he has a convenient allergy to fish. This show is a lot better at unintentional hilarity.

Just then, Steph and the twins come in, and Steph sidles over to Wheels, teeth at the ready. She asks him to go to a movie that weekend. Without even considering his answer, Wheels says no, because he has to study. "Study?" she repeats in disgust. "You're not serious." Yeah, I mean, who in their right mind would pass up the chance to go on yet another bad date with Stephanie Kaye? He tells her that his last report card was bad, and he needs to do well in the exams or his parents will kill him (Wheels's academic ineptitude, by the way, will be an ongoing dull filler plot throughout the series). Steph just gives him a death glare as icy as a Canadian winter, and sweeps off to… her own desk, which unfortunately is right next to Wheels's, so it's not much of a dramatic exit. Also, everyone else totally heard this conversation: the twins are horrified, and Spike is trying very hard not to laugh. Spike never gets any funny lines, but I have to give her props for her readiness to laugh at other people's failures.

In comes Mr Raditch. He announces that he has their English exam ready, and with a Bond-villain-grade evil laugh, tells them it's "a real doozy". Proving yet again that he learned nothing from that episode about not picking on people, he specifically says that he hopes Joey's been studying, because he doesn't want him in his class next year. Wheels turns around to smile at Joey, but accidentally catches Steph's eye, and she looks like she's pondering how best to disembowel him: should she use a rusty hook, or her teeth? Hell hath no fury like a school president scorned.

Meanwhile, Ms Avery's preparing her class for their exam too. Apparently she's a geography teacher now? And still a liberal. They're being tested on "the fascinating continent of Africa", and she gives them that insincere teacher-spiel about how they don't need to be afraid of the exam, because she just wants to check on their progress. These kids are in for a horrible shock when they get to Mr Raditch's class next year.

After the bell goes, Susie comes over to Yick and tells him that she thinks he'd make a great sports rep. Melanie and Kathleen come over too, and continue to go on about how he'd be the greatest sports rep in the history of mankind, and Kathleen mentions the plot-relevant fact that sports reps always come from Grade 7. Yick meebles that he's not too good at politics, but Susie tells him, "It's not politics – it's fun! I should know, I'm vice-president." Yeah, I'm sure that's a thrill-fest. While some upbeat guitar music strikes up in the background, everyone mills around and tells him it's "good to get involved with school life", etc., and he should go tell Stephanie he wants the position.

Steph is just leaving Mr Raditch's classroom, ranting to the twins about how she's never been so embarrassed in her life. Well, she possibly shouldn't have asked Wheels out in front of the whole class. The twins bicker over whether his rejection is the absolute worst thing EVAR, or just the second-worst. Stephanie glares at Wheels, who's innocently bantering with Snake and Joey, and announces, "I'm going to make him pay for this. I don't know how, but I will." And that was the last time anyone saw Wheels alive.

Erika stares at Wheels for a minute, then says, "I bet if you were really nice to someone, Wheels would be jealous." Steph asks who she should be nice to, and Erika ponders it before naming the only other guy Steph's talked to all episode: Joey. "But how nice would I have to be to him? I wouldn't have to go out with him or anything, would I?" Steph asks. "I don't know, maybe!" says Erika unhelpfully. Heather flails ethically in the background and is completely ignored.

Just then, Yick appears behind them. He announces that they don't have a sports rep and he wants the job. Steph stares at him, looking with particular disgust at his feet for some reason, and tells him that she's busy and they'll have to talk about it next term. Yick shuffles off, and Steph rolls her eyes, confused and mildly offended by the existence of a male who wants to talk to her about something other than her own hotness.

As Yick admits to the indignant Grade Sevens that he got nowhere, Steph looks back at him, then whispers, "I have an idea."

In the auditorium, the Zit Remedy guys are practising. This is the first time we get to hear their first and only song, "Everybody Wants Something". Not only is this their only song, but it only has two lines: "Everybody wants something, they'll never give up. Everybody wants something, they'll take ya mon-ey, and never give up." The guys have improved slightly since the random instrument-punching of last episode, but they're still hitting a lot of wrong notes. Once they finish, they congratulate themselves on how excellently they played.

Just then, Steph pervs in, flirting grin turned up to the max, and immediately puts her arm around Joey (with a perfunctory sarcastic hello to Wheels). Joey looks utterly terrified. "I never see enough of you," she purrs, while fiddling with his jacket buttons. "How'd you like to be … sports rep on the student council?" Wow, she really knows how to talk dirty.

Snake butts in and points out that Joey isn't on any teams, and actually hates sports. Joey's not too pleased with this attempted cockblocking, and says that he watches sports on TV. Wheels asks if there's supposed to be an election or something, but Steph tells him in her most withering voice, "I'm school president. I can do what I want." Wow, she's gone mad with power. From being school president. That's just sad.

Wheels shakes his head in a "what did I ever see in this psycho?" sort of way, but Steph ignores him, as she's back to leching on Joey: apparently him being sports rep means they're going to have to "work veeery closely together". Joey understands this to mean that there will be hot presidential sex in his future, and is 100% in favour of this development.

Steph goes back out into the hallway, cheered on by Erika, who's always kind of a ditz but not usually this evil. Joey (who has suddenly developed a terrible bumfluff moustache) is totally psyched at having just been molested by Steph, and announces, "Joey Jeremiah never gives up – and this is what happens!". Then he plays a little flourish on the keyboard. Wheels looks pretty pissed off, but insists he's cool with the whole thing, and the guys go back to rehearsing. I think they're playing worse again.

Next day, and someone has hung a big black-and-white poster of a pair of sexy legs in one of the upstairs windows. What the hell?

Anyway, Joey's in the bathroom, gelling his eyebrows with saliva and loudly telling himself, "You devil. How can you stand to be so good looking?" Yick walks by, and looks at Joey pretty much the way you'd usually look at someone in this situation. As Yick unzips and starts peeing, with realistic splashy sound effects (WHAT THE HELL THIS SHOW IS FUCKED UP), Joey asks him, "Am I beautiful or am I beautiful?" Yick looks acutely uncomfortable and mutters that he doesn't like multiple choice. Also, that's a pretty weird thing to ask a near-stranger while they're urinating.

