Degrassi Junior High “Best Laid Plans” (part 4 of 4)
Arthur enters his mom’s house, which has a whole Tom Petty “Don’t Come Around Here No More” checkerboard theme in the foyer. He stoops down to take his shoes off, and he actually—gack—undoes the Velcro straps on his high tops. Once again, I weep for this whole decade.
Arthur walks into the living room, still gazing longingly at the video tape. Suddenly, he realizes Stephanie is on the couch, filing her nails, so he hides the box behind his back. As he heads to his room, he mentions how people at school are saying things about her and Wheels. But Stephanie is defiant about doing whatever she wants, and it’s none of Arthur’s business.
Arthur admits he’s only her “part-time brother”, but he doesn’t like it “when people say bad things about you!” And for possibly a split-second, Stephanie seems nearly touched that someone actually cares about her, but her expression quickly turns back to stoic apathy.
Steph’s Mom comes home from a long day at the pharmacy. She calls out to Steph, then notices the Keds in the foyer, and calls out to Arthur as well. She finds him in the kitchen doorway, and tries to gently break the news that she has a date tonight. Arthur, of course, couldn’t be happier for her, and clearly wants to end this conversation as quickly as possible. This is explained by a shot of his back, where he’s currently hiding the video tape.
He finds out that Mom’s date is arriving at 7:30, and then he very nearly walks backwards out of the room, saying he has to make a phone call. Meanwhile, Steph looks alarmed. She’s just realized that Wheels and her mom’s date are now set to arrive at exactly the same time.
And when Arthur makes his phone call in the other room, he again has the video tape in his hand. Geez! Does he want to get caught, or what? At least put it under your sweatshirt, or something! He dials his bro Yick, and tells him it’s a date: him, Yick, and Swamp Sex Robots, at 7:45. A prudent move would be to allow more of a buffer between his mom leaving and Yick showing up, like say an entire half hour, but of course, that wouldn’t set the stage for the hijinks we’re about to witness.
Meanwhile, over at Wheels’ house, he’s getting ready, and hopefully not splashing on more mosquito repellant. He gets out the pack of condoms, and then… he actually decides to read the pamphlets that Steph’s Mom gave him. Again, what planet is this episode taking place on? Wheels actually sits in his window sill so he can spend a thoughtful moment reflecting upon safe sex.
Cut to Momma Kaye having dinner with her hormonally charged kids. She asks what they have planned for tonight, and both Arthur and Stephanie blatantly lie, with Steph saying that she’s going to a movie with “friends”, and Arthur saying that he’s going to “watch TV”. Technically speaking, the omission of truth is still a lie.
But Momma Kaye has something on her mind. Arthur tries to head her off, saying they should clean up because it’s getting close to 7:30, but Momma Kaye wants to say her peace. She tells them about a boy who came into the pharmacy today who was “barely older than you, Steph”. She adds, “I believe he’s considering becoming sexually active.” What was her first clue? That he was there to buy condoms?
She says she gave him “some literature”. Like all Degrassi parents, Momma Kaye has a very strange and stilted way of putting things. You might mistakenly believe she gave Wheels a copy of The Great Gatsby. But no, she means the pamphlets about safe sex, and Steph’s Mom decides she wants her kids to read those same pamphlets. Steph looks confused. Arthur looks at his watch.
Momma Kaye hands over the pamphlets, and Steph goes, “Mother, give them to him!” Because, obviously, Arthur’s the one in this family who’s going to lose his virginity first. Both kids play innocent, and Arthur assures his mom he’s not sexually active (well, not with other people, anyway—well, not before tonight, anyway). And then the two kids start furiously cleaning up and putting away the dishes, which would make just about any non-Degrassi parent extremely suspicious.
Meanwhile, Wheels has finished reading those pamphlets, and he heads on out. His dad calls out to him with one last “Remember what I said!” Next, we see Wheels buying a bouquet of flowers from a street vendor. Flowers? For Stephanie? Does he really think that’s necessary, given she already told half the school that she’ll let him do whatever he wants?
Now Steph is in her bedroom, sitting in front of a vanity mirror, and getting all whored up for Wheels. She just barely glances at one of the safe sex pamphlets, and then goes back to applying eye shadow. But now come the real wacky antics with her mom.
Her mom is also preparing for her date, and she’s at the door, and she wants Stephanie’s opinion on which earrings to wear. So a frustrated Stephanie immediately has to take off her earrings, wipe off her eye shadow, and put on a big bulky robe. Having gone to all this trouble to cover up her sluttiness, all she does is poke her head out long enough to tell her mom that either pair of earrings will be fine.
She heads back into her room and whips off the robe, and holy crap. Hoochie momma! Hoochie momma!
