Wednesday, January 6, 2010

S02 E01– Eggbert

I'm back! Didja miss me?

Season 2 begins in fine style, with that obligatory staple of every teen drama: the one where some kids have to take care of a fake baby. Of course, usually this is a school project intended to scare the characters (and the audience) into using a condom, dammit, but this being Degrassi, someone's already pregnant, and it's just the audience getting educated. And boy, are they going to get educated.

We open with a shot of some eggs, and a voice explaning, "When I got pregnant…" Wow, we're only seconds into Season 2, and we're already approaching the giddy metaphorical heights last seen with the flowers of lesbian symbolism. They've really raised their game this time round.

As the camera pans out, we see that Spike's sitting in a room surrounded by girls with basketballs under their tops. One of them is monologuing resentfully about how when she got pregnant, her boyfriend wanted to help, but his father wouldn't let him get involved. Shockingly, it seems teenage pregnancy is still a complex and difficult issue, just like it was last season.

(Also, because it's 1987, everyone's jeans are two inches too short, and  there's a whole pile of boxes labelled "Computer Paper" in the corner of the room. Remember that stuff? Ugh, I'm old.)

Spike is listening very intently, and the Spike 'n Shane Angst Theme is playing softly in the background. Fortunately for all of us, the woman in charge of the support group interrupts the random girl's tale of patriarchal injustice, because she has something much more important to talk about: eggs. Or, as she puts it, "A lot of you have asked what it might be like if you decide to keep your babies. I can't tell you that, but I can suggest an experiment that will help you see one aspect. You take an egg, and for two full weeks, you treat it as if it were an infant." Breastfeeding an egg sounds… challenging. I'm sure I could think of other ways in which an egg isn't very much like a real baby, but the screaming of my neighbour's newborn is distracting me.

Anyway, they have to keep the egg warm, protect it from "abuse and accidents" (because there are hordes of paedo scumbags out there just waiting for you to turn your back on your eggs for a second), and make sure it's not left unattended. They also have to arrange "appropriate daycare" for when they're at school, or else take it with them. No explanation on what constitutes appropriate daycare for an egg; I assume they have to leave it with a friendly hen or something.

So, childrearing: difficult. But in case anyone hadn't got the message, the lady corners Spike after the session and tells her, "Taking care of an infant is going to make a big difference in your lifestyle." Spike looks like this fact had genuinely never occurred to her before. Can she manage to raise this eggbaby and spend three hours a day styling her hair? Stay tuned to find out.

After the opening credits, we're back at school. Even though it's meant to be right after the Christmas holidays (there was snow on the ground at the end of last season/term), it's clearly summer. Apparently Season 1 was made during the school year, but after that the show was filmed in the summer holidays, so henceforth the weather is always sunny and everyone always wears shorts. In addition, everyone has aged visibly since last season. It was obviously a very stressful Christmas.

Speaking of stressful, Shane is sitting on the steps, looking tortured. Kathleen, still a bitch, speculates on whether he got any more girls pregnant over the holidays. Then says a bright friendly hello to him. Awww.

Spike's with the twins. One of them (I'm guessing it's Heather because she's showing less skin) asks her if she still feels sick every morning. "No, that's over," Spike says, "but I'm starting to get fat." This is the second time we've been told that pregnancy will make you fat. Seriously? I think this would not really be news to most teenagers. Anyway, the girls obligatorily deny that she's fat, but she insists she is, and that everyone will stare, and a lot of people *coughShanecough* already stare at her.

Remember, girls: sex will make you into a fat circus freak. Never have sex.

On cue, Shane shuffles over and tries to say hi, but Spike tells him there's "nothing to say", and the twins give him identical death glares. "What a creep!" Spike mutters to Heather.

Remember, boys: if you try to maintain any kind of relationship with the mother of your unborn child, that makes you a creep. Stay far away!

All this time, Spike's been carrying a little cardboard box, and Erika (who's now spelling it Erica, according to the credits) asks her what's up with that. Spike replies that she's "sort of babysitting an egg". Yeah, that's a helpful response that instantly clarifies the situation. Anyway, she explains vaguely to them that this will "help me to find out what taking care of a baby is like", which is still COMPLETELY UNTRUE, WTF.