"If you were smart, you'd be nice to me!" says Joey. "You're talking to Degrassi Junior High's new sports rep!" Yick is pretty angry at this, and points out that Joey isn't on any teams, but Joey smarms that he's "a very close personal friend of Stephanie Kaye", and struts off. As the upbeat guitar music strikes up again, Yick glowers angrily (although he's thankfully not too angry to wash his hands) and contemplates revenge.

Steph and the twins are in Mr Raditch's classroom. Wheels and Snake come in, and Wheels casually ignores Steph and just keeps on talking to Wheels. Steph is enraged to see him getting on with his life, and gives him evils, and he is completely oblivious. By the way, Snake and Wheels are both wearing yellow sweatshirts on which they've written "The Zit Remedy !" in fabric paint. Joey's sweatshirt is neon pink, and says "alias Joey and the Jet Set" on the back. Because Joey is a tool. Anyway, Joey comes in, and Steph instantly drapes herself around him. He asks her if she wants to go out on Saturday, and she acts delighted. Wheels listens to the whole thing, shaking his head in disbelief, or jealousy, or something.

Meanwhile, Yick rushes into Ms Avery's classroom, and starts yelling at Arthur about how Steph made Joey sports rep. "Sports rep's a Grade Seven position!" says Melanie. "Joey's in Grade Eight." "The student council is supposed to be balanced!" Kathleen whines. "There's supposed to be a vote," says Caitlin, who has unwisely curled her hair this week. "This goes totally against the democratic system," says Alex sternly.

And for some reason, everyone's saying all this to Arthur. "Maybe she's got a reason for doing this?" he suggests feebly. "Whose side are you on!" shouts Yick, who's suddenly gone from being nervous at the idea of being sports rep to feeling that this position is his God-given right, and no skank in a boob tube is going to take it away from him. The whole thing instantly turns into a screaming match, until Ms Avery comes in and tells them all to be quiet and start studying. Although surely, if the exam is just a non-threatening checkup on their progress, there's no real need to study after all?

Anyway, the Grade Sevens are angry, and we next see a montage of them engaging in classic '80s-style political activism. That's right, they're putting up ornate handmade posters about how Stephanie is a terrible president. Lots and lots and lots of posters. They're also engaging in expository dialogue about how Steph only got to be president by trading votes for sexual favours, and was drunk at the big dance, and Nancy even complains about Steph not following through on her promise to introduce rock music on the PA. Ah, unfulfillable campaign promises. Welcome to politics, Nancy. And Rick is running a petition to have Stephanie impeached, and we all know how good Rick is at getting people to sign petitions.

Arthur, in a desperate attempt to smooth things over, has caught up with Steph outside the girls' bathroom, and is pointing out that the new student council is statistically unrepresentative, but she says (in an inappropriately sexy voice, ew) that seventh graders don't count, and she can handle this situation on her own. Because she's proved so adept at handling awkward situations in the past.

They're really having fun with montages in this episode. Backed by the sweet strains of "Everybody Wants Something", we now see, in quick succession: Steph dolling herself up, Steph hitting on Joey to the disgust of Wheels, and the Grade Sevens putting up yet more posters while chanting, "Out of the way with Stephanie Kaye!" This is sure to end well.

In the auditorium, the guys have just finished rehearsing. Joey thinks it was "excellent" as always, but Snake is labouring under the delusion that they might improve if they practise some more. Wheels announces that he has to go and study, Joey says the exam doesn't matter, and Wheels says he wants to pass. Get used to this scene: it will play out repeatedly throughout the series.

Snake tells Wheels to relax, and Wheels shouts very convincingly that he is relaxed. "Look, I understand how you feel, but we shouldn't stop being friends just because your girl chose me over you," Joey assholes. "A beautiful chick like Stephanie – I'd be real upset too. Then again, it wouldn't happen to me." Remind me  again why either of the other guys is friends with this tool? Wheels snaps, "Joey, you're a real jerk, you know that?" and storms out, pausing in the doorway to make some sort of Canadian Mafia fist gesture at Joey.

"What'd I say?" Joey bleats. Snake doesn't dignify this with an answer.

After the break, it's the next morning. Close-up on Mr Raditch walking in with his briefcase. For some reason, he's wearing sunglasses in the dead of winter. He chirpily greets various randomers, telling them it's a beautiful day for an exam, and asks Joey if he's "sweating yet" before breaking into a high-pitched giggle. Clearly this man became a teacher because he enjoys inflicting psychological torture on people decades younger than him. Suppose it's as good a reason as any.

In the hallways, Kathleen, Yick, Melanie, Alex, and an extra are planning to confront Stephanie after class. "She won't be expecting us!" Kathleen announces. Although really, the ten thousand handmade posters and very public anti-Stephanie petition might have given her some sort of an inkling, if she wasn't too self-absorbed to notice them.

In the library, Wheels is idly rotating a bookshelf. I mean, it's a rotating bookshelf; he's not being randomly destructive. I'm very disappointed to report that none of the titles are particularly amusing this time, although some of them are in French, so I suppose the show hadn't yet started pretending to take place in the US.

Heather and Erika are sitting at a nearby table, talking loudly. "It's not faaaaair!" Heather complains. "Steph doesn't even like Joey!" (Wheels starts listening in from behind the bookshelf.) "Sure she does… sort of," says Erika weakly. In case any hidden listeners aren't entirely up to speed on the situation, Heather helpfully reminds Erika, "But not in the way he thinks she likes him. She's only using him to get back at Wheels for not going out on the date." "All's fair in love and war!" answers Erika, whose idea this whole thing was, so I suppose she would tend to defend it.

Anyway, Erika decides that since Heather has a vague shred of concern for Joey's feelings, she must totally have the hots for him, and the conversation degenerates into bickering. The elusive Ms Baxter tells them to be quiet, and Wheels sneaks out while they're distracted. He looks solemn, or maybe he's just sleepy.