Meanwhile, Arthur’s in the living room, just openly and brazenly staring at the Swamp Sex Robots tape, and checking the time. Mom comes downstairs, so Arthur hides the tape behind a sofa cushion and starts pretending to read Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man. Ah, the comic of choice for all Degrassi boys, it seems. (It may even be the exact same issue.)
Arthur notes that Mom’s date is late. Mom is rather unconcerned, but of course, both of her kids are freaking out about this, and Steph is anxiously looking out her bedroom window.
Cut to Wheels walking up to Stephanie’s front door with his bouquet of flowers. Just then, an ugly sedan pulls up in the driveway, and out pops a guy with a strong resemblance to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. This is Momma Kaye’s date, and hilariously, he’s carrying the exact same kind of flowers as Wheels. Yeah, that’s us men—if we’re 14 or 40, we have no clue what women like, especially when it comes to flowers.
Arthur is peering out the window, and he sees both Wheels and his mom’s date approaching. He accurately sums up the impending train wreck with, “Oh no.” Both Wheels and Momma Kaye’s date walk up to the front door, giving each other befuddled looks, and Gov. Richardson knocks.
Arthur answers the door, and as if things weren’t already crazy enough on multiple levels, there’s a moment where Wheels is completely confused by Arthur being at Stephanie’s house. Arthur attempts a desperate Hail Mary, telling Wheels to “Go away! You’re too early!” But it’s too late. Everyone’s fate is sealed when Mom comes down the stairs.
She sees her date and invites him in, and then she notices Wheels. And then she notices Wheels is the same boy she saw at the drugstore, the one who was buying condoms. She momentarily wonders why he’s here, and why he has flowers.
Arthur tries for a second Hail Mary with, “He’s very interested… in horticulture.” Oh, Arthur, you tried, you really did. Sadly, Momma Kaye is not quite as dumb as a box of nails. She turns around and angrily yells for Stephanie to come downstairs right now.
Up in her bedroom, an annoyed Stephanie again has to undo her whoriness, ripping off earrings and putting on the bulky pink robe again. She comes running downstairs, and for the first time, Momma Kaye catches a glance at the slutty outfit beneath the robe.
She opens up Stephanie’s robe and takes it all in. And then she barks at Wheels to come inside. Arthur sees his entire world crumbling before his eyes and mutters, “Goodbye, Swamp Sex Robots.”
Momma Kaye is dishing it out left and right, and telling Stephanie that she looks like a “tramp”. She quickly tells her date that she’s sorry, and the guy says, “I understand.” I understand that you have a skank for a daughter. He hands over the flowers and walks out, probably wishing he had saved himself a lot of time and money and just asked out Momma Kaye’s daughter instead. “I’ll call you,” he says. Somehow, that seems unlikely.
And now, Momma Kaye ushers both Wheels and Stephanie into the living room, to interrogate them further about just what they were planning to do. And then, things reach a new level of insanity when there’s another knock at the door.
Arthur answers the door, and it’s Yick and two other guys yelling about how they “want to see the porno”. Steph looks horrified. Yes, in one evening, we have boys with condoms, and boys looking for porn, all showing up at Stephanie’s doorstep. I think this is not helping her case much. Arthur quickly shuts the door and puts a goofy grin on his face. End scene.
Wow, that entire scene was just sheer genius. This series has some great scenes later on, but I don’t think they ever top this one for sheer intentional comedic value.
Cut to the following Monday, with all the kids walking up to the school. No surprise, Steph says her mom was “really furious” and lectured her for “like, hours about lying to her and stuff!” But what’s most surprising is that she’s confessing all this to Voula. Wow. Are they really becoming friends again? Steph says she’s been grounded for two weeks.
Yeah, no kidding, because as we all know, Voula’s house is like a gulag. If Mom really wanted to punish her, she would make Stephanie go over there.
Voula is understanding, however. Then Stephanie admits that there’s a silver lining here, because she didn’t have to have to go through with having sex with Wheels.
Meanwhile, Joey meets up with Wheels, and finds out no sex happened. Wheels says it’s not in the cards for him and Steph, and they’re just going to be friends from now on. Like a true pal, Joey’s immediate reaction is to become elated that Stephanie is now “available”, for all the good that’ll do him.
Back with Steph and Voula, Voula has one burning question on her mind: “You weren’t really going to do anything, were you?” The answer is left to our imaginations, because we freeze-frame on Stephanie’s amibiguo-glance, and the credits roll.
I’d sum up all the things we were supposed to learn from this episode, but I think the real lesson is pretty obvious: When buying condoms, make sure you go to a store far, far away, where you know you won’t run into any of your friends’ family members. Or better yet, don’t buy condoms at all. You’ll be sparing yourself a lot of hassle and embarrassment.
Oh yeah, and you know how in half the recaps here, there’s always a joke about how something “sounds like the name of a punk band”? Well, I don’t have to make that joke here, because the members of Swamp Sex Robots have already done it for me.