Degrassi Junior High “The Big Dance” (part 4 of 4)
Despite the tiny version of Poppa sitting on her shoulder, they get up and dance with each other. And wow, it’s so incredibly awkward. I don’t know if the actual name of this dance really is the “Okay, Here We Are, Now What Do We Do? Dance”, but maybe it should be. They can hardly even look each other in the eye as they start clumsily stepping from side to side. Oh, man. It’s really horrible to watch.
Cut to: Joey dancing with Caitlin. Oh, if they only knew they were planting the seeds of a love to last a generation. But for now, Joey and Caitlin are literally keeping each other at arm’s length. Meanwhile, Wheels sits, seething, still waiting for his date to show up.
Cut to Loosey, the Twins, and Steph all making their way across a park towards the school, drunkenly singing the official Degrassi school song. Ah, drunkenly singing the school song. That sure brings back memories. Wait, no it doesn’t.
And this is even more proof that whoever wrote this episode actually saw the previous episode. I had originally assumed the pilot was the first, last, and only use of the school song, but here it is, making another appearance. But surely, this must be the last use of the school song, right? Right?
They get to the front steps, but Steph can’t quite master the concept of “stairs” in her current state. So the other girls literally have to pick her up and drag her up the stairs, while she laughs hysterically. Oh, Irish crème, the many horrors you have unleashed upon the world!
Meanwhile, inside the gym, Voula and Arthur continue to get their awkward on. The drunk girls enter, laughing uncontrollably. And Rompin’ Rockin’ Raditch is standing right there by the entrance, and for some reason, he doesn’t say anything. And even worse, all four of them barge in without paying the $1 entrance fee. Well, so much for the big benefit, then. Sorry, Mboke, but that’s four less grass huts for your village.
Steph drunkenly assaults Wheels, telling him that he’s “so sexy!” She then gets a whiff of the Aqua Velva and asks, “Are you wearing mosquito repellant?” Oh. I see. This is actually a rare case of Anti-Product Placement. As in, the manufacturer possibly might have paid good money to keep their product out of this episode. Nice idea, but they really should have let Aqua Velva know before the episode aired.
On the other side of the gym, Voula wonders what’s wrong with Steph. Loosey says, “She’s been drinking.” And you can barely see it before they cut away, but I swear, right here, Voula’s head completely fucking explodes at the very concept of being drunk. Kids never drank alcohol back in Mypos!
But before she can go full-on hysterical, Raditch gets on the Grease Microphone and declares that this is “the moment you’ve been waiting for! The Annual Degrassi Junior High Crazy Dance!!” Oh, no… Not the Crazy Dance! Anything but the Crazy Dance! Last year, they did this Crazy Dance, and you know what happened? Long story short, the space shuttle blew up. You may have heard about it.
Raditch explains the Crazy Dance thusly: “You don’t need a partner! All you do is get on the dance floor and go as crazy as you can!” He promises that he and Ms. Avery “will be judging who is the most demented Degrassi dancer!” It looks like we have an early favorite, as Drunken Steph is truly demented. Meanwhile, the Twins are basically grinding up on Snake. I bet they’re all like, you totally should have won the election, man! You got screwed by the recount! Here’s an Oscar for your documentary about global warming! Yes, that is what the Twins are currently saying to Snake. Verbatim.
Cut to several pairs of feet hopping dementedly, including the inevitable pair of checkerboard Converse All Stars. They can dance if they want to! They can act like they come from out of this world, leave the real one far behind!
Meanwhile, Steph is going wild. It’s her happening, and it freaks her out! She’s dancing and spinning and jumping and… you know where this is going, don’t you? She suddenly stops, puts a hand to her mouth, does a dry heave or two, and runs out of the gym. Though, to be fair, I think it might have been the Aqua Velva more than anything.
She hurries to the bathroom and the Twins follow. They enter the Restroom of Ill Repute just in time to hear Steph puke her guts out. They go all the way with this, even adding in the lovely accompanying sound of particulate matter hitting the toilet water. Never, ever let it be said that the Degrassi crew didn’t go for realism.
Outside, the Crazy Dance continues with reckless abandon. People are actually coming close to inventing moshing. Poor Wheels, having lost his date, goes back to sulking in a chair.
Back in the bathroom, Stephanie stands over a sink, splashing her face, and staring at herself in the mirror. This certainly won’t be the last time Stephanie Kaye soberly stares at her own reflection. Believe me. One twin tells her to get better fast, because she has to present the check for the poor foster child. Naturally, Steph tries to weasel out of this, claiming she feels too sick. Now, you and I know that even if she hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol, she would still be trying to get out of this anyway. But then again, perhaps that foster child will sleep better at night, knowing a girl who currently looks like a droogie had no part in sending him a check.
Back in the gym… Hot damn! Arthur and Voula are now slow dancing. With each other. Just three more songs, and Astrodog gets to feel his first boob. But it’s not to be! The witching hour of nine turty is almost upon us, and Voula is going to turn into a pumpkin. By which I mean, her father will most likely be carving up her head if she’s not home on time.
Voula starts to leave, but Loosey appears out of nowhere, saying she has to come right now, and it’s of vital importance, and hurry! And with Loosey’s crazy hair, and headband, it’s almost like Doc Brown has suddenly arrived out of nowhere, to bring Voula into the future to save her own children!