Meanwhile, in the classroom, Mr Raditch is digging frantically through his desk drawers. Eventually, he realises that everyone is starting to stare at him, and he gives them all the frowning of a lifetime, then gets up and walks to the door with a strained grin, then breaks into a run, actually skating along the hall floor at one point, and nearly elbowing Wheels in the face. Wheels shakes his head at Raditch in disgust, apparently having lost the last remnants of his faith in humanity.

Once he gets to the classroom, Wheels gets straight to business. He sits down in front of Joey and announces, "Stephanie's using you. She's just pretending to like you so that I'll get jealous." Joey calls him pathetic, and Wheels said he heard Heather and Erika talking about it. "Really nice – trying to mess me up just before an exam. Thanks a lot, Wheels. Some friend you are," snaps Joey. Yeah, when Joey doesn't make it to Harvard, it's going to be all Wheels's fault.

Just then, Steph comes in, and says hi to Joey in her best sexy voice. Joey looks up at her distrustfully.

Hey, it's Lucy! Remember Lucy? She walks into the school office just in time to see Mr Raditch digging through a filing cabinet and arguing with Doris the School Secretary. "Of course I have a copy, but it's at home and there's no time to get it!" he shouts. So, in case you hadn't figured it out already, Raditch lost the exam paper. Hyuk hyuk.

Lucy asks Doris for a copy of her attendance records to give to her social worker. Doris goes back to the filing cabinet and shoos Mr Raditch out of the way, before getting Lucy's attendance file out of the same drawer where he was looking for the exam paper. So… they apparently keep all the school's paperwork in one drawer.

Lucy and Doris chit-chat about Lucy's upcoming court date. "I don't know how you could get yourself in such a mess," Doris says. Lucy doesn't bother explaining that it was the inevitable consequence of her mother having a high-powered job. In the background, Raditch flings a pile of paper on the floor, then runs out of the room. "Mr Raditch is acting weirder than usual," Lucy remarks, and Doris explains for the benefit of the slowest audience members that he did, in fact, lose the exam paper. Does this mean he can no longer mock Yick for being disorganised?

Ms Avery, dressed in head-to-toe pink for some reason, is handing out exam papers to the Grade Sevens. While she rambles soothingly about exam technique, Yick asks Arthur if he's going with them to gang up on Stephanie. "I guess so," says Arthur, who has obviously figured out which side he's on, and oddly enough he's not siding with the sister who lectures him on his own insignificance and won't speak to him in public.

Back in Mr Raditch's classroom, the kids are doing what fictional schoolkids always do when left unattended: throwing paper planes at each other and shouting "Wooooo!" Lucy tells Voula about Raditch losing the exam, and I'm sorry to tell you that this is the last time we'll ever see Voula: the actress who played her, Niki Kemeny, was advised by her agent to leave the show and aim for better things. And she never acted again. (Yes, seriously.) If it's any comfort, she's gone out in classic Voula style: today's peasant blouse is the frilliest one yet.

Joey's at the back of the class, getting some hasty last-minute coaching from Snake. Wheels keeps turning around and telling him to ask the twins if what he says is true. Eventually, Joey just gets up and goes over to the girls while Snake is in the middle of explaining something, but before he can ask them, Mr Raditch comes back in, clutching the exam paper, and tells him in a weirdly squeaky voice to sit down.

Raditch is hilariously dishevelled, by the way: he's taken his glasses off, his hair is a mess, his tie has been yanked loose, his scarf is hanging over one shoulder, and his shirt is untucked at the front. I would love to know what actually happened to him and who he had to beat up to get the exam paper back. He pants that he was "delayed" and asks a smirking Spike to hand out writing paper, then writes the exam questions up on the board. The camera pans slowly over the faces of the kids, while a distant choir eerily sings the school song. Everybody seems to be doing ok except for Joey, who looks utterly, utterly baffled.

Over at Ms Avery's class, the bell goes, and everyone gets up to leave. Once they're out the door, they march down towards the Bathroom of Skanky Transformations, again chanting "Out of the way with Stephanie Kaye!" Wow, her name really lends itself to catchy political slogans.

Mr Raditch (who for some reason is reading a business magazine) announces that time's up. People start to get up and leave. Steph puts her hand on Joey's neck on the way out, and giggles, "See you later, Sports Rep." He just looks disturbed. Wheels then stops by yet again to tell Joey to talk to the twins. Eventually, Joey runs up to them just before they leave the room, and asks them, "Is Stephanie using me to get Wheels jealous?" There's a long, uncomfortable pause, and Erika says no just as Heather says yes. "Sorry," Heather mumbles.

The mob is still marching down to the bathroom, and they all seem to be having fun chanting, even though they're really having trouble speaking in unison. Arthur brings up the rear, looking acutely uncomfortable.

Wheels and Snake are outside the classroom, awkwardly improvising a conversation about the exam, when Joey comes over. "Hey Wheels, you were right. So, wanna come practice?" So… I guess they're all friends again? That was easy. All Wheels had to do was destroy Joey's self-esteem!

Stephanie finally arrives at the bathroom (with Voula in tow for some reason) to find the Grade Sevens waiting for her, still chanting. "What are they saying?" asks Voula, who apparently didn't notice any of the impeachment posters either. Steph walks up to Susie and icily asks, "Yes?" "As vice-president, I formally protest the appointment of Joey Jeremiah as sports rep," says Susie, who really knows how to suck the fun out of an angry protest. Steph just smirks and answers, "Joey's qualified," in a voice that implies his qualifications are to be found in his pants.

Everyone erupts at this, and Steph looks a bit terrified. Just then, she spots Joey and calls him over: "Tell them what a great sports rep you are." Joey calls for silence, then announces that he can't be sports rep because it's a Grade Seven position. Stephanie looks at him in a way that would make most people run away screaming, but all he says is "You don't have to be nice to me any more, OK, Steph?" As the Grade Sevens cheer wildly, Joey walks off with a very smug-looking Wheels.

