Aug 17, 2010
Degrassi Junior High “It's Late” (part 4 of 4)
Meanwhile, the Twins stake out Spike in the hallway. When she shows up, they say they’re taking her down to the clinic. She still refuses to go, so they say they’re taking her to the drugstore to buy a test, because she has to know if she’s really pregnant.
Next, Arthur and Yick meet up in a stairwell. Yick sees Arthur and says, “Broomhead.” Almost like that’s his name now. Arthur promises he’ll have more “ideas” tomorrow, but Yick has had enough of his spectacularly shitty “ideas”. Melanie walks past, and Yick says he’s going to try something really crazy: He’s going to walk right up to her and ask her out.
He goes over to her, apologizing for everything that happened, and he wants to make it up to her by taking her “skating”. After a moment, it sinks in with Melanie that Yick is asking her out on a date. And this show being the Learning Experience™ that it is, she doesn’t shift around uncomfortably and say she’ll get back to him on it in a month or so. Instead, she says yes right away, and they make plans to go skating on Saturday morning. A Saturday morning date? That’s hot.
I guess the lesson here is that, if you’re interested in someone, you shouldn’t bother with stupid come-ons and gimmicks, and just directly ask that person out. However, it’s obvious that Arthur’s stupid ideas gave Yick an “in” he wouldn’t have otherwise had. He acted like a moron, which gave him a reason to apologize in the first place. So, once again, the makers of this show have proven the exact opposite of the lesson they were going for. Yick should be thanking Arthur right now.
Speaking of Arthur, he just stands there the whole time, watching Yick ask out Melanie, and looking terrified. It’s okay, Arthur. I’m sure the bromance will continue.
Degrassi’s new power couple Yick and Melanie walk down the stairs together, and Melanie asks what his “sign” is. We find out that he’s an Aquarius, and Melanie’s a Cancer, and they’re not supposed to get along. “But you are a boy,” Melanie says, so yeah, they’re off to a great start here. I would guess that’s her only criteria, really. “And this is a date,” she adds, “So… okay!”
This all reminds me of what a great philosopher named P. Stanley once said: “She’s a dancer, a romancer / I’m a Capricorn, and she’s a Cancer.” Yick would do well to live by these words.
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And now, the Twins and Spike are down at the big scary, imposing drugstore. It’s a much bigger one than where Wheels bought condoms and met Stephanie’s mom, so there’s no possibility of uncomfortable familial chance meetings here. Spike gets nervous as they peruse the pregnancy test section. Call it “Unsafe City”, if you will.
The Twins look at all the many brands, including Acu-Test and Answer Plus. Available now at your local Walgreens! They have no idea what they’re doing, so they just go with the test that takes an hour instead of two hours. That way, Spike’s new horrible life can begin one hour sooner. Mind you, I’m not saying all single mothers have horrible lives. Only the ones that end up raising Emma Nelson.
The girls buy the test and head out of the drugstore, talking about how it’s a good thing nobody asked any questions. So, remember kids, when buying embarrassing pharmaceutical products, always make sure to go to the big chains, and not the mom and pop stores. Or the mom stores, at any rate. Spike says goodbye to the Twins and heads on home.
Heavy dramatic music plays as… Spike walks home. She enters her apartment, and Mom says dinner will be ready soon. But Spike says she’s not hungry, and she’s going to bed, even though it’s still light outside. Way to not raise any suspicions.
She tries to walk past her mom, but is stupidly carrying the bag with the pregnancy test in her hand, right out in the open. Geez! Arthur may have spent an entire day carrying around a porno tape, but even he wasn’t dumb enough to brazenly show it off like this. Her mom asks what’s in the bag, and Spike says, “Nothing!” and holds it behind her back. Well, that should settle the matter, then.
Naturally, her mom gets even more curious, so Spike races upstairs to her bedroom. She slams her bedroom door, and you will be absolutely stunned to learn that Spike has a picture of Billy Idol taped to her door. She’s a fan of faux-punk ‘80s pop, you say? Who’da thought?
Mom barges into her room and asks what’s going on, saying that she and Spike have always shared everything. Spike yells, “I don’t want to share anymore! I want to go live somewhere else!” And… that sure came out of left field, didn’t it? Spike also yells that Mom doesn’t care about her, and has “no idea what it’s like to be 14!” Okay, I guess some other past issues are bubbling to the surface right now, because I can’t follow this argument at all.
Mom walks out in frustration, so Spike yells, “You want to see what’s in the bag?” She then pitches the bag at her mom’s back, and it lands on the floor, most likely breaking everything inside. $3.99 Canadian, right down the drain. Mom picks up the bag, pulls out the box, and realizes it’s a pregnancy test. With a look of sheer horror, she whispers, “Oh no… you didn’t!” Spike buries her head in her pillow. Oh yes, she did.