Meanwhile, some of the Grade 7 girls are watching them, and Kathleen offers some words of wisdom: "Pregnant girls shouldn't be allowed at Degrassi. Spike should go to a home or something. She sets a bad example." Yeah, when the other girls see how much fun Spike is having, they'll all want to get pregnant! Caitlin is predictably righteous and indignant, while Melanie and Susie sarcastically ask if Shane should have to go to a home too. "He's not pregnant!" Kathleen replies. Ah, Kathleen: still bravely flying the flag for small-town closed-mindedness.

In a classic Degrassi scene… Wheels and Joey are urinating. Again. At least we're spared the sound effects this time, and just have to listen to Joey's nonsensical rambling. "You're French kissing a chick, right? And then she bites. Your tongue gets infected so you can't talk. It happens all the time." It… does? Wheels, who's really been working on his mullet over the holidays, suggests that if French kissing was so dangerous, people wouldn't do it. Just on cue, in comes Shane, that guy who did a risky thing and suffered dire consequences.

"Shane, my man! You know about chicks," Joey begins. Shane continues to look tortured, but concedes that he knows "a bit" about them. "'A bit?' You got Spike pregnant, right?" answers Joey. Shane takes offence at this, and threatens Joey with… a comb. After some tense glowering, he relents and puts the comb away. Phew. That could have turned real ugly.

"What's going on with you and Spike anyway?" asks Wheels. Shane says that she won't talk to him. Wheels asks what his parents say about it, and Shane admits that he hasn't told them. "They always want to send me to private school, like my brothers. I like it here. If they knew about Spike…" At this, Joey and Wheels just shrug and leave the room. As you do. Seriously, they're the worst friends ever. An extra-waily version of the Spike 'n Shane Angst Theme wails in the background.

Out in the hall, Steph is going through her locker, taking out all her Hideous Skankwear and throwing it in the bin. She's wearing a pink high-necked blouse with ruffles and bows, and looks like the love-child of a Victorian librarian and Princess Diana.

Alexa breezes over to her and asks what's going on. "I don't need these any more," Steph explains, throwing what looks like a large collection of Mardi Gras beads into the bin. Well, yeah, those probably aren't the most useful things to keep around. "This term, I'm going to be mature and responsible. I'm going to be the real me." Wait, which is it? Is she going to be mature and responsible, or is she going to be herself?

Alexa's eyes bulge out eagerly and she asks if she can have Steph's old clothes. Steph says that's fine, and tosses her a geometric-print boob tube. "I can't believe you're throwing this out!" Alexa gushes. Steph smirks at her. "It's OK for you, Alexa, but I'm school president. I have to look more adult." Actually, her outfits last term were disturbingly adult.

Meanwhile, Yick is digging through some locker crap, as always, when Arthur sneaks up on him and starts squirting him with a water pistol. I think they've officially crossed the line into blatant flirtation.

They're interrupted by an adorably geeky little boy, who asks them how to find Ms Avery's class. Yick and Arthur stare at him, then give him directions. "Why are you looking for 7C?" asks Yick. "It's my class!" says the new kid, before skipping off, full of the joys of fake spring. Yick and Arthur look utterly disgusted. "Since when do they allow little kids in junior high?" Arthur asks. "I don't like little kids," growls Yick, who apparently got a bumfluff moustache and a gravelly voice for Christmas. "They're so immature."

In Mr Raditch's classroom, Spike (who's rocking a pink satin nightshirt and pinstripe waistcoat worthy of Claudia Kishi) is proudly showing off the egg to her classmates, who inexplicably are interested. Even Steph. Someone actually calls it cute. They have little enough to amuse them up in Canada.

Alexa grabs the egg and decides it needs a face drawn on it. "Just be careful, ok?" asks Spike. See, she's learning already: you have to make sure your friends are careful when drawing on your baby. Otherwise it's just bad parenting.

"I thought you were going to give your baby up for adoption," says Lucy. Spike explains that that was just an idea she considered in order to provide a B plot for the Wheels Is Totally Adopted episode she keeps changing her mind. Lucy, none too politely, tells her she's too young to be a mother. Could that be because motherhood is difficult and will necessitate changes to one's lifestyle? You heard it here first. And second. And third.

"I'd keep it!" Alexa chirps. "I love babies!" She holds up the egg, on which she's drawn a cartoon face. Somehow, it's a very '80s cartoon face. They don't draw cartoon faces like that any more. "Now it needs a name," she decides. Spike looks depressed , which is her standard response to most things. Lucy snaps that it's just an egg, but Alexa, who's getting way too into this, insists it's a baaaaaby. "Call it Eggbert!" says Heather. "It looks like an Eggbert!" I don't even know what that's supposed to mean. "It doesn't look like a Spike." Everyone giggles forcedly. Luckily, nobody's tasteless enough to speculate on whether it looks like a Shane.