As sad music builds (specifically a slow, minor-key version of "Everybody Wants Something"), Steph flounces into the bathroom. The bathroom, by the way, is festooned with a caricature of a busty hooker-type, with the caption "Is this a school president?", so this may not have been the best place to go for solace. As she puts on her fugly cover-up clothes for going home in, she tells the mirror that she just wanted everybody to like her. Really? She actually thought any of her previous behaviour would make her popular? …Stephanie does not understand human interaction at all.

This is helpfully illustrated with a string of Episode 1 flashbacks, in a clumsy attempt to pad out an episode that's basically over but has a couple more minutes left to run. We see Steph being mean to Arthur, her scantily-clad election speech about how "being president is a responsibility not to be taken lightly" (I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE), her kissing all the boys in exchange for votes, Voula looking disgusted at this, Steph thanking Joey instead of Voula, and finally Voula telling Steph, "You're on your own, Miss President, you and your new image… image… image…" Yes, it actually repeats like that, and it's just as awesome/terrible as you might expect.

Oh, present-day Stephanie is crying in front of the mirror at this point. She tries to wipe her eyes with toilet tissue, which is so cheap that it makes deafening crunchy noises. Nice. There is more sad music, because it's so tragic when people's assholish behaviour comes back to haunt them.

Not that anyone cares, but I think we're meant to assume that Yick is automatically sports rep now (so much for the democratic system). Also, the Grade Sevens were so distracted by this that they forgot to actually have Steph impeached; she's still president next season.

A little later, the Grade Sevens are standing around victoriously. Arthur, by the way, is wearing a tattered mustard-coloured scarf that L.D. was wearing at the start of the episode, and which ends up on one of the twins in a later episode. Damn wardrobe department. Anyway, Steph goes by and calls out to him, asking if he wants to walk home together. He looks surprised, then goes over to her.

Arthur makes a horrible attempt at starting a conversation. "You know something? Junior high is OK. I really liked my first term. What about you?" Oh, well, considering she drove away her best friend, vomited from too much Bailey's at the school dance, got in trouble for planning to have sex with Wheels, nearly got assaulted by a perverted TV star, and just minutes ago got hounded by an angry mob, I'd say she had a ball. "I made a lot of mistakes," she understates.

She stares back at the school in silence, which gives us a minute to ponder why her home clothes all have to be three sizes too big for her. "You know what?" she announces. "Next term is gonna be completely different. I'm gonna be me." "That's great!" croaks Arthur, presumably well aware that Steph being Steph is what got them all into this mess.

"I'm even gonna try to be nicer to you!" she tells him. He asks if he can talk to her at school, and she says yes, and if they can sometimes watch the TV shows he wants to watch, and she says yes, and if he can borrow her stereo, at which she jokingly tells him not to push his luck. Oh, Steph! We all know she'll be back to crushing his spirit within a week.

And that brings us to the end of Season 1. I think you'll all agree that we've learned a lot so far, but remember: there's lots more to learn in Season 2. Marvel at how the girls love a guy with a tragic past! Swoon over the ongoing Melanie/Yick love story! Gasp at the thrilling lessons on journalistic responsibility! Learn the truth about whether epilepsy is contagious! And scratch your head in bafflement at what passed for an attractive man back in the '80s!

Also: a friend and I watched "It's Late" at the weekend, and we tried out the Degrassi Drinking Game (for science). Our findings: if you do this with red wine, you will feel extremely sick. Luckily, neither of us had to give a speech to the PTA, so it was all OK in the end.

Dubious lessons of the week: Women are deceitful and manipulative. Thirteen-year-olds really care about having a balanced student council, but fortunately they also have very short attention spans.

Friday, October 30, 2009

S01 E12 – Parents' Night

We open on a shot of a rather mushy-looking birthday cake. Wheels is sitting on the couch, changing the strap on his bass guitar. The camera pans over the table, showing paper plates with crumbled-up pieces of cake (seemingly nobody found it too palatable despite its attractive blue-and-taupe icing) and a navy-blue birthday card with a painting of fishing boats, done in assorted shades of navy. It's the sort of birthday card that makes you happy you're one year closer to death.

Wheels's mother is ironing and lip-syncing to some English-language opera playing on the stereo. Her lip-syncing is actually kind of cute, although the music itself is suicidally bleak. "Now that's real music," she remarks, "not like that… rock noise you listen to, Derek. That's why we got you a good record." Wheels picks up the record (the South Pacific soundtrack) and sarcastically tells her he can't wait to listen to it.

Wheels's dad (he of the inept abstinence lecture from a few episodes back) then casually chimes in: "Derek, did you ever stop to think that maybe rock music is part of an alien plot to take over the world?" Apparently Wheels is used to his dad's deranged conspiracy theories, because he just laughs and answers, "Right, Dad." Well, I suppose there's not really much you can say to a question like that.

Just then, the phone rings. Wheels gets up to answer it, while his parents reminisce fondly about crooners. But when he picks up the phone, there's nobody there. Cut to a hand in a pair of fugly bright yellow leather driving gloves, hanging up a payphone. As some wildly over-elaborate drumming kicks in on the soundtrack, Wheels announces that the caller hung up. "That's strange," says his mother. "That happened earlier today." Everyone looks vaguely mystified.

After the opening credits, Wheels is arriving at school with some randomer. In the foreground, we can see a car parked just next to the entrance, and the driver is wearing fugly bright yellow leather driving gloves. These things are so bad that very few people can actually have bought a pair, so it's safe to assume that the lurker is the same person who called the Wheels house.

More importantly, Wheels and the other kid are engaged in some spectacularly bad improvised dialogue. The other kid asks Wheels what he got for his birthday, and Wheels answers: "Oh, my mum made me a big cake and it had three layers of chocolate and stuff and, uh, I got some clothes and stuff and – and – my mum and my dad? They got me a, a guitar strap? For my guitar?" The other kid, who's feebly trying to interject things, asks what colour the strap is. Wheels mumbles: "Aw, it's excellent! It's – it's kinda like, I guess it's, I'm not really sure, like, it's got, it's got brow – brownish colours and stuff…" The guy goes on about how the guitar strap sounds like the most awesome thing ever, and Wheels then rambles about how he's in a band with Joey and Snake, and really it would have been much kinder to all concerned if the writers had just written the kids some dialogue for this scene, because seriously, improv is not one of their strengths.

