Apr 18, 2018
Degrassi Junior High “The Experiment” (part 4 of 4)
Cut to Mr. Raditch’s class, and now even more students are laughing maniacally as they enter, and staring at the ceiling agog in their own self-induced highs. Wheelchair Girl, hilariously, even has trouble steering her wheelchair and getting inside the classroom.
Raditch enters, still oblivious to the euphoric laughter. He’s returning papers, and declares that he was “quite taken” with one paper. Namely, Yick’s paper. He declares it to be “clear, lucid”, and says he was very impressed.
Raditch then bursts Yick’s bubble. “Not as impressed as I was last year, when I first read this paper.” OMG OWN3D. The Not Stoned Kids immediately break into gales of laughter.
Raditch yells at them to be quiet, then says to Yick, “How did you get Stephanie Kaye’s paper?” C’mon, Raditch, the same way you get anything from Stephanie: bribes. Yick remains silent for a long time. Finally, Arthur owns up to being the one that got Stephanie’s paper.
But Yick jumps in, saying it’s not Arthur’s fault. It’s actually Raditch’s fault. Yick says, “Why shouldn’t I cheat? You always give me bad marks!” Damn, Yu have got some balls. Raditch points out that Yick got a good grade on his last paper, but Yick says that was also Stephanie’s paper. Holy shit! Yu have really got some balls! Who else would retroactively admit to cheating after getting away with it?
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Arthur butts in, asking how two people can get different grades on the same paper. Raditch says, “Literature, Mr. Kobalewscuy, is not an exact science!” You know, I don’t recall these kinds of confrontations happening right in the classroom when I was in junior high, but maybe I’m too damn old to remember. Meanwhile, the Not Stoned Kids are still giggling like morons, slightly undercutting the heat that Mr. Raditch is trying to bring.
Yick angrily declares, “You stereotype people!” More laughter rings out. I bet this is the last time Mr. Raditch gets the audience from America’s Funniest Home Videos bussed in.
Raditch yells at the Not Stoned Kids again, then tells Yick and Arthur that “you should never let a perceived imperfection in the system justify cheating!” Wow, could he have put that in a more dorky way? Raditch sentences both Yick and Arthur to detention, where they’ll each write a paper explaining what they did and why they did it. And the kids who bought drugs? Getting off scot-free here. Discipline, Mr. Kobalewscuy, is also not an exact science.
Cut to Degrassi’s Peach Pit, AKA the Jerk Store, or whatever it’s called. Stephanie enters, looking panicked. She sits down with Joey and Wheels, and Joey invites her to “come to the mall and help me buy some new clothes”, which, as a come-on, barely even registers. It might even be worse than him saying he needs to polish his nails. Of course, the implication here is that he’s buying new clothes with all his ill-gotten vitamin pill gains.
But it seems Steph has heard it through the grapevine that Joey has been selling drugs, and she’s outraged. Come on, now. Am I actually supposed to believe she gives a damn about the other students now? Steph wouldn’t care about kids at Degrassi using drugs if somebody OD’d right in front of her.
Joey eases her worries by explaining that he’s actually selling vitamin pills. Unfortunately for Joey, Kathleen and Melanie are in a nearby booth, and they overhear the entire conversation.
Joey is laughing as he explains that the girls just thought they were stoned. Steph calls this “stealing”, and says Joey “cheated them out of their money.” Yes, cheated them out of the money they thought there were spending on illegal drugs. Pardon me for not shedding too many tears over this. Obviously, Joey agrees with me, because he delivers yet another good line: “Hey, lessons don’t come cheap!” Meanwhile, Kathleen and Melanie sit in their booth, looking humiliated.
And now, it’s detention time. Arthur and Yick sit in Raditch’s class, while Raditch writes tomorrow’s lesson on the board. Yick bitterly taps his pen on his desk, causing a round of resentful staring to break out between him and Raditch. Conveniently enough, a random woman knocks at the door, wanting to speak to Raditch, and he steps outside. I knew it: he’s having an affair.
His temporary absence allows the real feelings to come out. Yick complains that he’s missing basketball practice because of this, and it’s all Raditch’s fault. Arthur points out that they did actually cheat, but Yick says, “It was an experiment!” Yeah, come on! They were just dabbling in copying assignments word-for-word! Yick is defiant, and has no intention of writing his punishment essay.
Arthur tells him to just try, and Yick yells back, “Whose side are you on? See if I help you practice basketball again! As if you had any hope! You’re the worst player in the world!” Wow. Yu can be a real dick.
Arthur gives it right back to him, pointing out that when it comes to basketball, at least he’s trying, which is more than he can say for Yick, who’s just using Mr. Raditch as an excuse not to do any work. Sounding a little too insightful for a kid in junior high, Arthur challenges Yick to prove to Mr. Raditch that he’s not dumb. Right on cue, Raditch re-enters, pausing menacingly at their desks before going back to his chalkboard.
Cut to the band kids leaving school, to indicate the passage of time. Yick is still working on his essay in Raditch’s classroom. He finally hands in the paper, then leaves without another word. There’s an over-the-shoulder shot of Raditch mulling over Yick’s essay, which contains a grand total of exactly three paragraphs. But hey, for a junior high student, that’s like writing a novel.