Just then, the phone rings. It turns out the call is from Shane, but Mom says Spike can’t come to the phone right now and hangs up. Well, that had a point.
Mom lies down on Spike’s bed and tells her she should have said something sooner, because it’s always best when Mom knows everything. They share a teary hug.
And now, they’re sitting in Mom’s car outside a clinic. Spike says she could have taken the test at home, but Mom would rather she go see “Dr. Poddubny”. And I even looked it up, but I still can’t believe “Poddubny” is actually a real last name. Spike says she’s sorry for everything, and adds, “I wanted him to like me!”
Mom gets introspective. “The number of us who have said that…” and she just trails off, probably because there’s no coherent way to finish that sentence. Spike says she didn’t even “like it” and Mom says, “Most of us don’t, at first!” Or ever! She says Spike should have waited until she was older, because “when you’re ready, it can be wonderful!”
They look up, and here’s Shane strolling up the sidewalk. Mom just glares at him, wondering why Spike felt compelled to ask him to be here. Spike says it’s “his baby, too”, and it turns out she just wants the two of them to go in alone, her and Shane, to get the test results. Spike gets out of the car and thanks him for coming. Shane asks how she’s doing, and pay close attention, because this is about the last non-jerky thing Shane will ever do on this show.
Mom watches them head inside, keeping up a brave face the whole time. As soon as they’re inside, she collapses into total despair.
And on that note, we cut to fun times with Yick and Melanie! Nope, no abrupt shifts in tone here! They’re currently out on their date, and skating around an outdoor pond in front of an office building. What, you think Yick can afford to take Melanie to an actual skating rink? Especially after he blew his entire allowance on that vase? They skate around, holding hands, laughing, falling down, etc. Thankfully, that’s the end of that scene, and the end of that plot.
Back at the clinic, Spike and Shane come out. Mom gets out of her car and walks across the parking lot to meet them. And that’s when Spike delivers the news. And given the existence of Degrassi: The Next Generation, I don’t think what she says next should come as a surprise to anyone: “Mom, I’m pregnant.” Mother and daughter share another teary hug, while Shane stands there with another dopey look on his face.
It’s the next day at school. Spike is sitting in a stairwell looking sullen. Some girl walks past and tries to make small talk, but it’s completely awkward. And it also ends up being completely creepy, because the other girl’s face is hidden in the shadows the whole time.
And then Shane comes walking down the stairs. As soon as he sits down, Spike yells that this is all his fault. He says she could have stopped him. “I tried to!” she says. “Sort of.” So I guess it wasn’t rape-rape, then. What? Still too soon?
She calls the situation “so horrible”, and Shane asks, “You don’t want me to marry you, do you?” Spike puts on a patronizing smile that tells him that is so not happening. Spike then gets philosophical, saying there are people in the world who can’t have babies, and maybe some of those people would be willing to adopt her baby. But she doesn’t “want to get big and stuff”, because then everyone will know.
She floats the idea of having an abortion, but it turns out Shane is a staunch pro-lifer. He yells, “You can’t kill a baby!” Spike says she doesn’t actually want to have an abortion, but she doesn’t want to have a baby, either. So, clearly, there’s only one option left: Shane needs to push her down the stairs.
She says she’s “just a kid” and “It was just a little mistake!” Shane conveniently sums up the whole episode with, “Sort of a big mistake.” Spike turns to him, and there’s a freeze frame on her ambiguo-glance, and that’s the end.
As you may have noticed, there wasn’t a whole lot to make fun of here. It’s one of the few episodes of Degrassi that succeeds in being dramatic without being outright laughable. Rhonda Kristi, the actress who plays Spike’s Mom, does a great job, and it’s strange to see that she never did any acting work before or after Degrassi. She doesn’t even show up on TNG as Grandma Nelson, which could have been a fun callback, but I think DJH fans should just be thankful for the Old School references we actually got before TNG turned into 90210-Lite in the fourth or fifth season.
And this episode even works in spite of Amanda Stepto’s painfully stiff acting. I’m sorry to say that her acting abilities don’t improve very much over the course of the series. She’s a much better actress on TNG, but there’s a possibility I only believe that because she grew up to be hot.
Unfortunately, I think she only got about a minute and a half of screen time in the entire last season of TNG.
I wonder how many fans of the current Degrassi series have been curious enough to check out this episode, or any of the episodes in the “Spike’s pregnancy” storyline. If I had grown up on TNG, I’m sure I’d be knocked for a loop by “It’s Late”. After all, how often do you get to see one of the stars of your favorite shows actually being conceived before your very eyes? Okay, not right before your very eyes, but pretty damn close.
Next up: “Parents Night”, wherein the genetic secrets of Wheels’ sexiness are finally unlocked.