While all this is going on, the man in the yellow gloves gets out of his car, staring fixedly at Wheels, and stands there watching him go into the school. Wheels doesn't notice this, since he's busy giving this lengthy yet vague description of his guitar strap, but Snake sees the guy and eyes him suspiciously. As you do.

Inside the building, Snake catches up with Wheels and announces he's thought of a great name for their band: Snake and the Charmers. Wheels smiles politely and says he doesn't think Joey will like it. "Joey?" says Snake. "That guy knows nothing about names!" Oooh, burn. But apparently they've got to decide soon, because, as Snake says, "the talent show is next week, and we're going to be fabulous". I'm sure you are, Snake. I'm sure you are.

Snake asks Wheels if he noticed the man looking at him outside the school. "Looking at me?" asks Wheels. "Probably some pervert," says Snake cheerfully. How reassuring. The guys then discuss their report cards; neither of them did well. At least they have musical careers to look forward to, right?

On the PA, Mr Lawrence announces that a doctor from the Board of Health is coming to give a lecture on scalp hygiene, entitled "The Facts of Lice". I love this show.

Because at least 25% of the action in each episode must take place in a toilet, Wheels next runs into Joey in the boys' bathroom. Joey is busy forging his mother's signature on his report card, since he "forgot" to show it to his parents. As Wheels starts peeing (sigh), Joey remarks that he wishes he had Wheels's parents, since his own "have got, like, ZERO sense of humour". I don't know, his dad made that hilarious joke about child abuse before.

Also, Joey's decided that the band should be called Joey and the Joybuzzers. Wheels says it's fine, but Snake won't like it. "That guy knows nothing about names," sneers Joey. Apparently, "knowing something about names" was a prerequisite for coolness back in the day. Who knew?

Just as Mr Lawrence announces that one of the mythical other teachers has given birth to a bouncing baby boy, we cut to Spike and the twins. Nice. Spike is unwisely experimenting with power-dressing, sporting a huge shoulder-padded suit jacket and looking vaguely reminiscent of Hillary Clinton during her husband's first term in office. You know, except for the giant punk hairdo. She's complaining that Shane won't talk to her any more (really, probably a good thing, considering his classy treatment of the whole pregnancy situation).

Just in case anyone missed the end of the last episode, Spike quickly recaps her dilemma: "I'm too young to have a baby, I don't wanna be a mother, and I don't wanna have an abortion, either." Erika asks if Spike would have an abortion and tell her mother it was a miscarriage, but her line is mostly drowned out by the bell (I had to listen four times before I could figure out what she was saying), so… that goes nowhere.

People come into the classroom, and Shane very pointedly ignores Spike's attempts to catch his eye. Still a tool, then.

Everyone has to leave their signed report cards on Mr Raditch's desk, and when Joey leaves his, Raditch asks him what his parents made of it. Joey smarms that his parents said nothing because "they're not too concerned about school and stuff". This is probably not the best way to slip under Raditch's radar, because he announces that he'll have to "get them concerned" on Parents' Night, which is upcoming. At this, Joey collapses theatrically into his chair, and everyone stares and laughs at him, even Wheels. Traitor.

"I know some of you are worried about Parents' Night – don't be. It's not a conspiracy," announces Raditch. It would be a bit more convincing if he hadn't just tried to make Joey worry about Parents' Night.

After class, Raditch reminds everyone that there's a rehearsal for the Parents' Night talent show in five minutes' time. Once out in the corridor, Joey wails, "I forgot about Parents' Night!" while walking past a giant Parents' Night poster. Parents' Night is rapidly shaping up to be the new Photo Day. There's some light-hearted banter with Snake and Wheels over whether Joey's parents will kill him, or just break his arms, and Joey insists he only hid his report card in order to make his parents' lives easier. If only all kids were as thoughtful as Joey.

At this, Snake points out that Parents' Night was announced on the report cards, so Joey's parents have no idea it's on, so Joey should just forge a note from his parents saying they can't be there. Problem solved. Wheels points out that it's a stupid idea, but nobody listens.

Once they're gone, Heather and Erika drag Spike out of the classroom. "I don't know about this," Spike moans. "Oh look, he talked to me about it once. Wheels doesn't mind being adopted," says Heather. So… it turns out Wheels is adopted all of a sudden. Glad we got that straight. Spike says Wheels was just one of the lucky ones, and ended up with nice parents (even if they are fond of show tunes and alien conspiracy theories). The twins insist that there are lots of nice adoptive parents out there, and anyway, Spike doesn't want to have the baby or have an abortion, so she has no other option. So there.

Next we see the talent show rehearsal, and it looks like "talent" may be a slight exaggeration. Even by Degrassi standards, this is just completely bonkers.

So, some kid in a top hat and Timmy Mallett glasses is playing backing music on a keyboard. On the stage, Caitlin's wearing pink short-shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, an oversized pith helmet and a waist-length blonde wig; she's accompanied by Arthur, who's wearing a cavalier wig, a huge wooden necklace, and an "ethnic" shirt. This is his attempt at drag. Caitlin having caught the rap bug two episodes ago, she's somehow talked Arthur into doing a rap duet, with lyrics as follows:

Caitlin: "I'm Phyllis!"
Arthur: "I'm Fran!"
Both: "We're going south to get a man!/We'd better find one soon, we're getting really tense/And since he's got to be just right/We've stayed up all night/Making up a list of his requirements…"

Then, while attempting to dance, they trip over each other. Seriously, the whole thing is insane.

(Also, the routine seems so massively out of character for Caitlin that I can only assume it's some sort of feminist cautionary tale, in which Phyllis and Fran end up discovering political lesbianism before becoming Marxist revolutionaries in Peru.)

Backstage, Wheels and the guys are getting ready for their rehearsal. Joey wants to shoot their first music video on top of a building, but Snake thinks that's passé, and in true '80s style, wants to shoot it in a studio "with smoke machines and dancing girls!" "What do you do," asks Joey, "rent your ideas from Bozo the Clown?" Uh, yeah. Clowns are notorious for their clichéd music videos.