Cut to the next day, and Yick walks into the school. He passes the Not Stoned Kids, all congregated around the front steps. Melanie says she’s glad that they didn’t take real drugs, but paying $10 for vitamin pills and the privilege of looking like an idiot kind of chaffs her hide. And in no time at all, that mob mentality takes hold among the Gullible Four.
The next thing we see is Joey checking out his “new clothes” in his locker mirror, which of course is decorated with the Playboy logo. The Gullible Four accosts Joey, telling him they’re onto his vitamin pill scam. He says it was all a joke, and Melanie goes, “Ha ha.” We know she’s being sarcastic, because she’s slightly more monotone on that line. They angrily demand their money back, and there’s a great shot here of Wheelchair Girl looking pissed. You do not want to fuck with Wheelchair Girl. She’ll pop wheelies all over your face.
They ask where their money is, so Joey says, “Like my new clothes?” Then he takes off running, and they all chase after him. They must really dig Hawaiian shirts.
Cut to Raditch’s class. Melanie and Kathleen are taking a test, and they make sinister giggling noises to each other, obviously pleased at whatever horror they wrought upon poor Joey Jeremiah. Meanwhile, there are the Adorable Twins in the same classroom, again confusing the hell out of me, and making me wonder exactly which grade the two of them are supposed to be in.
Raditch looks at his watch, and declares that he’s going to spend the last few minutes of class reading a paper called “Stereotypes”. In case you couldn’t guess by the title, this is the detention paper written by Degrassi’s very own Mr. Yick Yu. It’s full of profound statements like, “When you stereotype people, you box them in.” And if you don’t poke air holes in the box, they suffocate. CBS cares…
Cut to shots of the class while Raditch continues in voiceover, and wow, is this bad. It’s completely obvious that Raditch’s voice was added in post, because it has a bad echo effect applied. It couldn’t sound more disconnected from the scene we’re watching. Unless… wait a minute. God? Is that you? It’s me, Margaret.
Raditch, or maybe God, continues to read Yick’s words. In his paper, Yick says he knows a kid who everybody thinks is brainy, but is really good at sports. He also describes a kid who’s good at sports, but everybody thinks he’s dumb. Wow, who could Yick be talking about here? Could it be Yick himself, and the only other kid he knows? Nah, couldn’t be. Meanwhile, Kathleen taps a pencil to her lips, seeming to find this all very deep and profound. Or, rather, the actress is imagining a deep and profound speech, to be dubbed in later.
Anyway, blah blah blah, the essay explains how Yick gets discouraged when “people call him names”, and it seems Raditch himself is now having an epiphany, and it turns out Yick doesn’t have to be a star to be in Raditch’s show, and blah blah blah. The bell rings, and Raditch simply ushers everyone on to their next class.
He asks Yick to stay behind, of course. Raditch tells Yick that this essay deserves an A, “for real this time”. Okay, great, but how do essays written in detention count towards your final grade? Raditch says he wants to start with a “clean slate” and adds, “I’ll try harder, you’ll try harder.” He promises to drop the “Yu the Disorganized” nickname, and they shake on it, and Yick smiles broadly.
Cut to the hallway. Arthur is at his locker, and I swear, he has a picture of the O RLY? owl inside his locker. Sexy, Astrodog! It almost competes with Joey’s whole Playboy locker motif.
Yick shows up and asks if Arthur wants to practice basketball, then get a milkshake after. You know, just like old times. Arthur smiles and says he’s all for it. And with that, all that ugly “worst player in the world” business is quickly forgotten. And the bromance continues.
As they walk out, they hear somebody in a broom closet, pounding on the door, wanting to get out. Arthur opens the door, and there’s Joey standing there in nothing but—ugh—his Fruit of the Looms, showing off all 100% of his muscle. This is definitely something I didn’t need to see, but sadly, only the first of many times we’ll be seeing Joey Jeremiah naked over the course of this series.
When the door opens, Joey immediately uses his hat to cover up his crotch. He says, “Drug crazed zombies stole my clothes!” In a fitting bit of revenge for his mistreatment in prior episodes, Arthur just closes the door on Joey, locking him inside, and declares, “What a broomhead!” Yep. Karma is a bitch. The two boys dribble the basketball on out of the school, apparently leaving Joey to die of starvation inside the broom closet. And with that, we roll credits.
And yes, I get they were just trying to come up with a funny ending, and they mostly succeeded. But am I really supposed to believe that the mob not only locked Joey in the broom closet, but also stripped him naked? Melanie stripped him naked? Kathleen stripped him naked? Wheelchair Girl stripped him naked? It does seem to stretch credibility, doesn’t it? Well, I guess if Wheelchair Girl comes to school tomorrow wearing a fedora, our worst fears will be confirmed.
The lessons in the episode are pretty obvious, so I won’t even bother going over them. All I’ll say is this, kids: don’t do drugs. Especially drugs with names you’ve never heard of.