Degrassi Junior High “The Big Dance” (part 3 of 4)
Over at Casa de Wheels, we see a shirtless Wheels in the bathroom, wearing only a towel, calling out to ask his dad if he can use his aftershave. (Sigh. Poor Daddy Wheels. He’s not long for this world.) So, Wheels is shirtless, which means if I were a 14 year old girl, I’d be pretty hot and bothered right now, right? Please don’t answer that.
Wheels pours some aftershave in his hand, and it’s pretty obviously a bottle of Aqua Velva. I know you’re thinking “product placement”. But in the early days of Degrassi, I doubt they had their shit together enough (it wasn’t even a union production!) to actually have real product placement. Also, the reaction to Wheels’ aftershave later will make it obvious that nobody involved with the Aqua Velva brand asked to be associated with this program in any way. Trust me.
Cut to Lucy’s place. She’s on the couch, reading a coffee table book about movies, with a picture of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman on the cover. It fucking figures, doesn’t it? For some reason which I can’t put into words, I want to kick in the teeth of anybody who would read a coffee table book with Humphrey Bogart on the cover. Or maybe it’s just Lucy I want to kick in the teeth, and the coffee table book is simply breaking the camel’s back.
Voula knocks on the door and explains that she needs to get changed for the dance. Well, it’s official: Voula has completely gone over to the dark side, AKA the Stephanie Kaye Way of Life. Voula now has her very own Bathroom of Ill Repute to get changed in. Who could have seen this coming?
She heads upstairs to the bathroom, and literally ten seconds later, there’s another knock. It’s the Adorable Twins, along with Steph, currently in Mommie’s Little Girl Mode. Oh boy. That’s going to be quite the awkward moment in the upstairs bathroom. Especially when Steph and Voula realize the sink is only big enough for one huge shoulder bag.
One of the Twins explains Steph’s presence with, “She had to change somewhere, and our parents know her!” Do you ever get the feeling that Stephanie is just barely tolerated by her female classmates? I’m getting that sense. I don’t know why.
(Though, now that I think about it, the Twins were ardent supporters of Snake for school president in the previous episode. That must have something to do with it. I mean, that’d be like campaigning hard for John Kerry, then suddenly realizing you had to hang out with George W. Bush on a daily basis.)
One twin checks out Lucy’s place and exclaims, “Your parents must be loaded!” By which she means rich. Although I’m pretty sure they’re loaded the other way, too. Good old condescending Lucy says, “This dump? You should have seen our loft in Manhattan!” Um. Sure. Because people who can afford a Manhattan loft are extremely likely to sell it and settle down in the grimy suburbs of Toronto. Perhaps they sold it to Patrick and Demi in a fire sale. On that sculptor’s salary, I doubt they paid much.
(As it turns out, this house is actually the love nest where Degrassi co-creators Kit Hood and Linda Schuyler were living in sin at the time. Make of that what you will.)
Just as Steph is heading up to change, wouldn’t you know it, down comes Voula. Yep, here comes the awkwardness. Voula, by the way, is wearing a dress just as long as the one she showed up in. The only difference being this dress has some metallic fabric in it. And yeah, I guess this outfit might have raised an eyebrow with Poppa, but you really have to wonder why she even bothered.
Voula sees Steph, and as you may recall, she is deeply, deeply in love with Steph. So of course she gets her Bitter Face on and storms out, saying she’s heading over to the dance right away, right now! Of course, it’s still daylight outside, and it might possibly be 4:30 in the afternoon, but all that be damned! Voula needs to escape from her girl-crush as soon as humanly possible!
Cut to the school. Voula meets up with some other students and heads inside, cruising past Snake, who’s sitting on the front steps with his shades on, trying to look cool. Unfortunately, he has yet to realize that sitting by yourself and not talking to anyone doesn’t really make you look cool. Come on and give us a try, Snake.
Inside the swank gym, a disco ball rotates, while we hear random, generic ’80s synth pop. The most hilarious thing here, amid all the paper streamers and balloons, is they’ve got up a photo of the foster kid they’re helping, and… it’s like a picture somebody cut out of National Geographic and blew up to poster size. Are the kids possibly being taken in by a scam?
Wheels enters the gym. He makes a big show of looking all around for his lady love Steph, despite the place being mostly empty. I guess Steph has figured out what everyone else at this school hasn’t, the concept of being “fashionably late”. I’m pretty sure Paris Hilton watched Degrassi at the age of six and decided to use the character of Stephanie Kaye as a template for living. The remainder of this episode will prove that beyond all reasonable doubt.
There are scattered students on the dance floor, doing distinctly stiff ’80s dancing moves. Among them is our man Astrodog, Arthur Kobalewscuy himself. Arthur is doing that new dance that’s sweeping the nation, the “shovel to the left, then shovel to the right”. Hey, just keep in mind which nation it’s sweeping, is all I’m saying.
The music stops with an odd noise as… what is this? Someone appears to be lifting some type of.. of stylus off a rotating platter of vinyl. But how can that be related to the interruption of the music? I am completely mystified here. The person doing the lifting is, of course, Mr. Raditch, one of only two teachers at Degrassi (and the other one is standing behind him). Raditch grabs a gray desk microphone, just like the kind the principal used in Grease. He welcomes everyone to the dance.