The bell goes, and the Zit Remedy guys come in. "Check out Steph's clothes!" Joey whispers. "She must be going to a costume party or something," Snake says. "As what?" Joey answers. "A nun?" Uh, I'm pretty sure nuns don't actually wear that much pink. Not for everyday wear, at least. Maybe for Easter or something.

In comes Shane, and I'm beginning to think this actor was cast solely for his ability to look suicidal. He stares at Spike, she glares at him, the Spike 'n Shane music plays, you get the idea.

Finally, Mr Raditch walks in, and welcomes the kids to another term of "fun and excitement", by which he presumably means "batshit-crazy issue-driven drama punctuated by stultifying Yick-and-Arthur subplots". He's followed by another new kid, who he introduces as Simon Dexter. You can tell Simon is supposed to be sexy and glam because he has floppy blonde hair, a leather jacket, and sunglasses. Also because Alexa and Steph are shooting him looks of insatiable lust.

Simon sits down, and Steph and Lucy whisper about how he looks like "the guy from the Super Crunch Delight commercial". Yes, Simon is a small-time teen star. Because piffling quasi-fame is an issue so many kids have to deal with in their day-to-day lives.

Spike is still staring at the egg. That thing will get confiscated if she's not careful, and I'm pretty sure the support-group lady won't look on that too kindly.

Meanwhile, Ms Avery, wearing a blindingly yellow shirtdress and the communal diamante belt, is introducing her class to the little boy from earlier. He's been accelerated to junior high, and his name is Scott, but he says everyone calls him Scooter, which Ms Avery goes along with because she's a liberal. Yick stares fixedly at Scooter, but Arthur gets his attention back by squirting him in the face with his water pistol. It's all rather Freudian.

After class, Shane is following Spike around again. He claims that she can't stay mad at him forever. "Wanna bet?" she snarks. "I'm sorry you got pregnant," he mumbles, "but it was an accident. Why can't we be friends like before?" "I wasn't pregnant before!" she shouts. Rick and Alex are walking by, and stare at her in fascination, because apparently the revelation that she wasn't always pregnant is big news.

Shane admits that he feels bad and wants to help. There's a close-up of Spike's face looking angst-ridden, and… wow, she kind of has a spectacular moustache all of a sudden. Oh dear.

Anyway, she considers it for a minute (the Shane thing, not her moustache) and then hands over the egg. "What's this?" he asks, proving yet again that he's not the sharpest knife in the box.

"That's Eggbert," says Spike. "You've got to take care of him for a week." Shane looks completely horrified, and says that the whole thing is dumb. "It's not!" Spike insists. "It's what taking care of a baby's like." For the last time: no. it. isn't. Anyway, Shane looks tortured, and there's some close-ups of the egg in his hand, his tormented face, the egg, etc.. "How do I explain this to my parents?" he asks. Spike just shrugs and, eggbaby safely palmed off, makes herself scarce.

A bit later, Shane gets home, hiding the egg in his shirt pocket, just like you do with a real baby. In an attempt to underscore how conformist and middle-class his family is, his mother is at home, baking. Although for some reason, she's wearing a leather apron. Also, remember when Tony Curtis was in drag in Some Like It Hot? I swear, she looks like a middle-aged version of that.

Tony Curtis asks Shane why he's late home, and he says he had to talk to someone. "A girl, no doot!" she teases. "You'd better watch out for those girls, Shane." Yeah, the girls of Degrassi are terrible. So sinful and fertile.

Meanwhile, Shane's dad, who's been on the phone until now, hangs up and starts fretting over the delinquent son of some acquaintance. "Tell me, Shane," he asks, "do any of the kids in your school do drugs? Have you ever heard of something called crack?" Shane's dad has an interesting line in small talk.

As Tony Curtis cracks egg after egg into a mixing bowl, lest we forget the egg-related theme of this episode, Shane's dad (who's a minister, just to ramp up the idyllic middle-classness of this family) drones on about how kids these days are continually "messing themselves up one way or another", and how he appreciates what a "fine young man" Shane is. If Shane has been responding to every such comment for the last few weeks with the same look of panicked insincerity, I cannot believe they haven't rumbled him yet.

