Degrassi Junior High “The Cover-Up” (part 4 of 4)
Okay, where the hell was I? Oh, right, the Grade 7s coming out of the photo room. Rick is among them, and when he sees Joey in the hall he demands 15 bucks for the jean jacket. Joey only has $10—just two customers today, I guess—so Rick wants the jacket back right now. Joey begs and pleads with him, describing the possible broomhead-itude he’ll be enduring without the jacket. Rick relents, for now.
He starts to leave, but Joey calls out to him, asking if he wants to “talk about last night”. Okay, that’s really not something a boy should be yelling out to another boy in the hallways at school. Unless, of course, they actually did sleep together, which is entirely possible here.
Alas, no. Joey only means the beatdown Rick got from his dad. Predictably, all he gets is a stern, menacing brush-off from Rick.
In the Photo Room, Voula is Ben Franklin and gets her photo taken. Steph is up next, and it looks like she’s having second thoughts, pulling up her bustier and so forth, but what’s done is done. For not the last time, Steph made her bed and must now lie in it. But worst of all, after this whole “dilemma” takes up a big chunk of the episode, it’s never resolved. We never find out if Momma Kaye ever sees these pictures, or how she reacts to them. Once again, I marvel at this show’s airtight plotting.
In the next scene, Susie and Caitlin continue making Rick their pet project. This time, in an attempt to make Rick smile, they’ve got plastic pig snouts, which they strap to their heads. They jump in front of Rick and literally say the words, “Oink, oink, oink.” This goes over about as well as the joke about the chicken, and a stone-faced Rick walks away. There’s really not much to say here. This is just a terrible, uninspired subplot, no matter how you look at it. Just be thankful you’re not watching Kids of Degrassi Street, because that show would have built an entire episode around this plot.
In Raditch’s class, Tim the Terrific suddenly turns to Joey, and says he knows who Joey was talking about earlier, as in the guy getting beat up by his dad. “It’s Rick, isn’t it?” Wow! And it only took him four hours to piece it all together!
Joey vehemently denies this. And then Raditch is incensed once again that he has to remind Joey not to “socialize” in his class. “Do you need it engraved in your forehead?” Raditch is pissed enough to send Joey to go see Principal Charlie again. Even though, once again, Joey didn’t start this particular conversation. For some reason, Tim the Terrific skates through this episode, and probably all of life, completely unscathed.
Joey leaves, and is that Diana I see in the front row? Wow, there’s another character who gets no lines until the high school years. I’m slowly starting to realize Degrassi High introduced absolutely zero new characters—all two seasons must have consisted entirely of walking up to extras and going, “Hey, would you like your own episode?”
Cut to Joey walking out of Principal Charlie’s office, while an ethereal, disembodied voiceover scolds him. The voice of Charlie warns him that another infraction might lead to the WASPy Jeremiahs being informed of his misdeeds.
As Joey heads out, Doris makes chit-chat with him. And very unfortunately, Joey can’t help but deal in hypotheticals again. He asks Doris what he should do, hypothetically speaking, if he knew some hypothetical kid who was getting his hypothetical ass beat by his hypothetical dad. Of course, Doris is very concerned, which seems to catch Joey off guard, and he runs out of there as fast as possible. Yeah. What did he think would happen when he told a faculty member about potential child abuse?
And with the oblique way he couches it, as in “I know a guy who’s getting abused”, we all know where this is headed, right? In fact, Doris proceeds to thumb through her Rolodex for the number to the “Children’s Aid Society”, and then she dials a rotary phone with her pencil. A Rolodex? A rotary dial phone? Damn, this is old school. It’s more old school than Sir Mix-a-Lot.
Cut to all the students leaving for the day. And I can’t help but notice that LD did in fact wear her Castrol T-shirt for Photo Day. Hey, you can’t say she lacks in the area of follow-through. Common sense, maybe. Fashion sense, definitely. But not follow-through.
Out in front of the school, Rick confronts Joey, asking for the remaining five bucks for the jacket. Joey says he has the money, but it’s at his house, so they cruise on over there. As they ride over together, there’s a snafu. Suddenly, the chain on Rick’s bike comes off. You see, this is the one time where being “off the chain” is less than desirable. Joey says they can fix it at his place, because he has the special “tools” required to do this.
So they continue on, with Rick walking his bike. When they show up at Joey’s place, a mysterious motorcycle is parked out front. Rick admires it, but ultimately deems it “not as cool as Frank’s!” Just between you and me, I’m starting to think “Frank” is not his older brother, but rather his imaginary friend.
Inside, the WASPy Jeremiahs are in the living room, meeting up with, you guessed it, a social worker. But I only know this from later dialogue. Going solely by what he’s wearing, I’d never guess in a million years that he’s supposed to be a social worker.
Social Worker Guy has on a leather jacket, and a thin tie, and big teased up hair, much like Corey Hart. And we know he drives a motorcycle, specifically the motorcycle out front, because his helmet is on the coffee table. Okay, I’m sorry. There’s absolutely no way you’re going to convince me he was wearing a helmet, with hair like that. Unless he showed up at Chez Jeremiah, excused himself to the bathroom, then spent an hour carefully teasing up his hair again, and then came out to discuss the potential child abuse.
