Degrassi Junior High “Rumor Has It” (part 3 of 5)
But enough of that—it’s sleepover time! Over at Caitlin’s house, all four girls are in pajamas, and indulging in an age-old sleepover pastime: Making crank calls. Ah, memories. All the good times to be had calling up random strangers and making juvenile jokes, forever ruined by caller ID.
Annie decides to crank call Mr. Raditch’s house. Somebody answers, and Annie laughs to the others that it’s “some lady!” Kathleen yells, “Raditch has a girlfriend?” Did I not tell you the man is a pimp?
Caitlin thinks it might be his wife, but Kathleen says Raditch doesn’t wear a wedding ring. Caitlin points out that lots of married people don’t wear rings. So, score one more point against prejudice.
The “lady” puts Raditch on the phone, and Annie puts on a deep voice and asks, “Is this Mr. Raditch on the line?” Oh, yes. Get ready to laugh so hard that your spleen ruptures. Because it’s about to happen. This, I feel certain of.
Annie says, “Then you’d better get off, there’s a train coming!” And then she hangs up. No, that was the whole joke. The girls laugh themselves into spasms, tumbling all over each other in a heap. Wow. So I’m guessing the one about the refrigerator running went way over their heads.
Now it’s Caitlin’s turn to crank call somebody. But first, she has to pick a name out of a hat. They’re picking names out of a hat? Okay, they’re putting way too much thought into this.
Well, what do you know? Caitlin picks Ms. Avery. Who saw that coming? It kind of makes me wonder if there were only two slips of paper in the hat, one for each teacher at Degrassi, and Caitlin was too dumb to realize this when she stuck her hand in.
Caitlin doesn’t think it’s such a great idea to call Ms. Avery. But then Kathleen taunts her, accusing her of being Avery’s “pet”. This motivates Caitlin with a fiery passion, and she marches over to the phone.
Kathleen easily finds Ms. Avery’s number in the phone book, noting that she’s the only “K. Avery” listed. The phone book? Say what? When was the last time anyone found anyone by looking in the phone book? Oh, right, 1987.
Caitlin calls her up, and while it rings, there’s conversation about how she sleeps with a stuffed monkey. And then someone answers, and Caitlin asks for “Ms. Avery”. Oh, wow, brilliant. Don’t do something crazy like ask for “Karen” or anything. There’s absolutely no way she’ll figure out it’s really one of her students.
A moment later, Caitlin goes, “No… No message!” And then she hangs up. All the girls laugh riotously. To be fair though, that was slightly funnier than the joke about the train coming.
The girls want to know who answered the phone, and Caitlin says it was “some lady”. Well, I guess “Some Lady” sure gets around, doesn’t she? Avery is also a pimp.
Kathleen, sounding way too intrigued, goes, “Bet it’s her lover!” She adds, “Everyone knows she’s gay!” As proof, she talks about how Avery isn’t married, and she’s always with “that woman”. She also claims she saw Avery and her “friend” on “King Street” last week. They were “holding hands” and “talking in each other’s ears!” Because King Street, as everybody knows, is the place to go when you really want to gay it up. Kathleen really has an unhealthy fixation here, if you ask me. But hey, this all sounds like a “rumor”. I wonder if this could have anything to do with the title of the episode?
The next day at school, Kathleen and Annie are once again scoping out Ms. Avery as she gets out of That Woman’s car. This time, however, the two women kiss each other on the cheek. And with that, Annie and Kathleen’s heads explode. Kathleen is now completely convinced that the woman is Avery’s lover.
And then in the hallway, it’s time for more of the dreadful, kiddie-fied subplot featuring Arthur and Yick. In keeping with the whole crime prevention theme, Arthur now has a giant magnifying glass, and a box of fingerprint powder, which Yick is currently dusting all over his locker. That’s right, Yick is dusting his locker for prints. Next, I fully expect them to break out the black light, and the luminol, and visualize elaborate CGI recreations of bullets travelling through corpses and lockers.
In case you were wondering, Arthur got the fingerprint powder “from the back of a comic book”. Also, “it’s guaranteed, or your money back!” Unfortunately, he missed the fine print that said “*guaranteed to make you look like a tool”.
They look at all the fingerprints on Yick’s locker, and Yick notes one small hitch in the plan: “How do we know whose is whose?” Yes, that would be something of a hurdle to overcome, wouldn’t it? You see, Arthur was supposed to get the next issue of that comic book, with the ad on the back selling the entire FBI fingerprint database. Along with delicious Hostess Pies.
Arthur says they only need to find a “prime suspect”, i.e., someone displaying “suspicious or abnormal behavior”. Right on cue, Rick enters, and get this: the guy is handing out licorice. Like, big long ropes of licorice from a paper bag. To everyone. He’s giving licorice to everybody he sees. Did I mention that the writers were on drugs?
Rick announces, “I won a hundred bucks in the lottery!” Well, that explains it, of course. Because when you win a little money, the natural thing to do is to blow it all on licorice that you hand out to random strangers. Accordingly, Arthur’s Magnifying Glass of Suspicion is now literally trained on Rick as he walks past. Well, there they go. Now all they need to do is get Rick’s prints. But I’m sure he’ll eventually leave a champagne glass lying around somewhere.
In a classroom, Annie and Kathleen are still going nuts over the lesbo kiss they just witnessed. Melanie is annoyed by this all this talk of lesbianism, but not enough to actually stop listening to it.
And then Rick enters, offering a twist from his Quiver O’ Licorice to Caitlin. She, of course, has a girlish moment over being offered licorice out of a paper bag from a cute boy. And now the whole class is loving the bumper crop of licorice.
