Degrassi Junior High “Parents' Night” (part 3 of 4)
Cut to Wheels in his bedroom, examining the necklace and the piece of paper with Mike Nelson’s number. His mom calls out to him, so he hurriedly sticks the necklace and paper under his homework. So, he’s keeping all of this a secret from his parents, which is believable enough, but then again, this is the same kid who bluntly asked his dad for sex tips.
Wheels’ Mom appears in the doorway and says, “You know I don’t like to nag you,” and then she proceeds to nag him, specifically about the bad grades on his report card. Wheels just gives his usual blank look and a smile. Yep, next time, forge that bitch’s signature.
Once she’s gone, he pulls out the number and necklace again, so he can… stare at them some more. No wonder his grades suck, if he finds a necklace this distracting.
Cut to a Degrassi hallway, where Joey and Snake are doing a walk and talk, and this time they’re envisioning their inevitable world tour, though I’m pretty sure you have to be able to play at least one song before going on tour. Nevertheless, Joey is already imagining “groupies” as well as T-shirts that say “Joey and the Joy Buzzers World Tour”. The band name debate won’t be ending anytime soon, because Snake points out the T-shirts will actually say “Snake and the Charmers”. Fellas, there’s no need to argue! Both names are shit!
Snake has a concern, however. Is it that nobody in the band can actually play an instrument? No, he’s just worried that his parents won’t let him miss that much school. Joey calls him a “broomhead” and says, “Rock stars don’t have to go to school!” Yes, but that’s only because all 14 year old rock stars these days are homeschooled.
They find Wheels in the library, staring out a window and silently brooding. Joey opens up his Trapper Keeper and pulls out a letter, proudly saying, “I typed it myself!” Wheels reads the letter aloud, which is a fake letter from Joey’s parents to Mr. Raditch. It says, “We regret to inform you that we’re unable to attend Parent-Teacher Night due to having a highly communicable disease.” Wow, Raditch is totally going to fall for this.
Snake and Joey have a good chuckle over the letter, but Wheels turns back to brooding at the window. They ask what’s wrong, so he reveals that Creepy Child Predator Guy is actually his birth father. Snake wonders if the guy is for real, given all the “weirdoes” out there. Exactly, because what better way to bag a kid than by claiming to be his biological father? But Wheels shows off the birth necklace, which… still proves nothing.
Joey thinks this is great. In fact, he wishes he were adopted too, because his parents are “boring”. As well as significantly less Italian than him. Snake gets excited and says they can write a song about this, and Joey and Snake start improvising a song right there in the library. It really is like watching Page and Plant go to work right before our eyes. They come up with lyrics about Wheels’ birth dad having “lots of money”, and who knows where they got that from. But Ms. Baxter, who evidently does double duty as the school’s librarian, shushes them.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the library, Spike is sitting with the Twins. Is it just me, or have the Twins totally ditched Stephanie as a friend? Starting with the second episode, the Twins and Steph were inseparable, but now it’s like she’s been completely replaced by Spike. I guess there’s only so much bullshit two girls can take.
Spike watches Shane enter and sit on the couch, and she complains that he’s acting like nothing happened. The Twins ask if he wants Spike to have an abortion, and Spike replies, “No, I don’t think so.” Then they ask if he wants her to have the baby, and she says, “No.” So, he wants her to have the baby, and also not have the baby. Evidently, Shane is hoping this is sort of like Schrodinger’s Pregnancy, in that the fetus is both inside Spike’s womb and not in her womb simultaneously.
By the way, if you were thinking Spike would go au naturel on the hair during her pregnancy, and ease up on the Aqua Net for the sake of her unborn baby, think again. She’s still got the same crazy spiked hair as usual. Maybe this is the real reason Emma grows up to be so stupid.
Cut to Wheels and Joey heading for a payphone. The whole time, Joey is talking Wheels into calling up his birth dad, even though that’s presumably the whole reason they’re walking to a payphone in the first place. Wheels gives in, and dials the number and asks for Mike.
Next thing we know, Wheels is having lunch with Mike at a greasy spoon. Mike comes to the table with two milkshakes, saying it must be “heredity” that they both like milkshakes. Yes, they’re both in that select group of people in the world who enjoy milkshakes, so they must be genetically predisposed.
Wheels remains standoffish, so Mike pulls out a beat-up black and white photo of a blonde woman holding a baby. Supposedly, it’s a picture of Wheels’ birth mom and Wheels as a baby, but it looks like something from an ad for Sears Portrait Studios.
Mike says he doesn’t know where Wheels’ birth mom is these days. They were just 16 when they had him, and they couldn’t keep him, but they made sure he had a good home. Wheels wonders if they ever considered “not having” him. Mike admits the thought did cross their minds, because they were just “kids” and didn’t know what to do.
Mike grins and says, “I’m still a kid!” He then casually throws out this totally insignificant factoid: “Who else would go from town to town playing in a band?” Suddenly, Wheels’ defenses drop and he smiles for the first time. It turns out Mike is a real-live drummer in a real-live rock band, so Wheels excitedly says he plays in a band, too. “Plays” being in ironic quotes, of course. Mike says, “Now that’s heredity!” They’ve officially bonded, and now they can happily drink milkshakes together.
Incidentally, the guy playing Wheels’ Dad here, Dave James, also appeared on Kids of Degrassi Street. That show featured the kid playing Wheels too, but back then Neil Hope was “Griff”, a member of the Boulton Street Pirates, the world’s least threatening street gang. Griff was obviously the template for DJH’s Rick Munro (and TNG’s Sean Cameron), because he too lived with his cool older brother. And the cool older brother was played by Dave James, who’s playing Wheels’ birth father this time around. And yes, there will be a test later.
They leave the diner and head down the street, and Mike reveals he’s been keeping tabs on Wheels all these years. In fact, he checks to see if the Wheeler family is still in the phone book every time he comes to town with his band. He admits that he was the one who crank called Wheels earlier, and that he “didn’t know what to say” when Wheels answered.
Wheels starts to head home, but Mike, desperate for his love and approval, invites Wheels to come by and watch his band rehearse tomorrow. He says, “We’re not bad for a bar band!” So by all means, Wheels should go, if for no other purpose than to catch a glimpse of what it’ll be like to be a washed up musician one day.
Wheels says he’ll be there, though they never discuss exactly where his band is playing, or what time they’re rehearsing. Perhaps Wheels can just wander around downtown Toronto listening for the sounds of suck.