Degrassi Junior High “What a Night!” (part 1 of 5)
Meanwhile, in keeping with the whole “fear” theme of the episode, the Scarecrow showed up and gassed everybody. Well, okay, not exactly. What actually happened was Melanie had to face her fear of snakes when Degrassi’s pet California king snake went missing.
L.D.’s dad lived, the snake was found, and in the end, we learned there was nothing to fear besides imaginary radio plays.
These Degrassi recaps are getting kind of short, now that I don’t have a whole lot of stuff to digress about. So to pad out this recap a little bit, I decided to spend some time cruising around the internet to see what other people have been saying about my recaps of Degrassi Junior High.
Over at Tomato Nation, blogger Sarah D. Bunting recently expressed a desire to recap an ‘80s show, and had narrowed it down to the likes of Miami Vice, 21 Jump Street, and Degrassi Junior High. This was met with the following response:
That’s right—Degrassi is all mine, so step off! Actually, that’s not how I feel at all. The more people recapping Degrassi Junior High the better, as far as I’m concerned. But wait, what’s this ”Dairi Burger” thing Jen S. is talking about?
More on that in a minute. For now, here’s how Sarah replied:
You heard it here first: my shit is “hilare”, which I assume is… good? And yes, I’m fully aware it’s taken me over two years to recap eight episodes, but I have good news for everyone: it’s my intention to finish out the first season within the next few months. I’m already working on the recap of the episode three weeks ahead of the one you’re reading now. So, I’m pretty confident I can make my shit more “regular”, quote-unquote. If not, there’s always Metamucil.
So what about this Dairi Burger site I’ve been hearing so much about? Well, a little searching led to another blog that did their very own recap of the pilot episode “Kiss Me, Steph”. It’s not as detailed as my own recap, of course, but very few things in this world are. I do like the screencap comparison of Voula and Nia Vardalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, though. The character of Voula was most likely meant to be Greek, so this isn’t as far off as you might think.
But in the comments section of the Dairi Burger recap, a reader named “Jen S” (why does that name sound familiar?) proceeds to namedrop the Agony Booth:
All I can say is, this is the most reassuring thing I’ve read about myself in a good long while. I mean, I’m a grown man, so if I actually did know the nuances of slut/good girl clothing, hair clips, and eye shadow, that would be plenty disturbing, don’t you think?
Though, I’m not sure I really qualify as a “devoted Steph fan”, do I? I mean, I like the character and all, and I think Nicole Stoffman did a great job, and… and…
Finally, over at a blog called “The Unicorner”, the resident blogger (sorry, couldn’t find her name anywhere on the site) is currently recapping a show called Make It or Break It. Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either. It airs on the ABC Family channel, which explains why. The blog has some clear Agony Booth influences, which can be seen in its recap of the Make It or Break It pilot episode:
I think that’s officially the first term I’ve ever personally coined that’s been seen outside of this website. Sure, it’s been seven and a half years since I started the Agony Booth, but I just knew that if I worked hard enough, something was bound to catch on. Is “Girls Restroom of Ill Repute” potential material for another T shirt?
The Unicorner also appears to be posting screencap recaps, in the same format as the Agony Booth, but I can’t take credit for inventing those, because people have been doing screencap recaps for years.
Alright, enough ego stroking. I’m here to talk about episode nine of Degrassi Junior High, a sobering tale of shoplifting, spandex, and starfucking gone wrong entitled “What a Night!”
The episode begins with Lucy wandering the aisles of a grubby department store. This would be Worldly Loosey, the girl last seen introducing Voula to the wondrous world of makeup. Several hours later, she allowed Stephanie Kaye to help herself to all the Irish crème in her parents’ liquor cabinet, leading to predictably disastrous results. Back then, Lucy kept telling everyone how “loose” her parents were, so I’m afraid she’s stuck with the sobriquet “Loosey” in these recaps, at least for the foreseeable future.
Loosey peruses racks of discount clothing, then stops beside a really obvious “SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED” sign. She pays it no mind, however, while she looks around warily. Way in the background, a store employee stares at her, but turns away just in time for Loosey to grab a purple scarf and stuff it in her purse. Cue the drum machine, it’s opening credits time.
Wait, what? That was it? That might be the shortest cold open ever in the entire run of this show, or any show for that matter. That was less than 23 seconds. 23 seconds! And yet, so very much learning was imparted to us in those 23 seconds, wasn’t it? Already, we know this will be a Very Special Episode, just like every other episode of Degrassi Junior High. That much is a given. But we also know that this particular episode will be the Very Special “Shoplifting is a Cry for Attention” Episode.
But wait! There’s a lot more to it than that. There’s a secondary plot involving Stephanie Kaye (thank you, Jesus) and unlike prior episodes, neither the A plot nor the B plot will have a blatant, on-the-nose tie-in with the title of the episode. In fact, I’m not even sure why this episode is called “What a Night!” I’ll grant you, what we’re about to witness could conceivably be summed up by breathlessly exclaiming, “What a night!” But so could about half the episodes of Degrassi Junior High. You know what? I’m just gonna go with it. It’s not like I can think of a better title.
Back from credits, we’re in Mr. Raditch’s classroom, and he’s saying the following words: “Government, neurosurgeon, nocturnal, tangerine, balcony, and quiche.” You might be wondering what’s going on here. Is Raditch having a stroke? Is he in that episode of the ‘80s Twilight Zone where Robert Klein was told that “dinosaur” is a meal, and “lunch” is a color? Did he ingest LSD before class and is now listening to the color of his dreams? None of the above. In fact, he’s going over words that the kids will have to know for their spelling exam tomorrow. Yeah, I know, bummer.
Stephanie Kaye is sitting in his classroom, and as usual, she’s paying no attention whatsoever. Instead, she’s currently leafing through a copy of Soap Opera Digest. I have to say, I can’t help but feel a certain kinship with Soap Opera Digest. By publishing detailed summaries of soap opera storylines way back in the ‘70s, Soap Opera Digest is like the granddaddy of recapping as we know it today.
They’ve shown us thirty seconds of an actual class, so of course, the bell rings. Stephanie stands up to leave, and for no reason whatsoever, Raditch points at her with a very menacing, “Wait.” Stephanie sits her ass back down, and then Raditch takes an extra few seconds to remind everyone that the spelling exam is worth 10% of their grades. And then he practically mumbles, “So… apply yourselves.” And with that, he sends everyone off to their next class. Okay, way to follow through on the righteous rage there, Mr. Raditch. The way he said “wait”, I almost thought he was about to pull a .44 Magnum out of his blazer and blow Stephanie away.
Everyone heads out. Voula talks to Loosey, saying she likes Loosey’s scarf. Naturally, it’s the same scarf Loosey shoplifted in the cold open. Loosey replies, “What, this old thing?” What, this old stolen thing? You should see the really nice stuff I swipe!
Before they can leave, Raditch tells Loosey to stay behind. Loosey whispers to Voula that Raditch is a “fascist”, a favorite insult of hers, but I think it might actually be accurate in this case. Voula says, “See you later, Loose!” See? Even the Degrassi kids have picked up on her “loose” nature.