And then he hilariously declares, “I’m your disc jockey this evening… My name is Rompin’ Rockin’ Raditch [!!!]—that’s right—and I’ll be playing the kind of music you want to hear!” Wow. This is like two wishes from my childhood both coming true at once. One is a teacher referring to himself or herself as “rockin'” anything. But he’s not just Rockin’ Raditch. He’s Rompin’ Rockin’ Raditch. Can you even, in your wildest dreams, imagine the inspiration for this DJ name? Kick me in the side of head, make me eat paste, douse my head in gasoline—I would never ever be able to come up with anything as insane and glorious as Rompin’ Rockin’ Raditch.
The second wish, which is almost as ridiculous, is a teacher asserting that he wants to play the music you, meaning I, want to hear. Is this Total Request Raditch? I mean, are the kids paying him for this gig or something? Is he moonlighting to supplement the educator salary?
Back at Loosey’s House, one of the Twins is griping about how her folks still treat her like she’s eight. The other twin, meanwhile, is also laying down a stylus-like device upon some strange vinyl platter, and all manner of frightful music and sound emerge! Which startles and confuses me! Well, it’s mostly the sound of a drum machine, but close enough.
Turntable Twin spies a table full of liquor bottles. She says, “Too bad we can’t get splashed!” I would be more than happy to splash either one of you young ladies. (Note to self: Edit out that joke before posting this recap. You’ll look like a pervert. Don’t forget, now!) Loosey tells her to go ahead and have a drink, once again explaining that her parents are “loose”. The two twins exclaim, “Party!” and begin sticking their noses into bottles of brandy.
Just then, Steph comes downstairs, her transformation complete. And… I’m speechless, really. She has completely outskanked herself. As she steps down into the shot, the first thing we see are the tight, hot pink stretch pants. And then, the blue halter top, showing off her cleavage. And then, the mylar jacket. This is like an outfit too whoreish for an actual whore to wear. Seriously. If you saw a prostitute wearing this, you’d immediately assume she was an undercover vice cop. Well, I would, anyway. I mean, fool me twice, shame on me.
The twins invite her to have a drink, saying they still have plenty of time to get to the dance. One twin explains how they both got drunk before, at a party, which is seriously messing with the Twin Dynamic seen in later episodes. Just so you know, going forward, one twin will be the Angelic One, and the other one will be the Mischievous One. But no matter. We’re still feeling these things out.
At first, Steph is taken aback that they got drunk. One twin asks, “Haven’t you ever been drunk before?” As you’d expect, Steph lets out a patronizing laugh, tosses her hair back, and blatantly lies, “Yeah, of course! Lots of times!” Well, that’s a good way to excuse the skanky outfits, anyway.
To prove it, Steph full-on tips back a bottle of whiskey. Wow. You have to give her some credit there. When she lies her ass off, she commits to it.
Meanwhile, the Twins have the closest thing to an intentionally funny line so far in this episode:
Twin #2: I don’t know. Maybe you drink it on a boat.
Indeed you do. Particularly if the boat is an oil tanker, and you’re the captain. The girls begin to whoop it up as a bored Loosey looks on from the couch.
Back at the Big Dance, Joey enters with a typically Joey-esque “Please, no autographs!” No, seriously. That’s what he says. And also, no one cares. His outfit for the dance consists of big sunglasses, Truman Capote’s hat, and a Hawaiian shirt. Presumably, the Tuxedo T Shirt is in the laundry. He finds Wheels, but immediately recoils at the smell of his aftershave. “Smells like oven cleaner!” Oven cleaner would be a step up, possibly.
Wheels says that Stephanie hasn’t shown up yet. Joey says, a bit too gleefully, “She stood you up, man!” Thanks for being a real friend, Joey. You know, I bet he never shit on Hank like this.
Everyone grooves to some soft, Blondie-style pop, that I strongly suspect is being sung by the same woman who provided the Degrassi Junior High theme song. And yes, even Wheelchair Girl is getting her spin on. Joey wanders over to the turntable, and begins leafing through LPs, and gets a literal slap on the wrist from Rockin’ Rompin’ Raditch.
Back at Loosey’s house, Steph and the Twins are now loaded, in the other sense of the word. One twin picks up a bottle of vodka and declares in Bela Lugosi’s voice, “Vod kan I do for you?” C’mon, for 14 year olds, that’s brilliant humor. And honestly, she’s doing a way better fake Eastern European accent than the guy playing Voula’s Poppa.
The phone rings, so Loosey tries to quiet them down, to little avail. It turns out Loosey’s mom is on the phone, and you will be absolutely stunned to learn that Loosey calls her mom “Alice”. Hey, maybe Loosey’s mom will be played by Ellen Burstyn! That would explain a lot, actually. The girls continue to chatter drunkenly, and one of the Twins does an old drunken favorite, pretending that a shotglass is a monocle. Ah, good times.
Steph then pours herself a big tall glass of… ugh… Irish crème. Loosey warns against this, but Steph says, “It’s just like a milkshake!” Yeah! A milkshake that makes you barf and end up sprawled out on the bathroom floor. What’s the big deal?
The twins dare her to chug it all, even goading her with her own campaign slogan of “All the way with Stephanie Kaye!” Hey, now wait a minute. It almost appears as though this episode was written by someone with an actual sense of humor. Not only that, but someone who had actually watched the previous episode. There must be some mistake here.
So, of course, Steph knocks back the whole glass. Blecch. I’m already feeling nauseous for her.