Degrassi Junior High “Best Laid Plans” (part 2 of 4)
Yick has something extremely important to show Arthur, and it’s in his locker, but he won’t say what it is. He opens up his locker, and I can still see fingerprint powder residue. I’d call this a nice throwback to the previous week’s episode, but I think it’s more likely that nobody bothered to clean off the locker after filming wrapped.
Yick crouches down low, and from the bottom of his locker, he pulls out… a VHS tape. It’s in a cheap, crude box that was obviously mocked up by the prop department. Arthur reads aloud the title, which is Swamp Sex Robots. Jim Wynorski directed that one, right? And the spine of the tape has “Sex! Sex! Sex!” in big black letters. If you still don’t understand what kind of movie this is yet, Arthur yells out, “This is pornography!”
While Arthur stares at the case, Yick says he “borrowed” it from his brother, in the sense that his brother is out of town and does not actually know it’s been “borrowed”. Yick says he can’t watch it at his house, because his grandma is always around, and says maybe they can watch it at Arthur’s dad’s house.
Arthur says he’s staying at his mom’s house this weekend. Yick notes with some excitement that her house is one of those wondrous, magical places that actually has a VCR. However, Arthur doesn’t know if it’s “fixed yet”. Ah, yes, the days when it actually made financial sense to get a VCR repaired instead of just buying a new VCR. Not to mention the days when only the chosen elite actually owned VCRs.
Yick holds up the tape and shows off the back cover, which has big letters reading, “Explicit Sex! Explicit Sex! Explicit Sex!” That must be the Gene Shalit blurb.
Yick says, “I hear it’s so hot, it’ll fry your eyeballs!” And Arthur gets a look on his face like this is not just a figure of speech, like he’s actually in danger of his eyeballs frying. Hey, it was 1987, the world was full of scary and unfamiliar new technology: VCRs, microwaves, cable TV, home video game consoles, who knew what was harmless and what could actually incinerate a person’s eyeballs?
They walk away, passing the Girls Restroom of Ill Repute. Inside, Stephanie is completing her transformation to Mommie’s Little Girl. She says to the Twins, “I’ll wear something so sexy, his tongue’ll hang out!” Given what she wears to school every day, that’ll be quite an achievement. I’m guessing she’ll be showing up for the date topless.
One of the Twins asks, “But what about your mom?” The music screeches to a halt as it sinks in with Stephanie, once again, that her mom doesn’t know she dresses like a slut at school, and dressing like a slut for Wheels might not be logistically possible. Steph simply shrugs and walks out, obviously hoping that, just like the Photo Day issue of a couple weeks back, the problem will simply never get referenced again.
Cut to Stephanie walking into the grimy pharmacy where her mom works. Interestingly, the grimy pharmacy is right next to a grimy TV/VCR repair shop. Now that’s convenience!
And this is our very first on-screen appearance of Momma Kaye, gay divorcee. She’s standing behind the counter with a white coat on, and wow, speaking of convenience, how great is this for Steph? When she inevitably comes down with syphilis, she won’t even have to go down to the free clinic to score some penicillin.
When Stephanie enters, her mom is on the phone, and Steph overhears her telling “Michael” that she loves “Italian”, and making plans for “7 o’clock on Friday”. Stephanie asks who “Michael” is, and Steph’s Mom starts to launch into a whole speech about how she’s been divorced from Steph’s Dad for years now, and there comes a time in every woman’s life when she doesn’t want to be alone, and it’s only natural, and yadda yadda. Thankfully, Steph cuts to the chase: “You’ve got a date?”
Steph, of course, is elated, and wants to know all about “Michael”. Steph’s Mom explains that he comes into the pharmacy a lot. “Always seems to have a cold, poor thing!” And here I always thought that constant viral infections were something of a turn-off. Steph wonders if he’s “cute”. Mom replies, “Well, a bit… in his own way.” He sounds like a real stud.
Mom worries that this might screw up whatever Stephanie had planned for Friday night, but Stephanie, letting slip a major hint, goes, “It’s perfect!”
The next day at school, Yick is learning for the first time that Stephanie Kaye is Arthur’s older sister. So wait, the fact that Arthur was able to get her old term papers wasn’t enough of a clue? Yick wonders why he never mentioned this before, and Arthur simply says he “never got around to it!” And definitely not because he fears Stephanie disemboweling him in his sleep if word gets out that they’re related.
Just then, Stephanie emerges from the Girls Restroom, and at Yick’s prompting, Arthur goes over to talk to her. And in a near-repeat of the first scene of the pilot episode, Steph tells him to “buzz off”, and Arthur once again yells out that she can’t keep pretending they’re not brother and sister. Steph storms up to him, reminding him she has an “image” to protect, and that prevents her from talking to Grade 7s.
