May 29, 2018
Degrassi Junior High “Revolution!” (part 4 of 4)
There’s sort of a filler scene of Avery handing out tests to her class. Obviously, she has it more together than Raditch, but what else is new? Well, there is a moment where Yick and Arthur whisper to each other about their anti-Stephanie lynch mob plans for later, but Avery immediately shushes them.
And now, witness the stark contrast as we return to Raditch’s classroom. Everyone’s whooping it up in Raditch’s absence, and doing incredibly wild things, like… flying paper airplanes! And sitting on desks! It’s utter madness! Weirdly, it’s only now that Loosey tells everyone that he lost the exam. So I guess this is actually the prelude to the real chaos.
Wheels calls over to Joey, again telling him to go ask the Twins if what he said is true. So Joey gets up to talk to them, and the best part is how Snake is right in the middle of helping him study or something, and Joey walks away without saying a word.
Unfortunately, just as Joey goes over to the Twins, an extremely disheveled Mr. Raditch appears, with his scarf barely hanging on over one shoulder. He yells at “Mr. Jeremiah” to take his seat, and everyone quickly sits down and stares straight ahead.
Raditch’s voice cracks as he says he was “delayed”, so apparently he had to run all the way home and back with the test. And despite being completely out of breath, he still finds the energy to reach over and pull Joey’s hat off. Come on, how can you not love a moment like that? He straightens his tie and his suspenders and digs around for his glasses, and explains that for this exam, he’ll be writing the questions on the blackboard.
Cut to hot test-taking action!! as all the kids in Raditch’s class look up at the board and write down their answers. And then we see Raditch again, and… he’s all straightened out. His hair is combed down, his suit is straight, and not a thread is out of place. Ten seconds ago, he looked like a crazy hobo, all out of breath and disheveled. And now, just like that, he’s… sheveled. What the hell? Does he have an army of hairdressers and makeup artists in the back room?
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Over in Avery’s class, the bell rings. Everyone gets up to put their tests on Avery’s desk and file out, and first out the door… is Liz. Which is kinda funny, because when Liz actually becomes a character next season, she’s treated like a new student who just started at Degrassi. And I’m pretty sure she jumps from being a Grade 7 to a Grade 8, too. And yes, she’s one of the chosen few who gets a cameo on TNG.
And now, the pitchfork-wielding anti-Stephanie mob of Grade 7s forms outside Avery’s classroom. They wonder where to find Stephanie, and naturally, Kathleen knows she always goes directly to the Girls Restroom of Ill Repute after class. They all rush off, and then there are close-ups on their feet descending the stairs as they again chant “Out of the way Stephanie Kaye!”
In Raditch’s classroom, Raditch calls time, and everyone puts their tests on his desk. Raditch says in a post production voiceover, “I’m sorry I kept you waiting, but these things happen.” And that, dear readers, is pretty much all the payoff we get for Raditch’s Slapstick Comedy Hour.
I’m guessing the actor went to the writers and said he wanted do something funny, to show off his comedic side. Or, they just decided that uptight Raditch acting like a goofball would be funny in and of itself, because there was really no other point to any of it.
As Wheels walks out, he passes Joey’s desk, and his post production voice says, “Go ahead! Ask ‘em!”
So Joey hands in his test and runs up to the Twins. He goes, “Is Stephanie using me to make Wheels jealous?” The Twins look at each other momentarily, and then Heather says, “Yes,” while Erica simultaneously says, “No.” I guess we just witnessed a breakdown in the Secret Twin Telepathic Language, didn’t we?
Either way, the cat’s out of the bag. Heather says, “Sore-y,” and the Twins walk out. Joey looks crushed. And with that, Stephanie’s fate has just been sealed.
And now it’s back to the mob, still marching through the halls and angrily chanting “Out of the way with Stephanie Kaye!” Oh, and evidently, this is the Very Special New Hairdo Episode for several of the cast members. Not only did Susie get braids and white beads, but Caitlin has some sort of perm, and Voula now has bangs. I’m guessing the hairdressers who fixed up Raditch had some extra time on their hands, and decided they might as well make over some of the Degrassi girls.
Meanwhile, Joey goes up to Wheels at his locker, saying Wheels was right, and Stephanie really is just using him. And to show there’s no hard feelings, he immediately invites Wheels to go rehearse. They walk off with Snake, all buddy-buddy, thus proving the golden adage of bros before hos.
And now all the Grade 7s are assembled in a group outside of the Girls Restroom, clapping, chanting, and stomping, in a scene reminiscent of the moment in the pilot when Steph thanked Joey for helping with her campaign. Except, you know, with a lot less creepy, leering boys around.
Stephanie and Voula come walking up. I guess Voula gets scared shitless by the mob or something, because she immediately walks off in another direction. But Stephanie goes and stands in front of the restroom door, still looking vaguely amused in the face of all the anti-Stephanie chanting. Susie steps forward, petition in hand, and says that as VP, she has to “formally protest” the naming of Joey Jeremiah as the new sports rep. Steph says he’s “qualified” and tries to walk into the bathroom, but Yick blocks her path, yelling that he’s not even on a team.