Later that week, Shane's carrying the egg to school in… a plastic baseball cap for some reason? Huh. Random people are making chicken noises at him and saying things like "You and the egg have a big weekend planned?", because being seen in the company of an egg is apparently hilarious. I don't understand people sometimes.

Steph tells the twins that she saw the Super Crunch Delight commercial again, and it's definitely Simon in it. Erica isn't sure. "You guys have been acting like narbos all week," Heather complains. "If you want to find out if he's in the commercial, just ask him." That's right, folks: "narbo" is the new "broomhead". Just then, Simon goes by, and Erica hitches up her skirt by about a foot. When he's gone, she and Steph make hysterical squealing noises. Ugh, fangirls.

Upstairs, Shane is still getting mocked. Joey and Wheels and Snake come over and swap "hilarious" egg-related puns, which I won't repeat here, because I'm nice like that. Shane continues to look tormented.

Arthur is reading a comic book, when Yick sneaks up and squirts him in the face with a water pistol of his own. They proceed to squirt at each other. Then they catch Scooter staring at them, and get mad, and threaten him with their water pistols. He runs off. This is, hands-down, the feeblest Arthur and Yick non-story ever.

In Mr Raditch's classroom, Shane's studying when some guy leans over and steals the egg. "Please tell me a joke, Daddy," he says in what's presumably supposed to be an egg voice. "I promise not to… crack up!" Then he throws the egg to Tim, and everyone starts clucking again. Wow, way to be supportive, people. Shane gets the egg back, but not before Spike sees all the egg-throwing and fun. She's not impressed.

Just then, Lucy runs in, and announces to the class that she's having a party that night and they're all invited. Everyone cheers, even Spike, who you'd think would want to stay far, far away from Lucy's parties after the last one. "Another party? Your parents don't mind?" asks Steph. "They don't know," Lucy explains. "They're going out of town tonight." Because they have jobs and don't love her. Although I'm glad to see she's moved on from angst-ridden shoplifting, and is now making her abandonment work for her.

The Zit Remedy guys high-five and exclaim about how much they love Lucy's parties. And speculate on whether Shane likes them too. Alexa (already wearing the geometric boob tube from earlier) announces she's going to wear Steph's cast-off Hideous Skankwear. Spike looks excited for the first time ever. Shane, in a dramatic departure from his previous behaviour, looks tormented.

As everyone leaves after class, the guys are still going on about how great Lucy's parties always are (wait, didn't Joey and Wheels end up roaming aimlessly around upstairs at the last one, then disguise their boredom by bingeing on chips?). Alexa starts hitting on Simon. Two feet away, Steph and the twins are hatching a plan for Steph to hit on him at the party.

Shane comes up to Spike and, classy as always, asks her to mind the egg that night so he can go to the party. She refuses, and points out that if it was a real baby he'd have to stay home with it. Yeah, and if it was a real baby I suspect they also wouldn't be allowed to take it to class all week. He begs and begs (what, is he hoping to impregnate someone else tonight?), and eventually she sarcastically tells him to ask his parents to babysit. Shane looks deeply wounded at such a blatant allusion to his wussiness and dishonesty.

Downstairs, Alexa is asking Simon to go to the party with her. He's delighted. Steph lurks in the background with the twins, trying to get up the nerve to go talk to him, but he goes away before she can manage it. "He said he'd dance with me!" Alexa squees. "Wonderful," Steph snarks.

Scooter is on his way home, saying goodbye to the other Grade Sevens. When he says bye to Arthur and Yick, they ignore him, because apparently they're assholes now. He then shoots Arthur in the neck with a water pistol. Arthur thinks it was Yick, even though they have a truce, and they start arguing. High-larious.

Speaking of assholes, the Zit Remedy guys are giving Shane a hard time over having to stay home and babysit the egg. Seriously, they're a bunch of dicks. Shane just says nothing and looks, you guessed it, tormented.

That evening, Lucy's getting ready for the party, wearing her grooviest purple satin jacket. The twins and Steph arrive, and she lets them in, then says, "Don't touch the booze, ok? Ever since I got caught shoplifting, my parents haven't trusted me." Except for the part where they've left her alone all weekend.

At Shane's house, things are dull and bourgeois. How dull and bourgeois? He's doing geography homework while his dad and Tony Curtis play gin rummy in the semi-dark. And because this is TV, and they think we won't notice Shane's having a boring night otherwise, there's a grandfather clock in the corner ticking very, very loudly.

