Degrassi Junior High “Best Laid Plans” (part 1 of 4)
But when all was said and done, we learned that having dreams about your teacher of the same sex doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gay, but wearing a lavender suit and awesome shades does mean you’re a pimp.
Aaaand moving right along, we come to what I feel is one of the most intentionally funny episodes of the first season of Degrassi Junior High, if not the whole series, “Best Laid Plans”.
As you can probably guess, the title is inspired by the same famous line that inspired John Steinbeck, the one from 18th Century Scottish poet Robert Burns. You all know it, I’m sure. “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” And things are going to go very, very aft a-gley in this episode, you can quote me on that. In addition, there’s an obvious double entendre right there in the title, which I think you’ll all figure out pretty quickly.
The episode opens with us peering through the door of Rockin’ Rompin’ Raditch’s classroom. The bell rings, because all classes on this show consist of the five seconds prior to, and immediately following the bell. Through the door, we hear Mr. Raditch admonish Joey Jeremiah that “‘Clumsy’ is not one of the three Cs!” I haven’t got the faintest clue what he’s talking about. Are “the three Cs” the Canadian version of “the three Rs”? (The three Rs being, of course, rockin’, rompin’, and Raditch.) Joey makes an “OMG you so fun-nee!” face, daring to actually patronize on Mr. Raditch.
The door opens and Joey resumes hitting on Stephanie Kaye. It’s yet another Joey-esque crude come-on as, once again, Joey’s middle initial has changed. Today, he’s “Joey D. Jeremiah”, and the D is for “doctor”, and he gives “great operations”. Because nothing gets the ladies hotter than likening sex to surgery.
Stephanie just brushes him off, and she’s wearing that outfit again, the one Nicole Stoffman just auctioned off on eBay. Dear god, why didn’t anyone on the Degrassi faculty ever show the slightest concern that the poor girl was walking around naked?
Steph catches sight of Wheels, and gets a moony look in her eyes. It appears we’re picking up the “Wheels is soooo sexy” plot thread from a few episodes ago. She once again brushes Joey off, and Joey goes, “I can take a hint!” That’s good, because I can’t think of a more obvious hint than making that “shoo-fly” motion in someone’s direction.
Steph walks up to Wheels, who’s standing at his locker, and he’s still got a “Stephanie Kaye for President” sign inside his locker door. Ah, all those lovely memories of being on the campaign trail.
Steph tells him, “I know I really messed up our last date!” You know, just to remind everyone in the audience of what happened. She doesn’t go into all the gory details, but I will. Basically, it went like this: they met up at the Big Dance, she asked if he was wearing oven cleaner, and then she threw up all over herself. I might have missed a few steps in there, but that’s more or less what happened.
Wheels looks at her stone-faced, skillfully and subtly conveying his feelings about their last date. And then he turns away from her, and flips through a motorcycle magazine. Steph says she wants to try again, and so she invites Wheels to a movie. Wheels’ stoic expression quickly turns to a smile, like it suddenly clicked in his head that the almost naked girl is interested in him.
Following this is the customary, momentary awkwardness that usually follows anyone asking anyone out on a date. They make plans to meet up on Friday, and then Steph walks off. Along the way, she once again indulges in a little victory fist-pump. Score! She just got Wheels to go out with her! The sexiest boy at Degrassi! Allegedly.
She’s about to exit the hallway, but she turns around just in time to see Wheels shut his locker, and one-up the victory fist-pump with an actual victory pound-on-the-locker, while he stage-whispers, “All right!” A familiar drum machine starts up. Off in the distance, Steph observes his victory pound, which inspires her to do yet another little victory fist-pump. It’s Wheels! A girl can’t do enough fist-pumping to express how sexy and amazing he is! Allegedly.
Okay, both of you: Cut it out. You’re overselling this. I could almost buy that Steph finds him cute in a teddy bear/puppy dog sort of way. But doing triumphant dances like he’s some kind of pubescent sex god oozing with charm and masculinity? I ain’t buying what they’re selling.
So, opening credits time. Somebody check, could this be the very first time in Degrassi history where we haven’t been hit over the head with an important social issue prior to the opening credits? Is it possible this will not be a Very Special Episode, for the first time ever? I mean, even The X-Files broke up the monotony with standalone episodes unconnected to its big mythic conspiracy arc, right? So who says DJH can’t break the mold?
After the credits, Joey assumes an ill pose in the hallway. And by “ill”, I mean he has his arms wrapped around himself like he’s about to start flowing rhymes about his Adidas. He sees Wheels approaching, so he pretends to drink from a water fountain. When Wheels gets close, Joey pops up and demands to know what Stephanie wanted. No, I don’t know what the water fountain act was about, either.
Upon learning that Stephanie asked Wheels to a movie, Joey gets bitter. “Hey, great! You can sit in the back and neck!” Necking? Who in the world says “neck”? I’m pretty sure the expression was already dated 20 years before this episode aired.
Wheels rubs it in his face, saying that she likes Wheels and not Joey. Joey pretends to be cool with this. But a split-second later, he announces to two random boys that Wheels and Steph have a hot date. (For DJH fanatics playing along at home, the boys are: Shane, and the Asian Kid Who Is Not Yick Yu, from two episodes ago.)
Shane declares, “She is the sexiest chick in this school!” That may be true, but that won’t stop Shane from (spoiler alert!) getting some other girl pregnant some time in the next few episodes.
Shane wonders what Stephanie could possibly see in Wheels, and Joey declares that Wheels is a “sex machine!” He speaks these words just as they pass by Melanie and Kathleen, who have a good hard laugh over this, as does everyone watching at home, I would imagine.
Stephanie is now passing through the hallways. For the benefit of the camera, she does a two-fisted victory pump, and arrrrrgh we get it already please stop trying to sell us on this. She enters the Girls Restroom of Ill Repute, where she shares the news about Wheels with none other than… Voula. Jesus, what’s wrong with Stephanie? Why is she torturing herself? Why does she continue to act like Voula is still her best friend? Can’t she predict by now the acid-tongued, spiteful response she’s about to get? I sure can.
Voula, dressed up in yet another frilly Ben Franklin collar, says, “This is my lucky day!” in a tone of voice that nearly causes all the windows in the bathroom to fog up. She adds, “The school president discussed her love life with me!” It’s now become so pathetic that I can’t even joke about Voula’s obvious unrequited love for Stephanie.
“Excuse me,” Voula continues, “I’ve gotta go write this down, before I forget the details!” Holy crap, Scotch tape is less transparent.
Stephanie asks how long she’s going to “drag this out” and points out that she’s apologized, repeatedly, “for not thanking you during the election!” And then Stephanie’s next line gets dubbed in, because probably even the show’s producers realized it was ridiculous for someone to carry a grudge this long over one stupid incident: “…And for not giving my speech at the dance!” I don’t know. Was that really a friendship-destroying event? Voula says nothing more, and exits.
Enter the Adorable Twins, who want to know the whole scoop, because I guess Stephanie previously told them her plan to ask out Wheels. She shares the good news that he said yes, and she promises, “This time, no mistakes!” No more almost vomiting on Wheels this time, no sir! And then she adds, and I still don’t buy this for one second, “He is soooo sexy!” As Steph changes back into her “innocent” clothes, one of the Twins says, “The poor boy doesn’t stand a chance!”
And now it’s time once again to visit with Degrassi’s Legendary Bromance Duo, Arthur and Yick. I know you’re as sick of these two as I am, but I promise, their plot thread will not be completely pointless this week. In fact, their B plot this week could actually be described as entertaining. Yeah, I said it.