Arthur insists that “Grade 7s are people too, you know.” Steph looks him up and down, and destroys him with but a word: “Debatable.” And again, this is exactly the attitude you expect from the student body president of a junior high school.
Now that the sibling animosity has been refreshed in our memories, Arthur can subtly work on getting the information he’s really after: “Are you and Mom going out anytime this weekend?” Steph lets it drop that both she and Mom have dates on Friday night. Arthur feigns excitement about his mom finally having a date, but you just know this news takes a distant second place to images of robots having sex in a swamp.
Steph walks off, and Arthur and Yick do three or four variations on high-fiving each other. Yick goes, “Swamp Sex Robots, here we come!” No pun intended. Seriously. Do not even entertain the possibility that Yick’s line was meant as pun.
Over in the library, Stephanie is sitting at a table with the Twins, and all they can talk about is her date with Wheels. One of the Twins (Erica, in case you care) wonders what Stephanie will do if Wheels “tries something”.
Steph replies, “Maybe I’ll let him.” Commence dropping dead of surprise… now. “If I felt like it, sure! I’d do anything, if I felt like it.” And behind her, we see Shane and Asian Kid overhearing every word, with mouths agape and eyes open wide.
Steph insists she’s been on dates before, and can “handle it”. Shane and Asian Kid eagerly stage-whisper to each other, “Handle it!” They immediately run out of the library, and head over to the boy’s bathroom.
In the bathroom, they meet up with Wheels and Joey, and I really don’t want to know how they knew they’d find them here. Also, Joey has really outdone himself in terms of headwear here, because now he’s got on a camouflage hat. And the only person I’ve ever seen pull off wearing a camouflage hat is Mr. T, and that’s only because nobody who values their health would ever consider making fun of him for it.
Regardless, Shane and Asian Kid deliver the good news. Shane tells Wheels he’s going to “make it”, while Asian Kid informs them that Stephanie’s middle initial is “H” for “hot” (what is the obsession with middle initials at this school?). He repeats that Stephanie can “handle it!” while making a gesture that might be the “OK” sign, or which could mean something much different.
Joey’s pissed, while Wheels proceeds to talk a good game: “Hey, if she wants it, she’ll get it!” Oh yeah, she is going to get every inch of that 14 year old man meat. Ugh, I actually hate myself for typing that. Then Shane and Asian Kid repeat Steph’s campaign slogan. Something about going all the way. You may be familiar with it.
The whole group of boys exits the restroom, and then a toilet flushes, and out of a stall steps… Oh, dear. It’s Arthur. Yeah, I’m thinking this is not something a guy wants to hear about his sister. Especially not while taking a dump.
Cut to Raditch’s classroom. Mr. Raditch is lecturing throughout this scene, and it’s obviously supposed to be just background noise behind the actual point of the scene, and yet, it’s pure gold.
Yes, this is in fact Ebonics 101. Maybe Stephanie would actually be paying attention if Raditch used an example like “I can’t find no reason not to whore it up.”
What is Steph doing instead? Why, she’s writing a note to Wheels, asking to meet at her house at 7:30. She tries to pass it to him, but he doesn’t notice. She says “psst” three times in a row, which doesn’t work, so she very deliberately drops a book on the floor, bringing class to a crashing halt.
Strangely, instead of berating her in front of everyone, Raditch takes things in stride and goes, “I don’t have no time to waste, Miss Kaye. That is both a double negative, and the truth.” Wait, what? That can’t be right. A double negative, by its very definition, conveys the exact opposite of what the speaker wants to say. A more accurate sentence would be, “I don’t not have no time to waste.” Raditch is slipping. In fact, he seems almost tickled by the whole situation. Gee, why on earth would he not be raging righteously on Stephanie, like he does with every other student who has the gall to interrupt his class? He couldn’t be sorta taken with her, could he?
But the book-dropping subterfuge works anyway, and Steph is able to pass the note to Wheels. Voula peeks over Wheels’ shoulder and reads the note, because, hello, it’s Voula.
And now whispers break out all around class, as a crazy game of Telephone happens spontaneously. Shane whispers that Steph and Wheels have “got a date”. Asian Kid whispers that they’re going to “make it”. And somewhere between L.D.’s brain and L.D.’s mouth, “make it” becomes going “all the way”, and she passes this information along to the Twins. The Twins seem shocked, even though Stephanie told them point blank in the library that she would let Wheels do whatever he wanted.