But the imminent danger has already arrived: Poppa is now pulling up outside the school in his Myposmobile. It is now the hour of reckoning! He heads up the stairs into the school, and within the next five seconds of elapsed screentime, about three different levels of plot, subplot, text, and subtext play out. Yes, really, all this happens while we’re just watching a guy walk up some stairs.
That’s because he passes by Shane and Spike, and Shane has his arm around Spike. First of all, it’s pretty amazing that they were already setting up this season’s big attention-grabbing storyline, where Shane gets Spike pregnant. Second of all, what’s really great is how Poppa pauses ever so briefly, staring at them agog. It’s almost like he can’t believe he live in country where young boy can touch young girl in public place!
Meanwhile, Voula enters the Restroom of Ill Repute. She is shown Steph sick and sprawled out on the floor, almost as a cautionary tale about wearing makeup and getting changed in other people’s bathrooms. Everyone pleads with Voula to be the one to present the check, since it was her idea anyway. Steph moans, “Voula… please…” You can’t really tell, but Voula’s heart is melting. Just melting. Without another word, she walks out to go present the check.
Meanwhile, Poppa enters the gym, and sees young girl and young boy in slow dance! Slow dance! And they not even married! Voula lied! This is not meeting! Is like naked orgy! Poppa looks confused, disoriented, unable to see or think clearly in this sea of raging hormones. He stumbles around in a terrified state.
Meanwhile, Sweet Ms. Avery takes the stage with a guy in a suit who is the spitting image of the lead singer of the Flaming Lips, right down to the ill-fitting gray suit. Avery calls for a round of applause to welcome Stephanie to the stage to present the check. But instead of Stephanie, Loosey comes over, and whispers into Avery’s ear. Oh my god, what a rockstar thing to do. Steph is totally and undeniably a rockstar now. And Voula is about to become her Sasheen Littlefeather.
So, in her place, Avery asks for a round of applause for Voula. Voula takes the podium next to Flaming Lips Guy and begins to, I presume, deliver Stephanie’s speech. At first I wondered how Voula knew Steph’s speech by heart, but you just know Voula was the one who secretly wrote it in the first place. Making me wonder what kind of offscreen midnight tryst occurred that made her let go of her grudge and write this speech for Steph.
Suddenly, Poppa begins advancing through the crowd like he’s the Terminator. In the middle of Voula’s speech, I mean, in the middle of a sentence, she trails off, seeing gruff, stern-faced Poppa there, his arms firmly folded. I especially like how he’s burning with anger while his daughter is making a speech about helping orphans. Like, what more could she possibly do to please this guy? She continues on, quickly tossing it over to Flaming Lips Guy, who we learn is from “The Foster Child Association”. Last seen sponsoring The Rock Concert.
As Flaming Lips Guy takes the mic, Poppa gives Voula a hilarious “you! here!” gesture, then sharply grabs her arm and drags her out of the gymnasium. This makes even Flaming Lips Guy stop his speech with a what the fuck? look on his face. Considering the guy’s job is dealing with orphaned and abandoned kids, you really have to be a bad parent to evoke that reaction from him.
In the bathroom, Steph curls into a fetal position on the floor. The faucet drips, drips. Drip on, you crazy faucet.
In the hallway, Voula and Poppa argue. Poppa is none too happy that Voula lied, but Voula yells that she did it because he treats her like a baby. A stupid baby?
Meanwhile, there’s Stephanie Kaye, enduring the next step in the road to recovery, right there on the bathroom floor. Film at 11. Loosey comes in and tells Stephanie she can come back to Chez Loose and get changed there.
In the hallway, Poppa and Voula continue their argument. Poppa yells, “Your momma didn’t go to dahnce ’til she vas sixteen!” Of course, what he’s conveniently leaving out is that she was married when she was twelve. Voula says this is a different culture, and not only that, but the dance was for a good cause. Poppa reminds her about how she lied: “This cannot change!” he word-mangles. Voula at last apologizes, and an uneasy détente is finally achieved.
Steph exits the bathroom with Loosey, moaning about how much she feels like a “broomhead”. And I’m sure Loosey would be more than happy to agree with her there. Also, “broomhead” is far too apt, considering her head was literally on the floor for most of the night.
Steph then sits down on the hallway floor, slowly putting her shoes back on, and boy, we’ve all been there, huh? She continues to show she’s ripe for an intervention when she makes plans to call both Voula and Wheels tomorrow to apologize. And I’m sure that’ll make it all better. I wonder if Hallmark makes “sorry I was a drunk asshole” cards. Maybe Steph can pick up a pack of ten on the way home.
She hopes her mom will make her some “hot cocoa” when she gets home. They walk out of the shot, freeze frame on the hallway, and end episode.
So what did we learn from this Very Special Episode of Degrassi Junior High? Well, for one thing, we learned that you should not, under any circumstances, consume more Irish crème than can physically fit in your stomach. It sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at the number of entering college freshmen who fail to grasp this simple concept.
Also, if you’re an actress, and not a very good actress at that, you are not too good for a show like Degrassi Junior High. Just remember: It’s work.
Oh yeah, and don’t wear Aqua Velva. Ever. That’s what I learned, anyway. (Dear Combe Incorporated: I’m open to accepting modest bribes to remove that previous sentence. Also, I have some truly scathing things to say in a future recap about another product of yours, Vagisil, but for the right price, I may just forget all about it.)