And then we go around the crowd, with everyone airing the same grievances all over again: sports rep is a Grade 7 position, there needs to be a vote, etc. And right at that moment, Joey and Wheels and Snake come walking up to witness the mayhem. Stephanie spots Joey and calls him over, so that he can explain to everyone what a great sports rep he’ll be. But Joey has seen the light, and is no longer wrapped around Steph’s little finger. He stuns the crowd with, “I can’t be sports rep. It’s a Grade 7 position!”
And then, to Stephanie’s true horror, Joey looks at her and says, “I quit!” The crowd erupts into cheers. See, kids? Sometimes you really can accomplish great things through peaceful disobedience.
Joey tells Steph that the jig is up, and she doesn’t “have to be nice to [him] anymore”. He walks away with Snake and Wheels in tow, and Wheels even twists the knife by smirking and shaking his head as he walks past. All the Grade 7s are celebrating like the wall in East Berlin just came down, and I’m pretty sure someone’s about to pop the champagne.
Steph, seeing her world crumble around her, without even Arthur backing her up, runs into the bathroom to hide. And that is, well, pretty much the extent of the “revolution” in the episode title. From what I can recall, Stephanie remains school president next season. So what was the point of all the impeachment talk?
In the bathroom, Stephanie gets upset as she changes back into Mommy’s Little Girl clothes, muttering to herself, “I just wanted everybody to like me!” I think we can call epic fail on that one. She stares at herself in the mirror, and with that, we abruptly fade into a clip from the pilot episode.
As it turns out, the final five minutes of this episode are basically a mini-clip show, where Stephanie flashes back to all the poor decisions she made that led her to this low point. Accordingly, I won’t describe these clips in detail, because you can just go back and re-read my recaps of those episodes to get the gist of it all.
We relive the first scene of the pilot, where Stephanie tells Arthur to go away and calls him “totally embarrassing”. Next, we revisit her campaign speech out on the front steps, where she promises to “work hard” for Degrassi. Damn, she really didn’t keep any of her promises.
In the present, she stares at her makeup kit, which for some reason triggers a flashback from the same speech, where all the boys line up to get a kiss in exchange for a vote. Which is even funnier, now that we know who all these characters are. I mean, damn, Rick is really getting into it. In the present, she says to herself, “Why do I always have to mess things up?”
The next flashback is the big turning point of the episode, where Stephanie thanks Joey instead of Voula in her speech. In the present, Steph wipes off eye shadow and starts quietly crying. Then she flashes back to Voula calling her a “selfish baby” and throwing her bracelet on the ground. Voula once again says, “You’re on your own, Ms. President! You and your new image!” But this time, the word “image… image… image…” echoes around while we return to Stephanie crying.
Okay, I’m sure all that sucked for Stephanie, but… didn’t she already make up with Voula? They’re friends again, as far as I know. I mean, we just saw Voula and Steph walking through the hallway together. It’s not like they were best friends up until the pilot episode, and haven’t spoken since. Why is Stephanie suddenly feeling remorse? It can’t just now be hitting her that she’s been a total bitch.
Out on the front steps of the school, all the Grade 7s are standing in a group, clearly stoked about their amazing victory today. They’re so wrapped up in congratulating each other that they don’t even notice Stephanie walking past on her way home. Otherwise, I presume they would be chasing her down and beating her to death with two by fours.
She stops, and for the very first time, she acknowledges the existence of her brother. She calls out to Arthur, asking him if he wants to walk home together. Strangely, in the background, the Grade 7s continue to talk about how much they hate Stephanie, even though she’s right there within earshot.
And you might think that after all the abuse he’s taken over the past season, Arthur would just tell Stephanie to fuck off. But no, he’s more than happy to walk home with her. As they walk off together, this whole season comes full circle, given that the first scene of the pilot was them walking to school together. Well, sort of.
Arthur sums up the Season One experience for us. “Junior high’s okay,” he says. He liked his first term. He then asks how it went for Stephanie. Um, did he miss the lynch mob calling for her head? That could be considered a hint. Stephanie obliges him anyway, saying, “I made a lot of mistakes.” Come on, Steph, you’re not giving yourself enough credit. Your first term in Grade 8 was a non-stop string of mistakes!
She looks back at the mob, and promises that next term is going to be “completely different”. She says, “I’m gonna be me!” Unfortunately, nobody knows exactly what that means, least of all Stephanie.
Actually, if I remember correctly, what happens next season is that Stephanie resolves to stop dressing like a slut at school. And she actually sticks with it for five whole episodes, too!
She even promises to be nicer to Arthur, and Arthur wonders if it’s now okay to talk to her at school. To prove she’s turned over a new leaf, she immediately says yes. This inspires Arthur to get kinda crazy, asking if they can also watch the TV shows he wants to watch, and then he goes totally batshit insane and asks to borrow her stereo sometime.
Steph pokes his chest and tells him not to push his luck. She playfully tugs on his scarf, and with that, this historical, memorable, award-winning season comes to a close. Holy crap, it’s really over. I’m now looking at the logo for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
You’re probably expecting me to wrap up the recap by asking what we learned from this episode. But I also have to explain what we learned from this entire season. So what I’ll do instead is spend an entire article doing just that. That’s right, it’s not over just yet! Stay tuned for Degrassi Junior High: The Very Special Lessons of Season One, coming soon.