Feb 15, 2018
Degrassi Junior High “Revolution!” (part 1 of 4)
Previously on Degrassi Junior High: That creepy dude with the yellow gloves hanging around the front of the school wasn’t a pedophile and/or serial killer—it was Wheels’ birth father, quietly stalking his biological son until the moment was right to reveal himself. Wheels and his birth dad bonded over their love of milkshakes and rock and roll, but Wheels ultimately had to dump the guy because it was totally his fault that Wheels lied to his adoptive parents.
Meanwhile, Spike considered the idea of putting her yet-to-be-born baby up for adoption, which led to lots of bickering in the hallways with baby daddy Shane. To the shock of no one, they decided to end their passionate month-long love affair where they barely spoke to each other.
Well, this is a pretty momentous occasion, isn’t it? This is the final episode of the first season of Degrassi Junior High, and a pretty big milestone on my quest to recap every single episode of this series. In honor of the occasion, I’ll be posting a brief article soon to sum up all the Very Special Lessons I learned from this Very Special Season of Degrassi Junior High. Watch for that one in the next day or so.
Since it’s taken me years to get to this episode, I won’t waste a whole lot of time setting it up, except to say that “Revolution!” neatly ties up the Stephanie Kaye school president story arc that started in the pilot episode. And it even finds ways to tie in the plots of half a dozen other episodes at the same time. For all the grief I give this show about the bad acting and cheesy dialogue, the writers do deserve some credit for actually being able to keep track of all the many storylines, and rarely leaving loose plot threads dangling. I wish I could say the same about a lot of shows on the air today.
And really, how can you not love a show that follows up an election for school president with an impeachment episode? That’s right, in this episode, the kids start a movement to get Stephanie Kaye thrown out of office for being the worst school president ever. The premise alone is enough to make this one of the series’ high points.
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The episode begins with Joey loitering in the hallway. He spots Stephanie approaching, followed by the Twins, so he ducks behind a corner and watches her pass. And then, in a ludicrous display of bluster—even for Joey Jeremiah—he runs and drops to his knees and slides across the linoleum, slamming into her ankles and causing her to drop all her books.
“Stephanie!” he cries. “Joey L. Jeremiah—‘L’ for lover—at your service!” Steph is fully annoyed as she picks up her books, because she’s realized this is just Joey’s latest attempt at coming onto her. He tells her she’s beautiful, and for a split-second you can see loves the compliment, but she brings back the blasé exterior and tells him to go “jump in a lake”.
Joey responds, “Which one?” He promises he’s a “great guy”, as well as her “slave”, and will do anything she wants. Maybe it’s me, but he’s coming off as just a tad desperate here. In a situation like this, he really needs romantic advice from an expert like Arthur. See, first you compliment the girl with a Spoonerism, then you almost cause her to go into anaphylactic shock, then you ask her out. It’s really that simple.
Stephanie tells him to leave her alone, and she and the Twins turn and walk away. Joey just can’t take a hint, and calls out that maybe they can go out sometime. As the girls head down the stairs, Stephanie shudders at the thought of going on a date with Joey. She says he’s “funny” but not someone she would ever go out with. And I guess that was a major plot point, because here come the drum machine and the opening credits.
Was there a Very Special Lesson being set up in this teaser? Doesn’t seem like it. The show appears to have given up on trying to awkwardly set up the episode’s moral in the cold open. Well, at least for now. They’ll be back at it by next season, trust me.
After credits, it’s the next day at school. Stephanie and the Twins walk through the hallways again, with Stephanie currently in Mommy’s Little Girl Mode. They make idle chit-chat about midterms coming up, and the exam they’re dreading most is Raditch’s English exam.
They run into Wheels, and Steph turns into a total girl, saying hello to him, and ogling him as he walks past. One of the Twins tells her she’s embarrassing herself, but Steph says, “I can’t help it if I’m in love!” What? Stephanie is in love with Wheels? That has to be one of those dumb things that 14 year old girls say because they don’t know any better, because nothing is ever made of this.
In a stairwell, a group of Grade 7s are studying for a geography test. Specifically: Yick, Arthur, Melanie, and Kathleen. And because Yick and Melanie are Degrassi’s new power couple, that means Arthur and Kathleen are now the best friends who get stuck having to get along with each other. It’s just like Bosom Buddies, where Tom Hanks was lusting after Donna Dixon, and Tom’s best friend was Peter Scolari, and Donna’s best friend was Wendie Jo Sperber, and Peter and Wendie never clicked until that one episode. Oh, how I wish I could be watching that instead of… no… no, actually, Bosom Buddies and Degrassi Junior High are just about equal in quality, come to think of it.