Joey, by the way, is wearing a huge black-and-grey wig. He looks like a badger. He is not in a position to criticise anyone else's aesthetic choices.

Just then, Spike appears in the doorway and asks Wheels for a word. They go out and sit on a convenient staircase. Meanwhile, Joey and Snake argue over whether the music video should have a dream sequence or not. But the real question is: should they lose the sax solo?

Spike asks, "You know I'm pregnant, right?" Wheels nods awkwardly. So yeah, I guess we're meant to assume that one of the twins talked, because it seems to be common knowledge from here on. Spike explains that she's thinking about putting the baby up for adoption, and Wheels nods awkwardly again. This isn't really going too well. "Seeing as you're adopted, I was wondering if you could ask you some stuff." Wheels finally realises where the conversation is going, and relaxes slightly.

Spike asks if he ever thinks about his birth parents, and he says, "Sometimes." She then asks if he knows anything about what happened, and he says all he knows is that they were too young to keep him and that he was born at 6am. When asked if he's mad at them for giving him up, he thinks and answers, "No… I don't think so." Basically, he's willing to help, but completely inarticulate.

Caitlin and Arthur have finished rehearsing. Arthur in particular is an awful dancer, and Ms Avery proceeds to damn them with faint, insincere praise: "Okay, not so bad… needs a little work but that's what rehearsals are for. Don't you get discouraged!" Both kids look completely crushed.

Next she calls for Joey and Snake and Wheels, and you can tell she's a freewheeling liberal because she actually calls Snake and Wheels by their nicknames. Wheels hastily tells Spike to let him know if she has any more questions, then joins the others on stage.

"I hope you guys know your music this time!" shouts Ms Avery. This raises the ghastly spectre of a previous rehearsal that went even worse than this one: Joey is just pawing at random notes on his keyboard, Wheels is playing the same note over and over again on his bass, and Snake's guitar seems to have no purpose other than making the speaker give off horrible feedback. "It sounds awful," Melanie whispers, while Ms Avery desperately tries to keep from laughing. Spike watches the guys for a minute, wondering if all adopted children go on to join atrocious bands, then beats a hasty retreat.

A little later, the guys are coming out of the building, and the worst part is that they actually think they sounded good. "That was the best rehearsal ever!" shouts Joey. "We've never played that well!" answers Snake. They all shout disjointed phrases like "excellent!" and "amazing!" and "all right!" and they are completely, utterly deluded.

Wheels goes off in one direction, Joey and Snake in another, and once Wheels is alone, the man in the yellow gloves gets out of his car and walks slowly to the school fence. Wheels sees him and stops walking. "You're Derek Wheeler, right?" asks the man. "I'm Mike Nelson. I'm your dad." And with that, a thousand Mystery Science Theater crossover fanfics were born.

Wheels stares back at the man, who keeps talking: "No, wait. It's true. You were born at Eastern General. 6am on a Friday. Your middle name is Michael. Let me show you something." He throws Wheels a little string of beads, some of which spell out "Nelson". "That's your birth necklace. They put it on you when you were born." Well, the name "birth necklace" would sort of suggest that, but has anyone else even heard of these things, or were they just invented so the writers would have something to hang some symbolism on?

"This is fake," says Wheels. "No, it's real," the guy answers. So that settles that question. Anyway, the guy, who I might as well refer to as Mike, says he just wants to talk, and there's no pressure, but he leaves Wheels a piece of paper with his phone number. He drives off, and Wheels takes the piece of paper and heads towards home, trying valiantly to look conflicted but actually just looking like the sun's in his eyes.

Later, Wheels is at home, staring at the necklace and the piece of paper, and I'm 99% sure he has a frieze of the Bayeux Tapestry on his bedroom walls. I'd mock him, but I'm actually pretty jealous. Also, that ridiculously elaborate drumming is back again. Derek's adopto-mom comes up to check that he's doing his homework, and he runs to his desk and pretends to be working.

"You know I don't like to nag you, but your report card wasn't very good," she tells him, in case we'd forgotten his earlier conversation with Snake. Wheels promises that he's nearly finished his homework, then, once she's gone, goes back to staring at the necklace and piece of paper. I love how people on TV can't think about a topic unless they're looking intently at some relevant object.

Next morning, Joey and Snake are still arguing over their conflicting visions of fame. "If we wanna sell the album we've got to go on tour!" Joey insists. "It'll be great – there'll be groupies, we'll have T-shirts that say 'Joey and the Joybuzzers'…" "I don't think my parents will let me miss that much school," Snake answers. Joey just points out that rock stars don't have to go to school. Which is admittedly true, but very few rock stars are 14 years old.

Up in the library, Wheels is staring morosely out the window. Joey comes over and shows him the fake note he's giving to Mr Raditch, and Wheels reads it out for our benefit. "Dear Mr Raditch: we regret to inform you that we are unable to attend parent-teacher night due to having a highly communicable disease." As forged notes go, it's pretty awesome, but Wheels just hands it back and goes back to angsting out the window. The others stare at him for a bit, then Snake asks him what's up.

Wheels explains about what happened yesterday. "Are you sure the guy's for real?" asks Snake. "There's a lot of weirdos out there." Yeah, perverts are always hanging around outside schools, pretending to be people's birth parents. Wheels points out that the guy did know a lot about him, and Google hasn't yet been invented, so he must be telling the truth.

And Wheels has made a massive miscalculation in telling his troubles to a pair of teenage boys. "This is great! I wish I was adopted – my parents are so boring," says Joey. "We could do a song about this!" Snake exclaims. "That's right!" Joey answers. "This is research!" Then they both start drumming on the table and chanting, "My dad is back, he's got lots of money…" Wheels goes back to staring out the window and inwardly vows never to tell them anything ever again.