Things aren't going too well at Lucy's house: seemingly the only cassette (hee!) in the house has got all tangled up, so there's no music. Wheels and Snake are desperately trying to listen to a Walkman together, and everyone else is sitting around and looking sad. Also, Lucy's trying to make everyone use coasters.

Simon asks Alexa to go out with him on Monday. Does this make her a groupie? When she goes off to get him a drink, he sleazes to Snake that he looooves the way she dresses. She's gone all out with the Hideous Skankwear: geometric boob tube, hot-pink leggings that don't fit her very well, and some sort of sparkly I Dream of Jeannie-inspired robe. She tells Steph that she's got a date with Simon, and Steph replies, "You know those clothes I lent you? I want them back." Alexa refuses, and Steph actually offers to buy them back, but Alexa's having none of it. Steph sulks in her pleated librarian blouse.

Just then, Shane arrives. Spike demands to know where Eggbert is, and he produces it from his shirt pocket. "Lots of people bring their babies to parties!" he tells her. Yeah, but it's kind of annoying when they do. As the Spike 'n Shane music strikes up yet afuckinggain, Joey runs over and steals the egg. Then everyone starts throwing it around the room, while Spike watches in horror. This is totally what would happen with a real baby.

Eventually the egg gets passed back to Shane, and everyone shouts for him to throw it to someone else. He looks briefly conflicted, then cheers up for the first time all episode and throws it to Joey. What else would you expect from such a classy dude? Spike gives him the frowning of a lifetime.

She flounces out, and Shane gets the egg back and follows her. Everyone gets pissed off at him for ruining the party. You know, if the success of a party depends on having an egg to throw around, it's probably never going to be a very good party.

Outside, Spike gets mad at Shane for not taking care of the egg, and he says he did, even though it was embarassing. "You think this isn't embarrassing?" she yells. "I'm gonna get fat! I'm gonna have a baby!" All right, we get it.

You'll never guess what music is playing (in a tender, synthy version) at this point. Spike says she's scared, and Shane says he is too, but she claims that he's only scared of his parents finding out. "They're gonna find out eventually," she tells him. "You think people won't talk when I get bigger and bigger?" He insists he can't tell them, and she points out that she can't ignore it like he can: "Everywhere I go, I'm pregnant!" If I ever end up pregnant, I want a T-shirt that says that.

"I'm trying to help – it's just a stupid egg!" Shane shouts. That's no way to talk about your substitute baby! Spike says the egg's not the point, and throws it on the ground. We see a close-up of Eggbert's smashed face smiling bravely as his yolk oozes everywhere. This doesn't have quite the emotional impact that the writers apparently hoped it would.

"You say you want to help, until it becomes inconvenient!" Spike shouts. "You don't want to help – you just want to stop feeling guilty!" She storms off down the road, with Shane half-heartedly calling after her. Then he stands around for a bit, and stares at the smashed egg for a while, and since the scene is extremely badly lit, it's sort of impossible to tell what he makes of it all. Eggbert still seems happy, though.

Later that night, Shane comes home. Because they're still dull and wholesome and bourgeois, Shane's dad is studying the Bible while Tony Curtis knits something grey. "You're home early," says Tony.

Shane looks vaguely bilious as he announces, "Mom? Dad? There's something I've got to tell you."

Oh, man! Shane's unloading the dark secret he's harboured for weeks! His parents' illusions are about to be shattered and he's finally going to face up to his responsibilities! Surely we're in for some real drama now!

…Actually, no. That's the end of the episode. Damn you, Degrassi!

Dubious lessons of the week: Pregnancy makes you super-fat, which is totes the worst thing evar. Babies are ovoid, silent, don't eat, and are easily concealable in a pocket or small cardboard box. Never give away your favourite hooker clothes; you never know when you'll need to seduce a saxy minor teen star.


Alison said...

I loved all of this so much I can't even tell you omg. Especially the Claudia Kishi reference. But really all of it. Bless you for these recaps!

Mike said...

Yeah, missed yah! Cause you never fail to make me laugh with your Degrassi recaps :-) Thanks!!!

Carlanime said...

I remember having to DO that whole egg thing in high school. Someone in our class dropped theirs, and we had a murder trial.
In retrospect, we were kind of maladjusted. :/

Ms Avery said...

Aww, poor egg...

Fergal said...

"They have little enough to amuse them up in Canada."

I think I sprained something laughing at that line.

Anonymous said...

Excellent review