Then Caitlin gets called over by Kathleen, who’s all too eager to share the big news about “the kiss”. An angry Caitlin says they’ll all look “stupid” when they find out Ms. Avery has a boyfriend. And that’s what they said for a year about Lindsay Lohan, too. Though, maybe that’s not such a good example, because I’m pretty sure she’s gone back to guys by now.
Ms. Avery enters. Kathleen decides to kick off class by raising her hand, and asking Ms. Avery point blank if she has a boyfriend. In response, Avery gives her a look like perhaps she could destroy Kathleen with the power of thought. But instead of wishing Kathleen away to the cornfield, Avery just laughs it off and says, “Hundreds! But I don’t know what business that is of yours!” In other words: Avery’s got 99 boyfriends, but a bitch ain’t one.
This silences the critics, and everyone laughs at Kathleen. Damn, that was smooth. I really do love this woman. I’m thinking perhaps she really does have hundreds of boyfriends.
And then she attempts to start class for real, but Rick abruptly walks up to her desk with his Quiver O’ Licorice and offers her some. Rick declares in a detached monotone, “I won a hundred dollars in the lottery!” Avery, bless her heart, smiles and laughs and takes the licorice, and very nearly convinces me that Rick is not a total dipshit, but only for a very brief moment.
Rick heads back to his seat, and Arthur and Yick turn in their seats to glare at him. Yep, I think they’re getting really, really close to naming their “prime suspect”. Just a few more clues are all they’ll need to seal the deal!
The school is now awash in licorice. Everyone has partaken from the free flowing stream of licorice emanating from Rick’s magical never-ending paper bag. In the hallway, Arth-Yick are now stalking Rick at his locker. If this reminds you of anything, it’s probably the way they were stalking Snake in the previous episode. Or the way they were using walkie-talkies to keep tabs on Joey in the pilot episode. Is it just me, or do these two like to follow around other boys just a bit too much?
Arthur says that Rick must be the thief. He mentions how Rick supposedly got caught shoplifting. Yick says, “It’s probably just rumors!” See how elegantly the “A” plot and “B” plot are woven together?
Rick almost spots them spying on him, but luckily, Arth-Yick are able to do their “acting casual” routine of not acting the least bit casual. Rick walks away, and then Arthur reveals everything he heard about Rick, about how he stole magazines, and he stole records, and he also stole a radio. Arthur insists that these can’t all be rumors. So, let me get this straight: Arthur has heard that Rick A) shoplifted, B) shoplifted, and C) shoplifted? That’s three things he heard! Those can’t all be rumors! He’s convinced that Rick is the “criminal” they’re after, and they take off running after him.
Meanwhile, Susie and Caitlin are back in the Degrassi Darkroom. Susie is developing that photo of Caitlin looking profoundly uncomfortable with Ms. Avery’s hand on her shoulder. It’s always great to preserve a bit of awkwardness for posterity, isn’t it? Susie’s starting to buy into the lesbian rumor, though. She says, “I wonder what lezzies do, exactly? Do they really kiss? Like, on the lips, and everything?” That’s… certainly one way of putting it.
But Caitlin gets defensive. She insists Ms. Avery is not a lesbian. Susie stares at the photo and says, “She sure does like to touch people!” Again, Susie, you’re not helping. Caitlin bristles at this, saying there’s nothing wrong with being touchy-feely. Susie tells Caitlin to chill. “It’s not as if they’re saying you’re a lezzie… Right?”
Half a minute later, Caitlin’s all “…right…” Okay! Glad that’s settled, then.
And then, once again, it’s time to journey to Dream Sequence City, somewhere deep in the depths of Caitlin’s subconscious. Well, I’m assuming, anyway. This is based on the fact that everyone’s sitting up straight at their desks again, and this time they’re even turning pages in their books in unison. So, either this is a dream sequence, or Degrassi became a fascist dystopia sometime during the commercial break.
There’s even a bright light shining only on Caitlin. But maybe this is what growing up was really like for Stacie Mistysyn.
Once again, Caitlin walks up to Ms. Avery’s desk and practically sits in her lap. And once again, Avery compliments Caitlin’s “essay on native peoples”. Caitlin sure has some boring dreams, doesn’t she? Oh, wait, this time Avery puts her hand softly on Caitlin’s stomach. Is it just me, or is this getting kinda hot? Okay, yeah, it’s probably just me.
And then Kathleen ruins everything by yelling, “Caitlin’s gay, you know! She’s a lesbian!” Even in dreams, Kathleen’s a total killjoy.
Hilariously, Dream Susie replies in a complete and utter monotone, “Yes. I know.” I mean, in even more of a monotone than the actress’ normal scenes. So, let me get this straight, there’s not only hot girl-on-girl action at school, but all the other students have been transformed into robots? This episode just keeps getting better!
And then it’s right back to the funhouse, with insane close-ups as everyone whispers that Caitlin is a lesbian. Everything’s being filmed with the wide angle lens again, and there are thirty different close-ups of everyone’s mouths as they call Caitlin gay, and a queer, and a homosexual, and so on. Eventually, everyone is pointing at her and chanting, “Gay! Gay! Lesbian! Lesbian! Lesbian!” It doesn’t get much more surreal than this, folks.
Finally, there’s a near repeat of Caitlin waking up in a cold sweat. She holds her stuffed monkey tight, and tries to get back to sleep. Other than a slight shift in subject matter (the students accusing Caitlin of being gay, instead of Ms. Avery), I don’t see why they needed two dream sequences. Beyond, you know, coming up with an excuse for the entire cast to chant the word “lesbian”.