Oh hey, speaking of birth fathers, here's Shane. He walks in and drifts over to sit on a couch, carefully ignoring Spike and the twins. Spike runs through her pregnancy dilemma yet again, for the sake of the more forgetful viewers: neither of them wants her to have an abortion or to have the baby. Hm, I'm getting the impression that teen pregnancy is a complicated issue with no easy answers… thanks, Degrassi writers! Also, Shane is in deep denial about the whole thing. "I just wish he'd talk to me," she sighs, as Shane buries himself in a textbook. Well, he may have screwed up two lives, but at least his grades will be really good.

Later on, Joey is frogmarching Wheels to a phone box. Wheels tries to voice some doubts, but Joey's having none of it. Wheels is so whipped he doesn't even close the door on the phone box before dialling, and just lets Joey stand there, breathing down his neck. As he gets through to Mike, Joey nods solemn encouragement, and there's a wholly inappropriate little synth flourish on the soundtrack.

After the commercial break, we are shown the most depressing restaurant ever. The shop front is a deathly grey and half the letters have peeled off. It's called [somebody]'s Grill, but the owner's name is now completely illegible, either because the sign is a million years old or because the place is so bad that nobody wanted to be held accountable. This is where food comes to die. Inside, Mike makes some chitchat with the waitress, then brings two milkshakes over to the waiting Wheels. "Pretty neat, eh?" he says chirpily. "We both like chocolate milkshakes – must be heredity." Wheels rolls his eyes, then semi-relents enough to ask Mike what he wanted to talk about.

Mike takes out his wallet and produces a black-and-white studio photo of a girl holding a baby. It's presumably Baby Wheels and his birth mother, although this isn't actually made clear. "She's pretty, eh?" asks Mike. Wheels forces an awkward smile; possibly he doesn't feel all that comfortable evaluating the attractiveness of his own mother.

Mike explains that he and Wheels's mother lost touch, and were only 16 when they had him, but didn't want to give him up, and they wanted to do the right thing, but didn't know what that was. Wheels listens, but it's fairly clear the whole encounter is torture for him. "We were just kids," says Mike. "I'm still a kid! Who else would go from town to town playing in a band?" I'm not sure if he's really being self-deprecating, or just pretending not to think he's the coolest guy ever. Anyway, Wheels's whole face lights up at this revelation, and he eagerly asks what Mike plays (drums) and says he plays bass. You know, just the one note for now, but hopefully he'll learn more some day. "That's heredity!" says Mike. Wheels grins and drinks his symbolic milkshake. Happy music plays.

Later, Wheels and Mike leave the restaurant, Mike giggling hysterically so we know they're still having a good time. Wheels asks, "How'd you find me? I thought you weren't supposed to know where I was." "We weren't supposed to know where you were," Mike admits, "or who your foster parents were. But I found out, kind of by accident." And that's all the explanation we're getting on that front. "I sort of kept tabs on you," Mike continues. "Whenever I'm in town I check the phonebook, make sure you're still here." Oh, and Wheels finally realises Mike was the crank-caller from the start of the episode (making him basically the last person on earth to figure this out).

Wheels turns to go, but Mike calls him back again. "We rehearse afternoons," he tells him. "We're not bad for a bar band. Why don't you come on down and check it out? How about tomorrow?" "Great, thanks, so I'll see you tomorrow!" says Wheels. So… tomorrow, then. As they go their separate ways, we see that bad mullets are also hereditary.

That night, Wheels is on the phone to Joey, and he's clutching the birth necklace so we know he's still thinking about Mike. He enthuses wildly to Joey about how Mike is nice and is in "a real rock band!" and invites Joey along to watch them rehearse. Joey, of course, is tied with Kathleen for the position of "last person you should ever bring along to any kind of possibly sensitive encounter".

Just then, Wheels's parents get home, and once Wheels hangs up, his dad earnestly asks him, "Hey Derek! Ever heard of a group called the Gourmet Scum?" Ahahaha, best band name ever. Wheels says the Gourmet Scum are "amazing", and his dad proudly produces a pair of tickets to their concert tomorrow. Wheels looks stricken, and says he can't go tomorrow, because he has a rehearsal for the talent show. And it looks like Wheels's special talent is shattering his dad's hopes and dreams, because Old Man Wheels is utterly crushed.

Next morning, at school, Spike and Shane are having a vicious row. Spike tells him to face up to what's going on, and he says he can't do much more than he's already doing (i.e. nothing at all). Well, at least they're talking. Meanwhile, Joey and Snake are still arguing about band names.

Joey heads into the bathroom, still talking to himself about how "Snake and the Sneeze" is a stupid name, and finds Wheels moping in the corner. And who could blame him? He's wearing a white poloneck under a brown diamond-pattern sweater vest. I'd hide in the bathroom too if I was dressed like that.

Joey, in an unusual display of awareness of other people's feelings, asks Wheels what's wrong. Wheels explains that his dad asked him to go to a concert last night. "I thought you were going to your other dad's band rehearsal," says Joey. "Mike's not my dad, ok?" Wheels snaps. "I've already got a dad." Joey is completely baffled, but apologises anyway. In case the audience is as stupid as Joey, Wheels explains that he feels bad for lying to his parents. "Come on!" says Joey, back to his old insensitive self. "How many times do you get to see a real live band?" Uh.. but Wheels is passing up the opportunity to see an almost certainly better band, so that just doesn't make a lick of sense.

After school, Joey and Wheels arrive at a stabtastic-looking pub called the Duke of Connaught, which apparently existed until quite recently: one review site claims, "This dive bar was the classic place to hang out back in the 90's. Unfortunately it was closed most likely due to illegal activities and depressing people." And it's about to get pretty depressing now, let me tell you.

Inside, the place is empty except for the band (Mike and the Drifters, which: first of all, what kind of band is named after the drummer? also, that name seems sort of copyright-infringey). And oh Christ, are they awful. I mean, they can carry a tune, more or less, but it's horrible rambling instrumental cock-rock, and even though we only hear them play for about 20 seconds, it feels like it goes on for fucking ever. Give me Caitlin and Arthur's drag rap any day.