Arthur gives Yick a practice question about the Zambezi River. Yick goes, “Easy! It’s in Africa!” Hilariously, Kathleen points out that the whole test is about Africa. Well, then he’s sure to ace it, right?
Suddenly, Queen Stephanie and her Ladies-in-Waiting the Twins come down the stairs, but the Grade 7s are blocking their path, so Stephanie clears her throat. They move out of the way, and Arthur attempts to say hello to Stephanie, given that, you know, they’re brother and sister and all. But Steph just ignores him and keeps walking.
Arthur yells out to her, saying to tell Mom he’ll be over after school on Friday. Stephanie briefly glances at him and says, “Thrilling,” and keeps walking. To be fair, I have the exact same reaction to everything Arthur says.
The Grade 7s grumble about how Arthur has a bitch for a sister. Well, not in so many words, of course. Kathleen watches Stephanie enter the Girls Restroom of Ill Repute, and gripes that she’s about to change into her slutty clothes. She complains that they have “the worst-dressed school president in the country!” So, who’s publishing the list of Canadian junior high student body presidents, ranked by fashion sense? Is it Vogue? I hear that issue is a big seller.
This inspires them all to vent about Stephanie. And just like that, the seeds of revolt have been sown. Melanie says Stephanie is a bad president, and Kathleen agrees, pointing out how she never talks to Grade 7s. Which is true, but then again, that was pretty obvious before she was even elected.
Then Kathleen brings up the weighty issue that will be driving the plot of this episode. She says Stephanie has yet to pick a new sports rep. Ever since Jason Cox “left”, the school hasn’t had a sports rep. Ah, yes, sports rep. The position that I still don’t understand at all. And I like how quickly they gloss over the disappearance of Jason Cox. Apparently, he just “left” Degrassi, that’s all. Happens all the time. I’ll just assume that the humiliation of getting beat by a bunch of girls in a swimming match made him transfer schools.
Melanie says that her boy toy Yick should be the new Degrassi sports rep. Because he really likes sports and all, what with his well-established mad hoopz skillz and everything. Yick says, “Me?” But they all agree he would make a great sports rep.
Meanwhile, in the Girls Restroom, Stephanie tells the Twins she’s thinking about asking out Wheels again. Hey, why not? Their track record so far is stellar. Let’s see, there’s their first date, where she got drunk and almost threw up on him. And then there’s their second date, where her mom caught him buying condoms, and proceeded to lecture them both for an entire night. So, why not give it another shot? When you have that kind of history, there’s nowhere to go but up.
One of the Twins speaks for all of us when she says, “I don’t know what you see in him!” But Steph insists he’s “cute”. However, if she asked him out and he said no, she’d “die of embarrassment”. Well, way to go, Steph, you just had to jinx it, didn’t you?.
Erica assures Stephanie that Wheels can’t say no to the school president. Stephanie slides off her big frontierswoman dress to reveal her spandex leggings, and Heather calls her the “school bombshell!” Yep, just keep building up her ego and setting her up for the big fall, ladies.
Meanwhile, Wheels has met up with Snake and Joey in the hallway. And if you enjoyed the endless arguing about the name of their new band from the previous episode, you’re in luck, because they’re still at it. This time, Joey proposes “Joey and the Jet Set”. Jesus, these names are just getting worse. I honestly thought “Snake and the Sneeze” was rock bottom.
But wait! Wheels finally intervenes, saying they already decided on a name. Are you ready for this?
The band will be called “The Zit Remedy”. To those who know nothing about Degrassi, this probably sounds like the stupidest band name ever. And, well… it is. But to those who do know Degrassi, this name evokes memories of good times, laughter and love, and happier days gone by. Despite being a really dumb name, “The Zit Remedy” is going to stick pretty hard, except for a brief, unfortunate period when the band will simply be known as “The Zits”. I’m guessing Paul Kantner now owns the rights to the “Remedy” part of the name.
Joey also thinks it’s a stupid name, but he’s overruled by Wheels and Snake. And Snake says some of Joey’s ideas are pretty stupid, too. We learn that Joey actually suggested they “eat live goldfish on stage”. Joey insists that if they want to “make it in the big time, you gotta have a gimmick!” The members of KISS are very offended that he would even suggest such a thing.