Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends! Seriously, Degrassi never ends. Degrassi: The Next Generation is currently in its tenth [!] season and shows no signs of ending soon. And did you know the show is now airing new episodes four freaking days a week? I was barely keeping up with once a week installments in the lives of characters I don’t give a crap about. As someone who’s ravenously consumed everything they’ve slapped the Degrassi brand name on for years now, I never thought I’d say this, but... I think I’m done with Degrassi.
The new episodes, I mean. As you can probably tell by the existence of the recap you are currently reading, I’ve decided to return my attention to the series that started it all (well, technically, the series that came after the series that started it all), Degrassi Junior High. It’s been a long nine months since I last recapped this show, but there’s a very good reason for that. Basically, I needed the time off to absorb all the difficult lessons I learned in season one, as well as recover from the trauma. But luckily for you DJH fans, I’m back to endure new trauma as I recap the most beloved teen drama ever made! ...In Canada. Between the years of 1987 and 1989. Of all time!
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This brave second season opens on a carton of eggs, and the camera pulls back to reveal Spike, Degrassi’s future Welfare Queen, attending a support group for pregnant teenagers. There are many types of pregnant teenagers here: black pregnant teenagers, redneck pregnant teenagers, pregnant teenagers in overalls, etc. But the one thing they all have in common is that they’re all teenagers, and also pregnant.
If you’re unfamiliar with Christine “Spike” Nelson’s Emmy-winning storyline, you probably weren’t paying much attention to Canadian-produced PBS shows in the late 1980s, because it was sort of a big thing, her getting knocked up at 14 years old by a guy who was also 14 years old. And nowadays, it’s an even bigger thing, because the product of that sinful union went on to headline Degrassi: The Next Generation, now in its 20th season. But if you’re one of the few who knows nothing about the Conception of Emma Nelson, you can read all about it here.
One girl in the support group is complaining about her baby daddy’s... daddy. It appears a future grandpa yelled at this particular girl, telling her that “Whatever you do is your own choice, but I don’t want my son involved!” She’s outraged that the guy doesn’t care at all about her and her unborn baby, and also, “Dave” is no longer allowed to talk to her.
The woman running the session responds to this great purging of emotion by announcing that their time is up. She makes a feeble promise to talk about the fascinating aspects of life with Dave and Dave’s dad next time, but until then, she has a little homework assignment for the girls. She knows a lot of them are not sure if they’ll be giving their babies up for adoption or not, so she’s come up with “an experiment that will help you see one aspect” of being a mom. Hence, the carton of eggs.
She tells them to each to take an egg, hold onto it for two weeks, and treat it like an infant, to see what taking care of a baby is really like. Yep, it’s the ages-old “egg-sitting” plot seen on many an ‘80s sitcom. The woman specifically tells the girls to protect their eggs from “abuse and accidents”, which is all kinds of disturbing. I’m pretty sure this means keeping the egg away from Dave’s dad.
The girls even get to pick race-appropriate eggs! Unfortunately, Asian pregnant moms will have to separate out the yolks.
And I know what you parents out there must be thinking: taking care of an egg is a total cakewalk compared to an actual baby, right? How could watching an egg possibly teach you what it’s like to be a parent? But you have to keep in mind that Spike is a Degrassi kid. And taking care of inanimate objects is way beyond most Degrassi kids. I hear when Spike was a little girl, her pet rock died.
“But most importantly, you will learn not to eat your baby!”
Spike wonders aloud what the girls who have school every day are supposed to do, and the woman in charge says they’ll have to arrange for “daycare” for the egg. So let’s hope there’s such a thing as “undocumented” egg nannies. As the girls all reach in for eggs, a drum machine starts up, and it’s time for the opening credits.
After nine long months, it’s time once again to wake up in the morning, feeling shy and lonely. Fuck, I gotta go to school. I don’t think I can take this shit, man. Sometimes, I’m wondering what I’m gonna do.
And for those curious, there are no changes at all in the opening credits whatsoever for season two. They are identical to the credits for season one. Which is sort of odd, when you really look at them closely.
I mean, she's not even on the show anymore! The union will have something to say about this, that’s for sure.
But as I trip out on the theme song that defined my youth, I’m still able to take this time to momentarily forget my nightmarish adult existence, and instead flash back to my nightmarish teenage existence. Though it was never quite as bad as the lives of Spike or Spike’s baby daddy Shane, which is probably the main reason I was endlessly fascinated by this show. It provided the cathartic cleansing spoken of by the ancients.
And then the episode proper opens, with all the kids returning to school after... I’m gonna say winter break, even though it’s clearly summer in this shot, with not a trace of snow on the ground. I mentioned this before, but after season one they decided to film all episodes over the summer so as not to conflict with the kids’ school schedules, so when you’re in Degrassi-stan, it truly is endless summer.
Wheels and Snake walk into school together, guitar cases in tow, covered with all their homemade Zit Remedy logos. So I can only assume they spent the entirety of their holiday break practicing just that one song.
Shane sits pensively on the front steps, as Kathleen and Melanie walk up. Kathleen, as you may recall, is Degrassi’s official loudmouth yenta. Still classy to the core, she yells, “Hey, there’s Shane! I wonder if he got any more girls pregnant over the holidays!” So cruel, but if we’re being honest, I was kind of wondering the same thing myself.
Because that’s a face that just screams “major stud who knocks up girls left and right”.
Spike and the Adorable Twins approach the school, with Stephanie nowhere in sight. I’m thinking that maybe the Twins resolved in the new year to officially end their long and tiring association with Stephanie Kaye.
Spike says she’s doing fine with her pregnancy, except she’s starting to get fat, and just in case you forgot, Spike doesn’t want to get fat, because “everyone will stare at me!” And I swear she’s said this, like this exact line with this exact same wording, at least half a dozen times. I’m now beginning to have nightmares about Spike saying she doesn’t want to get fat and have people stare at her. Apparently, getting chubby is the absolute worst part of being a pregnant 14 year old.
Shane tries to talk to her on the front steps, but Spike yells, “There’s nothing to say!” As they enter the school, the girls all talk about what a “creep” Shane is, you know, for actually wanting to talk to the girl who’s bearing his child.