Anyway, once the horror has temporarily abated, Mike jumps up to say hi to Wheels, and proudly introduces him to the others. "Hey guys, check it out – this is Derek, my kid!" Wheels stares at him in outrage, while the band express their amazement: "Hey, you never told us you had a kid!" (ouch), "Man, he sure looks like you!" (untrue except for the mullet), "Does this mean we get to call you Dad?" (buh?).

Wheels flips out at this: "I belong to my mum and dad! I'm not his!" Joey frantically tries to shush him, and Mike tries to reason with him, but Wheels just keeps ranting: "Stay away from me. What did you come back for? You're messing everything up." Ugh, the kid misses one Gourmet Scum concert and apparently his life is ruined. Teenagers. "I'm not trying to mess anything up. I care abote you," Mike protests. "Yeah," says Wheels. "You care abote me so much you got rid of me? I was a mistake." He turns to go, then stops: "And I don't want your stupid necklace, either." In all fairness, jewellery is rarely a good gift to give a 14-year-old boy.

Wheels storms out, and Joey runs after him. "Forget it, Joey. I'm not going back. Ever," Wheels emos. "But they're a real baaaand!" wails Joey. Like I said: pretty much the worst person Wheels could have brought along.

Later, Wheels gets home, and… why the hell is there a framed photo of some jellybeans on the wall? Anyway, his parents are sitting in the pitch dark for some reason, waiting for him. "Everything's going to be all right," his mother announces out of nowhere. "What?" asks Wheels sensibly. "Mike telephoned," his dad explains, and yes, he actually says "telephoned". Because he is just that old-fashioned.

"He apologised for any trouble he caused, as well he might," says Wheels's mom, who is also old-fashioned. Anyway, Wheels's parents tell him that it's ok to be curious about his birth parents, and they totally support him. And this backfires spectacularly: "Don't you want me any more?" asks Wheels. "I don't want Mike. I want you! I wish things were like the way they were!" And then he storms off to his room, possibly the only teenager ever to have a tantrum because he loves his parents so much.

Next morning, Joey and Snake are still arguing about band names (yawn) when Raditch calls Joey over. "Real shame my parents can't come to Parents' Night," Joey remarks. Raditch tells him, "The note was so sad that I just called your parents to express my sympathy… they were very curious about the note and they promised to be here." So, Joey is rumbled, to the surprise of nobody except himself, and that whole scene was basically filler.

Oh hey, Spike and Shane are having another argument. "I don't like being told what to do!" yells Spike, who's wearing a handmade grandma cardigan, in a shade of pinky beige that thankfully doesn't exist any more, yet again betraying how the wardrobe people on this show had absolutely no idea how punks dress. "You didn't get pregnant by yourself, you know – I have some say here," says Shane. "One dumb mistake and you're in charge of my life?" Spike retorts. Wait, what? Yesterday they were fighting because he didn't take an interest, and now they're fighting because he does? Dammit, show! Make more sense!

"I thought you liked me," Shane sighs, irrelevantly. "Sure I like you," says Spike (I really don't know why, since he's been completely unlikable throughout), "but we're only fourteen, and we're not in love or anything." Shane responds calmly and maturely by flouncing off in a huff.

Wheels comes over to ask what's up. "Shane and I aren't going to see each other any more," Spike explains. Wheels stares at the floor awkwardly. He did ask. "I'm still thinking of putting the baby up for adoption," she continues. Wheels keeps staring at the floor. "But what happens if I love it too much to give it away?" she asks. Wheels unhelpfully tells her to "do what's right", but Spike complains that she doesn't know what that is. Oh hey, that sounds familiar! Do I sense an impending lesson?

Wheels goes over to his locker, and Spike follows him, clearly reckoning that a confidant who gives no advice at all is still better than Erika "you can't get pregnant your first time" Farrell. "If I do give it up for adoption, I'd like to meet it later on, just to explain why I had to give it up," she says. Wheels remains completely silent and is looking acutely uncomfortable with this whole conversation. "You don't think that's wrong, do you?" asks Spike, possibly just to check if he can still hear her. "No," says Wheels hastily, perhaps because he suddenly understands his bio-dad's motivations, or perhaps because he just wants Spike to leave him alone.

That evening, he's at home practicing the bass, and he's clearly had a breakthrough because he can now play two notes. Go Wheels! His mother passes his door, and he calls her back to make sure she knows about Parents' Night, and to ask if she and his dad will stay to watch his band afterwards. "We wouldn't miss it for the world!" she says. "My son, the star!" Even Wheels knows that she's slightly overstating things (two notes is still not a lot), but she just tells him, "You don't see it through our eyes." So, despite the fact that they previously teased him for his taste in music, it seems his parents still love him enough to sit through an awful talent show. Awww. Wheels ponders this for a moment, then goes back to playing his two notes. Not terribly well.

Aaaaugh, wait. I take it back. I will gladly listen to Wheels playing two notes for an hour rather than have to watch another scene of Mike's horrible band playing. Thankfully, Wheels turns up again, and eventually they notice him and shut up. Oh ew, the guitarist is wearing a leather waistcoat.

Under the watchful eyes of his bandmates, Mike goes over to Wheels and apologises for, you know, stalking Wheels and going behind his parents' backs and so on. "I was afraid they'd say no and I couldn't see you," he explains. Yeah… that makes the stalking more creepy, not less.

"Is it ok if we don't see each other for a bit?" asks Wheels. "But I'd like to call you some time. Later." "Yeah, sure," says Mike sadly. "See you, Derek." This whole thing is made much more awkward by the fact that Mike's bandmates are all standing about two metres away, not even pretending not to listen.

"Most of my friends call me Wheels," says Wheels. Mike smirks like he knows what a stupid nickname that is, but all he says is, "Ok, Wheels." "You still got my necklace?" Wheels asks. "Your necklace?" "Yeah, my necklace." If you say "necklace" too many times it doesn't sound like a word any more. Mike digs around in his pocket and throws the necklace to Wheels, who catches it and smiles. End credits.

Oh, and we never find out what happens on Parents' Night.

Dubious lessons of the week: Adoptive parents are boring; birth parents are cool. But both kinds of parent will give you crappy birthday presents. Also, never ever talk to a 14-year-old boy about your problems.

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.