Daddy Jeremiah is defending his parenting skills. He says, “We’ve brought up four kids, and no one has ever accused us of child abuse before! Although, I can say there have been times I felt like it!” Whoa, whoa. That’s got to be on the list of the 20 worst possible things you could ever say to a social worker. I should know. VH1 just showed the whole list. And yet, Social Worker Guy is completely oblivious to this comment, and simply says they have a “duty” to check up on these things.
Joey and Rick enter, and Momma Jeremiah introduces Corey Hart Hair Guy as being “from Children’s Aid”. Which I believe is one of the organizations under the Foster Child Association umbrella. Either that, or it’s one of the many bands who have covered “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” That would explain the pop star hair a little better, anyway.
Corey Hart Hair Guy walks over to Joey, and examines his black eye. Corey Hart Guy has a really thick accent. It almost sounds Irish or Scottish, but it’s possibly just a very thick Canadian accent. Joey seems to pick up the accent a little as he explains that he just “fell into some bikes”. Wait a minute. Was that the truth that I just heard? Coming out of the mouth of Joey F. Jeremiah—the F is for “falsehood”? I’ll be damned.
Corey Hart Guy explains why he’s here: Long story short, it’s because of what Joey told Doris Bell, about “a father beating a child.” Joey and Rick exchange tense looks. Meanwhile, Daddy Jeremiah, to prove his cool, collected demeanor, yells out, “We never laid a hand on our kids!” I mean, flogging them with belts doesn’t count as laying a hand on them, right? Right?!
Joey immediately sets the record straight, saying his parents have never hit him. So Corey wonders who Joey was really talking about, but he’s already staring directly at Rick when he says this. Rick turns around and bails out of there. Corey Hart Dude says that whoever Joey was talking about “needs help very badly! Even if he won’t admit it!” Which he’s basically yelling at Rick’s back. So, I guess they’re not completely oblivious over at Children’s Aid, after all.
Rick is about to make a quick getaway. But, as you might recall, the chain on his bike fell off. Curses! Foiled again by a broken bike chain!
Corey comes out and offers to help, and he really gets down in there to check out the chain, despite Rick’s protests. There’s a quick shot of the Jeremiah family looking out their front window at the two of them, just to let us know they didn’t shrug, say “whatever”, and then go off to have dinner.
Corey goes to his motorcycle and pulls out a cloth satchel. Wow! He has the precious tools required to fix a bicycle chain! No wonder they call it Children’s Aid. As he repairs the bike, he tells Rick that he can help him in other ways, too. Mostly with the abuse situation.
Rick remains defiant. “Do you get a bonus for every kid you bag or something?” Okay, now there’s a phrase that can be interpreted in a few different ways.
Corey gets the bike fixed, and Rick starts to ride off. But Corey stops him with the sheer power of words, making an impassioned plea that he hates to see kids getting hurt. It seems helping abused kids is his bag, baby. He asks Rick to let him help, and Rick looks at the ground somberly.
Aaaaaaand, cue synthesizer riff on the Degrassi theme, taking us to another school day. Rick is in the hallway, staking out Joey. Joey starts to talk about what happened yesterday, but Rick is only interested in the remaining money for the jacket.
Joey pays up, finally. He then goes to his locker, and Rick comes over. He explains that he’s going to be staying with his brother for a while—said brother being the mythical “Frank” we’ve heard so much about. Okay, Frank, so I guess you do exist, after all. You may have won this round, Frank, but next time you may not be so lucky.
Rick invites Joey to come over sometime, because Frank “might let you ride his Harley or something!” That sounds like an exceedingly stupid idea, especially considering how we’ll see Joey treat cars a little later on in this series.
Rick walks away, but playfully snatches the beret off Joey’s head, then tosses it back to him. This clip, by the way, appears in the opening credits, so naturally, I’ve seen it eight billion times. Rick even pointedly calls Joey “buddy”. Ah, what a difference an older brother makes.
Joey smiles, and Rick smiles too, and guess who’s walking up just in time to see all this smiling going on? Yep, Caitlin and Susie. They’re awestruck that Rick is actually smiling. Yeah, and no thanks to either one of them, I might add. Freeze-frame on Rick’s smile, and the credits take us home.
So, what did we learn from this Very Special Episode of Degrassi Junior High? First of all, I learned child abuse is an incredibly easy problem to solve. Well, as long as you have a cool older brother who doesn’t mind you crashing with him.
I learned, and will continue to learn, that Voula is one vindictive bitch.
Also, Degrassi: Deep Space Nine should be debuting this fall. Can’t wait!
And last, but not least, I learned that every school has That Kid. You know, That Kid who lives with his older brother.
Basically, Rick is the prototype version of Sean from Next Generation, a kid who’s also into motorcycles and lives with his older brother. In fact, even Kids of Degrassi Street had a boy who lived with his older brother (Griff, played by the same guy who went on to play Wheels in the junior high years). So, it’s kind of a constant. Much like every Degrassi series needs its own Wheelchair Girl, and its own Stacie Mistysyn, so too does it need That Kid Who Lives With His Older Brother And Is Into Motorcycles. It’s like nothing can stop them! It’s like nothing matters anymore!